A Bellman & Black: Ghost Story

Unabridged Audiobook

Written By: Diane Setterfield

Narrated By: Jack Davenport

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Date: November 2013

Duration: 9 hours 40 minutes


As a boy, William Bellman commits one small cruel act that appears to have unforeseen and terrible consequences. The killing of a rook with his catapult is soon forgotten amidst the riot of boyhood games. And by the time he is grown, with a wife and children of his own, he seems indeed to be a man blessed by fortune. Until tragedy strikes and the stranger in black comes, and William Bellman starts to wonder if all his happiness is about to be eclipsed. Desperate to save the one precious thing he has left, he enters into a bargain. A rather strange bargain, with an even stranger partner, to found a decidedly macabre business.

And Bellman & Black is born.

Praise for The Thirteenth Tale:

"A spellbinding story that grabs the reader from the opening page." --The Toronto Sun

"The story of Margaret Lea, the prim and proper antiquarian book dealer, is eerie and fascinating and should delight lovers of books old and new." --USA Today

"A first-rate mystery, suffused with the murk of the English moors.... Setterfield's spooky, gloom-infused work lovingly invokes both Jane Eyre and Rebecca, but the mystery is very much her own." --Entertainment Weekly, B+

"I loved The Thirteenth Tale! I raced through it and was up late each night to finish it. Very addictive." --Tracey Davies, publisher, The Bookseller

"I'm utterly distracted by this fascinating, original, creepy, brilliant, compulsive novel. I read it practically all night. It is so great to read something with a voice and tone all its own, and very well written too. I think it will be a big, big success." --Nicholas Coleridge, author of Godchildren and A Much Married Man

"I thought it was simply brilliant - I haven't enjoyed a first novel so much for absolutely ages." --Kate Mosse, author of Labyrinth

"This thoroughly absorbing and strangely other-worldly novel captivates the reader from the very first page." --Robert Goddard

"This first novel contains the three ingredients essential for a classic tale: a clear, powerful story, an original exploration of a passionate and unusual relationship (a fugue of siblings and twins) and a narrator whose steady and enterprising quest for the truth is increasingly engaging. It is a gothic tale (shades of Jane Eyre but full of surprises) told by a writer whose descriptive power and general command of language put her in the top drawer. Anyone picking up this novel will not be able to put it down. Pick it up." --Elizabeth Jane Howard

The Thirteenth Tale is a book that you wake in the middle of the night craving to get back to.... Once, only once, I finished a contemporary novel and started it over right away. That book was Arundhati Roy's The God of Small Things. The Thirteenth Tale is a book to savor dozens of times. Like a childhood favorite, it is timeless, charming, pure pleasure to read. It weaves reality and fantasy into a cozy colorful world where characters are both real and archetypal and the good life belongs to people who read. The Thirteenth Tale is a comfort book. A book to restore the spirit." --San Diego Union-Tribune

"Readers will be mesmerized by this story-within-a-story tinged with the eeriness of Rebecca and the willfulness of Jane Eyre. The author skillfully keeps the plot moving by unfurling a new twist in each chapter and leaves no strand untucked at the surprising and satisfying conclusion. A wholly original work told in the vein of all the best gothic classics. Lovers of books about book lovers will be enthralled." --Booklist

"Diane Setterfield's debut novel arrived already wreathed in acclaim, and it's easy to see why. The Thirteenth Tale is a cleverly plotted, beautifully written homage to the classic romantic mystery novel. Rebecca and The Woman in White spring to mind, but especially Jane Eyre: a book that Setterfield weaves into the substance of the plot, and whose Gothic elements are skilfully reimagined in a peculiar tale of madness, murder, incest and dark secrets.... It is a remarkable first novel, a book about the joy of books, a riveting multi-layered mystery that twists and turns, and weaves a quite magical spell for most of its length." --The Independent (London)

"Those who buy and read this complex, compelling and, in the end, deeply moving novel are unlikely to feel they've been shortchanged." --Philadelphia Inquirer

"It's not often that I would even dare to compare a book to Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, but The Thirteenth Tale is one that I will." --Sessalee Hensley, B&N Fiction Buyer

"Every once in a while, you happen across a book that reminds you of why you came to love reading in the first place. The pure thrill of words on paper, the headlong rush of story, the powerful feelings strong narratives can evoke -- every now and then, you find a book that brings back the freshness of all these, and also does that wholly magic thing: it makes time stop. Those books find us as children. They seem, for many reasons, to become rarer birds as we grow older. But here is one of them." --The Buffalo News

"An urgently readable novel...nearly impossible to put down." --Barnes and Noble

"This is a compelling and emotional mystery about family secrets and the magic of books and storytelling, and it captures you right from the very first page. Written in the style of Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca, Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre and Henry James' Turn of the Screw, this is a page turner in every sense of the word." --The Financial Times

"Setterfield proves a mistress of the craft of storytelling and her musings about the pleasures of reading are most beguiling." --The Guardian

"Setterfield's debut is enchanting Goth for the 21st century." --Kirkus Reviews

"Here's a novel brimming with atmosphere and labyrinthine plotting that recalls the gothic-like chillers by Daphne du Maurier and Joyce Carol Oates, spiced with flavors reminiscent of Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights by the Bronte sisters. The language is rich, the elements intriguing -- a secluded mansion populated by brooding characters, musty family secrets that must be unearthed and ghostly presences that appear to vanish." --The Sacramento Bee

"A novel for book lovers." --Reader's Digest

"The Thirteenth Tale is a book that you wake in the middle of the night craving to get back to. Like a childhood favorite, it is timeless, charming, pure pleasure to read. It weaves reality and fantasy into a cozy colorful world where characters are both real and archetypal and the good life belongs to people who read. The Thirteenth Tale is a comfort book. A book to restore the spirit." --Reader's Digest

"This will without a doubt be one of the best books published this year." --Daily American

"Readers will feel the magnetic pull of this paean to words, books and the magical power of story." --People

"Honestly, I haven't enjoyed reading a book this much in a long time. The story is fascinating; equally full of lurid secrets and heartfelt revelations and is told in a way that grabs you in. While reading it, I would find myself suddenly 50 pages later, yet I felt like no time had passed at all." --collegiatetimes.com

"Setterfield is remarkably gifted, and the book is a page turner. Readers should heed one warning: Prepare to be so captivated by the story that you cannot put it down. Not even for a cuppa tea." --The Roanoke Times

"The shared literary landscape that The Thirteenth Tale re-creates with lush precision takes us back to a time when reading could seem more compelling than life." --The Columbis Dispatch

"The Thirteenth Tale is enthralling, a tremendous feat of storytelling by a true believer." --Weekend Australian

"Atmospheric and gripping." --South-East Advertiser (Australia)


  • mary reynolds

    The thirteenth tale was awesome, gothic, a bit Victorian, but the story and the mystery kept me interested. None of this is true for this one, I kept waiting for the story to start. Halfway through it had not.