Patrick Hamilton was one of the most gifted and admired writers of his generation. Born in Hassocks, Sussex, in 1904, he and his parents moved a short while later to Hove, where he spent his early years. He published his first novel, Craven House, in 1926 and within a few years had established a wide readership for himself. Despite personal setbacks and an increasing problem with drink, he was able to write some of his best work. His plays include the thrillers Rope (1929), on which Alfred Hitchcock's film of the same name was based, and Gas Light (1939), also successfully adapted for the screen (1939), and a historical drama, The Duke in Darkness (1943). Among his novels are The Midnight Bell (1929); The Siege of Pleasure (1932); The Plains of Cement (1934); a trilogy entitled Twenty Thousand Streets Under the Sky (1935); Hangover Square (1941); The Slaves of Solitude (1947); and The West Pier (1951), Mr Stimpson and Mr Gorse (1953) and Unknown Assailant (1955), which together comprise The Gorse Trilogy.J. B. Priestley described Patrick Hamilton as uniquely individual ... He is the novelist of innocence, appallingly vulnerable, and of malevolence, coming out of some mysterious darkness of evil.' Patrick Hamilton died in 1962.