Sexton Blake Bibliography: 1989

Edited by Mike Higgs

ANTHOLOGY · 1989 · Hawk Books · £9.95

Other content: Introduction by Norman Wright and sixteen pages of photographs of rare Blake material.

Note: The first four issues of the SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY anthologised.

by G. H. Teed

Illustrator: None

Notes: Prince Wu Ling, working as an agent for Germany, employs Baron Robert de Beauremon and the Council of Eleven to help him kidnap the British Munitions Minister and his friend, Sir Hector Amworth. They are snatched from a golf course in Devon and flown away in a biplane. Commissioned by the Secret Service to find the men, Sexton Blake and Tinker head to the west country; Tinker in the Grey Panther, Blake's self-designed monoplane, while the detective follows in the car. But Blake arrives first; Tinker is delayed after engine trouble forces him to make a landing on a remote island where he is shot at before taking off again only to be pursued by a biplane. Unknowingly, he has stumbled upon de Beauremon's base. He and Blake return there the next day. They find and rescue the two prisoners and discover evidence that suggests the Council of Eleven and the Brotherhood of the Yellow Beetle have joined forces. Wu Ling, in response to Blake's interference, vows to sacrifice the detective to the god Mo. When Blake tracks the oriental master criminal to an opium den, Wu Ling captures him and plans to transport him to Kaitu, his island base in China. Tinker, meanwhile, falls in with Mademoiselle Yvonne and they set off in pursuit of Wu Ling's steamship. En route to the island, Blake manages to jump ship. Caught in a raging storm in a sinking lifeboat, exposure and lack of food get the better of him and he falls into a fever. Fortunately, Tinker and Mlle. Yvonne rescue him but they are then attacked by Wu Ling's ship and taken prisoner. Blake evades capture and is picked up by a British warship which follows Wu Ling. On Kaitu, Baron de Beauremon objects to Wu Ling's plan to sacrifice Tinker and place Yvonne into his harem. He breaks off his alliance with the oriental and leads Blake and the naval men to the temple where a fierce fight ensues. Blake rescues Tinker and Yvonne but Wu Ling escapes.

Trivia: This is reprinted from THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY 1st series issue 1 (1915). See that issue for further notes.

Rating: ★★★★★

by Andrew Murray

Illustrator: None

Notes: Tinker meets a young man named Hector MacLeod whose mentor, a banker named James Phillips, has inexplicably banished him from his home. When Hector receives a plea for help from the banker's daughter, Ruth, whom he loves, he learns that her father has gone into hiding. It seems he is terrified of a man named Marle who is about to be released from gaol. Meanwhile, in Laidstone Prison, Marle dies after revealing to a fellow inmate, Professor Kew (who has been in the gaol for two years), that many years ago he took the rap for £20,000 which was swindled from Hector's now-deceased father. The money was placed in the bank but Phillips used it to pay off an equal amount which he had embezzled. Kew conspires with another prisoner, Count Ivor Carlac to obtain this money. They escape from the gaol and track down Phillips. With Carlac disguised as Marle, they insist that Phillips pays them £20,000 — plus interest. Phillips escapes their clutches and catches a merchant ship to San Francisco. He hopes to make his way to Salcoth Island off the coast of Alaska where evidence is hidden which will prove Marle was the perpetrator of the original crime rather than himself. Ruth engages Sexton Blake to find her father and he discovers that Kew and Carlac intend to sail after Phillips in the Anastor. The detective sends Hector to watch over the ship and, later, sneaks aboard himself. Both are present when the vessel leaves port, as are the two villains. When the latter men overpower Blake and heave him overboard, Hector manages to throw a lifebuoy out to the detective. After spending a day lost at sea, Blake rescued and sets off in pursuit accompanied by Tinker and Ruth Phillips. Meanwhile, in San Francisco, Hector is captured and left bound hand and foot in a flooding sewer. Carlac and Kew make their way to Salcoth Island where they find James Phillips who has yet to discover the evidence. The criminals have better luck and, after recovering the records of the original crime, they depart leaving Phillips for dead. Sexton Blake rescues Hector and saves the injured Phillips. When all the parties return to Britain the two villains try to resume their blackmailing of the banker but are defeated when Blake snatches the evidence from Kew. The criminals get away but their plot is foiled.

