Famed for her Victorian pastiches with a lesbian twist, Sarah Waters changed the recipe with her fourth novel. The Night Watch was set during the Blitz and featured lesbian ambulance drivers (and a poignant gay male relationship). With her fifth, we are in the period just post-war, an era of clothing coupons, petrol shortages, social change and disfigured war heroes. And not a lesbian in sight.
Her publishers have started the fun by billing this as ‘a chilling ghost story’. Waters has taken the Henry James route of presenting what seem to be outright – indeed, terrifying – spectres, but hedging round them with hearsay, psychosis and unreliable narration. The Little Stranger is a