Publishing: Dirk Dolland makes his debut, as does his creator, Robert Murray Graydon. Graydon, born in America in 1890, was the son of the prolific Blake author William Murray Graydon. He moved to England with his family at the turn of the century and wrote his first published (non-Blake) story in a school exercise book. His subsequent contributions to the Sexton Blake saga are among the most popular ever; he created Mr. Reece and the Criminals' Confederation, Doctor Satira, Paul Cynos, and the wonderful Detective-Inspector Coutts. Robert Murray Graydon died before his father, aged just 47, in 1937.
Serious paper shortages cause a large number of periodicals to close or reduce their length but the popularity of Sexton Blake is such that, rather than shorten the stories, a smaller typeface is used.
Blake: Sexton Blake's Scotland Yard colleague and personal friend Detective-Inspector George Coutts makes his debut.
Notes: Story features Captain Horatio Peak. This is a reprint of a serial THE MEN WHO CHANGED PLACES which ran in DREADNOUGHT issues 68 to 83 in 1913. See the original instalments for the story review.
Notes: Story features Count Ivor Carlac and Professor Kew. This was adapted as a non-Blake tale (he was replaced by Ferrers Locke) entitled PERIL IN PERSIA which appeared in THE BOYS' FRIEND LIBRARY second series issue 398 (1933).
Notes: In the South American Republic of Gualador, mining engineer Richard Cardross is employed by the ex-president, Paolo Vaztelligo, and soon falls in love with that man's daughter, Juanita. When Cardross is given papers describing the location of a fabled silver mine, he mounts an expedition to find it, determined to make himself rich so he might marry the girl. He succeeds but immediately upon his return is arrested and thrown into prison. Juanita's servant helps him to escape and tells him that his incarceration was ordered by Vaztelligo who, in the months that Cardross was away, became ambassador to England and fell under the spell of Professor Kew. Fleeing the country in a small boat, Cardross almost dies of exposure before being picked up by a British vessel. He is taken to a London hospital where, some weeks later, he tells his story to Sexton Blake. Shortly afterward, he is removed from the hospital and held captive by Kew and Count Ivor Carlac. Kew has hypnotised Vaztelligo into believing that he stole government documents and is using this as a means to blackmail the ambassador into helping the crooks locate the mine. When Kew learns that Cardross has a map, which he left at the hospital, he hypnotises him and commands him to retrieve it. Helpless to resist, the young engineer complies, but while returning to the house where Carlac and Kew are hiding with their helper, Pauline, he is followed by Tinker and Pedro. Tinker reaches through a window, snatches the map, and flees with Kew in hot pursuit. After receiving a bullet to the shoulder, Tinker inadvertently evades the doctor by falling into a pit in an allotment and getting knocked unconscious. The villains flee, while Pedro — found and returned to Blake by a policeman — leads the detective to his assistant. The Foreign Office gives Blake permission to travel to Gualador to try to claim the mine before the crooks. A man named Carlo, who is the brother of Juanita's servant, arrives on the scene to offer the detective his support. Together, they set sail for South America, leaving Tinker to recuperate in a convalescent home. A fortnight later, much recovered from his wound, the youngster is visited by Juanita, who persuades him to join her in following the detective to her native country. En route, a man tries to poison Pedro before then attacking Tinker. After subduing him, letters are discovered that prove him to be in Carlac's pay. They also reveal that Carlac — thanks to a recommendation from Vaztelligo — has been made governor of the remote San Bruno prison, which is close to the rumoured location of the silver mine. Here, Cardross has been incarcerated and is being tortured. However, his willpower has returned full force, he can no longer be hypnotised, and he refuses to reveal the whereabouts of the mine. With an American prisoner, he starts to plot his escape ... a prospect made all the more possible when a new convict arrives and turns out to be Sexton Blake! Before plans can be laid, though, a riot erupts and there's a mass break out. Carried along by the mob, Blake and Cardross quickly take command of it and lead it into the Black Valley. Tinker and Juanita have by this time already arrived there and are making their way toward the mine. Carlo, sent by Blake to locate the same, has joined forces with them, and Carlac and Kew are also drawing close. Soldiers recapture the escapees but their commander is surprised to find that Blake is carrying documents that name him as prison governor, supplanting Carlac. Blake orders that the convicts be led back to San Bruno there to be treated much more fairly. He then proceeds to the mine where all the principals fight it out. Kew and Carlac are defeated but the latter has the documents that Vaztelligo has supposedly stolen and uses them to bargain for his and Carlac's safe getaway.
Notes: The Foreign Office commissions Sexton Blake to deliver a document concerning a shipment of armaments to an agent named Schmidt in Holland. Even before he's left England, the detective is assaulted by enemy spies, but he fights through and, with Tinker, crosses the Channel and makes his way to the rendezvous in Antwerp. They find Schmidt dying, having just been attacked, but he lasts long enough to tell them that the papers must be given to Captain van Zyl in the frontier town of Stiltz. A company of Germans arrive. Blake and Tinker take refuge on the roof but, when the enemy sets the house ablaze, are forced to flee across a beam to the next building. In that house, a Belgian assists them by guiding them through underground passages to safety. The next morning, disguised as Dutch peasants, they team up with a trader named Jean and are able to pass through the German barriers that surround the city. Out in the countryside, en route to Stiltz, they are set upon by three cavalrymen, who pierce their disguises and expose them as Britishers. Blake has no option but to shoot them dead. He hides the bodies and horses and then Jean leads the way across country in order that they avoid all the checkpoints. That evening, they rest in the loft of a farmer's barn, eat a makeshift meal, and are about to sleep when eight troopers arrive and stable their horses below. After eavesdropping and learning that a five thousand mark reward is being offered for their capture dead or alive, Blake, Tinker and Jean steal the horses and flee. They now have no choice but to use the main road to their destination and, inevitably, it is patrolled. When they are stopped and challenged, they put up a fight and are separated from Jean in the darkness and confusion. They make a dash for it, swimming across a canal in the dark to gain the towing-path on the other side, along which they proceed until they come to an inn. Two American agents are inside — working to aid the Germans — and, with the landlord's cooperation, Blake and Tinker quickly overpower them, have them bound and gagged and locked in a cellar, and steal their clothes and passports. When cavalry troops show up, the detectives masquerade as the Americans and are offered an escort to Stiltz. They accept, and, in that town, Blake locates Captain van Zyl and hands over the precious document. The next morning, the two real American agents turn up and Blake and Tinker are taken prisoner. They face a firing squad but are saved at the last moment by van Zyl who, as Burgomaster of the town, has the authority to take them in his charge. He does so and locks them up, promising to assist them to the coast in the morning. Later, a vengeful German officer enters their cell to murder them but Blake tackles and kills him. Van Zyl arrives via a secret tunnel and guides them through it to a canal. They sail to the coast and out to sea where they board a British destroyer and bid the Dutch agent farewell. Mission accomplished!
