Read The Saint Meets the Tiger by Leslie Charteris Free Online
Book Title: The Saint Meets the Tiger|
The author of the book: Leslie Charteris
Edition: Ace Books
Date of issue: September 28th 1980
ISBN 13: 9780441524112
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 398 KB
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Reader ratings: 6.8
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Meet The Tiger (later retitled as The Saint Meets The Tiger, but my copy has the original title) is the first story to feature Simon Templar, alias The Saint. From this first entry, it seems clear that Charteris wasn't planning to give the Saint his own series; the novel is a self-contained story that does not set up for a sequel, strongly implying (without giving anything away) that Simon Templar is going to retire and settle down with the girl of his dreams after this last adventure. Little did the author know that the star of what he had intended as a one-shot adventure story would go on to become one of the most popular fictional characters of the 20th century, spawning more than fifty novels, sixteen motion pictures, three television series, radio dramas, magazines, comic books and more.
Perhaps because the characters are new in their wrappers, or because Charteris was still a fairly fresh author, the writing style feels a bit more restrained than what I have come to expect from the Saint series. While the text is unadulterated Charteris -- vintage slang, clever understatement, plenty of references to P.G. Wodehouse -- the author's trademark wit is not as distilled here as in later works, and the fourth wall remains (mostly) intact. Consequently, this entry reads more like a typical crime-adventure novel of the era. It is still quite good, and worth reading (especially for fans of the series), but expect the plot to follow more of a typical detective-story formula rather than the usual hell-for-leather Saint adventure.
Far from being an origin story, Meet The Tiger picks up eight years into the Saint's career, somewhat in medias res in that the adventure of the day has already begun (in contrast to later Saint stories, which often start with Simon catching the first whiff of something interesting and beginning to investigate). Even though he is well established as a career adventurer, the Saint in this book is younger and cleaner than his future self, even to the point of playing nice with the law (unfortunately Claud Eustace Teal missed this stage in Simon's life; Templar's favorite foil, whom Charteris introduced a year later in Daredevil, would not meet the Saint for a few more years). We see him both vulnerable and flustered at times, which is rare in later stories. Most of the trademarks that identify the Saint are also missing in this early incarnation; there is no cream and red Hirondel, no stick-figure with a rakish halo, and the Saint lacks the front-page notoriety and (admittedly Robin Hood-like) criminal reputation he developed later.
This novel also introduces Simon's long-term love interest Patricia Holm, who takes a leading role in the action -- a refreshing change from the typical "stay-in-the-car" heroines of the genre. Pat has always been a strong female character, as compared to most other 1920s glamour girls, but in later stories she is often relegated to sidekick status. It's nice to see her on the front lines with a gun in her hand. Also in the limelight here is Orace, the Saint's faithful valet-cum-bouncer, who in later books is rarely seen outside of the kitchen in Upper Berkeley Mews (if mentioned at all).
Overall, Meet The Tiger is a light and enjoyable read for Saint fans, but it's so different from the rest of the Saint series that I wouldn't recommend it as a reader's first exposure to the character. New Saint converts should read the 1930s- and '40s-vintage books first, and then come back to Meet The Tiger with the mentality of someone looking back at a loved one's childhood photo album: "Aww, Simon was so cute and clueless back when he was 27...."
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Read information about the authorBorn Leslie Charles Bowyer-Yin, Leslie Charteris was a half-Chinese, half English author of primarily mystery fiction, as well as a screenwriter. He was best known for his many books chronicling the adventures of Simon Templar, alias "The Saint."
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