Saturday, 16 June 2001

Leslie Charteris: Call For the Saint (1948)

Edition: Hodder & Stoughton, 1948 (Buy from Amazon)
Review number: 842

The first story in this Saint book, The King of the Beggars, is much better than the second, The Masked Angel. It deals with an investigation of a protection racket targeting Chicago beggars, and rather surprisingly treats it as though doing so is a new idea; I can't really imagine that pre-war gangsters hadn't thought of it. It is typical of the series, and an exciting thriller.

The Masked Angel tackles match rigging in boxing, with a former no hoper given a big buildup as the Masked Angel and suddenly - suspiciously - winning all his fights. Apart from the fact that I don't like boxing, the story is rather predictable and the descriptions of the fights don't manage to convey much in the way of atmosphere. The idea that many fights have been fixed was maybe more surprising in 1948 than it is now, so the story might have dated. It is not Charteris at his best even so.

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