Notes: An American named Michael Swift has designed a device to help Britain counter the threat posed by Zeppelins but he is concerned that German agents are planning to seize the blueprints. A young aeronautical scientist and pilot named Jack Prendergast is sent to the inventor's home — Glebelands in the village of Edmundlees — to assess the work. After the meeting, Prendergast boards a train back to London and promptly vanishes from it. The government asks Sexton Blake to investigate. Inspector Harker of Scotland Yard is also on the case. The initial investigation seems to suggest that Prendergast has faked his own abduction. Trying to find out more from Swift, though, seems impossible; the inventor is almost insane with paranoia and refuses to see anyone. Blake returns to Baker Street where he receives a letter from Prendergast pleading for a meeting at a secluded wharf. When he and Tinker arrive there, they are confronted by a masked gang from which they narrowly escape. After a night of solid deduction, Blake comes up with a hypothesis: what if the Prendergast who faked his own disappearance wasn't the real Prendergast? That would suggest that the real airman vanished while at the house — which, in turn, suggests that Swift might be responsible... in which case, maybe he isn't Michael Swift at all! Only one man could carry off such a daring masquerade... Leon Kestrel! Blake returns to Edmundlees in his plane, the Grey Panther, followed by Tinker in the car. That night, they break into the grounds of Glebelands and witness Kestrel sending a bound and gagged Prendergast into the air in a balloon; the airman will drift out to sea and die of exposure, murdered by Kestrel who is in the pay of the Germans. Blake chases the balloon in the Grey Panther but is joined in the air by another plane, piloted by the Master Mummer. A dogfight ensues which Blake wins; Kestrel parachutes out of his falling plane and makes his getaway. A bullet through the balloon sends it floating down into the sea where Prendergast is picked up by a destroyer.
Notes: My issue is missing its cover. Story features Humble Begge.
Notes: Jack, the son of bank manager Clinton Lavington, is an expert builder of safes and strongboxes, but he's now joined up, determined to fight for his country. Before being mobilised, he proposes to his sweetheart, his family's young governess, Mamie Sumpter, who had a harsh childhood thanks to her criminal father. She accepts, and Jack goes to ask permission from his father, who is in the family library examining a valuable diamond tiara that Lady Merston has given into his care as security against a loan. The old man locks it in the safe prior to taking it to the bank on the morrow. Jack notes that he could crack the safe in under half an hour. He then declares his intention to marry Mamie but his father forbids it, opining that the daughter of a crook is unworthy of the family name. Mamie overhears the two men quarrelling and protests that she cannot marry Jack until his father consents to it. Jack, furious with his father, storms from the house, leaving his coat behind. Meanwhile, back in the library, Clinton Lavington sees a face at the window and fears that the past has come back to haunt him. The following night, during a rainstorm, a down-on-his-luck cracksman breaks into the Lavington house. He appropriates Jack's coat before then getting to work on the safe. When Mamie, who cannot sleep, enters the library to fetch a book, she is astonished to find the burglar at work and, by a fateful coincidence, to discover that he is her father, George Sumpter. They both hide when they hear Clinton Lavington approaching. The banker enters the room and Sumpter knocks hims senseless and flees. Terrified, Mamie takes to her bed and remains there until dawn. That same morning, Lady Merston calls upon Sexton Blake. She informs him that Lavington has been stabbed to death and her tiara stolen. Blake accepts her commission to recover it. He, Tinker and Pedro travel to the Lavington house where they find Detective-Segeant College on the case (Detective-Inspector Martin is on holiday). The Scotland Yard man states that Jack Lavington is the killer, the khaki armlet from his coat having been found clutched in the dead man's hand. Blake, however, is doubtful. Examination of the clues leads the criminologist to deduce the presence of a woman in the affair. He also calculates that, while the burglar undoubtedly knocked Clinton Lavington down, it was a second man, who entered the room a little later, who plunged a knife into his heart. The police, though, are resolute and when Jack is found unconscious on a London road after being hit by a car, he is taken to hospital and promptly arrested. Circumstantial evidence is weighed against him but when Blake identifies Mamie as the girl who was present, her story leads him to her father, whom he tracks to a pawnbroker. Just as George Sumpter is about to sell the tiara, Blake intervenes and takes possession of it. He lets the burglar loose on the condition he goes straight. Further clues enable Pedro to follow a trail to a Spaniard who, when cornered, confesses to the murder and tells a story of how the banker once cheated him. The man then commits suicide by poison. Jack is proven innocent. He and Mamie marry.
Trivia: It is stated that Blake and Tinker have, in recent weeks, conducted a number of investigations alone, independent of one another.
Blatant instances here of Blake surreptitiously appropriating evidence from a crime site!
Real musicians Olga, Elga, and Eli Hudson receive a mention.
This issue has a superb cover illustration by Arthur Jones which portrays Blake at his most Holmesian.
Notes: In the guise of Sexton Blake, Leon Kestrel obtains a monoplane, flies to Bleakmoor Prison, and secures the release of Shanghai Jim. When Blake learns of this, he searches for the Chinaman in London's opium dens. In one, he finds an athletic young soldier named Neil Munro in the grip of the drug. He takes the Captain back to Baker Street where he learns that Munro is seeking forgetfulness after returning from a tough time at Ypres only to find that his father and his sweetheart, Sheila, have vanished. The father, a chemist, had invented an aniline formula for dye — '913' — which has the commercial potential to undermine Germany's industry. This suggests that his disappearance is suspicious — and this proves to be the case when Blake discovers the Professor has been gassed to death in his secret laboratory. The finger of suspicion points to a rival chemist, M. Verdin, but also, it seems, Sheila was complicit in the crime. However, this turns out to be false — the the girl is being held prisoner by Verdin and Kestrel. With Detective-Inspector Harker, Sexton Blake sets a trap for the criminals. He rescues the girl and catches Verdin but Kestrel gets away.
Trivia: There is a reference to Professor Moriarty in this tale: "His name is Leon Kestrel, the most scientific and the most dangerous arch-criminal in the two hemispheres since the death of Moriarty."
