The Saint Plays with Fire
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When the Saint and Patricia spot a country house on fire they rush to help, but are too late to rescue one man trapped inside. The dead man's door was locked, and Simon concludes there's a murder to be answered for, despite the coroner ruling otherwise. He launches his own investigation - getting engaged along the way - and soon gets caught up with generals, financiers, and an assassination plot designed to start a war.
Published on the verge of war in 1938, The Saint Plays with Fire is a striking condemnation of nationalism and the prejudices that both Charteris and the Saint despised.
Cabinet, because as soon as he retired he was offered a place on the board of the Norfelt Chemical Company, where he has sat ever since. He has a town house in Grosvenor Square, a Rolls-Royce, and he has recently subscribed five hundred pounds towards the restoration of our local parish church—which means that he either has, or has not, a ripe sense of humour.” Down by the bottles, something stirred. It was something that looked rather like a reconstruction of the Piltdown Man might have looked
won’t you introduce me to your uncle?” Dumaire said nothing; he simply proceeded to do what he was told and run through the Saint’s pockets. Keys, cigarette case, lighter, money, handkerchief, wallet, fountain pen—he took out the commonplace articles one by one and laid them on a small table in front of the man who appeared to be in charge. While he was waiting for the collection to be assembled, the latter answered Simon’s question. “If it is of any interest to you,” he said, “I am Major
Bravache, a divisional commander of the Sons of France, about whom I think you said something just now.” He spoke English excellently, with only a trace of native accent. “How perfectly splendid,” said the Saint slowly. “But do you know what bad company you’re in? This bird behind me, for instance, with the pea-shooter boring into my backbone—whatever he may have told you, I happen to know that his real name is Sam Pietri, and he has done three sentences for robbery with violence.” He felt the
developments—I expect there’ll be plenty of them. Okay?” “Okay, chief.” Simon’s hand lay on Peter’s shoulder, and they went back into the living-room together. The Saint’s new sureness was like a steel blade, balanced and deadly. 3 “You can’t do this!” babbled Bravache. Little specks of saliva sprayed from his mouth with his words. “It is a crime! You will be punished—hanged. You cannot commit murder in cold blood. Surely you can’t do that!” His manner changed, became fawning, wheedling.
when publishers Ward Lock & Co. offered him a three-book deal on the strength of it, he abandoned his studies to pursue a writing career. When his father learnt of this, he was not impressed, as he considered writers to be “rogues and vagabonds.” Charteris would later recall that “I wanted to be a writer, he wanted me to become a lawyer. I was stubborn, he said I would end up in the gutter. So I left home. Later on, when I had a little success, we were reconciled by letter, but I never saw him