It Always Rains On Sunday by Arthur La Bern
Set over a single day in 1939, It Always Rains On Sunday captures the East End of London shortly before the start of the Second World War. The book is centred around the residents of Coronet Grove, its focus the Sandigate family. People go about their lives, heading to the local church and pub, while those looking for excitement are drawn to the bright lights of Whitechapel. Rose – a former barmaid in The Two Compasses – is married to George Sandigate, twenty years her senior, the thrill of her time with villain Tommy Swann firmly in the past. Church bells ring as small-time crooks plot in the pub, a newspaper headline telling Rose that Swann has escaped from Dartmoor.
It Always Rains On Sunday is the atmospheric debut novel of Arthur La Bern and features a large, colourful cast of characters. Dreams and reality clash as arguments rage, gangsters lurk, madness simmers, violence is threatened. Sex and death hang heavy in the air. Described as a predecessor to Alan Sillitoe’s Saturday Night And Sunday Morning, the film adaptation was a great success and It Always Rains On Sunday remains a classic of British cinema. The book and its author were likewise lauded, and La Bern would go on to write a series of largely London-based, working-class gems.