If you were to cross L P Hartley’s The Go-Between with Harold Pinter’s script for Joseph Losey’s film Accident and add some mockery of the excesses of the Notting Hill/Chipping Norton set, you might come up with something like the plot of Elizabeth Day’s latest novel.
Her first-person narrative is split between Martin Gilmour and his ‘pliant, adoring little wife’, Lucy. His contempt for her is obvious from the start. They met at the newspaper where he was a journalist and she a secretary. She was impressed by his impeccable clothes, pristine fingernails and air of not caring what anyone else might think of him. This was misleading. He cared a great deal about what his best friend, Ben, thought. As the well-structured flashbacks continue, we learn why.
The two met at prep school. A fatherless scholarship pupil from an unhappy and impoverished suburban background, Martin was being bullied when Ben swanned in to rescue him. Their friendship continued through university and on into adult life. Ben’s rich family embraced Martin and he did everything he could to