by Mark Hodder
Paul Cynos is an innocent man that the justice system has wronged. Having been unwittingly cast in the role of a villain, he now intends to play the part to the hilt!
Paul Cynos served sixteen years in Parkmoor prison for a murder he didn't commit. After being released by the Home Secretary, John Selby Waite, he amazed the whole world and discomforted the powers of Justice by establishing the fact that he was entirely innocent of the crime for which he had been committed.
It was one of those rare errors of justice which, fortunately, do not occur once in a century, and the authorities had been quick to make such reparation as was within their powers. But a free pardon and an offer of compensation did not satisfy Paul Cynos. He snapped his fingers at the law, and openly announced his intention to wreak a fitting revenge on every solitary individual who had played the slightest part in the prosecution that had robbed him of sixteen of the best years of his life.
During all those years he had had ample time to scheme and perfect his intended crusade of vengeance, and within a week of his release he brought about the downfall of the man who was actually guilty of the murder with which Cynos had been charged.
Had the man stopped there he might have retained public sympathy, but immediately afterwards he launched an attack against the man who had been the chief witness for the prosecution at his trial, and but for the intervention of Sexton Blake would have achieved one of the most astounding criminal coups that the world had ever known.
There was no doubt that Cynos was a dangerous criminal genius, who would never willingly abandon the crusade of vengeance upon which he had embarked. Wrongfully branded as a criminal, he had taken it upon himself to become one, and none knew what further mischief he was plotting in his safe hiding-place, though there were many who feared and wondered what his next move would be ...
1. The Seven Sons of Cynos (UNION JACK issue 1,289, 1928)
Set free by the Home Secretary, John Selby Waite, Paul Cynos vows revenge on every individual involved in his trial and subsequent imprisonment for a murder he didn't commit. He aims first at his former business partner, Jabez Knowland. Sexton Blake learns that Cynos has seven sons and one daughter. The latter is working as Knowland's secretary. She intends to marry her employer's son but her father insists that she calls off the engagement. He then conducts a faux court case during which Knowland confesses to the murder for which Cynos was incarcerated. Cynos presents the confession and confessor to the Home Secretary. He is, in consequence, granted a full pardon. Blake's investigation into the case has, however, revealed a remarkable fact: the Home Secretary, John Selby Waite, is one of Paul Cynos's sons! Blake vows to keep this a secret but Waite, fearing a scandal, commits suicide. Knowland hangs himself in his prison cell.
2. A Million in Gold! (UNION JACK issue 1,297, 1928)
Blake receives a tip off that a major crime is about to be committed. The principal clue is "a wolf's head," which — as Tinker observes — is the Cynos coat of arms. The criminologist next learns that Sir Harley James, the Governor of the National British Bank, has received a demand from Cynos for one million pounds in payment for the part he played — as a key witness — in Cynos's trial. That amount in bullion is due to be moved between two banks, one of which employs a clerk named Clayton who Blake suspects of being one of Cynos's sons. The fortune is moved in a motor-pantechnicon but Blake confuses the situation by having six more such vehicles making the same journey. Cynos swoops on the correct one but makes off with booby-trapped strong boxes. When opened, they set off smoke bombs via which the leader of the thieves can be located — one of Cynos's sons. Cynos himself, though, evades capture by fooling the police into following his brother, Maximus.
3. The Mystery of the Black Van (UNION JACK issue 1,312, 1928)
The owner of a large insurance company, Malcolm Burton, is ordered by Cynos to pay a large sum in reparation for the role he played as foreman of the jury at Cynos's trial. All over London, glass begins to shatter, destroyed by a sound wave machine. The insurance claims will ruin Burton, so he agrees and is told to leave the money at a certain drop-off point. Blake catches the man who comes to pick up the cash. It is the inventor of the machine ... who also happens to be Cynos's eldest son. The entire plot is, in fact, a swindle, for Burton is also a Cynos! Exposed, they are both taken by the police. Paul Cynos, however, gets to fight another day.
4. Are You Paul Cynos? (UNION JACK issue 1,327, 1929)
Cynos organises a publicity stunt that confuses the police and enables him to roam freely around London. Disguised as Chief Commissioner Fairfax, he enters Scotland Yard during the quiet night shift and, assisted by one of his sons who happens to be a detective sergeant, he plants a time bomb. He then calls up district stations and orders them to gather large teams of policemen to raid addresses thought to be his headquarters. While the forces of law are thus diverted, his gang carries out a number of audacious bank raids. Cynos, meanwhile, visits the judge who had previously sentenced him and frightens him to death. The bomb explodes and Scotland Yard is half destroyed. Sexton Blake vows to catch Paul Cynos within eight hours.
5. I Defy! (UNION JACK issue 1,338, 1929)
6. King's Evidence (UNION JACK, issue 1,350, 1929)
7. Retribution (UNION JACK, issue 1,359, 1929)
And thus ends the crime spree of Paul Cynos.