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Wednesday 19 June 2013

More Saintly Stuff

From Mulholland Books, with a June 20th publication date, comes this reissue of The Saint Goes On with an introduction by yours truly.

Mulholland is an imprint of Hodder and Stoughton, publishers of the classic 'Yellow Jacket' editions. So in effect, the thirty-five reprint titles are being kept within the family.

Their number does not, at this time, include Simon Templar's first appearance in Meet the Tiger. Charteris' widow continues to honour his wishes over keeping it out of print.

Here's something of what I wrote:
"For me, the Saint of the early 1930s is as modern as the character gets; he's hard, he's principled, he seems to take nothing seriously but he can turn in a second. It's all an act. And underneath it is a very, very bright guy indeed... this is the Saint as I've always liked him best. Here, he's a man with a complete disregard for authority and a rigorous code of personal fairness. He lives high on money that he takes from thieves and the greedy rich. He appears to seek a life of luxury and entertainment, while nothing entertains him more than righting an injustice done to an innocent. But every now and again, we get a glimpse of the utter steel underneath."
I had my pick of a number of titles, and I deliberately chose this one; it's The Saint before the movies, the radio serials or the TV adaptations got to him, feeding back in and reshaping the character. Before the collaborators, the ghosts, or the tie-in writers moved in.


Andrew H said...

Hi Stephen.

I’m not sure this is entirely correct (i.e. Leslie’s banning of a reprint of the first Saint book)– I’ve just acquired an ‘ebook’ version copy of a reprint of this, published by Charter, New York, in Sep 1980.
There is an introduction, written by Leslie Charteris himself, and dated 21st March 1980.

He does indeed say “It has been out of print for more years than I can guess at, and with no complaints from me. Personally, I would have been very happy to leave it quietly in limbo; I was still under 21 when I wrote it, more than 50 years ago, and am no more anxious to parade it than any other youthful indiscretion”. He goes on to confirm his dissatisfaction with the contents, and follows this with:
“However, I can’t deny writing it, its existence is a historical fact, and I suppose that anyone who is interested enough in backtracking into Simon Templar’s and my own adolescent beginnings has a right to access to the awful truths”.

I'm just about to start reading it!

By the way, I’ve been a big fan of yours since the 80s – I hope we’ll see a kindle edition of Nightmare With Angel available sometime soon…


Stephen Gallagher said...

That's interesting. Well, I suppose Mr C was under no obligation to be consistent! I still think it's a startlingly accomplished piece of writing for someone barely out of his teens.

And thanks for the kind words about my own stuff. I can say that Nightmare, with Angel will appear in eBook form before too long, but at this stage I can't tell you anything more specific than that. Only that it's a matter of competing possibilities, rather than my usual excuse of mere indolence.