I was encouraged to read today's Forgotten Book by an interesting post in that excellent blog Beneath the Stains of Time. Follow, as the Night..., also known as Your Loving Victim (a title that verges on a spoiler) was published by Patricia McGerr in 1951. Three years later, it was made into a film in France, the English title being One Step to Eternity. Sadly, there does not seem to be any DVD version on the market. If I could find a copy, I'd certainly want to watch it.
I say 'sadly' because this is a story that I found very enjoyable. As with McGerr's earlier books, notably Pick Your Victim, this is a "whowasdunin" type of story. At the outset, someone plunges from a balcony to their death. We then learn that a newspaper columnist, Larry Rock, invited the four women in his life to a party, intending to kill one of them. But which person did he have in mind to kill?
The story is essentially told in flashback, as we see how Larry met and then messed about his first wife, his second, his mistress and the girl he now plans to marry. Why would he wish to kill any one of them in particular? We soon see that Larry is a very nasty piece of work indeed, while some of the women aren't much better, though one of them is decent and likeable.
Very early on in this book, I asked myself how I would have tackled such a story if I'd had the same scenario idea as McGerr. I came up with an idea for a plot twist, and then set about trying to figure out an appropriate murder motive. By using this method, I did manage to anticipate what was going to happen, but it didn't spoil my enjoyment in any way. This is a short, snappy novel and it kept me entertained. No question in my mind, McGerr was a talented and inventive writer.