Monday, June 8, 2020

The Saint and the Templar Treasure (1979)


Major characters:
  • Simon Templar, The Saint
  • Mimette Florian
  • Yves Florian, her father, owner of the Ingare Vineyard
  • Philippe Florian, her uncle
  • Henry Pichot, a lawyer
  • Gaston Pichot, his uncle
  • Jeanne Corday, Henry's high-maintenance fiancĂ©
  • Professor Louis Norbert
Locale: France

Synopsis: Simon Templar is driving through France on his way to the Riviera. He picks up two hitchhikers who are travelling to work at Yves Florian's Ingare Vineyard, on the site of a former stronghold of the Knights Templar. They arrive at the vineyard just in time to see one of the barns on fire.

Mimette Florian, daughter of the owner, helps Simon after he incurs a small injury fighting the fire. He inquires about the Templar history, and meets Professor Louis Norbert, who is on site trying to decode an inscription on an ancient stone; in hopes of being a clue to the location of the fabled treasure of the Templars.

Review: This is a later Saint book, written by Donne Avenell and Graham Weaver; with editorial direction by Leslie Charteris. Note how the cover omits the names of the writers, instead proclaiming "Leslie Charteris' The Saint and the Templar Treasure", in which the Charteris name, in the possessive, just shows ownership of the The Saint name. A quick look leads the viewer to think he is the author, but no.

Good: The initial chapters set up the scene well and give the reader the flavor of a French vineyard; while the Saint character is none too exciting.  The final few chapters are much improved and more Saint-like in repartĂ©e and action.

Not so good: The descriptive words and language of Leslie Charteris which readers love are mostly absent. Patricia Holm and the usual sidekicks are missing. I expected more between The Saint and Mimette but at least they had a kiss or two. The treasure itself was a flop. Various phrases are rendered in French and require a passing knowledge to translate.

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