Jack Trevor Story

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Jack Trevor Story (30 March 1917 - 5 December 1991) was a British novelist, publishing prolifically from the 1940s to the 1970s. His best-known work is the story for Alfred Hitchcock's comedy The Trouble With Harry, the Albert Argyle trilogy (Live Now, Pay Later, Something for Nothing and The Urban District Lover), and his Horace Spurgeon novels (I Sit in Hanger Lane, One Last Mad Embrace, Hitler Needs You).

Early life[edit]

Story was born in Hertford in 1917, the son of a baker's roundsman and a domestic servant. During the First World War his father was killed, after which his mother moved to Cambridge and worked in one of the colleges. As a young boy, Story worked as a butcher's lad making local deliveries. He stated that his early education was derived from The Modern Boy, Melody Maker and Action publications.


Later, as a writer, it was stated that he regularly wrote 4,000 words a day and took only two or three weeks to finish a novel; he even wrote one in just 10 days. Often he was seen with many glamorous women, which amazed his many friends and acquaintances, and for which he gained a reputation.

His domestic life was chaotic, owing to his serial infidelity and bankruptcy; this often provided the inspiration for his work. He was from a working-class background and was essentially self-taught as a writer, basing his approach on that of his idol William Saroyan. He first achieved success as a genre writer, with the Pinetop Jones Western stories (writing as Bret Harding); he later contributed to the Sexton Blake detective series. His writing is unpretentious and effective, although it often assumes the reader's sympathies lie with the protagonist even when behaving poorly. Politically he was determinedly anti-establishment.

Later life[edit]

When he was penniless in the 1970s he moved to the then new town of Milton Keynes, where he was given a flat about the Museum of Rural Life. He meant to stay only one year, but remained there for the rest of his life.

Story was married three times, was divorced once and had eight children. Two of his wives predeceased him.

Although his works never reached a wide audience, he was respected by many in the media. He wrote a weekly column for The Guardian in the 1970s, and appeared on TV in the series Jack on the Box in 1979. He wrote several screenplays, including the TV play Mix Me a Person, and the film version of Live Now - Pay Later. His final broadcast was an audio diary, Jack's Last Tape.

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