Green’s Dictionary of Slang

nasty bit of work n.

also nasty bit of goods, ...piece of work

an unpleasant person.

[UK]‘Taffrail’ Sub 103: Percival Driver was [...] what we referred to as ‘a nasty bit of work.’.
[UK]‘Bartimeus’ ‘Chops and Chips’ in Seaways 103: That’s [i.e. a man] a nasty looking bit of work.
[UK]N. Lucas Autobiog. of a Thief 56: He was fat with a sebaceous fatness; in the vernacular, ‘a nasty piece of work.’ He reeked of money – and scent.
[UK]J.G. Brandon Gang War 39: The man [...] was, in the opinion of the ‘ace’ cracksman, a particularly nasty piece of work.
[UK]S. Lister Mistral Hotel (1951) 144: Did you ever see such a nasty bit of work?
[UK]A. Christie Sparkling Cyanide (1955) 107: Mr. Pedro Morales – nasty bit of goods from Mexico.
[Aus]K. Tennant Joyful Condemned 101: You’re a nasty piece of work.
[UK]R. Hauser Homosexual Society 91: After being their ‘darling’ you become a nasty bit of work, ‘biting the hand that fed you’.
[UK]A. Wesker Chips with Everything II iii: first corporal: You’re a slob, Smiler. second corporal: A nasty piece of work.
[UK]P. Theroux Family Arsenal 111: Nasty piece of work, wasn’t he?
[UK]J. Milne Daddy’s Girl (1999) 134: Mr Bianchi is a very nasty piece of work.
[Aus]P. Carey Tax Inspector (1992) 49: I’ve got the same name as the woman who was involved with D.H. Lawrence. She was a nasty piece of work.
[UK]N. Griffiths Grits 29: Nasty fuckin piecer wirk, that one.