To Ms. Steiner, vision problems were, in some ways, a blessing as well as a curse.
“My sight loss,” she wrote in The Independent, “which has begun to limit me only in the past five years, has accompanied an increase in my creative output as a novelist. The two seem intertwined, as if the less I can see of the world, the more I can focus inwardly.”
She published the next installment of the Manon Bradshaw series, “Persons Unknown,” in 2017, followed by the third, “Remain Silent,” in 2020.
Freed by her condition from the obligation to commute daily to an office, she wrote, “I stay home. I sit in the attic. I look inside myself and write what I find. This has brought me great satisfaction and happiness.”
Her equanimity in the face of tragedy was tested in 2019, when doctors discovered a nine-centimeter tumor in her brain. She had surgery, but was told that her condition — glioblastoma, grade 4 — was incurable, Mr. Happold said, and that the average life expectancy was 18 months.
At the time, Ms. Steiner had just finished writing “Remain Silent,” a novel with a cancer-related story line.
“I wish I could go back now and put in the specificity,” she wrote in a 2020 Guardian essay. “So much of the experience of cancer is the waiting rooms, the hard chairs, the inequality between patients and medical staff — you feel so vulnerable in your elasticated slacks with your terrible hair, while they march about, passes swinging, blow-dried and in their normal world clothes. Waiting for them, terrified, in the Room of Bad News.”