Tony Strong was born in 1962 in Uganda, though his parents came back to the UK when he was six weeks old. He read English at Oxford under the playwright and poet Francis Warner and then went on to work as an advertising copywriter at Ogilvy and Mather, an agency which had already bred writers such as Salman Rushdie and Fay Weldon.
The title alone tells us that someone has died. We know that the girl who came before is going to exert an influence on the present-day protagonist; someone’s footsteps are going to be walked in once again. So how did the girl before come to her end?
Present day Jane is looking for a new start. Beginning to despair of ever finding somewhere affordable to live, Jane is more than willing to look over the incredibly picky rental agreement and answer its seemingly irrelevant and very personal questions. The idea of having less to look after is appealing, and Number 1 Folgate Street is one spectacular minimalist living space. Having met the dangerously appealing owner Edward Monkford as part of her interview process, Jane is more than convinced of his architectural talent. And of his personal appeal.
The cleverly designed home is governed by electronics. Everything from the shower to the lights are controlled by a home operation system that progressively adds to its knowledge banks about the occupant’s behaviour and patterns over time. Jane becomes aware that she is not the first to live in the house. Emma who came before in fact died whilst living in the house. Odd that this fact was never mentioned to Jane before she moved in.