Sexton Blake Bibliography: 1961

Publishing: Blake author John Hunter dies aged 69.

Though he's no longer in KNOCKOUT, Blake makes a final appearance in its annual.

KNOCKOUT ANNUAL 1961 · Amalgamated Press · 8/6

PDF: (all four strips in one file) Click here

Other content: Various strips, text stories and features.

Containing:
THE CASE OF THE VANISHED WITNESS
by Anon. (Unknown)

Illustrator: Anon. (Frank Pashley)

Notes: The trial of underworld boss Marty Mallinson is dependent on a witness named Scudder. Inspector Coutts reports to Sexton Blake that Scudder has vanished; he was seen entering the block of flats where he lives but didn't then exit it ... yet he can't be found inside! Blake, Tinker and Coutts search the block but can't locate the man. When they enter the lift and it breaks down, Sexton Blake realises the truth. They exit the lift, which Blake is confident will now work. He sends Tinker upstairs and tells him to travel down in the lift. His assistant does this until Blake calls for him to hit the emergency button. Tinker does so and the lift stops between floors. The detective manhandles open the doors and finds Scudder trussed up on top of the lift car. The extra weight had caused the lift to break down when too many people were in it.

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆

THE CASE OF THE EXPLODING ROCKETS
by Anon. (Unknown)

Illustrator: Anon. (Frank Pashley)

Notes: Mack Spotter is the king of London's underworld; a man so ruthless that anyone who dares to cross him is dealt with in no uncertain fashion. Jeweller and fence, Mr Jackson, learns this when he squeals: his shop is bombed and he is seriously wounded. Jackson's son, a fighter-pilot, vows revenge and, while Sexton Blake and Tinker are visiting the king crook, he flies his plane over Spotter's house. He intends to fire rockets at it but sees Blake in the nick of time and so shoots them into the garden instead. The explosion sends Spotter, Blake and Tinker reeling. Amid the mess caused by the shockwave, Blake notices that the ornaments over the fireplace have not been disturbed — they are glued in place. The fireplace proves to be a secret door to a hidden room filled with stolen goods. Spotter is arrested.

Trivia: This strip is reprinted from KNOCKOUT 916 (1956). Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆

THE CASE OF THE VANISHED SCHOOLBOY
by Anon. (Unknown)

Illustrator: Anon. (Frank Pashley)

Notes: Angus Brennan, the son of wealthy parents, is fanatical about cars. On the way home from school he sees a vehicle of unusual design parked at the kerb with its driver struggling to open the bonnet. When he steps in to help, a second man grabs him and pulls him into the compartment beneath the hood. Angus had not realised that this make of car has the engine in the back. Several days later, his parents receive a ransom note and consult Sexton Blake. The note, written by Angus, has a 'P.S.' at the bottom but no postscript. The detective realises that this is a clever clue. He and Tinker charter an amphibious aircraft and fly to the Shetland Isles where they track down the car and the kidnappers. Blake reveals that 'P.S.' was a reference to the Isle's registration code.

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆

THE CASE OF THE SEVENTEEN CHIMES
by Anon. (Unknown)

Illustrator: Anon. (Frank Pashley)

Notes: Joan Eastman visits Sexton Blake and tells him that her father, an expert locksmith who is often employed to break into jammed safes, had telephoned and asked her to cook him lamb chops for supper and to buy his usual tobacco. This is worthy of note because her father is a vegetarian who doesn't smoke. She also reveals that she heard a clock striking in the background while he was speaking — and it struck sixteen or seventeen times! This gives the detective all the information he requires ... he and Tinker drive to a village in Kent and approach a house near the church. Inside, they see a gang forcing Mr Eastman to crack a safe. Noticing that he's using an electric drill, the detectives sneak into the cellar and cut off the power. One of the crooks descends to mend the fuses and walks straight into Sexton Blake's fist. Puzzling over his cohort's absence, a second follows and receives the same treatment. That leaves the gang depleted enough for Blake and Tinker to finish the job. After liberating Eastman, Blake explains how the clues led him to the house.

Trivia: This strip is reprinted from KNOCKOUT 883 (1956). Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆


THE DEVIL TO PAY
by Rex Dolphin

THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 4th series · Issue 467 · Jan. 1961 · Fleetway Publications · 1'

Illustrator: Simeoni

Other content: None

Notes: None at present.

Unrated


THIEF OF CLUBS
by Gilbert Johns (James Stagg)

THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 4th series · Issue 468 · Jan. 1961 · Fleetway Publications · 1'

Illustrator: Marc Henrie

Other content: None

Notes: None at present.

Unrated


SHOT FROM THE DARK
by Philip Chambers

THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 4th series · Issue 469 · Feb. 1961 · Fleetway Publications · 1'

Illustrator: Camps (cover) and J. Cawthorn (interior)

Other content: None

Notes: None at present.