Rating: ★★☆☆☆ This gets off to a good start but falls apart halfway through. Kestrel's role in the story is minimal.
Notes: Anzac Geoffrey Cole arrives in London from Flanders hoping to stay with his sister, Ruth, who emigrated from Australia with her ne'er-do-well husband, Edmund Grierlees. Cole has been instructed to meet his sister in the garden at 35A Martel Square. Upon arrival, though, he is attacked, stabbed in the arm, and barely gets away. He heads for a Turkish bath where he is treated by a doctor named Cranston Bliss. Sexton Blake, who also happens to be at the baths, is called by Superintendent Headley to attend a murder scene at 35A Martel Square. He meets Grierlees, whose guest, Count Boris Ladovski, was the victim. Grierlees gives a description of the glimpsed murderer which fits the man Blake had seen with the doctor at the baths. Later, the doctor poses as a friend of Blake's and views the body of Ladovski. He finds evidence that Cole is innocent and gives him shelter at his home. Blake visits Bliss and is told the whole story by Cole. He promises the soldier four days' grace before the police will be called. Tinker keeps watch on 35A and witnesses Bliss arranging a meeting between Ruth and her brother. He also sees that the woman has been followed by Carter, Edmund Grierlees's butler. When Tinker tries to shadow this man, he is captured, bound and left in Carter's house. The 'butler', it seems, is not an employee at all, but a co-conspirator, a German spy, and the murderer of Ladovski, who had been a political enemy of Germany. The planned reunion of Cole and his sister goes ahead in the back of Bliss's car, where Ruth admits that she made a mistake in marrying Edmund. Bliss drives them to an empty house, which belongs to his cousin, and tells them to stay there for the next three days. However, he has been followed by Edmund and Carter, who call the police. An inspector arrives and arrests Cole — but only for the villain's benefit. When Edmund and Carter leave, the inspector reveals that he is acting on Sexton Blake's orders. Later that evening, Tinker breaks free of his bonds and races to Baker Street where Cranston Bliss is waiting. Together they go to Martel Square where they find Blake gassed and locked in a shed. Bliss is able to save the detective. Grierlees and Carter flee to a Scottish port to take a ship for the Argentine. Bliss and Tinker follow. Tinker, with a police officer, finds and arrests Grierlees but the villain is shot by Carter who then runs. Tinker chases him to the quay where the villain tries to escape in a rowing boat. His journey comes to an end when Bliss flings his considerable weight into the boat, smashing and sinking it. Carter is thrown against a pylon and killed. Grierlees also dies but not before making a full confession.
Notes: Sexton Blake is amazed to receive a visit at Baker Street from Leon Kestrel. The arch-criminal wants the detective to grant him dispensation to steal a shipment of diamonds from a crooked dealer named Max Obbsfelder, something Blake refuses to do. Obbsfelder, a Dutchman, is due to take the diamonds to Holland where they are to be cut for a Rajah's crown. Blake warns him that an attempt will be made to steal them and is hired to protect the gems. That night, the diamonds are stolen from beneath Blake's nose in extremely mysterious circumstances. Tinker manages to capture one of Kestrel's lieutenants, Shanghai Jim, but even this doesn't throw light on how the burglary was performed. After further investigation, though, Blake concludes that it was a put up job arranged by Kestrel and Obbsfelder to gain possession of the diamonds while also claiming insurance. The detective keeps this revelation to himself for the moment and allows Shanghai Jim to lead him into a trap. Taken prisoner by Kestrel he is strapped to a chair and wired up to a nearby power line. His opponent pulls the switch to execute the detective but Tinker and Inspector Harker have followed as planned and have cut the line. They launch an attack but Kestrel drops a smoke grenade and escapes. Blake returns to Obbsfelder's house and, acting on a clue he picked up earlier, secretly visits the wine cellar where he discovers the jewels hidden in wine bottles. He leaves a note, ostensibly from Kestrel, instructing the Dutchman to visit the villain at his headquarters, then follows him. Just before Obbsfelder enters a house in the West End, a roadsweeper hands Blake a note which, he says, he was paid by a gentleman to do. It reads: Congratulations and condolences. We will cry quits. But another time — KESTREL. Blake proceeds to the house and arrests the diamond merchant. When he returns to talk to the sweeper he finds him gone... but another note has been left — and it reveals that the sweeper was Kestrel in one of his many disguises!
Trivia: There is a surprisingly insightful passage about Sexton Blake's modus operandi in this story: 'Although possessed of a faculty for criminal investigation which had no equal in the whole world, a man of supernaturally clear mind, and a master of mathematical logic, Sexton Blake had also the weaknesses which are so often attendant upon genius.In not a few of his cases it is possible that a man of less imagination and more commonplace and prosaic methods would have met with greater success — at least, in the latter phases of investigation.This was more particularly true in relation to those cases where Blake was pitted against a master-crook such as Leon Kestrel, Baron Beauremon, or Marsden Plummer. In these cases the detective was always conscious of the "duel" element and the contest of wit against wit.He loved nothing better than to feel, as he did with Kestrel, that he was fighting a man whose cunning called forth the very highest degree of Blake's faculty; and he loved the contest to be waged with a degree of mutual sportsmanship.Thus, against his better judgment, he was often tempted to tackle a job single-handed, or, at least, only with Tinker; and this lack of adequate support had often enabled his prey to slip through his fingers at the last minute.'
