Greene introduces us to 4 characters (Pinkie Brown AKA “the boy”, Ida Arnold, Charles “Fred” Hale and Rose). These are most important to the narrative, which is chiefly about Ida’s attempt to bring justice to Pinkie and to save Rose from Pinkie: we later see Ida believes this is a physical and moral danger; however Rose is in far greater danger spiritually.
Focus is on Pinkie. Chapter 1 he attempts to impress Rose, and subsequently shows him threatening Brewer (a bookie) who has paid protection money to rival Colleoni. Chapter 2 shows Pinkie visiting Colleoni and is subsequently picked up by the police and given a warning.
Chapter 1 is about Ida; she comes back to Brighton and bets on Black Boy with Tate. Eventually the pay-out for later winning covers the cost of the investigation. In chapter 2 Greene examines the fears of Spicer. Chapters 3 and 4 follow Pinkie, first with Rose, then with Spicer. As Pinkie plans to kill these two he is unaware of Ida, the first clue comes from Rose’s account of a “big” woman…