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The Haunting of Alma Fielding

by Kate Summerscale

Biography / Autobiography Books of the Month History Mind & Body - books to help you be better The Real World

LoveReading View on The Haunting of Alma Fielding

A truly fascinating investigative piece focusing on journalist and ghost hunter Nandor Fodor who researched Alma Fielding in 1938 after a poltergeist attack. Described as historical narrative non fiction, Kate Summerscale opens a door into the world of spiritualism just as the Second World War was starting. Her prologue explains that she visited the Society for Psychical Research to look up Nandor Fodor and found his original papers including the dossier on Alma. It contained transcripts of her seances, interviews, lab reports, x-rays copies of her contracts, notes, sketches and photographs. The author sets out to explore the link between suffering and the supernatural. This is as much about Fodor as it is Fielding, their link at times almost disturbing. The story is laid out before you, Kate Summerscale thoughtfully relays the information without prejudice, and doesn’t judge, allowing the reader to form their own thoughts. The Haunting of Alma Fielding is a riveting read encouraging thorough yet reflective reasoning that is likely to continue long after the tale is told.


Liz Robinson

The Haunting of Alma Fielding Synopsis

London, 1938. Alma Fielding, an ordinary young woman, begins to experience supernatural events in her suburban home.

Nandor Fodor - a Jewish-Hungarian refugee and chief ghost hunter for the International Institute for Psychical research - begins to investigate. In doing so he discovers a different and darker type of haunting: trauma, alienation, loss - and the foreshadowing of a nation's worst fears. As the spectre of Fascism lengthens over Europe, and as Fodor's obsession with the case deepens, Alma becomes ever more disturbed.

With rigour, daring and insight, the award-winning pioneer of historical narrative non-fiction Kate Summerscale shadows Fodor's enquiry, delving into long-hidden archives to find the human story behind a very modern haunting.

The Haunting of Alma Fielding Press Reviews

Hidden realities of a different kind lie beneath the story of Kate Summerscale's The Haunting of Alma Fielding: A True Ghost Story, which delves into the 1930s case of the Croydon Poltergeist , investigated by Nandor Fodor, chief ghost hunter for the International Institute for Psychical Research - Guardian, Autumn highlights

London, 1938, and a young woman begins to experience supernatural events. Is she really haunted, or is something else going on? The author of The Suspicions of Mr Whicher investigates - Observer, Autumn highlights

With her eye for evocative period detail, her sensitivity to the quirks and poignancies of human motivation, and her brilliant storytelling skills, Summerscale has taken this corker of a case and made it as gripping as a novel. An engaging, unsettling, deeply satisfying read -- SARAH WATERS The Suspicions of Mr Whicher author returns with another intriguing nonfiction story. It is 1938 and poor old Alma Fielding's home is being disturbed by the Croydon Poltergeist - The Times, Autumn highlights

A page-turner with the authority of history - The Haunting of Alma Fielding will stay with the reader as powerfully as the mystery at the heart of the story. Why should a woman - happily married and moderately well off, smash up her own home blaming a poltergeist. Or, if she was in the grip of another will - who was it? An unvarnished account of unknowable things at a time of deep unease -- PHILIPPA GREGORY Another true-life mystery from the author of The Suspicions of Mr Whicher - Sunday Times, Autumn Highlights

An empathetic, meticulous account of a spiritual unravelling; a tribute to the astonishing power of the human mind - but also a properly absorbing, baffling, satisfying detective story -- AIDA EDEMARIAM

Superb ... The Haunting of Alma Fielding will have you up all night and grip you to your bones ... An extraordinary feat of historical research and imaginative sympathy. Alma emerges from the pages a living, breathing woman - and one you can't forget. Kate Summerscale has another smash hit on her hands -- KATE WILLIAMS

Praise for Kate Summerscale: She has turned a sepia photograph into a film that runs through the mind in glorious and unimpeachable Technicolor -- Rachel Cooke - Observer

Summerscale's brilliance lies in charting, with beautiful precision, a story's strange echoes and reverberations -- Craig Brown - Mail on Sunday

No other writer could have made the case so fascinating and so vivid ... It would be impossible to read this dry-eyed -- Cressida Connolly - Spectator

An extraordinary book which will stay with you - Daily Express

Gripping... Summerscale is an exquisite storyteller. She is judicious in her use of detail, subtle in her unspoken connections between the past and the present -- Daisy Goodwin - The Times

The finest documentary writing -- John le Carre Absolutely riveting -- Sarah Waters - Guardian

As Kate Summerscale has proved before, she has a wonderfully sharp eye for stories which turn out not to be quite what they seem... a remarkably heartening story - Daily Mail

Scrupulous and occasionally startling -- Rachel Cooke - Observer

Simply superb -- Alexandra Harris - Guardian

Extraordinary -- Philippa Gregory - Daily Telegraph

I was hooked after the first few pages. It's as good as non-fiction could possibly get -- Victoria Hislop - Daily Mail

A scalpel-sharp investigative mind -- John Carey - Sunday Times

I can't think of another book which takes you so fast into the smells, tastes and atmosphere of that time -- Doris Lessing Nothing less than a masterpiece -- Craig Brown - Mail on Sunday

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781408895443
Publication date: 01/10/2020
Publisher: Bloomsbury Circus an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Format: Paperback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781408895443
Publication date: 1st October 2020
Author: Kate Summerscale
Publisher: Bloomsbury Circus an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 368 pages
Genres: Biography / Autobiography, Books of the Month, History, Mind & Body, The Real World,
Categories: True crime, Biography: general, Social & cultural history, Criminal investigation & detection,

About Kate Summerscale

Kate Summerscale was born in 1965. She is the author of the bestselling The Queen of Whale Cay, which won a Somerset Maugham award and was shortlisted for the Whitbread biography award. She has also judged various literary competitions including the Booker Prize. She lives in London with her son. The Suspicions of Mr Whicher or The Murder at Road Hill House, published by Bloomsbury in April 2008, has been awarded the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-fiction 2008.

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