Notes: Cranston Bliss (see The Martel Square Affair, UNION JACK issue 653) is staying on a house boat, looking after Pedro, and awaiting the arrival of Sexton Blake and Tinker. When a canoe drifts past with an unconscious girl aboard it, he rescues her just as the detectives arrive. She recovers and tells them that her name is Edna Lodge and that her father, Peter Lodge, an American electrical engineer, has been specially engaged by the British War Office. He and his daughter arrived in the country two weeks ago and rented a small bungalow a little farther along the river. Three days ago, her father had introduced her to two men, Captain Dean and Doctor Fergus. Dean had invited them to dine at his house, which was surrounded by willow trees, but on arrival, Dean and Fergus suddenly turned violent. Edna escaped in the canoe, fainting as it was taken by the river's current. Now, Blake and Bliss take her to find the house but it has vanished. Tinker drive Edna to London to speak with Sir Charles Rutley of the War Office. In the meantime, Blake and Bliss explore an abandoned house that has caught the detective's attention. Inside, the house is derelict but for one room, which has been temporarily fitted out to look habitable and set for dinner. When Blake and Bliss go back to their houseboat, it is to find that Sir Charles has come to consult with the criminologist. The War Office man explains that Peter Lodge has been commissioned to create an automation system for Britain's anti-aircraft stations and that he knows the location of all of them — information that must not fall into enemy hands. Edna, meanwhile, is supposed to have remained in London but decides to go back to the house she and her father had rented. When she enters it, it is to find Dean, Fergus and other men searching it for her father's papers. Not finding any, they leave her tied up and depart. The next morning, Bliss and Tinker discover and rescue her. They then go on to locate the house used as a base by Dean's gang. Blake is already there and has witnessed Peter Lodge being beaten. When the villains spot him, Blake races away and joins with Tinker and Bliss. Dean tries to blow up their houseboat with a miniature torpedo but Blake had overheard the plans and a row of old boats have been sunk to form a protective barrier. The torpedo fails to do its work, the police swoop, and Dean and his fellow German spies are captured. They receive the death sentence.
Trivia: This is Cranston Bliss's second and final appearance. Andrew Murray had already created a similarly mild-mannered (and more interesting) character in Humble Begge, to whom he subsequently gave greater attention.
Notes: Young Dennis Dallington has had enough of the constant demands for money made by his uncle Aaron Hawkshaw. To make matters worse, since his mother mysteriously disappeared, Dennis has been looked after by his strict grandfather. General Hotspur Dallington regards his ward as a wastrel and disciplines him rather too much for Dennis to bear. So one night, the young lad runs away from Dallington Hall and into one of the biggest storms that part of the world has ever seen. Woken by the blizzard, the General searches for Dennis but doesn't find him. Instead, he discovers that ｣200 has been stolen from his bureau. Furious, the old man vows to set Sexton Blake on the boy's track. After receiving a summons by telegram, Blake travels to Dallington Hall but is attacked on the way by Hawkshaw and knocked unconscious. Later, responding to a second telegram, Tinker and Pedro make the journey and discover a body in the snow. It turns out to be that of one of the staff from the Hall. Meanwhile, Sexton Blake recovers and finds himself in a goods wagon thirty miles from Dallington. He travels back, meets with Tinker and learns about the dead body. He realises that the police suspect the missing Dennis of the murder. After making his initial investigations, the detective settles down for the night in a spare room. He is awoken by the appearance of a ghostly figure which he follows out into the night towards Hawkshaw's cottage. There, the 'ghost' demands of Aaron that he confesses to the crime. Hawkshaw attempts to bludgeon the figure with a pistol but Blake intercedes and the pistol goes off, putting a bullet through Aaron's head. The 'ghost' turns out to be Dennis's mother who has been living in an abandoned wing of the house. Dennis is also there. With Hawkshaw clearly guilty of the crimes, the old General accepts his daughter-in-law and grandson back into the family.
Trivia: Blake's apartments are on Baker Street West.
Rating: ★★★★☆ A particularly well-written tale with some excellent cliffhangers... Tinker's discovery of a dead body which he initially takes for that of his master provides a memorable moment - as does Blake's subsequent berating of the boy for his lapse of logic; after all, if the detective had been murdered that night, how could he possibly be under so much snow when none has fallen for two days? Unfortunately, the final chapters let the story down, as the solution to the mystery comes from a source other than Blake.
Notes: None at present.
Unrated A particularly well-written tale with some excellent cliffhangers... Tinker's discovery of a dead body which he initially takes for that of his master provides a memorable moment - as does Blake's subsequent berating of the boy for his lapse of logic; after all, if the detective had been murdered that night, how could he possibly be under so much snow when none has fallen for two days? Unfortunately, the final chapters let the story down, as the solution to the mystery comes from a source other than Blake.
Notes: None at present.
Unrated A particularly well-written tale with some excellent cliffhangers... Tinker's discovery of a dead body which he initially takes for that of his master provides a memorable moment - as does Blake's subsequent berating of the boy for his lapse of logic; after all, if the detective had been murdered that night, how could he possibly be under so much snow when none has fallen for two days? Unfortunately, the final chapters let the story down, as the solution to the mystery comes from a source other than Blake.
Notes: The Hon. Philip de Courcey, though tremedously small in stature, is a man of great importance; a member of the Government Inventions Board. Recently, he was entrusted with top secret blueprints. Now he believes he is being watched and, after burglars unsuccessfully attempt to steal the plans from his safe, he calls upon Sexton Blake. The detective travels to De Courcey's home, Ashley Manor, and learns that he has a reclusive neighbour named Martin Esher. When De Courcey is called away, Tinker escorts him to the train station but doesn't return. Blake finds his assistant lying wounded in a ditch. Beside him is a dead man — shot through the heart — whom the detective recognises as one of Leon Kestrel's henchmen. The plans are found in this man's pocket. With a murder on his hands, Blake calls Scotland Yard and Detective-Inspector Harker is sent to help with the investigation. Footprints lead the two detectives from the ditch where Tinker had been found onto the estate of Martin Esher. There they meet the recluse who forbids them the right to search the grounds. They defy him and a clue is discovered which suggests that De Courcey may have entered, or been carried onto, the estate. Nothing more is found, so Blake and Harker return to Ashley Manor. There, the butler informs Blake that all the local villagers believe that Esher is a practitioner of the Black Arts. Later, that same night, Pedro follows De Courcey's scent and disappears into Esher's residence. When Blake and Tinker follow, they are beset by seemingly supernatural occurrences before being separated. Blake finds himself alone, unarmed, and face to face with the reclusive madman. The two men duel with fencing foils, Blake ultimately winning the fight. The detective then reunites with Tinker and Pedro and they search for — and find — the imprisoned Philip de Courcey. They learn that Esher was an American illusionist who, in his insane state, had defeated Kestrel's attempt to steal the plans in order to kidnap De Courcey to use in a stage show he was planning!
Rating: ★★★★★ A particularly well-written tale with some excellent cliffhangers... Tinker's discovery of a dead body which he initially takes for that of his master provides a memorable moment - as does Blake's subsequent berating of the boy for his lapse of logic; after all, if the detective had been murdered that night, how could he possibly be under so much snow when none has fallen for two days? Unfortunately, the final chapters let the story down, as the solution to the mystery comes from a source other than Blake.
