It was Christmas Eve in the studio. By eleven o’clock in the morning, Santa Claus had called on most of the huge population according to each one’s deserts.

Sumptuous gifts from producers to stars, and from agents to producers arrived at offices and studio bungalows; on every stage one heard of the roguish gifts of casts to directors or directors to casts; champagne had gone out from publicity office to the press. And tips of fifties, tens and fives from producers, directors and writers fell like manna upon the white collar class.

In this sort of transaction there were exceptions. Pat Hobby, for example, who knew the game from twenty years’ experience, had had the idea of getting rid of his secretary the day before. They were sending over a new one any minute but she would scarcely expect a present the first day . . .

The opening story in The Complete Pat Hobby Stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald is ‘Pat Hobby’s Christmas Wish’, so this seems an appropriate moment to discover or revisit this cautionary seasonal tale of a Hollywood hack with blackmail on his mind. Even better, you can read it as part of a free sample of Swift’s new digital edition here. Just click on ‘Send sample now’ to route the full story to your Kindle or PC.