Matt Forney
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The Saint Closes the Case by Leslie Charteris

the-saint-closes-the-caseThe Saint Closes the Case (also known as The Last Hero) is the third book in Leslie Charteris’ Saint series, and the first in which things start to go off the rails. Departing from the Robin Hood meets Sherlock Holmes tone of the previous booksThe Saint Closes the Case is a thriller with elements of science fiction, also departing from its predecessors in terms of tone. The story concerns Simon Templar and his agents’ efforts to stop a mad scientist from creating a doomsday weapon capable of starting a new world war. Yes, it’s something of a trite storyline, particularly eighty years after it was first published, but The Saint Closes the Case excels through its sharp dialogue and well-defined characters:

It occurred to him afterwards that there was something that Norman could have done. He could have tied up the fat man and the lean man, both of whom were now conscious and free to move as much as they dared. That ought to have been done before Simon left. They ought to have thought of it—or Simon ought to have thought of it. But the Saint couldn’t, reasonably, have been expected to think of it, or anything else like it, at such a time. Roger knew both the Saint and Pat too well to be able to blame Simon for the omission. Simon had been mad when he left. The madness had been there all the time, since half-past nine, boiling up in fiercer and fiercer waves behind all the masks of calmness and flippancy and patience that the Saint had assumed at intervals, and it had been at its whitest heat behind that last gay smile and gesture from the door.

The Saint Closes the Case is defined by its focus on Norman Kent, one of the Saint’s underlings, rather than the Saint himself. This focus helps to humanize the story by moving the center of attention from the near-superhuman Templar to one of his flawed lieutenants, making the novel’s story and conclusion all the more poignant. In contrast to the hackmeisters of today who write novels with an eye to keep the series alive (and generating money) for as long as possible, Charteris places the story first and foremost.

If you enjoy adventure stories, The Saint Closes the Case is worth a read.

Click here to buy The Saint Closes the Case.

Read Next: Enter the Saint by Leslie Charteris