Notes: Colonel Ainsworth commissions Sexton Blake to investigate an adventuress named Esmee Ormby with whom his son, Arthur, has become involved. Until he met this woman, Arthur had been falling in love with his father's ward, Adele, but now he has quarrelled with his family and is currently pursuing a career as an actor against his father's wishes. In fact, he has found some measure of success and his growing fame has been noticed by an American film producer. Ainsworth is offered a great deal of money to work in the States but, initially, he refuses the offer, as he is determined to join the Army and do his bit for the country. However, upon reading in the newspaper that his father faces financial ruin, he signs a six-month contract, intending to save enough money to rescue the Colonel before then returning to Britain to do his duty. Meanwhile, Sexton Blake meets Miss Ormby who turns out to be Broadway Kate. In revenge for the capture and execution of her husband, Ezra Q. Maitland, she tries to murder the detective but is foiled and exposed to Arthur Ainsworth as the criminal she is. He spurns her and Blake orders her to leave the country at once. Next day, Arthur visits his father's home and his love for Adele is revived. However, when he tells his father about his acting contract the proud old military man banishes him from the house and informs him that he will not be welcomed home until he has fought for his country. Some months later, in the States, Arthur vanishes. The American detective Fenlock Fawn brings Sexton Blake into the case and it's quickly established that Broadway Kate is behind the disappearance. Tinker traces her to a house where he sees her and her henchman Wang holding the actor prisoner. There is also an old man present who Blake's assistant only sees from the back. Tinker is captured by the criminals and left tied up while they escape with their captive. Blake rescues him and examines clues which lead him to believe that the old man was actually Colonel Ainsworth — Arthur has been kidnapped by his own father, who has hired Kate for the job! The trail leads back to England where the Colonel is holding his son, intending to force him into the Army. Blake frees Arthur, who joins up anyway, and once again kicks Broadway Kate out of the country. Many weeks later, a slightly wounded Arthur is invalided out of the Army and marries Adele before returning to his acting career.
Trivia: We learn in this story that after his capture at the end of THE COUNTERFEITERS (UNION JACK issue 632, 1915), Ezra Q. Maitland was tried as a spy and given the death penalty. He was shot by a firing squad.
Notes: Sexton Blake attends the performance of a sensational violinist — a blind old Russian Pole named Nirewski. At the recital, Blake meets an actress — Charmian Connellan — whose name arises a fortnight later when Detective-Inspector Harker visits Baker Street. The Yard man informs Blake that Charmian's husband — Pettifer Roos — a wealthy American, appears to have committed suicide at their home on the Sussex Downs but he suspects foul play ... especially as the girl seems terrified of something. Blake visits the Connellan house and there finds clues which lead him to believe that another party was involved in the American's death. A trail leads to a cottage on the nearby cliffs which the detective discovers is inhabited by Nirewski and his son. Blake begins to suspect that he's up against a stronger force than anticipated. That night, he hears that the elderly violinist has apparently committed suicide by throwing himself over the cliff after accidentally destroying his Stradivari violin. Disguising himself as the local police chief (with permission!), the detective waits until the younger Nirewski has left the cottage and then enters to investigate. He find evidence that the Nirewskis aren't whom they seem. Later, a letter gives him the clue that Leon Kestrel is at work and Blake pieces together all these clues to get at the truth. Charmian reveals to him that Kestrel was once her suitor and had been rejected in favour of Pettifer Roos, whom he has now murdered in revenge. The Master Mummer, though, has recognised Blake and captures his allies, including Tinker. He leaves them bound in the cottage which he then sets fire to. Blake races to the rescue but falls for one of Kestrel's tricks. His foe escapes.
Trivia: In this tale Mrs Bardell's first name is given as Emily and she says her late husband, a practitioner of ju-jitsu, was a police constable. These details are different from those given in later adventures, where she is named Martha and her husband worked for a water company. Blake and Tinker have been given boxing tips by the famous fighter Jimmy Driscoll (1880 - 1925).
Notes: Jack Dane and his friend Lionel Norton (whose sister, Gertrude, Jack is in love with) are travelling into deepest Brazil to visit a rich diamond deposit. En route, Lionel makes an enemy of a bully named Jake Aldane who later stabs him to death before himself dying after falling into a ravine. Returning to London, Dane tells Gertrude a white lie to save her from undue pain; that her brother died of privation in the desert. Three months later, Broadway Kate encounters Dane just as he's attacked by thugs and, after chasing them off, she steals his wallet. In it, she finds the note written by Lionel Norton as he died and this she alters to make it seem that Dane, rather than Aldane, was his killer. With her assistant — Wang — and a dishonest financier, she then kidnaps Dane and fakes his suicide — which he has supposedly committed in remorse for murdering Norton — in order to drive down the cost of stocks in the Brazilian diamond concern. Doubtful about the suicide, Sir Henry Fairfax of Scotland Yard sends Detective-Inspector Martin to consult Sexton Blake. Blake investigates the people who are buying the depressed stocks and this leads him to Kate. She and Wang are captured and arrested. Dane is rescued from imprisonment and proven innocent. He and Gertrude marry.
Notes: In London, Sexton Blake bumps into Jack Prendergast, who he had first encountered during THE CASE OF THE MISSING AIRMAN (UNION JACK issue 646, 1916). Together, they save a young woman from flinging herself into the Thames. She turns out to be Mona Swift, who had worked with Leon Kestrel during the aforementioned case. After revealing that her real name is Mona McArthur and that she's trying to get free of Kestrel, she is invited to stay the night at Baker Street. However, during the night she absconds. Blake places an article in newspapers in which it is reported that a girl of her description was found dead in the Thames; the body can be viewed at a local mortuary. Tinker and Prendergast lie in wait believing that Kestrel will respond to the ad. However, Shaghai Jim has spotted that the ad is false and warns his master. Kestrel telephones a clergyman and asks him to view the body. When the man agrees and goes to the mortuary, he is pounced on by Tinker and Prendergast and taken to Baker Street, where the truth come out. Blake makes a shrewd guess that Mona has joined a circus. He and Tinker discover her working as a lion tamer but when they approach her she snubs them. McGregor, the circus owner, then claims that she is his wife. Blake calls him a liar and is set upon by the circus strong man, whom he beats using ju-jitsu. The next day, it seems that Mona is in two places at once when Blake is informed that she is waiting for him at Baker Street. He finds her there with Prendergast and she explains that she had fled because she feared for her father's life — he is under Kestrel's control. After revealing that the lion tamer is, in fact, her twin sister, and with Blake's encouragement, Mona fetches her father and brings him to Baker Street. Blake pays for them to escape to Australia, there to begin a new life.
