Brighton books


Books with Brighton settings
This list includes only novels and plays with a specific Brighton location. It does not include works that may be based on Brighton but are not clearly identified as such. Nor does it include works by authors living in Brighton but set elsewhere.
        In some of the fantasy novels Brighton is transformed (see, for example, Philip Reeve and John Hart) and may not be recognisable.
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One or more copies of this book are held in Brighton & Hove Libraries


•  William Harrison Ainsworth: Ovingdean Grange: A tale of the South Downs (1860) King Charles II escapes to France. Ainsworth lived at 5 Arundel Terrace, Kemp Town 1853-1867
•  Jane Austen: Pride and Prejudice (1813) Much talk about going to Brighton while the military camps are on the Downs ... ⫫
        Mansfield Park (1814) ... and in Brighton. ⊽
•  Nick Alexander: 50 Reasons to Say Goodbye (2004) ⫫
        Sottopassaggio (2005) ⫫
•  Val Andrews: Sherlock Holmes and the Brighton Pavilion Mystery (1989)
•  [Anonymous]: The Observant Pedestrian Mounte; or a Donkey Tour to Bright, a comic sentimental novel in three volumes (1815). Vol 1 , Vol 2 , Vol 3
•  [Anonymous]: Holidays at Brighton; or, Sea-side Amusements (1834).

•  Marion Babson: The Cat Who Wasn't a Dog (2003)
•  Emily Barr: Cuban Heels (aka Cuba, 2003) ⫫
        Plan B (2005) ⫫
•  K[aren] I H Barratt: The Whitest Woman on the Beach (2006) Self-published
•  Neil BartlettL The Disappearance Boy (2015).
•  Arnold Bennett: Hilda Lessways (1911). Second part of the Clayhanger trilogy. Hilda runs a boarding house in Preston Street. Bennett started writing Clayhanger while staying at the Royal Albion Hotel in 1910.
•  E F Benson: The Blotting Book (1908)
•  William Black: Prince Fortunatus (1890) Black lived at 1 Paston Place, Brighton from 1879 until his death in 1898
•  Caroline Blackwood: Great Granny Webster (1977) Set in Hove ⫫
•  Thomas Brown the elder: Brighton; or, The Steyne, A Satirical Novel in three volumes (1818) Vol 1 , Vol II , Vol III
•  Julie Burchill: Sugar Rush (2004) ⫫

•  Nick Cave: The Death of Bunny Munro (2009) ⫫
•  Glenn Chandler: Savage Tide (2003). Crime, Inspector Steve Madden mystery ⫫
        Dead Sight (2003). Crime, Inspector Steve Madden mystery ⫫
•  G K Chesterton: Orthodoxy (1908). An English explorer slightly miscalculates his course and plants the British flag on that barbaric temple, the Royal Pavilion 
•  Elizabeth and Deirdre Counihan & Liz Williams (eds): Fabulous Brighton (2000). Collection of short pieces ⫫

•  Charles Dickens: Dombey and Son (1846-48) Written while Dickens was staying at the Bedford Hotel ⊽ ⫫
•  Arthur Conan Doyle: Rodney Stone (1896) ⊽ ⫫ Filmed 1920
•  Sarah Dykins: Lessons from an Angel (2001) ⫫

•  Peggy Eaton: Brighton Belle (1994) ⫫

•  J[oseph] S[mith] Fletcher: The Great Brighton Mystery (1926) By a prolific crime writer

•  Katy Gardner: Mermaid's Purse (2003)
•  George Gissing: New Grub Street (1891) ⊽
•  Robert Goddard: Play to the End (2004) ⫫
•  Amanda Grange: Lord Deverill's Secret (2005) Regency romance
•  Graham Greene: Brighton Rock (1938) ⫫ Filmed 1947
        The End of the Affair (1951) ⫫ Filmed 1999
•  Peter Guttridge: Ghost of a Chance (1998) A Nick Madrid mystery

•  Patrick Hamilton: Hangover Square (1941) set in Earl's Court and Brighton ⫫
        Slaves of Solitude (1947) ⫫
        The West Pier (1952) First part of the Gorse trilogy ⫫
        Mr Stimpson and Mr Gorse (1953) Second part of the Gorse trilogy ⫫
        Unknown Assailant (1955) Third part of the Gorse trilogy ⫫
•  Pamela Hansford Johnson: The Last Resort (1956) US title: The Sea and the Wedding.
•  John Hart: Jizz (1992). Fantasy ⫫
•  Derek Heater: Murders in Brighton, Crisis in Britain (November 2008) Set in the Napoleonic era
•  James Herbert: Others (1999) ⫫
•  Georgette Heyer: Regency Buck (1935) Regency romance, which spawned a massive genre (see below) ⫫

