It was worse than he had feared. Coming out of the station he saw that the supermarket was closing: a man in a suit was locking the main door. There could be no chance of seeing her today. In a state of utter desolation he plodded the length of the poster-covered windows. He even tried to peer in through the glass doors to see if any of the staff might be working late. A spotty youth, stocking the shelves, gawped at him. Shamed, he trudged on towards home.This is the last in the series of six crime novels about Inspector John Bright by Maureen O'Brien (who played Doctor Who companion Vicki more than fifty years ago). I was tremendously impressed by the fifth in the series, Unauthorised Departure, and if anything even more impressed by Every Step You Take in which the suburban setting of South Norwood is transformed into a psychological landscape of terror, obsession, confused identity and unspeakable thoughts. John Bright, on extended leave after the events of the previous book, gets sucked into the vortex as a schoolfriend of one of the damaged people at the heart of the narrative. It becomes obvious to us readers what actually happened pretty early on, and the narrative is then about how Bright and others work their way through the fog of contradictions to the truth. I found it both difficult to read and difficult to put down, if you see what I mean. I shall certainly look out for the rest of the series.
This was the non-genre fiction book that had been lingering longest on my unread shelves, since I bought it in 2010. Next on that list is Children Are Civilians Too, by Heinrich Böll.