Wednesday, 12 December 2001

Leslie Charteris: The Saint Returns (1969)

Edition: Hodder Paperbacks, 1970
Review number: 1012

The set up for this book is identical to that of its predecessor, The Saint on TV; so much so, in fact, that the foreword explaining that it contains scenarios reworked from the TV series is repeated verbatim. This has its ludicrous side, as it attributes the story ideas to John Kruse whereas the first is actually by D.R. Motton.

This particular story seems far-fetched even for the Saint. Simon Templar rescues a beautiful girl from two heavies, and she tells him that she is Mildred Hitler, daughter of Adolf, brought up in an Irish convent where the Mother Superior was the sister of a high ranking Nazi official, currently escaping neo-Nazis who kidnapped her to make her the figurehead for their movement. The point of the story is to work out what is really going on before the writer (Fleming Lee) explains; this isn't too difficult, and The Dizzy Daughter is not one of the better TV adaptations.

The Gadget Lover is no more convincing, but much more enjoyable. Someone has been hijacking Russian secret service equipment, so that (for example) hidden cameras explode when the last exposure is taken, killing the user. Simon becomes involved in their investigation, naturally entangling himself with a beautiful KGB officer. Taken from one of the fastest moving TV episodes, it becomes one of the best adaptations.

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