Tuesday, 19 October 1999

Leslie Charteris: Alias the Saint (1931)

Edition: Hodder & Stoughton
Review number: 365

Like so many of the Saint series, Alias the Saint contains three disconnected stories of the length Charteris found most pleasant to write. The book is from the early period when he was churning out the stories at an incredible speed, particularly given their quality. In this collection, we have the story in which Simon Templar first uses his favourite alias of Sebastian Tombs (chosen to annoy Chief Inspector Teal), a locked room mystery, and a complex plot revolving around a kidnapped (beautiful, female) chemist rescued by Templar.

The first story is the best, having a lot of humour and a twist. The middle one gets a bit bogged down, and I found the last one a little far-fetched. But there's still more in the Saint of the thirties than in most other thrillers of any decade, even when the stories are not Charteris' best.

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