Trivia: Mrs Bardell's first name is Emily (in other stories it's Martha) and before being employed by Sexton Blake she ran a guest house in Margate with her husband, who was in the police force. In this story, she is so disturbed by Prendergast and Tinker's treatment of the clergyman that she gives her resignation. It is withdrawn when due explanations are made.
Notes: When a top society solicitor, Mardon Wright, is sentenced to three years in gaol for fraud, he vows revenge on Sexton Blake for exposing his crimes. After serving his sentence, he is set free and embarks upon his mission. With extreme cunning, he draws Blake into a trap which frames the detective for the murder of a journalist who had recently been highly critical of the Baker Street sleuth. A forged letter and carefully planted fingerprint evidence make the case against Blake practically infallable. He is charged and thrown into a police cell. At his pre-trial, the evidence seems irrefutable and the detective, to Tinker's horror, is remanded in custody at Brixton Prison. In his cell, he pieces together the sequence of events which led to his incarceration. By the time Tinker visits, he is able to tell his assistant to search for the only man who could have conceived such a dastardly plot: Mardon Wright. For a week Tinker looks in vain for the man. Then, completely by chance, he happens across him and overhears him giving a colleague his address. He races to the house, breaks in, and finds the evidence that could free Sexton Blake. But before he can leave, Wright catches him and ties him up in a room into which gas is leaking. The criminal then sets off, in disguise, to watch Sexton Blake's trial. But he has underestimated the young'un's resourcefulness — Tinker breaks free and arrives at the court just in time to save Blake from a death sentence. Wright is cornered and, in desperation, makes a full confession then takes his own life. This was Robert Murray Graydon's first Sexton Blake tale.
Trivia: Detective Spearing makes a late appearance in the saga. Mrs Bardell's first name is stated to be Maria. There are some strange descriptions of the Baker Street residence here — Blake's bedroom is next to his sitting room; the sitting room window overlooks a narrow alley at the side of the house (thus the sitting room is not the same as the consulting room, which overlooks Baker Street); when Tinker leaves the consulting room to exit the house, he descends two flights of stairs.
Notes: After a year in South America, Hon. John Lawless works his passage back to England in the guise of a ship's barman, 'John the Drink Slinger'. En route, he witnesses an argument in which a man named Joseph Yardle is accused of being a food profiteer by a diplomat, Captain Cecil Boyne (who happens to be in love with Yardle's daughter). This is actually the case, as Yardle is secretly in league with an American gang to profit from wartime food shortages. However, to divert attention from the truth, he challenges Lawless to prove the assertion — believing that the barman will never follow up on it. This, of course, is a big mistake, as the young adventurer immediately accepts the challenge. Some weeks later, Lawless steals the uniform of a police inspector named Bryall. Puzzled, the inspector describes the incident to Tinker. Meanwhile, Sexton Blake is asked by Yardle to investigate the theft of papers from his safe. Captain Boyne is the accused man but the detective believes him innocent, even when Tinker makes a connection between the house he has just moved into and the strange incident of the inspector's uniform. Blake follows clues which lead to Lawless, who admits that he took the uniform in order to gain entry to Yardle's office and steal the papers. He explains the situation to the detective who, in consequence, decides to join forces with him. Blake formulates a plan to take possession of the vast stock of bacon that Yardle has hoarded. While he, in disguise, gains a job in the warehouse where the food is stored, Lawless recruits Inspector Bryall and a bargeman named Bob Glyn. Blake holds the warehouse guards — members of the American gang — at bay, allowing his allies to enter and join the fray. With the enemy forces captured, the bacon is loaded onto a fleet of barges and shipped down the river where it is sold to an eager public at pre-war prices. Yardle, witnessing this, sees the error of his ways and helps distribute the meat.
Trivia: This is the first story to feature the new spelling of John Lawless's surname (prior to this, he was 'Lawliss'). He is described in this story as being over 6'4" in height.
Notes: Sexton Blake pays a visit to his old friend, the chemist Dr. Hendrik Nikolson. He finds the man in a dreadful state; on the verge of a total nervous breakdown. Nikolson explains that his son, Guy, has become addicted to cocaine and opium. Furthermore, the scientist is feeling guilty after learning of the effectiveness in war of an explosive he had invented — which is now being manufactured in a nearby factory. Blake promises to help and sets Tinker on Guy's tail. That evening, Guy comes home and argues with his father over his drug use. Later, Rogers, Nikolson's butler, holds court in the local pub and declares that his master is going insane. This seems to be borne out when, the same night, Nikolson looks up to see someone standing in his study doorway — himself! The figure taunts him about his explosive then runs away up the stairs. Rogers, descending, claims to have seen no one. The Doctor phones Blake, who promises to visit the next day. Tinker arrives back at Baker Street and reports that he followed Guy into a club where he saw Shanghai Jim, one of Leon Kestrel's gang. The next morning they travel to Nikolson's home but are refused entry by Rogers, who claims that his master is quite mad after having once again seen his double during the night. Blake and Guy have a confrontation during which the young man confesses his addictions. The detective consults Nikolson's doctor who tells him that the old man will need to be institutionalised. The next day, Nikolson calls Blake. He has fled from his home and is hiding out in a Turkish baths. The detective meets him there and realises that his old friend is perfectly sane — and is the victim of persecution. He next meets with Nikolson's lawyer and discovers that, should the old man be declared insane, his considerable wealth will pass to his son, Guy. Tinker, meanwhile, follows Guy and witnesses a meeting between Shanghai Jim and Kestrel. Guy is handed a note to give to someone named Dark. He travels home on the train and Tinker manages to gain possession of the note from him. It reveals that Kestrel wants to meet Dark and 'Kitty' by a lonely roadside at 11.30pm. The crook will be disguised as a clergyman. Sexton Blake alters the time to 11pm and sends on the note to Nikolson's house. That night, at 11pm, he shows up at the rendezvous point dressed as a vicar. Rogers — otherwise 'Dark' — and Kitty, the maid, are there to meet Kestrel; they are members of his gang. Blake captures them. He then waits for the Master Mummer to show up and takes him prisoner too. However, Kestrel drops a tear gas bomb and gets free. His plan to drive Nikolson insane, so that Guy inherits the family fortune, then part the addict from his money, has failed. Blake pulls strings to get Guy conscripted, believing that Army discipline will cure him.
