Wednesday, May 6, 2020

The Brighter Buccaneer by Leslie Charteris (1933)

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Major characters:
  • Simon Templar, The Saint
  • Peter Quentin
  • Patricia Holm
  • Chief Inspector Claud Eustace Teal

Synopsis:

The Brain Workers - Simon provides some karma to a woman who was swindled out of some stock.
The Export Trade - Simon pulls the old switcheroo with the help of a friend who makes jewelry imitations.
The Unblemished Bootlegger - A con man who specializes in getting mugs to invest in a liquor export scheme to the prohibition-era USA gets the Saint treatment.
The Owners' Handicap - Patricia Holm steps in to enact some justice on a crooked racing horse owner.
The Tough Egg - Simon stages a gambling grab which also serves to annoy Claud Eustace.
The Bad Baron - Simon gets fooled by some stand-ins but gets a nice little compensation from a policewoman.
The Brass Buddha - Simon finds out what makes a souvenir Buddha so valuable.
The Perfect Crime - Simon puts up some suspicious Latvian bonds as collateral. He seems to have an endless supply of them. Is that a crime?
The Appalling Politician - An annoying politician has an important treaty stolen from his wall safe. Yet the room was guarded and watched the whole time. 
The Unpopular Landlord - A landlord who takes advantage of his tenants gets taken advantage of himself.
The New Swindle - A priceless piece of jewelry is sent through the mail. What can possibly go wrong?
The Five Thousand Pound Kiss - Simon is caught almost-red-handed with a precious jewel in his fist. How to get rid of it quickly?
The Green Goods Man - A swindler sets up the old switcheroo of a packet of real currency with a packet of pieces of newspaper. Simon doesn't fall for it.
The Blind Spot
The Unusual Ending





Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Saint Overboard (1935)

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Major characters:
  • Kurt Vogel, master criminal
  • Professor Wesley Yule
  • Otto Arnheim, a henchman
  • Loretta Page, insurance detective
  • Simon Templar, The Saint
  • 'Orace, associate of The Saint
Locale: the coast of France

Synopsis: Simon Templar is visiting the French coast on his boat, The Corsair. One night a woman swimming approaches his boat, it is Loretta Page. She is a private detective for an insurance agency, investigating recent thefts of maritime salvage in which the thieves make off with assets from sunken vessels before salvage operations can commence. 

Loretta has traced the thefts to Kurt Vogel on board the Falkenberg, and had been watching it. The Falkenberg is outfitted for deep sea recovery. Vogel has a guest, Professor Wesley Yule, inventor of a deep diving outfit called the "bathystol"; which Vogel wants.

The Saint and Loretta team up to infiltrate the Falkenberg.

Review: This thriller with The Saint, the beautiful woman, and the master criminal is somewhat predictable but still fun. The settings on the ocean are well done and descriptions bring us all the sights and sounds of the French coast. The love interest between Simon and Loretta is detailed much more than the later stories with Patricia Holm. Vogel is calm and cold, and focused on his treasure stealing empire. The finalĂ© comes with The Saint and Vogel both diving to Vogel's undersea treasure trove. This is a pure thriller - no mysteries to be had. 'Orace lends a supporting role, Peter Quentin and Roger Conway make brief appearances. 



Saturday, March 28, 2020

The Saint Goes On (1934)

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This book consists of three novellas.

The High Fence - Chief Inspector Teal has a new protege: recent graduate and know-it-all Junior Inspector Desmond Pryke - whose academic experience (only) about police methods annoys both Teal and Simon Templar. Jewel thief Johnny Anworth sends off a jewel grab to a fence only known as the “High Fence”, and is promptly picked up. He is poisoned while in his holding cell and dies. Teal next finds thief Sunny Jim Fasson, and while apprehending him, Fasson is shot before Teal’s eyes. When Teal returns from trying to chase the killer, Fasson’s body is gone - with Simon Templar sitting in the spot. Teal and The Saint team up to identify and bring the High Fence to justice. Patricia Holm has a cameo appearance.

The Elusive Ellshaw - Florence Ellshaw appeals to The Saint to help bring her husband home. He ran off a year ago, and she has recently found where he is staying. The Saint looks him up, and Florence is found dead in the Thames, and a bomb placed in Simon’s apartment. Inspector Teal is interested - an identical bomb was found in the home of Lord Ripwell. Teal and Simon take a look around and find Ellshaw on the grounds; but no connection between Ellshaw and Ripwell is evident. 

The Frightened Innkeeper - Simon receives a letter from innkeeper’s niece Julia Trafford, appealing for help as her uncle is acting strangely and there seem to be intruders about their inn. Simon and Hoppy Uniatz check in to the inn to observe and figure out what the bad guys are up to.

Review: The novella length fits The Saint well, and fits a bedtime reading schedule well also. In High Fence and Elusive Ellshaw, Simon and Teal team up to good effect. Patricia Holm has a brief appearance in High Fence.  Hoppy Uniatz is at his best in Frightened Innkeeper, which takes a surprise turn - all evidence pointed to a seaside smuggling ring, but that is not what occurs.