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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blake's Magnificent Seven!, 3 April 2011
This review is from: The Casebook of Sexton Blake (Tales of Mystery & The Supernatural) (Paperback)
A Review Of `The Casebook Of Sexton Blake'

The last few years have seen a subtle, but nevertheless significant Sexton Blake revival. Two meaty compendiums of Blake's cases have been published for the 21st century reader, whist the BBC has recently produced a new (spoof) radio serial. The great detective and adventurer also boasts two of the finest tribute websites around, notably the remarkably thorough `Blakiana'. This follows a period of intense obscurity. Indeed, the last book devoted solely to Blake's adventures was published in 1989. How this contrasts with the great man's typical output in the first half of the 1900s. In that era, the name Sexton Blake was synonymous with mystery, thrills and adventure. The market was flooded with his cases. Unlike Sherlock Holmes, who featured in a modest 60 tales told by his creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, in contrast, Blake can boast to have starred in 50 TIMES as many stories!

So who IS Sexton Blake? Well, to many with very long memories, he was the "poor man's Sherlock Holmes" whose escapades were churned out in numerous cheaply-produced journals and periodicals. Certainly, there is some evidence to support the disparaging image of Blake. Among his 3000 cases, quality would inevitably suffer amid such a vast quantity. Likewise, the fact that he was effectively a consulting detective operating from his home in (wait for it) Baker Street does raise the eyebrows with scepticism. However, whilst Sexton Blake was very much born in the shadow of his neighbour, there is much to enjoy about his tales in their own right.

All of which brings us to `The Casebook Of Sexton Blake'* Here we have a collection of 7 of Blake's adventures from what the editor, David Stuart Davies, judges to be his `golden age' (1907-1923). It is not my intention to describe each of the stories in any detail. Suffice to say that here we have a meaty tome bursting with boys'-own thrills and spills. Although, the authors vary from story to story, the entertainment level barely falls below the dazzling. What is most remarkable about Sexton Blake is the sheer versatility of the man. In no more than 545 pages of action, he can be found in the jungles of Africa, aboard the sinking Titanic (renamed the Paleta) and on the football pitch wearing England's Three Lions. And that is just the tip of the iceberg! To be honest, as a character, Blake is fairly forgettable, but the scrapes in which he finds himself are memorable. Think Adam West's Batman crossed with Indiana Jones and James Bond and you're getting warm.

True, at times, passages of the stories creak like a floorboard in a haunted house, but this in itself reflects the more innocent age from which they date, as well as the authors' prolific outputs which often necessitated blunt story-telling. Nevertheless, I defy any fan of early thriller stories not to enjoy the seven rides on offer, albeit with tongue lodged firmly in cheek. In fact, my only minor quibble would be that the stories are presented in chronological order, when the more typical detective yarns would have been better suited to kick off the collection.

Having now completed `The Casebook Of Sexton Blake', the reader can enjoy some detective work of his / her own as the hunt for further exploits begins. With some 2993 stories to go, the chase is on!

Barty's Score: 9/10

* Itself a title borrowed from `The Casebook of...' you-know-who!
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44 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Fun!, 18 Jun. 2009
By 
M. Dowden (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Casebook of Sexton Blake (Tales of Mystery & The Supernatural) (Paperback)
At one time Sexton Blake was a household name throughout the land, although nowadays it has fallen into obscurity. Although I had heard of him up until now I had never actually read any of the stories. This book contains seven of the better tales written by six different authors. Inside you will find out more about Sexton Blake, his assistant the young Tinker, and of course his ever faithful bloodhound Pedro.

The Slave Market - Sir Richard Losely has been kidnapped in West Africa and the White Death is preparing to sell him and others into slavery. Blake and his team travel to the area to rescue Sir Richard. In their attempt to save Sir Richard they are assisted by Lobangu, who comes in very useful. Will the team be able to rescue Sir Richard, and will they find the fabled ruby mine as well?

A Football Mystery - Sir James has mysteriously disappeared. A US football team, the Crimson Ramblers thrash every British team they play. Could both of these occurences be related? As the Crimson Ramblers vs England match draws ever nearer will Blake be able to locate Sir James and find out why the Crimson Ramblers always win? This tale is still relevant today where there are always controversies about new advances in the sports world.

The Man From Scotland Yard - Blake has his first encounter with the criminal George Marsden Plummer. The policeman turned criminal has murder in mind, but will Blake be able to stop him?

The Law of the Sea - Blake is on the SS Paleta when it is struck by an iceberg. As the ship is sinking Blake is unable to prevent a jewellery robbery. Shortly afterwards one of the ship's officers apparently jumps into a lifeboat thus earning the ignominious title of a coward. In trying to prove the innocence of the officer and catch the jewel thief Blake has to travel to India and take place in a skirmish. Will Blake be able to solve the cases and capture the miscreant?

