Notes: Detective-Inspector Coutts and Splash Page have both been invited to Sexton Blake's Baker Street home for the festive season. They arrive on the evening of Christmas Eve in time to witness Mrs. Bardell informing the detective that the Christmas pudding she had made for her sister, Mary Ann Cluppins has been stolen. Mary runs a lodging house on Rice Street in Pimlico. One of her tenants is an old sailor named 'Roarin' Bill Barnes. This man, reports Blake's landlady, is furious that the pudding has gone missing and is insisting that it be returned. Later in the evening, Mrs. Bardell telephones from her sister's to tell Blake that Barnes has been found stabbed. The detective, with Coutts, Splash and Tinker, rushes to Mrs. Cluppins house where he finds the sailor seriously wounded with a knife in his back. He learns that the man has been acting as if afraid for the past two weeks since receiving a letter warning him that 'the Mexes' are after him. While Blake investigates the sailor's room, Tinker and Splash discover that the pudding was pinched by a young lad named Ginger Brown. They use Pedro to trace the boy who is playing with his gang, the 'Pimlico Pirates'. They retrieve the pudding and make the gang a Christmas gift of two pound notes. Returning to Mrs. Cluppins, Tinker and the rest tuck into the pudding but find nothing in it. By this time, Blake has discovered clues leading to a Mexican named Fernandez. He tracks him to a bar and, after a fight, hands him over to the police. The next day Christmas is celebrated at Baker Street and Blake reveals the motive for Fernandez's attempted murder of Roarin' Bill Barnes ... and the secret of Mrs. Bardell's Christmas pudding.
Trivia: Tinker's age is given as seventeen. It is revealed that he was a member of a criminal East End gang in his boyhood.
This is reprinted from UNION JACK issue 1,157 (1925).
Illustrator: Eric Parker
Notes: With criminals lying low, the festive season looks decidedly boring for Sexton Blake and his guests, Ruff Hanson and Detective-Inspector Coutts, so Tinker works up a scheme with Splash Page to introduce a little excitement to the festive season. Helped by Page's friend, Viscount Rockcliff, and through means of the Daily Radio, a challenge is issued to Blake by The Phantom Crook. He proposes to steal the detective's most valued possession. If he succeeds, Blake must forfeit a cheque of £500 to charity. If he is foiled by the Baker Street sleuth, he himself will donate £1,000. The phantom's first act is to steal a valuable coronet from Rockcliff. While the detective investigates at the Viscount's residence, he receives a message from home informing him of the villain's second crime: the kidnapping of Mrs. Bardell! Unknown to Blake, his worthy landlady has been escorted to Goreham Grange, Rockcliff's country manor, where she is entertained by the Viscount's sister. Blake and Hanson receive a note that sends them to a run-down house where they are captured by cowled figures. Hanson recognises one of them as Viscount Rockliff and so is let in on the joke and taken to the Grange. Blake, meanwhile, is left a prisoner, the plan being that Coutts will be tipped off and will come to the rescue. That evening Coutts, Tinker and Page arrive at the Grange and report that Blake has gone missing. Then the ghost of one of Rockcliff's ancestors appears sending chills up the spines of the gathered friends. While they give chase, Blake appears and reclaims his incomparable housekeeper before joining them all for a huge christmas dinner with explanations for desert.
Trivia: Mrs. Bardell's first name is given as Maria. That's pretty extraordinary at this point in the saga, where it's been pretty well established that she's Martha.
This is reprinted from UNION JACK issue 1,210 (1926).
Illustrator: Eric Parker
Notes: Ruff Hanson has been hired to look after the son of a film producer — Mr. Benjamin Cayterer — who fears that an unscrupulous rival named Isidore Solmann might try to kidnap the boy and hold him hostage until Cayterer hands over an incriminating statement by a crook once employed by Solmann. Hanson has been given the run of Lyveden Manor in Kent for the duration of his job and invites Sexton Blake, Tinker, Detective-Inspector Coutts and Splash Page to join him there for the festive season. As Cayterer is doing research for a series of films based on the work of Charles Dickens, this provides the theme, and all dress up as characters from the author's books. A large party is thrown for the children of the parish and fun is had by all ... until late in the evening when Cayterer Junior is snatched from his room. The following day (Christmas Day) a wax disk is delivered to the mansion. On it is recorded the sound of Junior being tortured. Investigations seem to lead nowhere until, late that night, Ruff Hanson follows a ghostly noise down to the cellar where he is knocked out. He has stumbled upon a smuggling operation in which the manor's butler is involved. Before he is overpowered, the big American manages to shoot a bullet through the butler's wrist and it is this, the following morning, that attracts Blake's attention. While Hanson escapes and rounds up the gang, Blake traces the whereabouts of Junior and goes to his rescue ... but Mrs Bardell gets there first and gives the kidnappers a good hiding with her umbrella. With Junior returned to his father, a merry Christmas is had by all (except the villains, of course).
Trivia: This is reprinted from UNION JACK issue 1,260 (1927).
Illustrator: Eric Parker
Notes: Lord Robin Huntingley forms The League of Robin Hood to punish those who profiteer from the hardships faced by ex-servicemen. He intends to extort money from these ne'er-do-wells in order to pay for Christmas dinners for down-and-outs. The mission begins in the parish of Shinwell where, in due course, an array of crooked landlords, magistrates and politicians are abducted and confined in the cellar of Huntingley Manor where they are forced to chop wood to earn their meals. Detective-Inspector Coutts reports the kidnappings to Sexton Blake but the Baker Street sleuth isn't much interested ... he doesn't want to spend this Christmas fighting crime. Meanwhile, in Shinwell, Splash Page stumbles upon a fight between a friar and a huge thug. The friar wins the battle, drags his opponent into a waiting car, and is promptly driven away. However, beneath the coat of the driver, Splash had spotted a Robin Hood costume, so he now gives chase. He is led to the Manor where he introduces himself to Lord Huntingley and is invited to join the League. He gladly does so, intrigued to witness the villainous prisoners paying good money to be excused their chores. Unfortunately, matters turn ugly when one of the prisoners, Jabez Bruff, is found stabbed to death. Page calls Sexton Blake who drives out to the manor in the Grey Panther. The detective immediately notices that Huntingley's knife is missing from his belt, though the lord pleads his innocence. Sexton Blake interrogates each of Huntingley's prisoners — and finds them all keen to avoid involvement in any kind of scandal; so much so that they offer generous payment if he will agree to extricate them. The police arrive and Blake reveals how Bruff died ... and a most unexpected explanation it is too! The League is disbanded, the poor receive a large donation, and Blake, Tinker, Page, Coutts and Huntingley and Co. enjoy a very merry Christmas.
Trivia: Sexton Blake reveals that he can throw knives at a distance of thirty yards with deadly accuracy.
This is reprinted from UNION JACK issue 1,313 (1928).
Illustrator: Arthur Jones
Notes: This is reprinted from UNION JACK issue 1,131 (1925). The story features Waldo the Wonder-Man.