Books

Top 5 spooky books written by women

Writer Gabby Hutchinson Crouch picks the best stories penned by women to help get you into the spirit this Halloween

Crouch wrote Wish You Weren't Here which depicts a family of ghost hunters.

Crouch wrote Wish You Weren't Here which depicts a family of ghost hunters. Image: Pexels

Fresh from the success of her Darkwood series, Gabby Hutchinson Crouch – an author and seasoned writer of satire for TV and radio – has a new offering.

Wish You Weren’t Here tells the story of the Rook family, avid ghost hunters. That’s why she curated this selection of creepy tales penned by women which will have you suitably unsettled.

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

A classic of the haunted house genre, this is more about female repression than ghosts. The house itself feels malevolent, eating the identity of women. The mundanity of the domestic details in Jackson’s narrative throw the creepiness into sharp contrast.

The Man in the Picture by Susan Hill

I find this scarier than The Woman in Black. Haunted pictures. Brr. There’s a lot of polite toing and froing about who gets to have a cursed painting – it’s all so British.

Wish You Weren’t Here by Gabby Hutchinson Crouch is out now (Duckworth, £8.99)

Agata’s Machine by Camilla Grudova

All of The Doll’s Alphabet is unsettling, full of decay and tinned meat obsessions, but Agata’s Machine, a story about a haunted sewing machine that projects the ghost of a scary, sexy clown, is my favourite.

The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

As in Jackson’s work, here a woman’s repression is so crushing that it manifests as a haunting. Slowly working out what’s actually wrong with the room is where the true horror lies.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

While many of the stories on my list are about being trapped in a house full of malevolence, the original Gothic horror is borne of being trapped on holiday with Byron – same thing, frankly. The story of a sexy idiot found weeping on the ice, who tried playing God and accidentally made an incel, with no cackling in a dramatic mountaintop castle at all.

This article is taken from the latest edition of The Big Issue magazine. If you cannot reach local your vendor, you can still click HERE to subscribe to The Big Issue today or give a gift subscription to a friend or family member. You can also purchase one-off issues from The Big Issue Shop or The Big Issue app, available now from the App Store or Google Play.

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