Trivia: This is reprinted from THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY issue 2 (1915).

Rating: ★★★★☆

by John W. Bobin

Illustrator: None

Notes: Swindler Richard Cavendish betrays his partner, Jasper Clench, and flees the country with their ill-gotten gains. Clench, arrested and imprisoned, vows revenge. Twenty years later, Ezra Q. Maitland and his wife, Broadway Kate, rob Sir Digby Cranston of his collection of precious stones. Sexton Blake and Detective-Inspector Martin attend the crime scene and quickly pick up Maitland's trail. It leads to the Royal Hotel, where their investigations are overheard by a man named Melson. A half-burned note takes Blake from the hotel to a shop owned by a fence named Israel Samuels. Entering in disguise, he finds Maitland offloading the gems and tries to capture him but the criminal flees into the street. Melson appears in a car, urges Maitland to jump in, and drives him to safety. Melson reveals his real identity — he is Jasper Clench. After being released from prison some eleven years ago, he had taken his daughter, Violet, to America where he had amassed a fortune. In the meantime, Richard Cavendish had repented, anonymously returning almost all of the swindled money to its rightful owners. Cavendish had then changed his name to John Riverton and had become a race horse owner. He is now hoping that one of his horses will win the Gold Cup, which will earn him enough money to pay the last of his debts. However, his son, Laurence, is to become the means of Melton's revenge. The ex-swindler wants Maitland to alter a cheque which will make it seem as if Riverton junior is embezzling the bank at which he's employed. This is done and Laurence is duly arrested while visiting his sweetheart, Violet, at the stables which Melson has purchased close to Cavendish's own. Sexton Blake discovers Maitland's fingerprints on the evidence and, after Sir Henry Fairfax gives him permission to interview the imprisoned Laurence, he hears the story of Cavendish and Clench and learns that a disguised Maitland is a guest at Melson's. When the criminal's servant, Wang is spotted lurking at the Riverton stables, Blake pounces but is knocked cold by Maitland and left bound and gagged to starve to death in a nearby quarry. The next day, John Riverton's horse wins the Gold Cup and he can finally pay the last of his debts. After the race, Tinker misses his Guv'nor and uses Pedro to trace him. Blake is rescued and he rushes to Riverton's place where Maitland is in the process of blackmailing the ex-swindler. Maitland is arrested and handed over to the police from whom he then escapes. Riverton and Melson — Cavendish and Clench — are reunited and forgive one another. Laurence and Violet get married.

Trivia: This is reprinted from THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY issue 3 (1915).

Rating: ★★★★☆

by Andrew Murray

Illustrator: None

Notes: The Rajah of Puljara is donating an antique chest filled with gold to Britain's war effort. It is to be transported from India by Colonel Bryce and the Rajah expects to follow his envoy to London a week later. Bryce hires two men as bodyguards — Count Kaldross and Doctor Kay — little realising that they are, in fact, Count Ivor Carlac and Professor Kew. Upon arrival in London, the chest is placed in the Colonel's house in Downe Square. That night, chance takes Tinker to the square where he encounters Bryce's daughter and witnesses the murder of a taxi driver. The passenger, who unknown to Tinker, was Kew, had panicked at the sight of Sexton Blake's assistant. Blake starts investigating the murder and the trail leads him to an antiques shop where a facimile war chest has been recently built to order. This, in turn, leads him back to Downe Square where, together with their cohort, Flash Harry, Carlac and Kew have taken the house next door to the Colonel's. Digging through the fireplace, they steal the chest, replacing it with the forgery. While they prepare to leave the country, Blake exposes the burglary and recovers the chest from the neighbouring house. The Rajah arrives and learns of Carlac and Kew's crime. He vows revenge and sets a trap for them. They fall into it and, captured, are transported to India. Sexton Blake pieces together what happened from the clues and, despite the fact that they are his great enemies, decides to rescue the two villains. He travels to India and there establishes himself in the guise of a wise fakir near the Rajah's palace. Within, Carlac and Kew endure long days of torture as they are tormented by a starved man-killing tiger while the Rajah looks on. As they weaken, their ability to avoid the beast's claws lessens, and they realise that death is not far away. Unknown to them, neither is Sexton Blake. He concocts a clever plan by which he gains entry to the palace, poisons the tiger, and frees the two men. Their successful escape is reported to the Rajah who grudgingly admits that he admire's the detective's audacity. Finally, en route to England, Carlac and Kew flee from Blake leaving him with a note: they have taken back their vow to kill him and now consider that their relationship with him is starting from a clean slate.

