I have known about the Saint for a long time, but I hadn’t read any of the books nor seen the TV Series or film.
Leslie Charteris spent 55 years – 1928 to 1983 – as either writer of or custodian of Simon Templar’s literary adventures, one of the longest uninterrupted spans of a single author in the history of mystery fiction, equalling that of Agatha Christie who wrote her novels and stories featuring the detective Hercule Poirot over a similar 55-year period.
I came across the book at a stall in Tbilisi. It cost a little more than the 3/6 marked on the back (3 shillings and 6 old pence…17.5 new pence) but only a couple of lari (£0.56).
The book was first published way back in 1936, this edition was the 1967 edition. The scuba diving gear on the front cover wasn’t invented until the mid forties, Simon Templar (The Saint) does dive in the book but in a more antiquated diving suit.
The Saint also smokes an awful lot, he is often tapping his cigarettes or lighting them throughout the book. The character is a little similar to James Bond, described in the blurb as a “buccaneer”, the action is set around the Channel Islands where the baddie, Vogel wants to salvage the gold from the strongroom of a sunken ship.
The plot seems a bit quaint now and dated, our heroes these days are usually less immaculately turned out and less likely to be punching the villains on the jaw to lay them out for a couple of hours.
There is a strong love interest for the Saint in the form of Loretta Page, an investigator for maritime insurers Ingerbecks, suspicious at the lack of booty found on salvaged vessels.
Simon has his own yacht, fittingly called “The Corsair” complete with his butler Orace. No cars in this escapade. Too early for the Volvo, which I remember as a Corgi Car in my childhood.
My rating 3 out of 5