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Meet the Tiger/ (Variant Title = the Saint Meets the Tiger) Hardcover – Jun 1928

4.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Hardcover, Jun 1928
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Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Doubleday (Jun. 1928)
  • ISBN-10: 9997507525
  • ISBN-13: 978-9997507525
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,726,601 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Paul Magnussen TOP 500 REVIEWER on 5 Feb. 2006
Format: Hardcover
"Meet The Tiger" (later retitled "The Saint meets the Tiger") published in 1928, was Leslie Charteris's first book in the Saint Saga (even though Hodder & Stoughton later pretended that Enter the Saint was, presumably because they weren't the publishers of the former).

It's a useful (though not infallible) rule of thumb that if a book doesn't hook you by the end of the first page, it's not going to. Here are the first two paragraphs of "Meet the Tiger":

'Baycombe is a village on the North of Devon coast that is so isolated from civilisation that even at the height of the summer holiday season it is neglected by the rush of lean and plump, tall and short, papas, mammas, and infants. Consequently, there was some sort of excuse for a man who had taken up his dwelling there falling into the monotony of regular habits — even for a man who had only lived there for three days — even (let the worst be known) for a man so unconventional as Simon Templar.

It was not so very long after Simon Templar had settled down in Baycombe that the peacefully sedate village became most unsettled, and things began to happen there that shocked and flabbergasted its peacefully sedate inhabitants, as will be related; but at first Simon Templar found Baycombe as dull as it had been for the last six hundred years.'

Not the greatest opening Leslie Charteris ever wrote — he was to become pretty skillful later — but quite respectable for a young man of 21 in only his third book. The character so introduced, of course, was to become the longest-running fictional hero of the 20th century.
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Format: Hardcover
A REVIEW OF `MEET THE TIGER' BY LESLIE CHARTERIS

`Meet The Tiger' (1928) is the first and rarest* of all of Leslie Charteris's novels which relay the adventures of Simon Templar, aka The Saint.

It is a tricky book to review, not only because copies today are almost as rare as rocking horse droppings, but also because its author offered his own scathing review in 1980 in which he claimed, "I can see so much wrong with it that I am humbly astonished that it got published at all." Indeed, those unfamiliar with the full canon of Saint books might well assume that 1930's `Enter The Saint' marks Simon Templar's debut. Charteris was certainly happy to propagate such a belief.

So, is Mr C's verdict a fair one? Well, any book which launches such a successful character in thriller fiction is worthy of celebrating, however primitive the opening adventure might be. `Meet The Tiger' finds Simon Templar in North Devon, attempting to unveil the mysterious Tiger who has hidden a shipment of gold in the West Country, which he plans to export and magically (re)discover in a mine on the other side of the world. The novel revolves around the hero's quest for both the booty and The Tiger's identity. The latter search takes priority throughout the story, and `Meet The Tiger' retains the feel of one of Agatha Christie's lighter mysteries such as `The Secret Of Chimneys' (1925). In short, the story's premise is quite intriguing.

However, there is some substance to Charteris's dismissive review, so let's deal with the story's limitations first of all:
a) The pace of the first two-thirds of `Meet The Tiger' is very pedestrian with little movement in terms of characters and location, and far too much pondering and theorising from both `goodies' and `baddies'.
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By Paul Magnussen TOP 500 REVIEWER on 25 Sept. 2008
Format: Unknown Binding
"Meet The Tiger" (later retitled "The Saint meets the Tiger") published in 1928, was Leslie Charteris's first book in the Saint Saga (even though Hodder & Stoughton later pretended that Enter the Saint was, presumably because they weren't the publishers of the former).

It's a useful (though not infallible) rule of thumb that if a book doesn't hook you by the end of the first page, it's not going to. Here are the first two paragraphs of "Meet the Tiger":

'Baycombe is a village on the North of Devon coast that is so isolated from civilisation that even at the height of the summer holiday season it is neglected by the rush of lean and plump, tall and short, papas, mammas, and infants. Consequently, there was some sort of excuse for a man who had taken up his dwelling there falling into the monotony of regular habits — even for a man who had only lived there for three days — even (let the worst be known) for a man so unconventional as Simon Templar.

It was not so very long after Simon Templar had settled down in Baycombe that the peacefully sedate village became most unsettled, and things began to happen there that shocked and flabbergasted its peacefully sedate inhabitants, as will be related; but at first Simon Templar found Baycombe as dull as it had been for the last six hundred years.'

