Simon Templar

From Academic Kids

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The Saint in a 1955 paperback edition.

Simon Templar is a fictional character in a long-running series of books by Leslie Charteris entitled The Saint.



Templar is known as The Saint due to his initials (ST), and also because of his tendency to do good deeds, despite his nefarious reputation. He sometimes uses the nom de guerre Sebastian Tombs and also calls himself by sundry other names, all with the initials S.T., such as Sullivan Titwillow and Sugarman Treacle - the Saint has a boyish sense of humour. He frequently leaves a 'calling card' at the scenes of his 'crimes', consisting of a stick drawing of a man with a halo, which is the logo of both the book series and the later 1960s TV series. (This image is visible on the book cover reproduced at right.)

Simon Templar started his career as a criminal, and burglary is often alluded to in the books. It is clear from the texts, however, that at the time of the books, all of his income derives from the pockets of the 'ungodly' (as he terms those who live by a less moral code than his own). There are several references to a 'ten percent collection fee' as he extracts large sums of money from his victims, the remainder being returned to its owners or given away. These unworthies include bent politicians, warmongers, indeed all the nastier forms of low life. "He claims he's a Robin Hood," bleats one of his victims, "but to me he's just a robbing hood."

The Saint has many partners in his escapades in the books, though none that lasted throughout the series. In the early books the most frequently recurring was Patricia Holm. Inspector Claude Eustace Teal could often be found attempting to put the Saint behind bars, although in the later books they can be found working in partnership. In the very earliest stories the Saint had a veritable band of compatriots, including Patricia Holm, Norman Kent, Archie Sheridan, Dicky Tremain (a character name that later appeared in Twin Peaks -- coincidence?), and Roger Conway. When most of these dropped out of the stories, the dimwitted but reliable thug Hoppy Uniatz (who gulped down Vat 69 like it was lemonade) was frequently found at Simon's side.

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Many Saint novels were reprinted in new editions in the 1960s to capitalize on the popular Roger Moore series.

The time period of the books begins in the 1920s and moves through the 1930s and 1940s quite recognisably as the series of about 45 books by Charteris progresses. In the early books most of the Saint's activities are clearly illegal (though directed at much worse characters). In the later books this becomes less true. In the books written during the period of World War II, The Saint (in common with many fictional maverick heroes) was recruited by the government to help with the war effort by tracking down spies and similar undercover work. The quality of writing also changes; early books have a freshness of spirit which becomes replaced to an extent by an air of cynicism in the later works. A few Saint stories crossed into the realms of science fiction and fantasy. Charteris started to step back from writing the books in the early 1960s. The last few titles released carried his name but he didn't write them; the last Saint novel to carry his name was published in 1973 but a number of additional books have appeared since then. Charteris died in 1993. A few additional Saint novels appeared around the time of the 1990s film starring Val Kilmer.

The character appeared in a string of movies in the 1930s and 40s, frequently portrayed by George Sanders. (He later appeared as a very similar character called The Falcon in a string of Falcon movies.) Many years later Roger Moore revived the role in a long-running television show The Saint (1962 - driving a Volvo P1800 with licence plates ST1). Since then there have been several other actors who played him in less successful TV series, most notably Return of the Saint (1978) starring Ian Ogilvy (who outdid Moore in his interpretation of the Saint, in the view of some fans). In the mid-1980s, the National Enquirer tabloid and other newspapers reported that Moore was planning to produce a movie based upon The Saint with Pierce Brosnan as Templar, but it was never made. A pilot for a The Saint in Manhattan series starring Australian actor Andrew Clarke (who with his moustache bore a passing similarity to Tom Selleck) was shown in 1987, produced by Don Taffner, but it never progressed beyond the single pilot episode. That production featured another character from the Charteris book The Saint in New York, Insp John Fernack of the NYPD, while Templar got about in a black Lamborghini, also bearing the ST1 licence plate. In 1989, a series of six movies was made for Britain's ITV by Taffner, starring Simon Dutton.

A film with Val Kilmer in the title role was finally made in 1997, but diverged far from the Charteris books, though it did revive Templar's use of aliases. Whereas the original Saint resorted to aliases which all had the initials S.T., Kilmer's character used names of Christian saints. The film mirrored some aspects of Charteris's own life, notably his origins in the Far East, though not in an orphanage as the film portrayed.

