Richard Fanshawe never seems to get a decent job or a decent girl. He spends his nights in a dingy boarding house under the watchful eye of Mrs Fellows, and his days engaged in the dubious occupation of selling vacuum cleaners to housewives.
In a grey English seaside town in the Depression, under the shadow of approaching war, there isn't much hope of escape. That is, until Fanshawe meets 'sultry-looking piece' Sukie: dark, desirable - and married to his friend . . .