Saturday, 23 February 2002

Leslie Charteris: Send For the Saint (1977)

Edition: Coronet, 1978 (Buy from Amazon)
Review number:1076

This volume contains two stories from the TV series Return of the Saint, adapted by Peter Bloxsom in the same way that Fleming Lee adapted several of the stories from the earlier Saint series. Like many of these adaptations, they lack the unique features, particularly the humour, which mark the Saint out from other thriller heroes. As was by this point the usual practice for Saint books, the stories are set in the past, in the fifties. (The TV series, on the other hand, was I think intended to be contemporary, which must have made the adaptations a little bit more difficult; this is probably why there is very little in terms of period detail in the stories to identify the date.)

The first story, The Midas Double, starts when a Greek shipping magnate kidnaps Simon Templar from Athens airport. He is eventually persuaded to take a bizarre job; the millionaire is convinced that he is being impersonated by a double, who aims to discredit him by making it appear that he has been undertaking shady business deals.

The other story, The Pawn Gambit, has Simon infiltrating a company of mercenaries, to avenge the death of a wartime friend, and this story has a particularly world-weary Saint not at all like the character's usual self. Neither of them is really equal to the usual standard of the series, let alone to the best of it.

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