But there is also a dark edge to Story's fiction, as seen not only in One Last Mad Embrace, but going back to The Trouble With Harry. Always anti-authoritarian, Story moves from portraying the police as bumbling idiots, PC Plods, less malicious than incompetent. According to Moorcock, this changes in the late 1960s due to a personal encounter with the authorities. Story's world is also filled with malign and sometimes inexplicable forces engendered by the state, or those who side with the state in letter or spirit of the state, or the corrupt.
Like much of his other work, One Last Made Embrace starts as an absurdist comedy, but gradually drifts into surreal farce. Along the way we meet a cast of characters some of whom have populated previous Fenton novels. Set in the early 1970s, Fenton, thrice married, drives a white Capri, occupies a Hampstead flat with four nurses and is involved Ariadne, the foul-mouthed daughter of a fading star, who might be 12, 14 or 17, and who might even be someone else altogether, depending on which way the narrative is moving at any particular moment. The story involves a search for £5m, a back-from-the-dead film producer, the staging of a new BBC drama series about an unmarried mother, anonymous postcards and phone-calls, wronged husbands out for revenge, a vigilante student group, a crucifixion, a threesome, an abortion, a car chase to Scotland, a dead sheep, a novel written on a toilet roll by a lunatic, and a clairvoyant landlady who sleeps on a coffin. One Last Mad Embrace is just the most recent Story novel to be republished. Hopefully others will follow. Certainly, Story has gone unread, or read by only a dedicated few, for too long. And if you can find them, all his books, the Argyle novels- Live Now, Pay Later, Something for Nothing and The Urban District Lover)- as well as the Horace Spurgeon Fenton books- One Last Made Embrace, but I Sit in Hanger Lane and Hitler Needs You- are all worth checking out.