It is the antithesis of an ostentatiously soul-searching autobiography such as Will Self’s Will: Three-a-Penny is a book you read because you are charmed by the author and enjoy her company. There are very funny self-deprecating riffs, such as an imagined conversation with “Anthony Gilbert”, in which he pours scorn on her unlucrative attempts to write more serious fiction (“Who pays the rent and settles the grocer’s bill? … It’s as bad as being your husband.”). Perhaps the most heartening parts are her hymns to the joys of being a writer, even a not especially successful one. It ends on a hopeful note, as she contemplates the possibility of some of her books being filmed; but although some did become films in the Forties, she never became a household name.