Tuesday, 9 November 1999

Leslie Charteris: She Was A Lady (1931)

Alternative title: The Saint Meets His Match
Edition: Hodder & Stoughton, 1951
Review number: 384

Returning to the full length novel, She Was A Lady boasts, in addition to the usual qualities of a Saint story, one of the best final pages in any thriller. Its story is quite simple. Jill Trelawney is the (beautiful) daughter of an Assistant Commissioner of Scotland Yard who died a broken man after being disgraced for bribery. Believing him to have been framed, she sets out to embarrass the police by helping captured criminals to escape while trying to find out who was the real corrupt officer. Naturally, her activities soon interest the Saint.

Generally speaking, I prefer the original titles to the new ones given to these early books after the Saint stories became successful in the USA. Nowadays, it would perhaps be described as "dumbing down", changing (almost) all the titles so that they contain the word "Saint". It's clearly done to remind people who are used to pulp fiction series with multiple authors or who cannot remember the author's name that each new book has the hero they enjoy at its centre. In this case, I don't like the original title much, either; neither of them are really closely related to the content of the novel.

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