THE COUNCIL OF ELEVEN

by Mark Hodder

  • An Introduction to this Criminal Organisation for the Benefit of New Readers.
The Council of Eleven

The Council of Eleven is one of the most powerful and wealthiest criminal organisations ever conceived. Its despotic founder is a blonde Frenchman named Baron Robert de Beauremon; a man whose dreamy eyes can change like lightning and shoot forth the gleam of a carnivorous cat ... and, indeed, the Baron's nickname is "The Tiger".

His villainous organisation is modelled upon systematic business lines, provided with unlimited capital, and having for its members those who were at the top of their different professions. It is able to operate throughout the world and can evade any consequences whatsoever. In short, its members can go after whatever they wish and secure it.

The Council of Eleven is a registered business, the ostensible purpose of which is treasure seeking and ocean salvage. At its inception, its paid-up capital amounted to twenty-five million francs. Initially, its base of operations was the Chateau de Beauremon and its sphere of operations the whole world. The Council will attempt anything as long as the profits are high — from the removal of a solitaire diamond from the finger of a typist to the removal of a king from his throne; from the forging and successful negotiation of a cheque for ten louis to that of a company certificate for a million francs. Robbery, forgery, company frauds, blackmail, abduction and kidnapping, jewel thefts and safe-breaking, the release of prisoners from gaol for a price — all fall within the remit of this strictly organised business operation.

And the rewards are high: the president receives a yearly salary of twenty thousand pounds; the vice-president, ten thousand; the second vice-president, eight thousand; Herr Schmidt, six thousand; Dr. Frascati, five thousand; and the rest four thousand. Unlimited funds are available to each to finance every coup. When any member of the Council embarks on a mission, the full resources and support of the organisation is behind them. Profits are paid into the Council and, at the end of each year, a dividend is shared equally among its members. As far as this body is concerned ... crime DOES pay.

Chronology:

1. The Council of Eleven (UNION JACK issue 55, 1914)
The Council is formed and embarks on its first mission — a daring bank heist. But Sexton Blake intercepts them as they move the proceeds of the robbery and returns the loot to the bank.

2. The Lost King (UNION JACK issue 559, 1914)
An Eastern European state hires the Council to kidnap and murder the king-in-waiting of its neighbour, Barania. The plot is successful and the boy-king is held captive, awaiting execution.

3. The Mountaineer's Secret (UNION JACK issue 560, 1914)
Sexton Blake rescues the king and prevents a political coup in Barania. Baron de Beauremon, with his plans in tatters, escapes — though not before receiving a bullet-wound from the detective.

4. A Fight for an Earldom (UNION JACK issue 571, 1914)
The Council is commissioned to find a missing Lord and prevent him from returning to claim his inheritance. The mission takes de Beauremon and Duke Paul Servitch to Arizona where, during a western adventure, they are foiled by Sexton Blake. De Beauremon receives his second bullet wound from the detective.

5. The Refugee (UNION JACK issue 576, 1914)
Sexton Blake is sent to the front lines to recover essential intelligence from a stricken agent. Baron de Beauremon and Madame Rénée Montara interfere with his mission but he outwits them after a terrific fist fight with de Beauremon.

6. The Conniston Diamonds (UNION JACK issue 594, 1915)
The Council sets its sights on a priceless jewel necklace. During a banquet, they steal it ... but Sexton Blake is one of the guests and pretty soon the jewellery is recovered and the Council members only escape thanks to a bungling police officer.

7. The Vengeance of the Eleven (UNION JACK issue 599, 1915)
An Indian, Gunda Migh, replaces Herr Schmidt in the Council and helps them to steal precious rubies. However, when he betrays them, Baron de Beauremon has him killed. Discovering that Sexton Blake is on his trail, de Beauremon tries to murder the detective by means of a booby-trapped monoplane. Though the plan fails, it gives the Council time to escape to the continent with the stolen gemstones.

8. Scoundrels All; or, Strang the Silent (UNION JACK issue 613, 1915)
Rymer allies himself with Baron de Beauremon of the Council of Eleven and the two crooks side with revolutionaries in the South American country of Costa Blanca. They hope to gain valuable oil concessions but in this endeavour they are opposed by Sexton Blake, who ultimately defeats their scheme.

9. The Yellow Tiger (THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY 1st series issue 1, 1915)
The Council of Eleven joins forces with the Brotherhood of the Yellow Beetle in an attempt to weaken the British war effort. After Sexton Blake interferes, Prince Wu Ling kidnaps him and takes him to an island in the far east. Aided by Mlle. Yvonne, Tinker comes to the rescue. When Wu Ling plans to place Yvonne in his harem, de Beauremon turns against him and betrays him to British forces.

10. The Two Mysteries (THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY 1st series issue 11, 1916)

This is the final story of the Council of Eleven.