Leslie Charteris – Follow the Saint (1938)


Vintage Golden Age Mystery
Just the Facts Category: Why — Book made into tv/film/play

Cloak and Dagger Challenge #37
TBR #23
Date Finished: March 26, 2018

This compilation features three novellas starring the Saint, all of which were made into episodes of the 1960s TV show.

In “The Miracle Tea Party” Simon Templar aids Inspector Teal, who has been knocked out by thugs seeking to steal his recently purchased package of indigestion tea. Opening the tea package, Simon finds 1500 pounds in 50 pound notes, leading him to suspect that something is up. Coincidences abound, as Charteris points out, but it is still an entertaining, though predictable, adventure.

In “The Invisible Millionaire” Simon had received a note asking him to meet a young woman at a pub near a country estate. When she doesn’t arrive at the meeting, and when he finds her dead body in the boat house behind the pub, he begins to suspect that something is up. Getting involved with the millionaire’s household next door, he finds the reason for the murder and smites some bad guys.

The final part, “The Affair of Hogsbotham,” was previously completed for the short story reading challenge last month, but repeating myself: The Saint, annoyed by a newspaper item about a crusading, sanctimonious social reformer, decides to pay that reformer a visit and burgle his house. One thing leads to another and they end up at the wrong house next door, where bank robbers are torturing a fellow who seems to have hidden the money they’ve recently stolen. The Saint intervenes, eventually gets the funds for himself, and gives Hogsbotham’s reputation a fatal blow.

The third story is the most fun adventure with the Saint as he still retains and best demonstrates his somewhat criminal mischievous personality. The first two are somewhat lacking in that regard. Also present is his associate, Hoppy Uniatz, who is supposed to provide comic relief, but mostly provides puzzlement as he cartoonishly drinks three bottles of whisky in one of the stories. I’d much rather have had more of Patricia Holm, who only appears briefly.

Just the Facts Golden Card 2018-03-26

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