Misanthropic film buff Eric Edgeworth is interrupted one evening by a phone call purporting to be from a radio gameshow; would he be the ‘expert friend’ of the current contestant, Mary Barton, a work colleague he barely knows. Edgeworth is convinced this a hoax being staged by some of his fellow-staff at the Frugoplex cinema; but, as the calls continue and Mary is absent from work, it becomes apparent that something more sinister is happening. This is a typically well-constructed story from Campbell, with a satisfying pay-off and a portrait of the crabby Edgeworth that’s grimly amusing. But there’s a sense of artificiality about the piece – perhaps from the fake brand names used, perhaps from those moments when the characterisation becomes a little too broad-brush – which stops it from being truly creepy.

Rating: ***

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