Platform Seven, Louise Doughty’s ninth novel, begins with the suicide of a man who throws himself under a train at 4am at Peterborough Station. He is observed by the narrator — the ghost of a woman called Lisa Evans, who died in similar circumstances 18 months before.
Those of us who baulk at being told a story by a ghost can be reassured that Doughty fully inhabits the character of this insecure thirtysomething teacher. The mystery over Lisa’s death is the engine that powers the plot.
Though Lisa is not a particularly remarkable person, she is credible and her plight moving. Doughty depicts her emotionally abusive relationship with her toxic boyfriend with skill and empathy. She evokes a textbook case of “gaslighting”, without ever using the buzzword (which refers to the way women are made to doubt their sanity by manipulative partners).