The Brotherhood of the Yellow Beetle - Wu Ling travels to London from China to kill those persons who may know of his plans. This is the first time Wu Ling and Blake encounter each other. Will Blake be able to prevent Wu Ling, and will Tinker escape the Glass Room?

A Case of Arson - An ingenious plot is hatched by the gentleman thief Dirk Dolland a.k.a. The Bat, and his cronies. With arson, theft and insurance fraud committed by the gang Blake tracks them to Paris to assist in their apprehension. Will he be successful or will he fail?

The Black Eagle - A man wrongfully imprisioned for murder eventually makes his escape. Vowing revenge the man is back in England and ready to kill those who he feels set him up. Can Blake prevent the killing and find out what really happened that night over twenty odd years ago in Paris?

All in all this book is a great read with its collection of tales about the great detective. Indeed Sexton Blake seems to be a cross between Sherlock Holmes and Richard Hannay, so if you like the stories about those two characters you will probably love this book. This is definitely boys own stuff full of adventure, and pure escapist literature.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Astounding Adventure! Astonishing Price!, 7 April 2011
By 
wolf (East Midlands, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Casebook of Sexton Blake (Tales of Mystery & The Supernatural) (Paperback)
Sexton Blake, hero of thousands of short stories, novels and Penny Dreadful tales, returns.

Despite the tag of `poor man's Sherlock Holmes', Blake is a rather different creation. The emphasis is much more on action. The tales generally lack the element of concealment and of literary puzzle that mystery stories rely on. They do not rely on a closed group of suspects, one of whom must have committed the crime, for instance. All the stories here are written more as thrilling tales. Very often the reader is all too well aware of the villain's identity, even whilst Blake has to use his ingenuity to puzzle it out.

In this collection, there are tales of stirring adventure: the Great Detective battles slavers in Africa (with more than a touch of King Solomon's Mines about it), uncovers dastardly underhand business on board a not-quite Titanic and tangles with his very own Yellow Peril foe (published at the same time as Sax Rohmer's more famous first Fu Manchu novel). There are also more straight forward detective stories: uncovering the what lies behind a case of fraud and arson, protecting a client from an escaped criminal or stopping the murder of the heirs of a noble family. They appear well chosen, giving a good variety of different stories and styles, although in fact all come from the beginning of the twentieth century - mostly just before the First World War and just before Sexton Blake's heyday.

These are great, undemanding fun. At the price, they are unbeatable value.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The casebook of Sexton Blake., 19 Mar. 2011
This review is from: The Casebook of Sexton Blake (Tales of Mystery & The Supernatural) (Paperback)
Enjoyed it. It took me back to just after the second world war years when I was interested
in these stories, that was when I was a very young lad.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a long time ago now, 15 May 2011
By 
W. Thompson "Akard Ryver" (Somerset) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Casebook of Sexton Blake (Tales of Mystery & The Supernatural) (Paperback)
It's been a long time now since I read anything on Sexton Blake so I am really looking forward to reading this book. Again Amazon have given me the chance at a very reasonable price to enjoy some of the classic old stories that you seldom get to see these days.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read, 27 July 2010
By 
R. Lowther - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Casebook of Sexton Blake (Tales of Mystery & The Supernatural) (Paperback)
I knew very little about Sexton Blake before reading this book but after Reading these entertaining stories I would definetly read more.

Some of the stories are outdated and some readers may find some characters less than PC but other stories could easily be written today.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Back to his youth, 23 Jun. 2013
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This review is from: The Casebook of Sexton Blake (Tales of Mystery & The Supernatural) (Paperback)
Could not resist getting this for my husband as he used to read him in comics years ago. Condition of book very good. Would but from here again.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fast-paced Novella, 10 Feb. 2013
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This review is from: The Casebook of Sexton Blake (Tales of Mystery & The Supernatural) (Paperback)
As an aspiring author (latest: Deadly Intrigue) I'm always looking for interesting ideas. This was my first look at the Sexton Blake novellas, and I was impressed. Each story is fast paced, with mystery and hooks everywhere to get you to read on. The authors break many 'rules' about writing: switching viewpoints, including an all-seeing commentary, as in 'He had not the slightest notion...'. And the adverbs are spread thickly.
But it works for the reader, and as thousands of stories were published, it worked well commercially.
Makes me think about what I'm writing next!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 6 Dec. 2014
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This review is from: The Casebook of Sexton Blake (Tales of Mystery & The Supernatural) (Paperback)
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Casebook of Sexton Blake., 6 April 2013
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This review is from: The Casebook of Sexton Blake (Tales of Mystery & The Supernatural) (Paperback)
I chose this rating because I like mysteries. I haven't read any Sexton Blake book before, but I'm sure I'll like it because it's a mystery book, and they probably will use forensic evidence to catch the guilty person(s).
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The Casebook of Sexton Blake (Tales of Mystery & The Supernatural)
The Casebook of Sexton Blake (Tales of Mystery & The Supernatural) by David Stuart Davies (Paperback - 5 Mar. 2009)
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