The Saint

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Creator: Leslie Charteris (1907-1993)
Date(s): 1928-
Medium: Books, Radio, Films, TV, Comics
Country of Origin: United Kingdom
External Links: Wikipedia
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The Saint began as a series of novels and short stories by Leslie Charteris (1907-1993), beginning with Meet the Tiger (1928), which were later made into comics, several films, radio series, and television series. Some of the later books in the series were based on TV scripts by other authors, and some were ghost-written; the best known example is probably Vendetta for the Saint which was actually written by SF author Harry Harrison. Outside of the books, the character is probably best known from the UK television series starring Roger Moore (1962-69)[1]. The most recent attempt at a TV series was an unsuccessful 2012 pilot starring Adam Rayner as Simon Templar and Eliza Dushku as Patricia Holm, eventually expanded and released as a "direct to pay TV" movie in 2017.[2]


Simon Templar began as "the Robin Hood of modern crime", an adventurous antihero who robbed and sometimes killed criminals, and gave most of the money he'd stolen to charity, less expenses and 10% for himself. His methods included outright robbery, fraud, and extortion, and he was soon one of the most wanted men in Britain. He also had a habit of killing drug dealers, white slave traders, and other "dirty" criminals who came his way, methods ranging from bare hands, knives, and guns to remote controlled bombs. Templar's main alias was the Saint, but he used many others, the most common being Sebastian Tombs. He usually signed messages with a picture of a stick-figure man with a halo over his head - this logo was also used on the covers of the Saint books etc. His personality seemed similar to that of Bertie Wooster or Lord Peter Wimsey, but his apparent light-heartedness concealed a razor-sharp mind with a talent for crime.

The Saint's standard pre-war equipment included a cigarette case containing smoke and flash bombs as well as genuine cigarettes, with a concealed razor-sharp edge for cutting through ropes, throwing knives he called Anne and Belle, and a variety of hand guns. He was expert with all these weapons and with several forms of unarmed combat, and a skilled escapologist, pickpocket, card sharp, locksmith, pilot, driver, actor and, of course, thief.

Templar eventually became a suspect and was pursued by Chief Inspector Claud Eustace Teal and other detectives, but repeatedly escaped prosecution. He was eventually unmasked while saving a policeman's life; he went on the run and fled abroad but returned to stop an attempt to assassinate the King, who gave him a full pardon. In later books he travelled globally, initially hunting Rayt Marius, an arms merchant responsible for the plot against the King, but later as an international adventurer. Eventually he served as an American agent during WW2. In later stories he continued to fight crime, but with his identity known had to take more care to avoid prosecution, and killed much less often. Versions in other mediums generally concentrated on his role as crime fighter and minimised the less legal aspects of the character.

Templar's lover was Patricia Holm in the earlier books, but she disappeared from the stories by the late 1940s. Charteris allegedly wrote an unfilmed screenplay in which she reappeared many years later with his son, and Charteris' bibliographer Ian Dickerson is believed to have worked on a novelisation, Son of the Saint, but it is currently unpublished. He is shown as having numerous other girlfriends in later stories.

Other prewar associates included 'Orace, Simon's manservant; several British adventurers (Norman Kent, Peter Quinten, and others) and American gangster Hoppy Uniatz. All are largely missing from the post-war stories.


Several professional authors have created their own series based on characters suggested by The Saint; most notably Alexei Panshin's Anthony Villiers series, and Walter Jon Williams' Drake Maijstral series.


Examples Wanted: Editors are encouraged to add more examples or a wider variety of examples.



Fannish Links



  1. ^ The Saint (1962) on IMDB
  2. ^ The Saint (2017) on IMDB