•  Henry James: The Golden Bowl (1904) ⊽
•  Peter James: Dead Simple (2006) An Inspector Grace crime story (1) ⫫
        Looking Good Dead (2006) An Inspector Grace crime story (2) ⫫
        Not Dead Enough (2007) An Inspector Grace crime story (3) ⫫
        Dead Man's Footsteps (2008) An Inspector Grace crime story (4) ⫫
        Dead Like You (2010) An Inspector Grace crime story (5) ⫫
        The Perfect Murder (2010) An Inspector Grace crime story (Quick Reads) ⫫
        Dead Man's Grip (2011) An Inspector Grace crime story (6) ⫫
        Dead Tomorrow (2011) An Inspector Grace crime story (7) ⫫
        Not Dead Yet (2012) An Inspector Grace crime story (8) ⫫
        Dead Man's Time (2013) An Inspector Grace crime story (9) ⫫
        Want You Dead (2014) An Inspector Grace crime story (9) ⫫
        You Are Dead (2015) An Inspector Grace crime story (9) ⫫
        Love You Dead (2016) An Inspector Grace crime story (9) ⫫
        Need You Dead (2017) An Inspector Grace crime story (9) ⫫
        Dead If You Don't (2018) An Inspector Grace crime story (9) ⫫

•  Francis King: The Brighton Belle and other stories (1968)
•  Alanna Knight: The Stuart Sapphire: Murder in Regency Brighton (2005) Regency crime ⫫
•  Dorothy Koomson: The Ice Cream Girls (2010). Television adaptation aired in 2013. ⫫

•  Arthur La Bern: Brighton Belle (1963) 'The sensational novel of a vicious back street world of pimps, prostitutes and racketeers.' also described as 'Murder by a small-time gangster involves racecourse tipsters, the landlady of a pub, three blind St Dunstan's men and the Brighton police.' ⫫
•  Jonathan Lee: High Dive (2015) The Brighton bomb re-imagined. ⫫
•  Toby Litt: Beatniks (2004)
•  Peter Lovesey: Mad Hatter's Holiday (1973) Fourth Inspector Cribb mystery

•  Julian Maclaren-Ross: Of Love and Hunger (1947) ⫫
•  Des Marshall: Journal of an Urban Robinson Crusoe: London and Brighton (2002) ⫫
•  Edward Marston: Murder on the Brighton Express (2008) An Inspector Robert Colbeck mystery ⫫
•  Sadie Mills: Virtually Perfect (2013)
•  H[enrietta] M[aria] Moriarty: Brighton in an Uproar; comprising anecdotes of Sir Timothy Flight, Mr Abrahams, Solomons, alias Modish and family, &c, &c, &c, A Novel, Founded on Facts (1811) Vol I , Vol II
•  D L Murray: Regency (aka Regency Quartet. ,1936). Four generations of life in Brighton from Regency times to the inter-war years.

•  Simon Nolan: As Good as It Gets (1998) ⫫
        The Vending Machine of Justice (2001) ⫫
        Whitehawk (2010) ⫫

•  E E Ohlson: Pippa at Brighton. Illustrated by A McWhor. London: Thomas Nelson, nd [1947].
•  Baroness Emmuska Orczy: 'An Unparalleled Outrage' (originally called 'The Brighton Mystery' when published in The Royal Magazine) in The Old Man in the Corner (1909) ⊽. Filmed 1924.

•  Ann Quin: Berg (1964)

•  John Ramster: Ladies Man (1999)
•  Robert Rankin: The Brightonomicon (2005) Fantasy ⫫
•  Sarah Rayner: One Moment, One Morning (2010) ⫫
        The Two Week Wait (2012) ⫫
        Another Night, Another Day (2014)
•  Philip Reeve: Infernal Devices (2005) Brighton is afloat in the Atlantic, running a slave trade ⫫
•  Bethan Roberts: My Policeman (2012) ⫫

•  George Augustus Sala: The Mysteries of Verbena House (1888). Flagellation in a Brighton girls' school—superior Victorian pornorgraphy.
•  Nigel Scott: Criminal Capers (2002).
•  Andy Secombe: Limbo (2003) Fantasy.
        Limbo II: The Final Chapter (2004) Fantasy
•  Will Self: My Idea of Fun (1993) ⫫
•  Sara Sheridan: Brighton Belle (2012). A Mirabelle Bevan mystery. ⫫
•  Nancy Spain: Poison for Teacher (1949).
•  Jim Stewart: Brighton Front (2013).
•  L A G Strong: Mr Sheridan's Umbrella (1949).

