Friday, 6 October 2000

Leslie Charteris: Follow the Saint (1939)

Edition: Hodder & Stoughton, 1952
Review number: 647

After the anti-Fascist outburst of Prelude for War, Leslie Charteris' next published Saint book is a collection of three stories (previously published in magazines) which are typical of an earlier period in the development of Simon Templar. Pretty average parts of the series they are too, being not particularly memorable but of a reasonable standard.

The first story, Miracle Tea, is the most interesting, and from the start revels in the cliches of the genre. ("This chronicle starts with four wild coincidences" is the first sentence.) A packet of a patent medicine accidentally falls into Simon Templar's hands, but proves to contain £1500. Naturally intrigued, he sets out to track down the source of the money.

The other two stories are a straightforward murder mystery and the hijacking of the proceeds of an armed robbery which has as its most interesting feature the Saint's attack on a self-proclaimed "guardian of society". This is one of the more amusing stories in the series, though none of the three rise above the average, as I have said.

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