Not long ago Patrick Hamilton was practically forgotten. In his introduction to the 1974 edition of Hangover Square, J B Priestley remarked, ‘there must be a whole generation of readers who know nothing about him and his fiction’. By the start of the current century Hamilton, who enjoyed international success from the mid-1920s until his death in 1962, was finally sharing the indignity borne by other former luminaries such as Henry Green and Elizabeth Taylor. Alongside his out-of-print colleagues he huddled, cold and yellowing, on the shelves of second-hand bookshops.
Fortunately, at this low point his rehabilitation began. The redesigned 2001 edition of Hangover Square brought him back to our attention, as did the 2004 reissue of his early trilogy, Twenty Thousand Streets Under the Sky, which was serialised by BBC2 last year, at around the same time that a