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The Charmer Paperback – 27 Apr 1989

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd (27 April 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140120432
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140120431
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 2.5 x 12.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,224,888 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Ralph Gorse appears to be a charmer in every way--he is handsome, suave, and full of style--but his true nature is that of a con man and sexual adventurer, and no one is safe from his machinations.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By essex on 15 Dec 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the first book by Patrick Hamilton that I have read. It won't be the last. He has a wonderful way of describing his characters by not holding back about their human flaws. Highly recommended.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 8 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Before "The Talented Mr. Ripley" there was... 21 Oct 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Ernest Ralph Gorse - you can call him "Rafe" or "Ralph", is the best way to discover how easy it is sympathize with the criminal kind. Hamilton is wonderful at sending up those-who-should-be-sent-up. Originally titled 'Mr. Stimpson and Mr. Gorse", this is part of 'The Gorse Trilogy" chronicalling the rise, rise and fall of E.R.G. Available in England only as a trilogy. Please, please insist upon re-publication of it in this country
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Charmed, I'm Sure 27 Mar 2002
By Espoo Famagusta - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
If you're looking for a tightly written, disciplined thriller,
a la Dorothy Sayers, this is not the book for you. However, if you like pitchperfect satirical writing on a par with Kingsley Amis, "the Charmer" will leave you as sweetly satisfied as a strychnine petit four.
Hamilton is an oddly overlooked novelist. His plays "Rope" and "Gaslight" (from "Angel Street") garnered him welldeserved attention, but his novels are brilliant, and I don't understand why they're out of print. "The Charmer" is a portait of four suburban British self-deluded "normal" people, each playing out his or her own fantasy of who he/she fancies himself, while the author gives us an unsparing, brilliantly misanthropic portrait of who each actually is. -Doesn't sound thrilling, but this novel is funny, hard to put down, and ultimately profoundly sad.
It was made into a PBS Masterpiece Theatre series a decade or so ago, with Nigel Havers as the eponymous Charmer.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Pure enjoyment 19 Mar 1997
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
In a provincial English village, a dashing young stranger comes to town, triggering a series of shattering and tragic events. Despite characters that seem to be heading toward disaster, the author¹s insights into their lives is hilarious. This is one of the funniest books I¹ve ever read. Hamilton¹s rapier-like wit is an absolute delight
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Great writing style makes "The Charmer" charming 5 Aug 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Fans of sharp, dry wit will love this book. The unfolding of the plot is entertaining, and the stellar writing makes it even better. This is one of the best books I have ever read. Check out the Masterpiece Theater presentation of the book as well.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
When how much of the conversation has been overheard is unknown 9 Jun 2010
By Mary E. Sibley - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Mrs. Plumleigh-Bruce is a colonel's widow and a product of the Anglo-Indian set. Her vanity is insatiable. Ralph Gorse is the son of a commercial artist He loves trickery, a mixture of Bertie Wooster and Satan.

The writer is funny. For example, the pub, The Friar, has been 'ye-olded' recently. The house of Mrs. Plumleigh-Bruce is filled with brass objects. At one point Hamilton refers to it as the brasserie. It is situated in a neighborhood of garden gnomes.

Donald Stimpson is an estate agent and a friend of Joan Plumleigh-Bruce. He is a plodder and does not see Gorse as a rival. The author demonstrates that Gorse has method. He goes for the long shot. He investigates the social and financial circumstances of acquaintances by listening carefully. All of this is unpleasant and striking in the manner of Shirley Jackson.

The book has been used as the basis of a mini-series.
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