Notes: Sexton Blake receives a visit from Detective-Inspector Coutts (making his debut in the Blake saga). The Scotland Yard man requests his help in tracking down The Bat, an audacious thief who has been taunting him with letters. After Coutts leaves, Blake receives a telephone call from the self-same criminal who declares his intention to steal valuable jewels which are to be auctioned the next day. Blake, Tinker and Coutts attend the auction and watch as a young Baron, Sir Hilary Wedge, wins the bidding. But before he can collect the gems, they disappear from beneath the noses of everyone present. A note from The Bat is found pinned to the back of Blake's coat. It instructs him to ask Coutts the time. When he does so, the policeman finds a note at the end of his watch-chain: 'Time you retired.—The Bat.' That night, while Blake is sleeping, he is rendered unconscious by gas sprayed into his face. He awakens to find himself tied to his own bed with the masked figure of The Bat sitting nearby. After a short interview, the gentleman crook offers to untie the detective before he leaves in return for a promise that Blake won't start in pursuit for five minutes. Blake agrees and is duly released. The Bat slips away and five minutes later the Baker Street sleuth follows. He jumps into a taxi cab and has the driver comb the area but to no avail — The Bat has vanished. The taxi driver drops him back home and gives him a business card. When, a few minutes after walking into his bedroom, Blake glances at it, he see the words: 'The Bat, London'. The next day, it's Tinker's turn to be duped. The Bat, disguised as his Guv'nor, fools him into standing guard while he burgles a house. The same night, while Sir Hilary Wedge is visiting, Blake receives a note telling him a priceless ruby belonging to his guest is The Bat's next target. He sets a trap at Sir Hilary's residence and exposes The Bat's true identity. But as Coutts escorts the man now exposed as Dirk Dolland out, the gentleman crook makes a break for it and gets away.
Trivia: There's a mention of Inspector Spearing in this story.
Rating: ★★★★★ It's always unconvincing when Tinker is fooled by a villain disguised as Sexton Blake... but apart from that fault, this is a tremendously enjoyable adventure.
Notes: Gibson Maile, an Englishman raised in Canada, has cornered a sizeable part of the wheat market in that country. He is in England trying to raise enough money to allow him to ship his wheat to Britain to sell at pre-war prices. He considers this his contribution to the war effort. However, an American concern named the Red Eagle Combine is out to stop him, as its own profits would suffer should he succeed. They have sent a gangster named Derk Rigan to do the job but the man's initial attempts to murder Maile are foiled when the Hon. John Lawless steps into the fray. Some days later, the Canadian Prime Minister, who supports Maile's scheme, reports to Sexton Blake that Maile has vanished and asks the detective to investigate. Blake finds evidence of Lawless's involvement and trails Sam — Lawless's valet — to Lawless's mother's house. There he finds Maile laying low. Lawless, it seems, is impersonating the wheat tycoon but has vanished. In fact, he has been captured by Rigan's gang and is being held prisoner and threatened with torture unless he signs papers selling the wheat fields. While Lawless keeps up resistance, Sam manages to identify the part of London in which his master is captive but after a fist-fight with Rigan's men he ends up in a police cell. Some days later, the men who Maile has invited to invest in his scheme attend a meeting and are informed by a member of the Red Eagle Combine that Maile is attempting to swindle them. An old man, claiming to be Maile's representative, gatecrashes the meeting and brings with him Maile himself, who is able to prove the veracity of his business to the gathering. The old man is, of course, Sexton Blake — and the detective gets Maile away before the Combine can strike at him. When Rigan is informed that Maile showed up, he rushes to find out how his prisoner escaped, only to find him still there! Confused, he chains Lawless up and keeps a close guard over him. Sam is released from police custody and takes Blake and Tinker to the area where he knows his master is being held. The detective manages to find the house and discovers that the villains intend to put Lawless into a barge which they will then set fire to. As they prepare this and the barge drifts downstream, Blake swings across to it on a crane's cable. The barge is sunk, the criminals drown and Lawless is rescued.
Notes: A vagabond collapses at the base of Nelson's Column ... and Sexton Blake learns that a famous financier, Sir Francis Spaight, died on the same spot and under precisely the same circumstances less than an hour before. Both men, it turns out, had succumbed to the fumes of prussic acid ... but how could this be possible in the middle of Trafalgar Square? Amid the debris on the ground, Blake discovers a unique brand of cigarette which, in his laboratory, he finds to have been impregnated with the deadly poison. Evidently, Sir Francis had smoked it and dropped dead — murdered! — and the vagabond had retrieved it from the pavement and almost suffered the same fate. After alerting Detective Inspector Harker at Scotland Yard, Blake interviews Spaight's secretary and learns that Spaight owned more than half the shares in New York and Inter-European Metal Co., Limited, which is rivalled in size and influence only by an unscrupulous American company, the Amalgamated Metal Trust. The latter had wanted to form a combine but Spaight, realising that this would have created a too powerful "corner" in metals, had opposed the merger. The secretary also reveals that when he died Spaight had been on the way to see Sabatini, an art restorer. Blake visits that man, who confirms the appointment but says Spaight never showed up. A little later, a newspaper gossip column contradicts this, claiming that Sabatini had been spotted with Spaight just minutes before the financier's death. Harker immediately arrests Sabatini on suspicion of providing the lethal cigarette. Blake is dissatisfied, as he can see no motive. He visits the seller of the specialist brand of tobacco but that person's description of the man who purchased the cigarette matches that of the old art restorer. Harker then puts the nail in the coffin: a bottle of prussic acid has been found in Sabatini's shop. Blake protests that such a chemical is typically owned by art restorers. He proposes that Sabatini is being used as a scapegoat ... furthermore, there is only one man who could have impersonated him so convincingly: Leon Kestrel! The detective develops the supposition that Kestrel is in the employ of the Amalgamated Metal Trust ... an idea that it supported when he consults the telegraph office's records and finds a message from "Laurence King" advising the company to purchase Inter-European Metal Co shares as a matter of urgency and to send payment for a job done — it obviously being the murder. Blake and Tinker intercept King at a bank and he unwittingly leads them to Kestrel and his cohort, Shanghai Jim. Unfortunately, and as is ever the case with the Prince of Pretence, nothing is as it seems, and though the crook’s scheme has been foiled, Kestrel ingeniously evades capture by means of a feigned suicide and a wax figure.