•  William Makepeace Thackeray: Vanity Fair (1847-48) Partly written at the Old Ship Hotel. ⊽ ⫫
        The Newcomes (1853-55) Source of the term 'Doctor Brighton'. ⊽ ⫫
•  Mark Tournoff: A Nightmare in Paradise (2003) ⫫
•  Elleston Trevor: The Pillars of Midnight (1957). Based on the 1950/51 smallpox outbreak in Brighton.

•  Various: The Brighton Book (2005) ⫫

•  Keith Waterhouse: Palace Pier (2003) ⫫
•  Fred[erick] M[errick] White: The Green Bungalow (1923). ⊽

•  Helen Zahavi: Dirty Weekend (1991). Filmed by Michael Winner with the tagline 'Bella has decided to take out a few men' ⫫

There are a lot (really, a lot!) of romantic novels set wholly or partly in Brighton during the Regency, including the following, some by authors who manage to write four or five books a year.

•  Susan Carroll: Brighton Road (1988)
•  Cleo Chadwick: Midsummer Night's Kiss (1991)
•  Marion Chesney: Beatrice Goes to Brighton (1992)
•  Deborah Chester: A Love so Wild (1980)
•  Marilyn Clay: Brighton Beauty (1996)
•  Rachelle Edwards: Brighton Beau (1994)
•  Georgina Grey: The Belle of Brighton (1981)
•  Sandra Heath: Lady Jane's Ribbons (1987)
•  Valerie King: A Brighton Flirtation (2000)
•  Martha Kirkland: Three for Brighton (1998)
•  Emma Lange: Brighton Intrigue (1989)
•  Alice Chetwynd Ley: A Season at Brighton (1971) ⫫
•  Elizabeth Lyle: Claire (1983)
•  Maggie MacKeever: Cupid's Dart (2003)
•  Kasey Michaels: The Chaotic Miss Crispino (1991)
•  Petra Nash: Brighton Masquerade (1991) ⫫
•  Dawn Aldridge Poore: The Brighton Burglar (Miss Sydney Regency Mystery) (1993)
•  Sheri Cobb South: Brighton Honeymoon (2000)


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•  Richard Bean: One Man, Two Guvnors (2011). Set in Brighton in 1963. Based on The Servant of Two Masters by Carlo Goldoni (1743), with songs by Grant Olding.
•  Samuel Beazley: The Boarding House; or, Five Hours at Brighton. A musical farce in two acts (1811).  (See Quotations.)
•  Steven Berkoff: Brighton Beach Scumbags (1994). Youth corrupted by 'rotten sub-culture, cheap tabloids'.
•  Noel Coward: Conversation Piece (1934). Presented At His Majesty's Theatre by C B Cochran. Reviewed in The Stage 1934-02-22: 10b.
•  Andrew Emm (aka Andrew Melville): The Streets of Brighton (1928). Presented at the Grand Theatre, North Road, opening 19 November 1928. Reviewed in The Stage 1928-11-22: 19b.
•  Peter James: The Perfect Murder (2013). Based on the Inspector Roy Grace book (see above).
•  Clare McIntyre: My Heart's a Suitcase (1990). Won McIntyre the London Critics Circle Theatre Award for Most Promising Playwright.
•  John O'Keeffe: The Irish Mimic; or Blunders at Brighton: A musical entertainment in two acts, as performed at the Theatre-Royal, Covent-Garden (1795). ⊽
•  Roland Pertwee: Pink String and Sealing Wax (1945). Filmed in 1946. ⫫
•  Frederick Pilon: The Invasion; or, A Trip to Brighthelmstone. A farce of two acts, as it is performed, with universal applause, at the Theatre Royal, in Covent-Garden. 1778. British Library reprint 2010.
•  Simon Stephens: Marine Parade (2010). Premiered in the Brighton Festival 2010.

FILMS has a comprehensive list of all films made in the city, including film versions of some of the above books. It also has details of Cinema-by-Sea, the comprehensive history of films and cinemas in Brighton, Hove, Shoreham and Southwick.

The original version of this page, since expanded, was first published on The Deckchair website, now incorporated in the QueenSpark website.

Page updated 2 9 January 2018