The Saint, not back in print but even better

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Leslie Charteris’ classic series of Saint books– all of them, dozens of them– are now available as e- books, including on Kindle. Even better, these digital editions of the adventures of Simon Templar (basis for numerous movies and TV series) can be borrowed for free if you have Amazon Prime.

This is a huge deal for me. I spent my entire youth collecting Saint books, and own just about all of them (including multiple editions of many of the titles). There haven’t been reissues of the entire saint canon since the early 1980s, when Ian Ogilvy’s series Return of the Saint was on. Even then, that was only in England. In America, there hasn’t been a comprehensive reissue project ever– just the original editions, which spanned the 1930s to the 1970s.

I keep all my Saint books on a shelf in my bedroom, and read them fairly regularly. But there’s an awesome convenience to the Kindle editions. Even better, the one or two Saint books I’ve never read are now as close as my phone or reading device.

Salvage for the Saint, for instance, came out in 1982 and is very hard to find. It’s one of numerous Saint books that were written with the approval (and casual involvement) of Leslie Charteris, but are not in fact written by him. Most of these ghost- written Saints are adapted from TV or movie screenplays. Not all of these latter-day Saint books made the cut for the reissue series, just the better ones. Very glad that Salvage for the Saint is one of them.

Leslie Charteris’ original Simon Templar character is so surehandedly divided, so fully formed, that he easily adapted from 1930s European wartime

travails to exotic generating in the ’40s and ’50s and Cold War and hipster affairs in the 1960s. Initially promoted as a modem Robin Hood, many of his adventures involve avenging injustices done to friends and acquaintances. He rarely kills. He rarely has a mission mapped out in advance. He’s never tense, always nonchalant and flippant. His foremost weapon is hits charm.

At the allowed Amazon Prime Kindle Library borrowing rate of once book per month, I’ll be revisiting the Saint in this format for the next several years. During that time, a whole new Saint TV series may come along. Maybe there’ll be print reissues as well.

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