Unrated


PURSUIT TO ALGERIA
by Arthur Maclean (George Paul Mann)

THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 4th series · Issue 470 · Feb. 1961 · Fleetway Publications · 1'

Illustrator: Caroselli (cover) and J. Cawthorn (interior)

Other content: None

Notes: None at present.

Unrated


SOMETHING TO KILL ABOUT
by Desmond Reid (Robert C. Elliott)

THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 4th series · Issue 471 · Mar. 1961 · Fleetway Publications · 1'

Illustrator: Camps (cover) and J. Cawthorn (interior)

Other content: None

Notes: None at present.

Unrated


ASSAULT AND PEPPER
by Jack Trevor Story

THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 4th series · Issue 472 · Mar. 1961 · Fleetway Publications · 1'

Illustrator: Henry Fox (cover) and Margaret Higgins (interior)

Other content: None

Notes: None at present.

Unrated


SUDDENLY IT'S MURDER
by Jack Trevor Story

THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 4th series · Issue 473 · Apr. 1961 · Fleetway Publications · 1'

Illustrator: Miralles (cover) and Margaret Higgins (interior)

Other content: None

Notes: None at present.

Unrated


STATE OF FEAR
by Desmond Reid (G. H. Teed)

THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 4th series · Issue 474 · Apr. 1961 · Fleetway Publications · 1'

Illustrator: Norstrand (cover) and J. Cawthorn and Margaret Higgins (interior)

Other content: None

Notes: None at present.

Unrated


LOVELY BUT LETHAL
by Peter Saxon (W. Howard Baker)

THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 4th series · Issue 475 · May 1961 · Fleetway Publications · 1'

Illustrator: Unknown

Other content: None

Notes: None at present.

Unrated


DEADLY PERSUASION
by Desmond Reid (Colin Robertson)

THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 4th series · Issue 476 · May 1961 · Fleetway Publications · 1'

Illustrator: de Seta

Other content: None

Notes: None at present.

Unrated


ROGUE'S HARBOUR
by Jack Trevor Story

THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 4th series · Issue 477 · Jun. 1961 · Fleetway Publications · 1'

Illustrator: Henry Fox

Other content: The Odyssey of Sexton Blake by Michael Moorcock (read it here).

Notes: A Catalonian man named Bruno steals gold from the gang to which he belongs and flees to England. He is pursued and killed in his flat by two thugs, Joe and Batisto. They leave through the cafe below but a customer, Maltese Albert, is suspicious. He is trying to get the cafe owner, Maria, deported so that he can marry her in the home country but she's having none of it. When Maria discovers Bruno's body, she hides it under the bed and calls her friend Arthur 'Splash' Kirby. Meanwhile, Albert comes into possession of Bruno's suitcase, which is filled with sardine tins. Kirby, when he arrives, is confused to find himself first attacked by Albert, then thrown out of the cafe with the emptied case in his hands, and then mistaken by Joe and Batisto for Pepe, a man they believe witnessed their act of murder but who, in fact, doesn't exist — Pepe is actually the name of a sowbug (wood louse) Bruno habitually talked to in his flat! Kirby is taken to a moored boat where the rest of the gang are living and is beaten by the two thugs until they finally believe he isn't Pepe. He's told to telephone this elusive man, so he calls Sexton Blake. Blake turns up with Tinker and Paula Dane in tow. They are all taken prisoner and left bound and gagged on the boat. Joe comes to the conclusion that Maltese Albert is Pepe, so the gang return to the cafe where they begin searching the sardine tins — some contain the gold. Then Lolita, Bruno's girlfriend from Gibraltar, turns up to complicate matters further. Blake & co. escape from the boat, race to the cafe and beat the gang into submission. Pepe remains a mystery to all until Blake identifies him from Bruno's doodles.

Rating: ★★★★☆ Another wildly eccentric offering from the most original Sexton Blake writer of them all!


MURDERER'S ROCK
by Desmond Reid (Wilfred McNeilly)

THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 4th series · Issue 478 · Jun. 1961 · Fleetway Publications · 1'

Illustrator: de Seta

Other content: None

Notes: None at present.

Unrated


THE TELEVISION MURDERS
by W. A. Ballinger (W. Howard Baker)

THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 4th series · Issue 479 · Jul. 1961 · Fleetway Publications · 1'

Illustrator: Symeoni

Other content: None

Notes: None at present.

Unrated


VOTE FOR VIOLENCE
by Gilbert Johns (James Stagg)

THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 4th series · Issue 480 · Jul. 1961 · Fleetway Publications · 1'

Illustrator: Tompkins and Swavek

Other content: None

Notes: None at present.

Unrated


VENDETTA!
by Richard Williams (Stephen Frances)

THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 4th series · Issue 481 · Aug. 1961 · Fleetway Publications · 1'

Illustrator: Henry Fox

Other content: None

Notes: Stephen Frances was better known as Hank Janson.

