ANTHOLOGY · 1986 · Everyman Paperbacks · £5.95
Other content: An introductory essay by Jack Adrian.
Note: Jack Adrian gives an excellent overview of the Blake saga in his introduction, packing in essential facts and figures while at the same time managing to capture the essence of what made Sexton Blake so popular. This essay is essential reading.
Notes: This is reprinted from DETECTIVE WEEKLY issue 8 (1933). The story features Zenith the Albino.
Notes: In 1890, Prince Bismarck's private secretary stores a box filled with his employer's memoirs in the vaults of Goyle's Bank, London. He puts the bank receipt in a flask which he throws into the Thames. He is never seen again. Thirty years later, the flask is found by a river worker who takes it to Sexton Blake. A German agent named Stromburg has a brief tussle with the detective before raiding the bank and stealing the memoirs. By intercepting a letter from Lord Vavasour to Stromburg's employer, Count Dorflisch, Blake learns what the box in the bank vault had contained. Vavasour's letter concerns a forthcoming meeting between him and Dorflisch. When this occurs at Vavasour's home, Mylton Towers, Dorflisch reveals that the memoirs contain damning facts about Vavasour's father. His attempted blackmail is cut short though; Vavasour leaves the room for a moment and when he returns he finds a man dead on the floor and Dorflisch gone. But even worse, he discovers that important government papers pertaining to Persia have been stolen from his desk. A disguised Sexton Blake arrives on the scene to investigate and sees that the dead man is Stromburg. Meanwhile, Sir Vyrmer Fane, head of the Secret Service, sends Granite Grant to find out what has become of the Persian documents. Mademoiselle Julie also appears on the scene. Between them, they identify the real killer, reclaim Vavasour's lost papers and recover the Bismarck memoirs.
Trivia: This is reprinted from THE LONDON EVENING STANDARD (23 November, 1936) and is a reworking of THE UNION JACK story THE CLAYTON MOAT MYSTERY from issue 1,103 (1924), which in turn was based on The SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY novel THE MYSTERY BOX (series 1, issue 151, 1920) from which this review derives. It was later republished in 1966 as THE CASE OF THE BISMARK MEMOIRS (THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY 5th series novel 28).