Trivia: This is reprinted from THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY issue 4 (1915).

Rating: ★★★★★

by Anon. (Unknown)

Illustrator: Anon. (Unknown)

Notes: Ten years after evidence provided by Sexton Blake put him in prison, a criminal named John League escapes and confronts the detective in his Baker Street home. He is interrupted when a girl enters and distracts him. Blake sends League reeling down the stairs and the crook makes a quick getaway. The girl, Joyce Standish, explains that her father, Professor Standish, has vanished after being visited by League. Blake and Tinker travel with her in the Grey Panther to Moreton Manor, her home in Devon. Unknown to them, League is holed up in a nearby priory and sends a giant thug named Igor to kill Blake. The brute attacks but is shot by Blake and lumbers back to the priory with the detective on his tail. League realises that his enemy may have entered the building and orders his men to search it. Blake evades them and rescues their prisoner, Professor Standish. League's men ransack Moreton Manor and steal plans of a mine owned by the professor. Standish reveals to Blake that he's been using the mine for secret government-approved atomic experiments and that League is after the weapon he's developed. Blake heads for the mine and there comes face to face with League. In the ensuing fight, Joyce is rescued and the villain falls down a mine shaft to his death.

Trivia: This is reprinted from THE KNOCKOUT ANNUAL (1956), which in turn was a reprint of the 1949 serial that started with KNOCKOUT issue 529, the only difference being that John Plague's name was inexplicably changed to John League.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

by Anon. (Unknown)


Edited by Mike Higgs

Illustrator: Unknown

PDF: Click here

Other content: (all strips): Robin Hood's Merry Jest; Spot the Clue with Zip Nolan Highway Patrol (2); Buck Jones and the Pig-Show Pirates; Send for ... Q-Squad; Master of the Marsh; Dick Barton Finds the City Under the Sea; The World-Wide Wanderers; The Gun That Tamed the West; Dick Turpin and the Secrets of Wolf Castle; The Island of Fu Manchu by Sax Rohmer.

Notes: Rumours circulate that there is a prehistoric monster in Loch Kyle. Soon after, a series of robberies occur in musuems and libraries. Sexton Blake is called to Blagdon Hall near Loch Kyle where Sir James Blagoon fears that a valuable painting he owns is going to be stolen. That night, while Blake and Tinker stand watch, the attempt is made but foiled when Blake recognises that his host is an impostor. He chases the crook but the man gets away, though Tinker remains on his trail. The real Sir James is found imprisoned in the cellar. Blake deduces that the crook is the man responsible for the other robberies. Tinker follows the man and sees him row to an island on Loch Kyle. Blake catches up with his assistant and they take a boat to the island but the villain seems to have vanished. Blake falls through a pot-hole into a room where he's knocked out by crooks and tied up. Tinker finds his way to him and loosens the bonds before leaving to fetch the police. The leader of the gang arrives in a midget submarine — the source of the monster stories — and orders an evacuation of the island, after which he will sink the vessel with Blake aboard. However, the detective slips out of his bonds, overpowers the gang and takes control of the submarine.

Trivia: This is reprinted from THE KNOCKOUT FUN BOOK 1952.

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