London in the thirties. Soho. A sleazy maze of noisy smoke-filled bars, oily red plush cinemas and quirky tea houses. This is the world of Patrick Hamilton's trilogy: The Midnight Bell, The Siege of Pleasure and The Plains of Cement. The books were written by Hamilton in his middle and late twenties and were published separately, each being self-contained. In 1935 they were collected and published under the title Twenty Thousand Streets Under the Sky.
Set against this dour backdrop of Soho between the wars, Hamilton interweaves his characters in its shadowy streets. Bob, the waiter with dreams of being an author, Jenny, the shallow prostitute, and Ella, the hapless barmaid: each is treated separately in the three stories but all appear throughout the trilogy