Wednesday, 19 July 2000

Leslie Charteris: The Saint in New York (1935)

Edition: Dent, 1984
Review number: 539

This novel, the first Saint story to be conceived as a novel rather than expanded to that length from work which had already appeared in magazines, established Leslie Charteris as an international bestseller. This is a new Saint, rather more in the line of an American thriller character than he was originally, though still maintaining a trademark line of banter perplexing to his opponents.

The three days covered in the novel's plot do require a particularly tough Simon Templar, as he takes on New York's organised crime single handed. Aiming for "The Big Fellow" who has recently taken over, he is twice 'taken for a ride', kills several hoodlums, baits corrupt politicians, and is enchanted by the mysterious Fay Edwards, mouthpiece of the Big Fellow.

Aside from the excitement of the plot itself, the novel is remarkable for containing one of the earliest direct attacks on Nazism by a popular writer, among the familiar diatribes against corrupt politicians which give his work something of a radical tinge.

1 comment:

only bizet said...

Have finally gotten around to reading this 80-year-old classic. Yes, this IS a different Saint from the buccaneer of the earlier stories and it's probably from this book that the modern idea of The Saint (i.e., the Roger Moore conception) begins.