In Harriet Lane’s debut novel Alys, Always, the reader is introduced to the narrator Frances Thorpe—a thirty something copy editor for a failing London magazine who stumbles on a car accident one night when returning home from visiting her parents. Frances’s actions in the beginning of the novel mimic those of an innocent do-gooder—a person who stops at the sight of an accident, and discovers a victim hidden by the darkness, buried beneath the crushed metal of her vehicle. Frances attempts to comfort the victim, who later introduces herself as Alys, while waiting on the ambulance to arrive. Frances is unaware of Alys’s injuries, and sits with her during her final moments of life—unable to do anything to save her. After Alys dies, Frances returns to her home, haunted by the woman’s death. Once home she takes stock of her surroundings and comments, “You’re not so badly off, are you?” convincing herself that her basic needs have been fulfilled.