The Midnight Bell, a pub on the Euston Road, is the pulse of this brilliant and compassionate trilogy. It is here where the barman, Bob, falls in love with Jenny, a West End prostitute who comes in off the streets for a gin and pep. Around his obsessions, and Ella the barmaid's secret love for him, swirls the sleazy life of London in the 1930s. This is a world where people emerge from cheap lodgings in Pimlico to pour out their passions, hopes and despair in pubs and bars - a world of twenty thousand streets full of cruelty and kindness, comedy and pathos, wasted dreams and lost desires.
Born in Hassocks, Sussex in 1904, Patrick Hamilton was the youngest of three children. His parents, Ellen and Bernard Hamilton were published authors. At the age of seventeen he began to work as an actor and assistant stage manager for Andrew Melville. He then changed his career and worked as a stenographer. He published his first novel Craven House in 1926 and within a few years established a wide readership for himself. His first theatrical success was Rope (1929) on which Alfred Hitchcock's film of the same name was based. Many novels followed, including Hangover Square, his trilogy of novels Twenty Thousand Streets Under the Sky and Slaves of Solitude, as well as radio dramas and plays, several of which were filmed, including Gaslight, starring Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer. A celebrated 'bright young' novelist of the Twenties and Thirties, Hamilton was in tune with the times. He died on 23 September, 1962