Ghost stories - apart from that one about the bishop's cat by MR James - are not my favourite literary genre. It says much, therefore, for Sarah Waters's storytelling talent that not for a single minute in her latest novel, about a family being persecuted by things going bump in the night, did I think of fast-forwarding. It's set in rural Warwickshire after the second world war, a time of significant political and social change. The narrator, whose mother worked for the Ayres family living up at the manor, Hundreds Hall, is now the local doctor. When he is asked to treat a young servant girl working for the Ayreses, Dr Faraday becomes inadvertently involved with the family's lives, financial problems and, most of all, the malevolent ghosts that terrorise its members. I miss Waters's velvet-and-lace clad Victorian lesbians, but for spine-chilling spookiness, her post-war poltergeists are better value. Simon Vance reads it in such a reasonable, matter-of-fact way, you believe every word.
Sue Arnold is a freelance journalist and, for many years, a popular columnist for the Observer. She has been a radio critic and currently reviews audiobooks for the Guardian. Having lost her sight as a result of a medical condition, she has written about the medical use of cannabis. She is a registered blind person