Unrated


MURDER
by MOONLIGHT by Desmond Reid (Wilfred McNeilly)

THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 4th series · Issue 482 · Aug. 1961 · Fleetway Publications · 1'

Illustrator: Steven Barany

Other content: None

Notes: None at present.

Unrated


DEATH HER DESTINATION
by Warwick Jardine (Francis Warwick, revised by 'Desmond Reid')

THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 4th series · Issue 483 · Sep. 1961 · Fleetway Publications · 1'

Illustrator: Steven Barany (cover)

Other content: None

Notes: None at present.

Unrated


TROUBLE IS MY NAME
by Rex Dolphin

THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 4th series · Issue 484 · Sep. 1961 · Fleetway Publications · 1'

Illustrator: Henry Fox

Other content: None

Notes: None at present.

Unrated


ASSIGNMENT DOOMSDAY
by Martin Thomas (Thomas Martin)

THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 4th series · Issue 485 · Oct. 1961 · Fleetway Publications · 1'

Illustrator: Stefan Barany

Other content: None

Notes: None at present.

Unrated


THE CORPSE CAME TOO!
by Desmond Reid (A. A. Glynn)

THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 4th series · Issue 486 · Oct. 1961 · Fleetway Publications · 1'

Illustrator: Henry Fox

Other content: None

Notes: None at present.

Unrated


DANGER'S CHILD
by Jack Trevor Story

THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 4th series · Issue 487 · Nov. 1961 · Fleetway Publications · 1'

Illustrator: Camps

Other content: None

Notes: This adventure is written in first-person from Sexton Blake's point of view. An old flame from his days at Cambridge University, Charmain Moss, sends him a letter pleading for help. On his way to the hotel that she manages, Blake is followed, shot at, and nearly run off the road. Things don't improve after he books a room at the hotel. From the moment he arrives he is attacked by various suspicious characters, including Charmain's daughter, Sable, who appears to think he's a dangerous foreign agent. Meeting with Charmain on a riverboat, the detective is finally told the whole story: soon after graduating, she had nearly become an unmarried mother and, out of desperation, had married the unscrupulous Mr. Moss. She has no idea how Moss makes his money but suspects that his income is connected with the strange foreigners he often brings to the hotel. Then one day, a man named Lobsk entered a bathroom and never emerged. He has not been seen since. Charmain believes he was murdered. She also believes that Sable is actually Sexton Blake's daughter! As they talk, someone cuts the rope keeping the boat tethered to the shore. The vessel floats downriver towards a weir. Blake and the girl manage to escape by the skin of their teeth and are met by Tinker. Later, back at the wreck of the boat, Blake finds Moss and the body of Lobsk. Narrowly avoiding another murder attempt, he discovers that all the events hinge around a spy ring and a missing £5,000. However, nothing is as it seems... including Sable!

Trivia: It should be noted that Blake also went to Oxford University (see SEXTON BLAKE AT OXFORD). Blake says he has never been married, a fact which is contradicted in a very early (and rare) story (see 1901). He says his family originated in the fens of East Anglia. This is apparently on his mother's side (he visits her grave in the grounds of Blakeney Abbey). In earlier adventures he claims Irish ancestory, which must be through his father. Charmain is around 38-years-old and, since she is one of the detective's contemporaries, he must be about the same age (which, of course, is totally impossible).

Blake says of his adventures: "Journalists and SBL authors do tend to colour them up a bit."

Tinker's clothes are only "a little on the small side" for Blake ... the young'un has obviously grown a lot since the early days! The two of them use 'pep pills' to keep themselves awake during this adventure. When Tinker says "All right, Dad!" Blake admits that he hates Tinker's Americanisms, especially "When he's quoting television pirates who have taken liberties with my own memoirs."

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆ This is a period piece that has dated badly. For the modern reader, it all seems rather unpalatable and a little on the sordid side ... an ill-advised attempt to "sex Blake up." The scene where he and Tinker take pep pills doesn't sit well with 21st century sensibilities, either. Overall, it has the feel of a non-Blake tale that has been shoe-horned into the saga against its will.


BULLETS ARE TRUMPS
by Desmond Reid (A. Cahill, with revisions by W. Howard Baker and George Paul Mann)

THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 4th series · Issue 488 · Nov. 1961 · Fleetway Publications · 1'

Illustrator: Stefan Barany

Other content: None

Notes: None at present.

Unrated


KEEP IT A SECRET!
by Philip Chambers

THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 4th series · Issue 489 · Dec. 1961 · Fleetway Publications · 1'

Illustrator: Stefan Barany

Other content: None

Notes: None at present.

Unrated


HUNT THE LADY
by Desmond Reid (A. Garstin)

THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 4th series · Issue 490 · Dec. 1961 · Fleetway Publications · 1'

Illustrator: Cortiella

Other content: None

Notes: None at present.

Unrated