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Sunday, December 20, 2009

What i've been reading.

Woke to find it had snowed again overnight. I do feel a bit of a wimp moaning about it when poor OC gets inches and inches of it for months on end!

My trip to London meant that I didn't need to leave so early, as a consequence I saw saw some repeats of a TV series madde in 1987 called The Charmer starring Nigel Havers.

For those of you who don't know the series is set in the 1930's, Havers plays Ralph Gorse a young conman who sets out to seduce widow Joan Plumleigh-Bruce of her money. Gorse enters her bed and takes her money and then runs off. Her would be beau, Donald Stimson, swears revenge and sets out to track Gorse down and see justiced. It's a good watch.

I noticed that the series was based on a book called Mr Stimson and Mr Gorse by Patrick Hamilton. I've never heard of Hamilton (he wrote a play called the Rope on which the Hitchcock film is based) but I noticed that the novel was the middle of a trilogy and I was intrigued as that would indicate the book was very different to the series. As i was ordering some stuff of Amazon and I could get the trilogy for under £7 I ordered it.

The trilogy gets decent reviews on Amazon even if at the time reviews were mixed. The first book The West pier sees Gorse just having left school, he is a nasty amoral piece of work and we see him charming pretty working class Esther and then running off with her life savings.

I hopped straight on to Mr Stimson and Mr Gorse. The TV programme is quite different to the book, the book is set in 1928 for a start and only the first episode or two bear much similarity to the book and even this is strange.

Yes Gorse sets out to "seduce" the older Mrs Plumleigh-Bruce but in the TV programme it is a sexual seduction in the book it is not - perhaps a reflection on the TV seriees being 1980's and the book 1950's? None of the characters are very nice (and I felt no sympathy for Plumleigh-Bruce as she was left short of £500) but Hamilton is a good enough writer that this isn't that important. A good editor would have cut 10-20 pages which is irrelevant but this is still a nice examination of the middle class in the 1920's.

Both these books are short approx 250 pages and I enjoyed both. The third is a novella and supposedly inferior stuff but I'll still read it.

This was a totally different type of book to what I normally read and I'll definitely check out his earlier stuff.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

"The Gorse Trilogy" doesn't seem readily available here. It sounds a bit like the Patricia Highsmith Mr. Ripley books so I'll try to find it. You might be interested in a nice little series by Colin Cotterill: The Coroner's Lunch is the first one. The detective is the coroner of Laos who is often wryly humerous.

Turquis

Pete said...

i guess there is a similarity the Gorse Trilogy is terribly "British" though.

you can get it through some Amazon.com sellers. although some of his other stuff is available from amazon itself

I've only read the Talented Mr Ri[ey
which reminds me......