Trivia: Blake has passed through "a period of particular strain." Of all the Scotland Yard officials, he likes Harker the best. Mrs Bardell reasserts that her late husband was a police constable.
"Throughout the many and varied years of his career Blake had laid constant and abundant offerings upon the altar of my Lady Nicotine, and, like many another, he had paid the penalty of his enslaving.
Tobacco now was not merely a solace to him; it was a necessary factor of concentration and thought. His mental abilities were only at the high-water mark of efficiency when stimulated by the inevitable weed. But it was a harmless indulgence, after all ..."
Rating: ★★★☆☆ The story features some typical-of-the-period but nevertheless very unfortunate racial stereotyping.
Notes: Dick Turnbill is in Borneo searching for the Raja orchid, only one specimen of which has ever been found. The flower only grows deep in the heart of the central mountains where there exists a tribe known as the Orang Kuning. These remote people worship a blue god — the Batara Nilam — which is represented by a coiled snake carved from a gigantic sapphire. Turnbill undertakes the ten-day trek inland but en route hears that an "evil" bearded white man is travelling ahead of him. This man attempts to steal the sapphire, fails, and the Orang Kuning pursue him back toward the coast ... leaving their god unguarded. After first discovering the orchid, Turnbill acts on impulse and snatches the Batara Nilam. He gets away safely but, during the night, is attacked in his sleep and the carved snake is taken from him. In the morning, he travels to Sandakan to wait to sail for England. Unknown to him, in that same port, a meeting of the Hoo Feng Tong is taking place. Its leader, Ah Lun, had some time ago accepted into membership Doctor Huxton Rymer, and had recently tasked him with the theft of the sapphire. Last night, when he heard that Rymer had failed, he also learned that Turnbill had succeeded, and so had sent a note to the doctor to inform him of this. Rymer now reports that he rendered Turnbill unconscious and searched his house but did not find the jewel. He is dismissed. Ah Lun then tells the gathering that Rymer has lied, that he did retrieve the gem and has hidden it somewhere. He orders three of the tong to follow Rymer, for surely he will attempt to flee with the treasure, and when they mistakenly think him about to board a ship, they savagely attack him. He is saved by two sailors and, like Turnbill, sails for home. A couple of months later, the London Commissioner for British North Borneo tells Sexton Blake that the Batara Nilam has been stolen and that Turnbill, who arrived in England yesterday, is the principal suspect. A massive uprising of the Borneo tribes is threatened unless the sapphire is returned. Blake and Tinker drive to Turnbill's house where the young man has just been discovered unconscious in the conservatory. Blake finds the pots containing the rare orchids and notices that one of them had something buried in its soil which has now been removed. Pedro follows a trail that leads to a road and the recent tire tracks of a car. A Chinaman is seen departing the area. Tinker follows him, watches as he boards a veheicle occupied by others, and is on the scene when the group kidnaps Turnbill's fiancee, Christina. He intervenes but is captured. Meanwhile, at the Venetia Hotel in London, Mademoiselle Yvonne is surprised to see Rymer and Hammerton Palmer together. When they depart, she follows their taxi and witnesses a pitched gun battle between the two men and three Celestials. She visits Blake, who has just returned, and reports the incident. Tinker recovers his wits and finds himself a prisoner of Ah Lun, who is also now in London. The youngster is subjected to torture but refuses to explain how he has become involved in the affair. When he's thrown back into his cell, he hears the kidnapped girl sobbing next door and manages to break through the wall. They escape together through a window, jump into the river below, and swim to the opposite bank. Tinker manages to fight off the pursuers and he and Christina make their way to Baker Street. Elsewhere, Rymer and Palmer are attacked and captured by the tong. Blake and Detective-Inspector Thomas lead a police raid on the house identified by Tinker as the place where he was held. A huge fight breaks out between the tong and the police. Blake discovers Rymer and Palmer bound hand and foot. He liberates them so they can help fight beside their fellow Englishmen. He then knocks out Ah Lun and retrieves from him the Batara Nilam, which had beed taken from Rymer. A fire breaks out, the criminals that survive the blaze are captured, and Rymer and Palmer slip away in the confusion. The next day, Turnbill recovers, and Blake works out that Rymer had hidden the jewel in the orchid pot. The blue god is sent back to Borneo.
Trivia: Blake states that he has been to Borneo before and proves to be very knowledgable about the island. Probably, he was referring to the events recorded in SEXTON BLAKE IN BORNEO (UNION JACK issue 276, 1909).
This is a double Christmas issue.
Rating: ★★★★☆ Another brilliantly written G. H. Teed tale (thought there are some hiccups where he confuses the names of Rymer and Palmer). Unfortunately, Palmer has hardly more than a walk-on role and it's difficult to understand why Rymer teams up with him, as the doctor already has the disposal of the jewel arranged.
Notes: Blake is visited by an acquaintance, an advertising man named Jarvis, who invites him to invest in the Anglo Film Company. This business has two new stars, both Spanish. One is an actor and stage manager named Alfredo Munoz. The other is a stuntman, Fifito Madrano, known as the steeplejack, who has an incredible sense of balance and head for heights. Blake isn't much interested in any financial commitment but he agrees to go along to watch an early morning filming session in Hatton Gardens. The drama unfolds on the roofs of jewellery dealers, and when one of the actors hurts himself, Tinker is invited to stand in for him. He does so, and the activity draws a crowd that requires the attention of police constables to keep under control. When the filming is complete and Blake accompanies Jarvis in a car to the studio, his assistant enters a second vehicle with his "fellow actors" and follows. That car, though, doesn't arrive, so Blake returns to Baker Street alone. It's not long before Detective-Inspector Harker arrives with news that there's been a huge theft of jewels in Hatton Gardens. The filming, it turns out, was a distraction to keep the police occupied while the burglaries took place. Blake and the Yard man hurry to the Anglo Film Company. Jarvis pleads complete innocence — his company has been used as a catspaw! Blake realises that Munoz is, in fact, Leon Kestrel. He then receives a film reel from the Master Mummer in which Tinker is shown dangling from the edge of a large building. The message is clear: stay out of it or the boy will be killed. The detective, however, notices clues pertaining to the location of the scene. Assisted by Harker, he leads a raid on a riverside warehouse. Tinker and the stolen jewels are recovered but Kestrel and Madrano escape thanks to a remarkable feat of daring from the latter.
Trivia: There's some nice business with Mrs Bardell. Jack Lewis appears to have supplied the basis for Gwyn Evans' inspired take on the formidable old housekeeper.