Page 107. " It was like Bank Holiday all over again "

Passengers at Brighton Station
Permission Granted by Copyright Owner for Use on Book DrumPassengers at Brighton Station - Credit: The Royal Pavilion and Museums, Brighton & Hove

Brighton was a popular destination for day trippers when the novel was written, thanks to a fashionable reputation, progressive re-development and variety of attractions. 15 million people were holidaying by the coast towards the end of the 1930s, and in 1939 the Palace Pier peaked in popularity, attacting 2 million visitors.

Page 111. " 'Memento Mori' Spicer said. "
Memento Mori
Creative Commons AttributionMemento Mori - Credit: jcbwalsh

A Latin phrase meaning 'remember your mortality', which became especially popular with Christian artists from the seventeenth century onwards. They used it to explore death, discourage frivolity and encourage preparation for the afterlife.

Page 112. " while the little Jew made masonic passes "
GNU Free Documentation LicenseFreemasonry - Credit: Jack O'Toole

The Freemasons are a fraternal organization dating from the 16th century.  They are thought of by many as a secret society with far-reaching powers that can be used to assist members in everday life. Masonic passes are private signals of recognition, such as particular handshakes.

Given that they share a number of themes and ideals, including the immortality of the soul and the importance of charity, some anti-semites believe that Judaism is affiliated with freemasonry.

Page 112. " the censer swung and the priest raised the host "

Creative Commons AttributionCenser - Credit: Sharon Molleus

The ascending smoke from incense symbolises prayer and is used during important Western Catholic masses, such as benedictions. The censer is a covered bowl, suspended from a chain and swung by the priest in the direction of the person or object of attention.


The traditional offering of bread, which a priest calls on God to consecrate into the body of Christ,  is called the host. This is then shown to the congregation before being placed on the paten.

Page 117. " He could hear the music - 'The One I Love' "

 The One I Love (Belongs To Someone Else) by American 'crooner' Al Jolson.

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Page 120. " saluting the bawdy joke in music halls "

Music halls provided cheap, popular entertainment for the masses up until the 1960s.  Comedy acts often played a stereotypical character and made coarse or risqué observations on subjects such as marriage. 

Page 121. " Molly Carthew burnt. "

The Catholic Church teaches that a man's life does not belong to him but to God. As such, suicide is a grave or mortal sin, condemning the perpetrator to Hell.

In 1997, the Church acknowledged that a person who attempts or commits suicide may not be in full possession of their sensibilities, and if this were the case they may be forgiven.