Mini Book Review: ‘My Policeman’ by Bethan Roberts

I have taken a rare detour away from crime fiction with this book, which was given the big screen treatment. My Policeman by Bethan Roberts is set in 1950s Brighton. Even in this bohemian town, the grey conformity of the era pervades and seeps into every crevice.

The story is told by Marion, a young schoolteacher, and Patrick, a middle-aged museum curator. They reluctantly share a lover, Tom, the eponymous policeman. This arrangement, riddled as it is with jealousy, deception, and danger, eventually leads to betrayal.

The interesting thing about this trio is that they are ahead of their time, but still very much of it. With its themes of regret and atonement, this book is big on pathos. The period detail is light but the social mores are vividly painted. Marion, with her aspirations to be a domestic goddess while pursuing a career, is particularly engaging as a woman who tries to “have it all” some thirty years early.