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Ernest Ralph Gorse's heartlessness and lack of scruple are matched only by the inventiveness and panache with which he swindles his victims. With great deftness and precision Hamilton exposes how his dupes' own naivete, snobbery or greed make them perfect targets. These three novels are shot through with the brooding menace and sense of bleak inevitability so characteristic of the author. There is also vivid satire and caustic humour. Gorse is thought to be based on the real-life murderer Neville Heath, hanged in 1946.
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Patrick Hamilton was one of the most gifted and admired writers of his generation. His plays include Rope (1929), on which the Hitchcock thriller was based, and Gas Light (1939). Among his novels are The Midnight Bell, The Siege of Pleasure, The Plains of Cement, Twenty-thousand Streets Under the Sky, Hangover Square, The Slaves of Solitude and The West Pier. He died in 1962.The Sunday Telegraph said: 'His finest work can easily stand comparison with the best of this more celebrated contempories George Orwell and Graham Greene.'
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