The Saint book series

By Leslie Charteris unless otherwise noted. Most Saint books were collections of novellas or short stories, some of which were published separately. Many of the books have also been published under different titles over the years; the titles used here are the more common ones for each book.

Year First publication title
(and author if not Charteris)
Stories Alternate titles
1928 Meet the Tiger novel The Saint Meets the Tiger
Scoundrels Ltd.
Crooked Gold
The Saint in Danger
1930 The Last Hero novel The Creeping Death
Sudden Death
The Saint Closes the Case
The Saint and the Last Hero
1930 Enter the Saint "The Man Who was Clever"
"The Policeman with Wings"
"The Lawless Lady"
1930 Knight Templar novel The Avenging Saint
1931 Featuring the Saint "The Logical Adventure"
"The Wonderful War"
"The Man Who Could Not Die"
1931 Alias the Saint "Story of a Dead Man"
"The Impossible Crime"
"The National Debt"
1931 She Was a Lady novel The Saint Meets His Match
Angels of Doom
1931 Wanted for Murder compilation of previously published stories The Saint Wanted for Murder
1932 The Holy Terror "The Inland Revenue"
"The Million Pound Day"
"Melancholy Journey of Mr. Teal"
The Saint Vs. Scotland Yard
1932 Getaway novel The Saint's Getaway
Property of the Deceased
Two Men from Munich
1933 Once More the Saint "The Gold Standard"
"Man from St. Louis"
"The Death Penalty"
The Saint and Mr. Teal
1933 The Brighter Buccaneer "The Brain Workers"
"The Export Trade"
"The Tough Egg"
"The Bad Baron"
"The Brass Buddha"
"The Perfect Crime"
"The Unpopular Landlord"
"The New Swindle"
"The Five Thousand Pound Kiss"
"The Blind Spot"
"The Unusual Ending"
"The Unblemished Bootlegger"
"The Appalling Politician"
"The Owner's Handicap"
"The Green Goods Man"
1934 The Misfortunes of Mr. Teal "The Simon Templar Foundation"
"The Higher Finance"
"The Art of Alibi"
The Saint in London
The Saint in England
1934 Boodle "The Ingenious Colonel"
"The Unfortunate Financier"
"The Newdick Helicopter"
"The Prince of Cherkessia"
"The Treasure of Turk's Lane"
"The Sleepless Knight"
"The Uncritical Publisher"
"The Noble Sportsman"
"The Damsel in Distress"
"The Loving Brothers"
"The Tall Timber"
"The Art Photographer"
"The Man Who Liked Toys"
"The Mixture as Before"
The Saint Intervenes
1934 The Saint Goes On "The High Fence"
"The Elusive Ellshaw"
"Case of the Frightened Innkeeper"
1935 The Saint in New York novel none
1936 The Pirate Saint novel Saint Overboard
1937 The Ace of Knaves "The Spanish War"
"The Unlicensed Victuallers"
"The Beauty Specialist"
The Saint in Action
1937 Thieves' Picnic novel The Saint Bids Diamonds
1938 Prelude for War novel The Saint Plays with Fire
The Saint and the Sinners
1939 Follow the Saint "The Miracle Tea Party"
"The Invisible Millionaire"
"The Affair of Hogsbotham"
1939 The First Saint Omnibus compilation of previously released stories Arrest the Saint
1939 The Happy Highwayman "The Man Who was Lucky"
"The Smart Detective"
"The Wicked Cousin"
"The Well-Meaning Mayor"
"The Benevolent Burglary"
"The Star Producers"
"The Charitable Countess"
"The Mug's Game"
"The Man Who Liked Ants"
1940 The Saint in Miami novel none
1942 The Saint Goes West "Arizona"
"Palm Springs"
1942 The Saint Two in One compilation of previously published stories none
1943 The Saint at Large compilation of previously published stories none
1944 The Saint on Guard "The Black Market"
"The Sizzling Saboteur"
1945 Paging the Saint compilation of previously published stories none
1946 The Saint Sees it Through novel none
1948 Call for the Saint "The King of the Beggars"
"The Masked Angel"
1948 Saint Errant "Judith: The Naughty Niece"
"Iris: The Old Routine"
"Lida: The Foolish Frail"
"Jeannine: The Lovely Sinner"
"Lucia: The Homecoming of Amadeo Urselli"
"Teresa: The Uncertain Widow"
