“The Red Line” by Charlie Higson follows a traditional plot structure. The short story is divided into chapters, each indicated by a subtitle that represents the name of a London Underground station on the Northern line: “Oval” (p. 62); “Embankment” (p. 63), etc. The sections initially seem unrelated to each other, as they present the different characters and give some information about them. However, in the chapter “Goodge Street” (l. 67), we notice that the characters are all travelling in the same Underground carriage.
The characters include the unnamed killer, Berto, and Denise. Cathy, her boyfriend, and a man who is reading in the Tube carriage, also play a role in the story. Other passengers, as well as Denise’s boyfriend Neil, are also briefly mentioned.
The main events take place in London, on an Underground carriage, but several other places in London are also mentioned in the story. The social setting explores aspects related to life and culture in London, being a foreigner, and relationships and gender issues.
The events are described by a narrator who switches between the characters' points of view. Through this mixed perspective, readers understand how alienated the characters are from society and from each other.
The story is told using plenty of descriptive language. The language used by the narrator is simple; the story lacks dialogue, and the characters’ thoughts are mixed with the narrator’s, which conveys the sense that we are looking at the events through the characters’ eyes.
You can read the full analysis in the following pages.