Reviewed by TONY BAER:


JAMES CURTIS – The Gilt Kid. Jonathan Cape, UK, hardcover, 1936. Penguin Books, UK, paperback, 1947. London Books, UK, hardcover, 2007.

   Kennedy’s a burglar. A wide boy. A wise guy. And wide boys never work.

   He’s read just enough of Das Kapital to think surplus value is theft. So he’s just taking from the capitalists what doesn’t belong to them in the first place.

   He just got out of the clink and he’s ready for some action. He meets up with some of the boys he met in stir. They’ve got a job for him.

   So he does a job. Gets some coin. And promptly gets nicked again.

   Good, catchy slang. Sad sack tale. The prose is dazzling but the story’s ho hum.