Not the greatest opening Leslie Charteris ever wrote — he was to become pretty skillful later — but quite respectable for a young man of 21 in only his third book. The character so introduced, of course, was to become the longest-running fictional hero of the 20th century.
Read more ›
Comment 1 of 1 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xa2fefe04) out of 5 stars 2 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa2fff7b0) out of 5 stars A tad dated, but a grand beginning for The Saint... 22 May 2003
By Richard E. "Nick" Noble - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
MEET THE TIGER was Leslie Charteris' very first novel about his now long-running series hero Simon Templar, alias "The Saint". First published in 1928, certainly it is somewhat dated. Still, the setting is interesting, the mystery at least clever, and the characters range from impressive (Templar himself and Patricia Holm), to stereotyped but delightful ('Orace), to a little ctoo much P.G. Wodehouse/Bertie Wooster in many of the supporting players. That being said, MEET THE TIGER is a rousing debut, and this early Simon Templar is much harder and more resourceful than his later television incarnation, while at the same time his optimistic determination and rakish smile continue to amuse and delight. Charteris followed MEET THE TIGER with some "prequel" Saint short stories, and then perfected his hero in a series of novels about the encroaching war. A couple of other strong Saint novels (and several perfect short stories) followed, before the character lapsed into formula. Still, there were a few gems in those later decades-- and The Saint has been around a very long time. Still, MEET THE TIGER was first, and should be experienced.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa37e2510) out of 5 stars Saint Saga #01 27 Jan. 2006
By Paul Magnussen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
"Meet The Tiger" (later retitled "The Saint meets the Tiger") published in 1928, was Leslie Charteris's first book in the Saint Saga (even though Hodder & Stoughton later pretended that Enter the Saint was, presumably because they weren't the publishers of the former).

It's a useful (though not infallible) rule of thumb that if a book doesn't hook you by the end of the first page, it's not going to. Here are the first two paragraphs of "Meet the Tiger":

'Baycombe is a village on the North of Devon coast that is so isolated from civilisation that even at the height of the summer holiday season it is neglected by the rush of lean and plump, tall and short, papas, mammas, and infants. Consequently, there was some sort of excuse for a man who had taken up his dwelling there falling into the monotony of regular habits — even for a man who had only lived there for three days — even (let the worst be known) for a man so unconventional as Simon Templar.

It was not so very long after Simon Templar had settled down in Baycombe that the peacefully sedate village became most unsettled, and things began to happen there that shocked and flabbergasted its peacefully sedate inhabitants, as will be related; but at first Simon Templar found Baycombe as dull as it had been for the last six hundred years.'

Not the greatest opening Leslie Charteris ever wrote — he was to become pretty skillful later — but quite respectable for a young man of 21 in only his third book. The character so introduced, of course, was to become the longest-running fictional hero of the 20th century.

Even at this early stage, the Saint (plausibly from his initials - but you knew that) is a more well-developed, more travelled and certainly more eccentric character than his near-contemporary, Bulldog Drummond. There are few of the wilder parts of the world which he has not visited, and few of those in which he has not had adventures. He has won a gold rush in South Africa, and lost his holding in a poker game twenty-four hours later. He has run guns into China, whisky into the United States and perfume into England. He deserted after a year in the Spanish Foreign Legion (Drummond would have been horrified at the idea of joining, let alone deserting).

Likewise Patricia Holm, the Saint's companion in so many later adventures, is a much more interesting heroine than boring little Phyllis Drummond, who exists only to be kidnapped and rescued - someone whom the swine have got, or might get, and nothing more.

The elements of the plot are pretty much the standard stuff of the day: a debonair hero for the reader to identify with; a million dollars in gold stolen from a Chicago bank by a mysterious mastermind known as The Tiger; a gang of ruthless criminals; and of course a damsel in distress. What separates this from the majority of such efforts is the way Charteris plays with these elements — tongue clearly in cheek, in places — and weaves a story that carries you along from first to last. Some of the characters (Algy, for instance, or Aunt Agatha) are so skillfully drawn that you feel you'd recognise them if they walked into your local pub.

Other characters that recur later include Simon's faithful manservant Orace, and — briefly, in Knight Templar — Detective Inspector Carn.

From what I can make out, "Meet The Tiger" is very difficult to get hold of; but if you want to read the Saint books it's worth making the effort. They're definitely best if read in the right order.

P.S. For a list of — and discussion of — all Charteris's Saint books, see my So You'd Like To... Guide.
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