But deep within himself Setter recognizes a latent streak of sadistic cruelty which enables him to perceive the truth about a delinquent youth whom he suspects of having taken part in a particularly repellent and senseless crime. It is for Setter to choose a punishment - and enforce it. "An Error of Judgement" is a subtle study of human weakness and conflict. Partly a wry social comedy and partly a study in good and evil, it is brilliantly written and observed, assured and skilful, a truly modern work by one of the most underrated novelists of the last century.
Pamela Hansford Johnson was born in London in 1912. She was educated at Clapham County Secondary School and the Societe Europeenne de Culture, and then took up teaching appointments at a number of universities abroad, including Wesleyan and Yale. In 1950 she married CP Snow. Her first novel, This Bed Thy Centre, was published in 1935, inaugurating a long and varied career as a published author of fiction, essays and plays. Her other books include the 'Dorothy Merlin' trilogy (The Unspeakable Skipton, 1959; Night and Silence, Who is Here, 1962; and Cork Street, Next to the Hatter's, 1965), The Humbler Creation (1959) and The Good Listener (1975), and works of criticism on Thomas Wolfe and Ivy Compton-Burnett. In 1975 she received the CBE.