It’s Fan Friday for mystery lovers, when we take a look at a favorite detective or mystery-related subject. Today’s detective:
Leslie Charteris’ “The Saint” – Simon Templar
Some interesting facts about Leslie Charteris and The Saint series:
1. Charteris was born to an English mother and Chinese father in Singapore in 1907. (His real surname was Bowyer-Yin; he had it legally changed in early adulthood).
2. Charteris grew up in England, and left Kings’ College to start a writing career. According to a Wikipedia article (which I haven’t been able to verify with a second source, so take it for what you will) Charteris had lots of other interesting jobs and activities, such as prospecting for gold and pearl-diving.
3. He moved to New York, which he called “a case of love at first sight.” Unfortunately, he had to keep renewing his 6-month visas because of the Chinese Exclusion Act (1882-1943), which did not allow immigrants with “50% or greater of Oriental blood” to permanently reside in the U.S. Later, a Senate bill signed by FDR allowed Charteris and his daughter to go through the citizenship process and become American citizens.
4. The first appearance of The Saint was in Meet the Tiger (1928), and continued through more than 50 novels (until 1983). Charteris also worked as scriptwriter for Paramount Studios on several Saint films in the mid-1930s.
The appeal of The Saint:
1. One man, righting wrongs. No committee, no jury polling, no Miranda rights. And he isn’t above a little law-breaking in the cause of justice.
2. He’s elegant, handsome, sophisticated (and British – American women get all swoony over suave British men). In the novels, all sorts of dames fling themselves at him.
3. He’s rich and mysterious; no one knows where he or his money comes from.
4. He lives up to his “knightly” name of Templar: chivalrous, brave, putting himself in danger to fight evil – sort of a super-hero detective.
Beyond the books:
The Saint is everywhere!
Radio (yep, that’s Vincent Price, who was the voice of The Saint): 1944-51 (click here for the archive of free audio files):
Television and film:
Above, from left to right: two of the films from the 1930s; the popular television series starring Roger Moore, which ran 118 episodes from 1962-69; the 1997 film starring Val Kilmer.
But wait! The Saint keeps coming back…
The Saint Goes to New Orleans, starring James Purefoy, went into production this past summer. No release date yet.
Great sites for more info:
Site for Simon Templar fans – a very comprehensive resource
Do you remember The Saint series on television? Have you read any of the books by Charteris? I’d love to hear from you!
Until next time,
21 thoughts on “Fan Fri (for mystery lovers): “The Saint” by Leslie Charteris”
I totally remember Roger Moore as The Saint, he was uber cool. He didn’t make a very good Bond, however. Who can replace Sean Connery? Glad to know an updated series is in the works, I look forward to it.
Have a great weekend!
I’m with you, Nancy – Moore makes a better Saint than a Bond!
I love the Val Kilmer movie! (Seriously! I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve watched it. 🙂 ) I had no idea about all this history behind the character. Thanks for sharing!
Hmm, is it the Saint, or Val Kilmer who you love so much? 😉 So glad you stopped by, Jami!
I’m with Jami! I LOVED me some Val Kilmer movies. You don’t know how long I’ve been trying to convince my honey to go as Madmartigan from Willow for Halloween. The Saint is another good one. He’s very Bond. All the disguises and personalities and the play on saint’s names. Very intriguing indeed!
The Saint is one of my favorite characters! While the Val Kilmer movie was good, I actually prefer the George Sanders films from the ’30s and ’40s, and Roger Moore’s TV series (one of his best roles). I’ve never read the books and unfortunately it looks like they’re out of print. It would be nice to see them released as ebooks.
Ooo, I can’t wait for the new movie!! James Purefoy is adorable….I should really check out one of the books!
I was thinking of you when I learned about that! I had a feeling he was your “type” (at least on screen!). Thanks for visiting, Tiffany!
Thanks so much for this information–I had no idea there were so many novels in this series. Sure gives us something to shoot for, doesn’t it?
And I’m glad Charteris finally got to become an American.
It’s nice to have a happy ending, I agree! I thought of Erle Stanley Gardner and how prolific he was when I read about Charteris.
I am with Jami and Jess – love the Val Kilmer movie! I didn’t realize the novels in the series either but they look like great reads!
I’m going to have to watch the Val Kilmer Saint – I haven’t seen it in ages! Thanks so much for your visit, Natalie! 😀
For me, it’s Roger Moore all the way as the Saint. Love that show! I guess when I watched the show it never occurred to me that there was also a series of books. I definitely would have read them. I wonder if they can be found anywhere.
Love it when you delve into the past, Kathy!
Hi, Marcia –
Based on Ian’s comment, it looks like we’ll have a chance to read The Saint books very soon! Thanks for stopping by. 🙂
Unfortunately The Saint in New Orleans never got into production however I’m hopeful that a new TV show will start shooting later this year.
What will be happening later this year for sure is that we’ll start releasing all the Saint books across a variety of digital platforms.
It’s a shame that the film never got into production! We’ll have to check in with your site to find out more about the TV series. Good news about the books, we’ll be looking for them. Thanks, Ian, for your wonderful insider information. I appreciate it.
I love all the incarnations of The Saint and very much remember the Roger Moore series. Did not know Leslie Charteris has such an intriguing fellow. Thanks for the great overview, Kathy!
You’re welcome, Debra, and thanks so much for stopping by!
I love those old pulp covers. Wouldn’t have been appropriate for my mystery “Tainted Souls” but perhaps for the next one. Thanks for a very interesting piece.
There’s always a blowsy dame on the cover, right? Good luck with your book launch – the reviews look good!
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