People may recognise some of the locations used in One Step Too Far, especially North Londoners. You may want to wait to read about them after you’ve finished the book, although I have tried to avoid spoilers:
Parkland Walk (where Cat goes for a walk)
A disused railway line that runs between Highgate and Finsbury Park, a stunning 3 mile walk that, save the odd bridge over or under a road and a daub of grafitti, could be right in the middle of the country. Look out for the “sprite” that Cat sees – it is actually a Spriggan – created by sculptor Marilyn Collins, immortalised by Stephen King – situated high up on some old railway arches at Crouch End (you have to know it’s there to spot it, the implication being that Cat must feel its presence). Spriggans were said to be grotesquely ugly and were either fairy bodyguards, or conversely thieves. Though usually small, they had the ability to swell to enormous size, causing trouble to anyone who offended them and sometimes stealing away mortal children.
Here’s my dog Fred on the Parkland Walk in January 2013.
Kenwood House (where Cat is recognised)
A magnificent Georgian mansion on Hampstead Heath that is owned by English Heritage and has just had an extensive refurbishment. The best thing is that entry is FREE and the interiors are stunning, with lots of child-friendly activities. Picnic concerts are held overlooking the lake every summer.
Groucho Club (where Cat goes on 6th May)
A private members’ club loved by the ad industry on Dean Street, where I used to spend a lot of my time in my advertising days – these days I no longer know anyone who’s a member!
Manchester Fish Market (where Ben calls Emily)
Near where Ben works in the Co-op building is a maze of scrappy desolate streets where he walks aimlessly after leaving the sandwich shop. He stops outside the Wholesale Fish Market, under a sculptured panel by Henry Bonehill, of a mother with her young son and baby boy. You can approach it via Thomas Street, or from High Street. The market is now disused and the building is a facade – Ben is standing in front of nothing more than an empty shell when he makes the call.