Wednesday, 13 February 2002

Leslie Charteris: Catch the Saint (1975)

Edition: Coronet, 1977
Review number: 1063

It is here that Leslie Charteris abandons, explicitly, the idea that Simon Templar's adventures are to be considered contemporary to the time of writing, though there is little in either which dates them to any particular period between the thirties and seventies.

Returning to the past fails to re-invigorate Charteris' writing, unfortunately. The two stories - The Masterpiece Merchant, about a kidnapped painter, and The Adoring Socialite, about a hunt for a hidden crime boss, are among the least imaginative of the whole series. Ideas are re-used from earlier tales, notably The Saint in New York, and even from other sources, one twist coming straight from the film Charade. The writing is competent, and as thrillers the stories work reasonably well; the paucity of original ideas is the only reason for rating them lower than most of Charteris' work.

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