Talbot Baines Reed was an English writer of boys' fiction who established a genre of school stories that endured into the second half of the 20th century. Reed established a tradition in which the fictional boarding school was peopled by such characters and was almost invariably represented in terms of "dark passages, iron bedsteads, scratched desks, chill dormitories and cosy, shabby studies. Quigly suggests that one reason for the success of Reed's stories and their longlasting appeal is that they are not so much books about school as books about people. This book is not so much aimed at schoolboys as most of this author's books, as at the young adult just starting out in life. For the story is a warning about the mistakes a young man of good will might make in trying to find employment during hard times.