Friday, February 7, 2020

Forgotten Stories: The First SAINT Novelette by Leslie Charteris (1929)

Simon Templar was introduced to the world in the 1928 novel Meet the Tiger, which I yapped about a few weeks back (HERE). At the time, Leslie Charteris apparently had no plans for Templar to return. Following Meet the Tiger (his third novel), he wrote two more non-Saint books and two non-Saint novelettes for a new pulpish British paper called The Thriller.

The Saint returned in Charteris' third Thriller story in the issue dated May 4, 1929, presented here courtesy of comicbookplus scanner "hoover." In the following months, two more Saint novelettes appeared, and Charteris collected them - in somewhat revised form - in hardcover as Enter the Saint. All three stories were given new titles for the book, and "The Five Kings" was rechristened "The Man Who Was Clever."

In the book version, mention of the Five Kings was removed, and more focus was put on the Saint. Though the kings themselves remained, their trademark spread of playing cards (as illustrated on the first page of the story) was replaced with the sign of the Saint, "a childish sketch of a little man with straight-hue body and limbs, and an absurd halo over his round blank head."

1 comment:

Art Scott said...

Mr A Jones, the illustrator, seems have been heavily influenced by Sidney Paget in his portrayal of S.T., especially with that Sherlockian nose. I believe subsequent versions of The Saint had him more conventionally handsome.