Gorse Trilogy

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The Gorse Trilogy is a series of three novels, the last published works of the author Patrick Hamilton.[1] The stories follow the anti-hero Ernest Ralph Gorse, whose heartlessness and lack of scruple are matched only by the inventiveness and panache with which he swindles his victims. He is thought to have been based on the real-life con-man and murderer Neville George Heath, executed in 1946.[citation needed]

Gorse insinuates himself into the lives of his victims with his good looks and easy confidence, and always with a good story. His victims are women, and he flatters his way into their affections until he is in a position to turn things to his advantage. Graham Greene called The West Pier "the best book written about Brighton",[2] while L.P. Hartley said, "The entertainment value of this brilliantly told story could hardly be higher."[citation needed]

An adaptation of Mr Stimpson and Mr Gorse was produced by ITV in 1987 (called The Charmer and starring Nigel Havers).[3]

Gorse also appears as a secondary villain in the novel Johnny Alucard by Kim Newman.

Further reading[edit]

  • Jones, Nigel (1991) Through a Glass Darkly: The Life of Patrick Hamilton, Scribners
  • French, Sean (1993) Patrick Hamilton: A Life, Faber and Faber
  • Hamilton, Patrick (2007) The Gorse Trilogy, Black Spring Press.


  1. ^ Taylor, D. J. (August 17, 1992), "BOOK REVIEW / Gin in the afternoon: 'The Gorse Trilogy' - Patrick Hamilton: Penguin, 7.99 pounds", The Independent, retrieved 2013-02-19. 
  2. ^ 'Welcome Back, Patrick Hamilton'
  3. ^ Stevens, A. (April 16, 2007), "Welcome back, Patrick Hamilton", The Guardian, retrieved 2013-02-19.