"Luella: The Saint and the Double Badger"
"Emily: The Doodlebug"
"Dawn: The Darker Drink"
1951 The Second Saint Omnibus compilation of previously published stories none
1953 The Saint in Europe "Paris: The Covetous Headsman"
"Amsterdam: The Angel's Eye"
"The Rhine: The Rhine Maiden"
"Tirol: The Golden Journey"
"Lucerne: The Loaded Tourist"
"Jaune-les-Pins: The Spanish Cow"
"Rome: The Latin Touch"
1955 The Saint on the Spanish Main "Bimini: The Effete Angler"
"Nassau: The Arrow of God"
"Jamaica: The Black Commissar"
"Puerto Rico: The Unkind Philanthropist"
"Virgin Islands: The Old Treasure Story"
"Haiti: The Questing Tycoon"
1956 The Saint Around the World "Bermuda: The Patient Playboy"
"England: The Talented Husband"
"France: The Reluctant Nudist"
"Middle East: The Lovelorn Sheik"
"Malaya: The Pluperfect Lady"
"Vancouver: The Sporting Chance"
1957 Thanks to the Saint "The Bunco Artists"
"The Happy Suicide"
"The Good Medicine"
"The Unescapable Word"
"The Perfect Sucker"
"The Careful Terrorist"
1958 Señor Saint "The Pearls of Peace"
"The Revolution Market"
"The Romantic Matron"
"The Golden Frog"
1958 Concerning the Saint compilation of previously published stories none
1959 The Saint to the Rescue "The Ever-Loving Spouse"
"The Fruitful Land"
"The Percentage Player"
"The Water Merchant"
"The Gentle Ladies"
"The Element of Doubt"
1959 The Saint Cleans Up compilation of previously published stories none
1962 Trust the Saint "The Helpful Pirate"
"The Bigger Game"
"The Cleaner Care"
"The Intemperate Reformer"
"The Uncured Ham"
"The Convenient Monster"
1963 The Saint in the Sun "Cannes: The Better Mousetrap"
"St. Tropez: The Ugly Impresario"
"England: The Prodigal Miser"
"Nassau: The Fast Women"
"Florida: The Jolly Undertaker"
"Lucerne: The Russian Prisoner"
"Provence: The Hopeless Heiress"
1964 Vendetta for the Saint
(Harry Harrison)
novel none
1968 The Saint on TV
(Fleming Lee, John Kruse)
"The Death Game"
"The Power Artist"
1968 The Saint Returns
(Fleming Lee, John Kruse, D.R. Motton, Leigh Vance)
"The Dizzy Daughter"
"The Gadget Lovers"
1968 The Saint and the Fiction Makers
(Fleming Lee, John Kruse)
novel none
1969 The Saint Abroad
(Fleming Lee, Michael Pertwee)
"The Art Collectors"
"The Persistent Patriots"
1970 The Saint in Pursuit
(Fleming Lee, Leslie Charteris)
novel none
1971 The Saint and the People Importers
(Fleming Lee, Leslie Charteris)
novel none
1974 Saints Alive compilation of previously published stories none
1975 Catch the Saint
(Fleming Lee, Norman Worker)
"The Masterpiece Merchant"
"The Adoring Socialite"
1976 The Saint and the Hapsburg Necklace
(Christopher Short)
novel none
1977 Send for the Saint
(Peter Bloxsom, John Kruse, Donald James)
"The Midas Double"
"The Pawn Gambit"
1978 The Saint in Trouble
(Graham Weaver, John Kruse, Terence Feely)
"The Imprudent Professor"
"The Red Sabbath"
1979 The Saint and the Templar Treasure
(Graham Weaver, Donne Avenell)
novel none
1979 The Saint: Good as Gold compilation of previously published stories none
1980 Count on the Saint
(Graham Weaver, Donne Avenell)
"The Pastors' Problem"
"The Unsaintly Santa"
1982 The Fantastic Saint compilation of previously published stories none
1983 Salvage for the Saint
(Peter Bloxsom, John Kruse)
novel none
1997 The Saint
(Burl Barer, Jonathan Hensleigh)
film novelization none
1997 Capture the Saint
(Burl Barer)
novel none

In addition to the above, according to Charteris also wrote a number of Saint adventures in the French language, many of which have yet to be published in English.

Movies (and actors playing The Saint)

Missing image
Ian Ogilvy played Templar in a short-lived 1970s TV series.

Television series

Compare with:

James Bond, The Persuaders!, Matt Helm, The Avengers, To Catch a Thief, Robin Hood

External links


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