Saturday, 10 September 2016
Author of the Month
Leslie Charteris [1907-1993]
It was a normal cardboard shoe box, sent through the mail by an eBay seller in exchange for £6 of my pocket money.
Inside there were a dozen paperbacks by Mr. Charteris which immediately evoked some seven decades of happy memories.
As a man of leisure I had resolved to catch up on reading books that I once loved and to follow up with their authors' other works.
In winter 2012 I explored most of Ernest Hemingway's classic titles plus a few by Ellery Queen and Micky Spillane. In 2013 I was too ill to read anything much beyond hospital appointments. 2014 was my winter for the books of Raymond Chandler and last year my loyalties switched to Nevil Shute's adventure tales.
Now I have enough Saintly delights to last well me past Christmas, after which I shall give them away as usual for most are too age-discoloured to have any value beyond pulping.
The oldest one in my parcel was published in 1930 [My book is a 1960 print] and was the second of more than 100 novels and short stories in the series. Leslie Charteris even found time to write scripts or scenarios for 16 movies and three television series.
My pal and I first discovered the Saint paper back books when we were about 11 years old. Pan books had not been in existence very long and we made a list of all their titles with the early 'yellow box' title design [see photo below]
We soon found that pocket money wouldn't cover our plan to create a full library of ALL Pan books so we shared a small collection of Saint books instead. In the summertime we were busy with our bikes, then we discovered girls and it was pretty much goodbye to reading for pleasure after that.
I am sure that Simon Templar wasn't what the De La Salle Brothers at school had in mind when they encouraged us to 'read and be inspired by the Lives of the Saints' !
Leslie Charteris certainly DID inspire my early style of writing and love of unusual words. At least I got good exam marks for English Composition.
I am delighted to offer you a signpost to all you could ever need to know about Leslie Charteris. Just head on over to Peter Dunn's amazingly erudite and well illustrated website at www.simontemplar.info