This is a first-person, mock-confessional novel, the autobiography of Charlie Fairburn, a successful screenwriter who is given a few months to live by his doctors. He decides that he must write something worth while, a novel that will be his legacy to the world. Leaving his daughter and ex-wife behind, he sells his house and takes the money to Monte Carlo, where he tries to gamble away millions of francs in the odd moments when he is not working on his literary masterpiece – which is set on a train, and is to be called On the Train.
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The novelist Angela Thirkell is due a revival, says Patricia T O'Conner (£).