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Rediscover the publishing sensation of 1934! 

Introduction by Francis Wheen and afterword by Julia Jones

The year is 1927. Philip Allingham, aged 21, stares out of an office window near Piccadilly Circus, musing on life’s futility. He has tried his hand at pretty well every job his parents would consider respectable, and failed at every one of them. He is bored and broke. “Suddenly it dawned on me – and the relief at the discovery was extraordinary – that there was nothing at all to prevent me from earning my living reading the future in other people’s hands.”

So begins the career recounted by Allingham in this thrillingly vivid and richly comic memoir. Or, rather, the series of careers, as the subtitle reveals: ‘Being the True History of a Young Man’s Adventures as a Fortune-Teller, Grafter, Knocker-Worker, and Mounted Pitcher on the Market-Places and Fairgrounds of a Modern but still Romantic England.’ Billed by its original publishers as “an astonishing autobiography of an English gentleman turned county fair mountebank”, Cheapjack was an instant best-seller when it first appeared, in 1934, but has long been unobtainable. This reprint includes a new introduction by Francis Wheen and an afterword by Julia Jones, biographer of Philip’s sister,  Margery Allingham, whose involvement with Cheapjack was kept a family secret.