Another Greene classic, I'd always for some reason thought this tale of murder in the Brighton underworld was set in the '50s, when in fact it's the '30s. So gangland killings and a knife culture is not all that new.
The writing's very... compact. It has wonderful pacing and a certain feeling of minimalism. Just as Our Man in Havana captured the Cuban atmosphere, this has great tension. What starts off as a very strange detective story (a happy-go-lucky alcoholic chasing down a violent but strangely naive hoodlum) turns into something much more - something somehow about Catholicism and innocence. And as for the ending... wow.