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Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Sexton Blake Library (6th series)


For nearly a century, Sexton Blake was the most written about character in British fiction. He starred in approximately four thousand stories by nearly two hundred authors. A cross between Sherlock Holmes and Indiana Jones, he was a publishing phenomenon, read by young and old alike.

SEXTON BLAKE AND THE GREAT WAR
Rebellion ISBN 978-1781-08782-4, 16 April 2020, 430pp, £8.99. Available via Amazon.

This collection is comprised of three stories from Union Jack magazine dating from World War 1 and the lead up to it:

THE CASE OF THE NAVAL MANOEUVRES by Norman Goddard (1908).
Sexton Blake catches the Kaiser spying on British naval manoeuvres, dangles from a Zeppelin, impersonates a German soldier, fights the Kaiser on top of a train, is thrown into the Thames by Anarchists, and forces the German Emperor into a confrontation with the British Prime Minister.

ON WAR SERVICE by Cecil Hayter (1916).
Sexton Blake ventures into occupied Holland to deliver a vital despatch to a secret agent, fights enemy spies, escapes from a burning house, is pursued by the German cavalry, disguises himself as a simple labourer, captures and impersonates enemy agents, faces a firing squad, and makes a daring escape through a secret tunnel.

PRIVATE TINKER — A.S.C. by William Murray Graydon (1915).
Tinker makes a mistake, joins up under an assumed name, is sent to the front line, evades enemy troops, and is blown up. Blake enters a battle zone and gets shot. Tinker flies a reconnaissance mission, crash-lands behind enemy lines, causes an enemy supply train to crash into a German troop carrier, liberates French prisoners, rescues a colonel, foils attempted sabotage, and is declared a hero.

SEXTON BLAKE VERSUS THE MASTER CROOKS
Rebellion ISBN 978-1781-08789-3, 1 October 2020 [originally due 25 June 2020], 430pp, £8.99. Available via Amazon.

This second collection is comprised of three stories from Union Jack featuring characters from the first wave of master crooks.

THE CASE OF THE MAN IN MOTLEY by Anthony Skene (George N. Philips) (1919).
Sexton Blake literally crosses swords with the most stylish of his enemies; engages in a car chase; discovers a murdered clown; fights on the brink of an incinerator; and recovers a stolen diamond.

PRINCE PRETENCE by Lewis Jackson (Jack Lewis) (1921)
A labour leader is abducted and impersonated by Leon Kestrel; the French lottery is won; Sexton Blake's efforts are sabotaged and he is arrested; an imposter is exposed; a master crook is caught; a grotesque dwarf is visited; Tinker is kidnapped for ransom and threatened with being walled up in the Paris catacombs; Blake comes to the rescue; and the villains, though defeated, escape.

THE WONDER MAN'S CHALLENGE by Edwy Searles Brooks (1921)
Waldo the Wonder-Man robs a bank, climbs a sheer wall, walks a tightrope, steals a biplane and a necklace, and challenges Sexton Blake to catch him. Blake puts Pedro on the trail, spots a deception, and has a confrontation in a pub. Tinker picks a pocket. Waldo climbs up a chimney, swings onto a train, and flees defeated.

SEXTON BLAKE ALLIES
Rebellion ISBN 978-0781-08795-4, 8 December 2020 [originally due 6 August 2020], 280pp, £8.99. Available via Amazon.

Comprised of three more "Golden Age" stories from Union Jack, in which Sexton Blake discusses the various reporters, adventurers, Scotland Yard men and private detectives with whom he worked.

THE CASE OF THE SEVENTH KEY by W. W. Sayer (1925)
A pocket is picked, Blake is deceived, a murder is committed, the Orient Express is boarded, Secret Service agent Granit Grant enters the fray, crown jewels are at risk, Blake is poisoned and left tied up on a railway track, horses are commandeered, and a chase ends in Prague.

THE PROBLEM OF THE DOUBLE FOUR by Gwyn Evans (1927)
An assassination fails, precious emerald's are stolen, Derek "Splash" Page gets a lead, a revolution brews, the Double Four starts plotting, a female impersonator takes Tinker to a haunted house, Blake falls through a trap door, and a king crook is revealed to be a real king.

TREE OF EVIL by Rex Hardinge (1932)
Sir Richard Losely is taunted by a disembodied voice and succumbs to poison, Lobangu has a prophetic dream, Blake acquires an additional assistant, a native uprising occurs, hungry crocodiles are evaded, battle is engaged, and a malicious spirit is exposed.

SEXTON BLAKE ON THE HOME FRONT
Rebellion ISBN 978-1781-08802-0, 18 February 2021 [originally due 1 October 2020], 250pp, £8.99. Available via Amazon.

The fourth thrilling collection of classic stories welcoming back the adventuring detective as brilliant as Sherlock Holmes and as daring as James Bond.
    This collection is comprised of two Sexton Blake Library stories from the 1940s, focusing on the Second World War and the changing nature of his investigations in its aftermath.

THE MAN FROM OCCUPIED FRANCE by Anthony Parsons (1941)
A woman is wrongly condemned as a spy, her fiancé takes desperate measures, Sexton Blake detects a frame up, a nest of espionage agents is routed, a mission to occupied France is undertaken, Nazis are evaded, a dying man gives up his secrets, and a spymaster is exposed.

THE HOUSE ON THE HILL by John Drummond (John Newton Chance) (1945)
An unwelcome marriage proposal is made, a man doesn't know whether he's committed a murder, a mysterious house gives up its secrets, suspects are gathered and a theory expounded, Tinker is bound to an infernal mechanism, and shots are fired.

SEXTON BLAKE: NEW ORDER
Rebellion ISBN 978-178108807-4, 29 April 2021, 432pp, £8.99. Available via Amazon.

FLYING SAUCERS, MAD SCIENTISTS AND DOUBLE-CROSSING VILLAINS
The intrepid Sexton Blake enters the roaring
'60s and it's all happening. Psychics and aliens clash on a secret volcanic base as the fate of the world lies in peril; the hunters become the hunted as a series of horrific murders strike a peaceful village; a scientist uses new techniques to bring ancient creatures to life; and a brilliantly planned heist gets double-crossed and triple-crossed!
    The New Age brings in a new era for the famous detective and things are getting interesting.

1 comment:

  1. I've read a few Sexton Blake stories - the ones published in the Wordsworth Editions paperback a few years ago. They were fairly enjoyable. I'll have to think about picking up some of these new collections.

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