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The West Pier [Hardcover]

Patrick Hamilton
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 260 pages
  • Publisher: Viking (28 Feb 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670800430
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670800438
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,479,836 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

According to Graham Greene, "the best novel ever written about Brighton", and he should know.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A vintage slice of Brighton. 24 Mar 2005
By S. Hapgood VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Graham Greene rather modestly referred to this as the greatest novel ever written about Brighton. Heady praise indeed, considering he wrote "Brighton Rock"! I wouldn't like to argue who should be the victor between him and Patrick Hamilton, all I can say is that this is a very fine read indeed. It is the first of the Gorse Trilogy, about professional conman, and all-round thoroughly unscrupulous piece of work, Ernest Ralph Gorse. It starts off with a brief look at Gorse's schooldays, and shows how some of his dodgy tricks were manifesting even then. We then move forward a few years to Brighton in the 1920s. Gorse and two old schoolchums, Ryan and Bell, take to hanging out on the West Pier in Brighton, in the hope of picking up girls. They meet the pretty Esther Downes. Ryan is completely smitten, but Gorse seems to see her simply as somebody to hone his lethal charms on. When he finds out that Esther has a small nest-egg tucked away at home, he's given an even bigger incentive to get to know her! He starts taking her for cocktails at the Metropole Hotel, and amazing her with a flashy new car. Poor old good-natured Ryan doesn't stand a chance, particularly when Gorse starts up an evil poison pen letter campaign against him.
The inevitable happens. Gorse manages, with tremendous cunning, to fleece Esther of every penny she's got, and then leaves her stranded at a hotel near Shoreham. He absconds to London with his ill-gotten gains. Esther may have been annoyingly dim-witted and naive about Gorse's true motives all through the book, but you genuinely feel sorry for her when she fianlly realises he's made off with everything she's got in the world. There is nothing of the loveable rogue about Gorse. He has no redeeming features at all.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
4.0 out of 5 stars Neat English Novel Set in Brighton,England, 1920s 29 Mar 2014
By Stephen M. Ruff - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
"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.
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