Author Leslie Charteris character Simon Templar, later portrayed by Roger Moore in his pre-Bond days, is an English spy working in the World War 2 era. Templar, in this story, is driving south to Galveston to follow up on the dissappearance of a factory worker from the Saint Louis area. Upon arriving in Galveston, Templar literally "drives over" a body burnt beyond recognition. After reporting the matter to the local hic sheriff, Templar finds himself as a suspect based on his infamous, a nd well publicised past. Over the course of a weekend, when the court house isn't working, The Saint deductively solves the mystery and prevents espionage occurring to the US Nacy.
My sole reason for selecting this story was because I had driven the same terrain whilst visiting Mongoose a few years back. I wanted to compare Charteris writtings against my first hand knowledge. I'll be quite blunt, the pompus dialogue of Templar drives the narrative, but the character portrayal of a snotty British agent working cast against the southern town works well. Inside, the mystery moved along at a good pace, and even though there are clues indicating the result, I missed several indicators during the first read.
Chareteris has a series of Saint adventures in the spy/espionage genre that is set among WW2 locations. This was my first exposure to this character, despite vague recollections from my childhood when 'The Saint' was shown directly after Tony Curtis and Moore in 'The Persuaders' television show.
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