"The West Pier," the first book of the Gorse trilogy,is a neat,well written book that serves as a fitting introduction to Ernest Ralph Gorse,English confidence man and swindler,the central character of the trilogy.
The book starts out introducing the reader to the schoolboy Gorse,already given to pulling sneaky pranks on his classmates,and moves on to 1920s Brighton,England,where Gorse,as a young man,and 2 of his pals cruise the West Pier,in Brighton,looking for females,and, in Gorse's case,money. Gorse meets up with a beautiful working girl,who confides in him that she's some money salted away. Gorse then turns his full attention to the business of obtaining her money(all of it),using any means possible(lying about his background,using a fancy hotel for drinks,using a car that is not his,all to impress his victim,with the only real objective money,not love or romance).
I found the book informative,given the author's discussion of the various English classes,as he does in his "Mr. Stimpson and Mr Gorse." He conveys a good sense of 1920s Brighton that I would guess true,having been to Brighton myself. The plot is well thought out,moves quickly,and kept my interest.
The quality of the writing is superior to the second of the Gorse trilogies,"Mr Stimpson and Mr Gorse,"in that the author does not treat us to the occasional tedium that afflicts that book. ((See my review of that book). Although the victim in
"The West Pier" is not well off as the victim in "Mr. Stimpson and Mr Gorse" was, the plot is just as effective,and the ending similar.