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Publisher's Summary

Set against the seedy backdrop of 1960s Tangier, The Wrong People (1967) is the story of Arnold Turner, a repressed English schoolmaster on holiday in Morocco, where he meets Ewing Baird, a wealthy American expat with a dark secret. 

Ewing lavishly entertains him and even provides him with a young lover, but as Arnold becomes more and more involved with Ewing he realizes only too late that he has been lured into a dangerous trap - and his only chance of escape is by helping Ewing to carry out a sinister plan.

Drawing in part on the author’s real-life efforts to expose the African sex trafficking trade, Robin Maugham’s first explicitly gay-themed novel was both a critical and a commercial success, being reprinted several times - including in the important Gay Modern Classics series - and was optioned for a film version by Sal Mineo (Rebel Without a Cause). 

"I can only think of a handful of novelists who can play the reader like a hooked fish with comparable ingenuity and suppleness." (Francis King, Sunday Telegraph)

"A very well-told story, every move nicely calculated and undeniably shuddery." (Daily Telegraph)

"A gripping thriller. Storytelling at its best." (Sunday Express)

©2019 William Lawrence (P)2020 Valancourt Books LLC

What listeners say about The Wrong People

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An important look into the human condition.

I've always wanted to read about these times in Tangier when people like Truman Capote, Paul Bowles and Tennessee Williams were around and indulging in the dark side. I couldn't put this book down and I truly could not predict what would happen next. There are no explicit sex scenes but prostitution and human trafficking are issues.

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A very engaging story

An atmospheric, very compelling novella, dealing with the queer ex-pat living in Tangier right after WWII, and the way one of them manipulate a UK school teacher into bringing him a very young English boy to grooming him to be his companion. The thematic is harsh, but, even when sometimes it veers into purple prose, the writing is really good, and the story kept me captivated. Hannibal Hills does an excellent job with the narration.

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The wrong people

This was hard to keep up with.It was a twisted tale of debauchery.Hannibal Hills was a pleasure to listen to though!I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.'

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A product of its time?

Maugham was a hell of a writer but this book creeped me out. I realize a lot of that has to do with the current mores of contemporary America but conflating homosexuality with pederasty should be jarring in any context because they are not the same thing. I think this book has a lot more to do with class and money and power but that gets glossed over in favor of detailed recountings of long conversations and casual racism. I kept contrasting this story to A Little Life as I listened to it. They're not the same story in the slightest but almost like two sides of a terrible coin -- The Wrong People being men justifying their terrible actionsand A Little Life the actual impact of those actions on a young man. While it's nice to have an introduction to work from Maugham's long term partner, I wish it was possible to have a 2nd introduction from a more neutral 3rd party. The novel that Lawrence describes in his forward doesn't much resemble what I listened to. (Thank you Valancourt for the free audiobook code.)

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The Seedy Side of Tangiers in the 1960s

Robin Maugham is best known as the nephew of W. Somerset Maugham. The Wrong People is one of Robin’s better known novels. The Wrong People evokes the seedy backstreets and bars of Tangiers in the 1960s when Europeans, particularly men from the UK, vacationed to enjoy the pleasures of young men. While neither the novel nor this audiobook version ever graphically describes sexual acts, in many ways making them implicit seems to make them even more erotic. Like other works written at the time, there are shocking examples of racism. Despite a less than satisfying conclusion to this improbably story, Hannibal Hills does a credible job in bringing Maugham’s characters to life through his narration.