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The Saint in New York (Saint 15)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
This is the book that put Leslie Charteris on the map and made best-sellers of all the previous Saint books in retrospect.

Set shortly after the repeal of Prohibition, this tale of revenge is one of the grimmest, and the certainly the most violent, of all the Saint stories, so that when it was filmed, it was considerably toned down (and all hint of corruption in the New York judiciary removed, of course).

Nevertheless, most Saint fans, including myself, seem to regard it as one of the best. To take just one example: as a synopsis of all the previous Saint books — vital, if new readers are to understand the story — the prologue (which takes the form of a letter to the NYPD from Simon's old adversary Chief Inspector Teal of Scotland Yard) is one of the most skillful things I've seen.

Charteris knew New York well, along with its denizens and their culture and language. The characters are drawn with great verve, especially Inspector John Fernack, the various members of the gangland hierarchy, and the mysterious Fay Edwards, who falls in love with Simon at the same time as she is helping him to kill just about everyone she knows.

Above all, Charteris shows himself once again a first-rate story-teller. Gripping from start to finish.

P.S. For a list of all Charteris's Saint books (in two sections, because of length limitations) see my Listmanias.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon 10 October 2008
This is the book that put Leslie Charteris on the map and made best-sellers of all the previous Saint books in retrospect.

Set shortly after the repeal of Prohibition, this tale of revenge is one of the grimmest, and the certainly the most violent, of all the Saint stories, so that when it was filmed, it was considerably toned down (and all hint of corruption in the New York judiciary removed, of course).

Nevertheless, most Saint fans, including myself, seem to regard it as one of the best. To take just one example: as a synopsis of all the previous Saint books — vital, if new readers are to understand the story — the prologue (which takes the form of a letter to the NYPD from Simon's old adversary Chief Inspector Teal of Scotland Yard) is one of the most skillful things I've seen.

Charteris knew New York well, along with its denizens and their culture and language. The characters are drawn with great verve, especially Inspector John Fernack, the various members of the gangland hierarchy, and the mysterious Fay Edwards, who falls in love with Simon at the same time as she is helping him to kill just about everyone she knows.

Above all, Charteris shows himself once again a first-rate story-teller. Gripping from start to finish.

P.S. For a list of all Charteris's Saint books (in two sections, because of length limitations) see my Listmanias.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A REVIEW OF 'THE SAINT IN NEW YORK' by LESLIE CHARTERIS

Written in the mid 1930s, 'THE SAINT IN NEW YORK' has been repeatedly republished, including as a recognised "classic" inter-war years thriller. For a variety of reasons, it is difficult to dispute its status as a masterpiece of its kind. The novel is a relentless and (at times) brutal account of Simon Templar's vengeance mission against some of the grubbier members of The Big Apple's criminal underworld.

Although penned during the era of The Great Depression, when President Roosevelt's New Deal was restoring hope and limited prosperity to The Land Of The Free, Charteris depicts New York and as a city stained by corruption and manipulated by organised crime. Through many vivid descriptions of the city's architecture and inhabitants, this feels more like Gotham City than New York. Indeed, there is something decidedly Batman-esque about The Saint's pursuit of his enemies, whose names have been provided by his benefactor, Mr Valcross.

Nevertheless, despite the novel's dark undertones, Charteris peppers the narrative with a liberal sprinkling of humour. Regardless of the level of danger which Templar faces (ranging from severe to extreme and somewhere in between), he always has time for a wise crack; a habit which leads one hoodlum to continually refer to him as "nuts". Indeed, The Saint's almost ludicrous responses to his enemy's threats resemble the kind of absurd dialogue that Groucho Marx was delivering on the cinema screen at the same period in history. Come to think of it, there are plenty of cigars in this book...

However, 'THE SAINT IN NEW YORK' is not a perfect example of its kind. Rather than building to peaks of excitement and peril, there is almost a numbing profusion of dangerous situations for Templar to face. No sooner does he escape one life-threatening scrape, another awaits, almost literally around the corner. Now, I know the aim of such books is to ask the reader to suspend belief as the hero performs miraculous escapes, but given the number of angry, insulted and heavily armed crooks after The Saint (and the number of times that he falls into their hands), it borders on the preposterous to suggest that not one of them would simply bump him off. By failing to do so, Charteris provides The Saint with almost superhuman powers, endorsed by the author's virtual idolising of his character. The continual references to his blue eyes border on a curious hero-worship by the author, which seems to rather force the reader's supposed attitude towards Templar.

That said, despite its flaws, 'THE SAINT IN NEW YORK' is a gritty and hard-hitting thriller. Although he inevitably survives, The Saint ends the novel in a state of both physical and emotional pain, staggering from a brilliant final chapter which alone justifies reading the novel. This finale actually provides Templar with a likeable realism and some sympathy, leaving the reader glad that the tarnished halo will shine on in many, many further adventures.
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VINE VOICEon 3 September 2014
Set in the days just after prohibition as criminal gangs look to switch their activities from bootlegging to kidnapping, 'The Saint in New York' puts Simon Templar up against New York's worst. The Saint books always offer breezy wit and charm - this is no exception. There is also a certain element of grit here too though: a police detective offers a justification for brutality in a corrupt system. When first published it must have had an element of reportage of real world events about it as well as the wish fulfillment that one man might, with a little luck, clear up the whole mess. Little wonder it was a great hit with the public both sides of the Atlantic.

This is good quality, easy to read, superior entertainment.
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on 5 June 2014
The breakthrough book in the Saint Saga. A hardboiled thriller with which Charteris stormed America.

I just want to make a general appreciation of the fact that these wonderful books are back in print - with excellent introductions by crime writers and other enthusiasts. These books which are not sufficiently well known these days are up there with P G Wodehouse, better than James Bond and much better than almost anything else in their genre.

I know of many people who will tell you that their lives, attitudes and resilience have benefitted from an early acquaintance with Simon Templar. Well, now he's back for a new generation. The Saint Goes On !
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 10 October 2013
Dip into a different world, different time. An Englishman in New York. Simon Templar gets the bad guy. Good introduction by Gary Dobbs.
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