Friday, November 20, 2015

Paperback 914: Enter the Saint / Leslie Charteris (Pocket Books 257)

Paperback 914: Pocket Books 257 (1st ptg, 1944)

Title: Enter the Saint
Author: Leslie Charteris
Cover artist: Uncredited

Estimated value: $8-12

Best things about this cover:
  • Strike a pose.
  • The Pocket Books logo went through a lot of versions in the early years. This is one of the more adorable variants.
  • I know remarkably little about the Saint, except he was played by Roger Moore on television. There were reruns in syndication on TV when I was a kid. I don't remember a damn thing about them. I had no idea he was known as "The Robin Hood of Modern Crime." I just thought he was a charming cut-rate Bond.

Best things about this back cover.
  • It's weird how (relatively) quickly "gay" lost its non-sexual connotation. I was reading "Cotton Comes to Harlem" this week, and Cotton Ed and Grave Digger talk about wanting to get gay, i.e. go out, drink, have fun ... you know: have a gay old time. I wonder when that meaning essentially died, because it has died hard.
  • Meet Snake Ganning ... Jane, his wife!
  • Piratical!
  • This is a war-time book (1944). Pocket Books' whole "Send this book to a boy in the armed forces" thing was a genius marketing strategy. Together with the Armed Services Editions of cheap books, Pocket Books was helping cultivate a huge paperback-buying market for the post-war era.

Page 123~

The removal of the "dope bird" to a quiet cellar where a ruthless interrogation could proceed without interruption.

A sentence ominous in its incompleteness as well as its all-too-common anti-avian rhetoric.


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Graham Powell said...

The Saint novellas are pretty good, but I think he's better at shorter lengths. Like a wittier Raffles.

Anonymous said...

Simon Templar had been going nearly a quarter of century by the time that Bond turned up. Charteris went to his grave claiming that Ian Fleming had ripped him off!

DemetriosX said...

The Saint has a lot of imitators (though it does borrow from Raffles as well). It Takes a Thief was clearly borrowing from Charteris. I don't know if you could really say that Fleming stole the character for Bond, but there are some similarities. Beyond the fact that Roger Moore played them both.

What's really interesting to me is the long survival of the stick figure logo. The figure in exactly this pose was part of the credits for the TV show.

dfordoom said...

The early Saint books are superb. I guess Charteris was an influence on Fleming, although I think Dennis Wheatley's thrillers (as distinct from his occult adventures) were a much bigger influence. And Fleming acknowledged Sax Rohmer as an influence as well.

Z said...

"Simon has a way with women and he likes to be alone." Still chewing on that sentence.