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Matters Criminous

crime / mystery / detective literature:
a critical list with discussions

Crime/Mystery Series: The Saint

I have never been able to see why a fictional character should not grow up, mature, and develop, the same as anyone else. The same, if you like, as his biographer.
Leslie Charteris



Leslie Charteris's Simon Templar, alias The Saint

About the Author

Leslie Charteris was a thoroughly interesting fellow who led quite an interesting life. Here are some data on him:


About the Character

The Saint is a perpetually popular character, and so there is a good bit of information available, including these:

(In case you came to this page you are reading from a search engine instead of through its site, I will here repeat the brief remarks on the main mystery/crime page that points here.)

This one may seem out of keeping with the rest here, but truly it is not. Sure, The Saint is purest cartoon wish-fulfillment: super-handsome, super-suave, super-tough, and all the rest of the cartoon "supers" you could want. It is impossible to even begin to take him seriously. But that's the point: Charteris didn't take him seriously. The stories are much leavened with large doses of Charteris's delightfully comic descriptive passages, which apply almost Dante-esque exaggeration to everything from the mental processes of a policeman to the discomfiting of "the ungodly". Mind, the tales themselves are not tongue-in-cheek: it is just the language that smiles and chuckles along. The character is also interesting in that there was a clear and definite maturing process: the original version really was a boy's vision of the ultimate ripping-yarns hero, but that cartoon shed some of its excesses--and some satellite characters--as the years went on, and the later Simon Templar, while still a romantic device, has his sense and sensibilities in their right adult places. The whole Saint Saga is, as a friend of ours puts such things, "a good yuk."


The Books

Even during his lifetime, Leslie Charteris allowed others to write "Saint" tales--all supposedly vetted and, as needed, touched up by Charteris himself. Whether such tales make a legitimate part of "The Saint Saga" (as the series is commonly called) is a judgement each reader has to make individually. At any rate, I have segregated them off as "By Another Hand".

More so than with most mystery/crime series, the Saint appears in short-story form rather than novel form. Of books wholly by Charteris, there are twice as many books of story collections as of novels (two dozen versus one dozen).

Even more than most, many Saint books--especially the earlier ones--have each been published under a great variety of titles, in many editions. Also, many began life in newspapers or magazines, sometimes with titles not found in any book edition. In the lists below, I have used the year of first publication in any form, but only titles used for books; in each case, the first title shown is the first used in book form. Also, I have omitted, even from the "By Other Hands" section, the novelization of the utterly dreadful movie.

Finally, I have, for brevity, omitted variant titles that are compounds of other variants (such as Angels of Doom: The Saint Meets His Match when the lists already include Angels of Doom and The Saint Meets His Match).

In these lists, the links are all to used-book searches for the title (via Abebooks). Some few can still be found in print new, but not many. As usual, the search results are sorted from lowest price up (note that, as always in used-book searches from this site, the price sort is by actual book price, not total shipped price, though each listing also always shows the true total shipped cost; occasionally, a slightly more expensive title will be slightly cheaper shipped--but the differences are never much and you can easily eyeball those cases.) Most titles represent a number of varying editions, from original hardcovers to late paperback reprints.


Saint Books wholly by Leslie Charteris

The Individual Novels

The Story Collections
Original-Content Collections
Story Omnibus Collections

These have no stories not in the original collections listed above. I haven't checked, but would wager that there is also overlap between at least some of these.


Saint Omnibus Editions

While there are numerous story omnibus volumes, so far as I know there was only one omnibus of novels. That omnibus is quite misleadingly titled, as it contain not "five novels" as styled, but 3½, the half being Enter the Saint, from which one of the three stories has been omitted; the publisher chose to consider the two remaining stories each as a "novel". Also, one of the "novels" is a story collection. No wonder Archie Goodwin was impressed by the publishing business as "a way to corral jack".

  • The Saint: Five Complete Novels (a misnomer - there are three novels and two stories)
    • The Man Who Was Clever [story]
    • The Lawless Lady [story]
    • The Saint Closes the Case
    • The Avenging Saint
    • The Saint vs. Scotland Yard [story collection]



Saint Books "By Another Hand"

(This includes a few books nominally co-authored by Charteris.)

The Individual Novels

The Story Collections




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(essential one-time reading)
Introductory Material:
    Literate Mystery Series:
 a brief list of the series discussed here


(the heart of the site)
The Series (alphabetical by character last name):
    Roderick Alleyn
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 (G. K. Chesterton)
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    The Continental Op
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    Solar Pons
 (August Derleth)
    The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency (Precious Ramotswe)
 (Alexander McCall Smith)
    The Saint (Simon Templar)
 (Leslie Charteris)
    Lord Peter Wimsey
 (Dorothy Sayers)
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 (Rex Stout)
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 (William Marshall)



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