MARIE GALANTE

by Mark Hodder

  • An introduction to this popular old character for the benefit of new readers.

Marie Galante is beautiful and hypnotic. Her significant others are: Bob Kidd aka Pierre Galante (her father), Dr. Huxton Rymer and Mlle. Roxane.

Marie Galante

Marie Galante, a half-caste, is a mysterious and very dangerous woman who holds more power over the island of Haiti than the president himself. She rules the inaccessible interior; a jungle kingdom where secret voodoo rites are practiced. She uses these black arts, together with her great beauty and personal magnetism, to achieve her nefarious ends, which usually involve separating wealthy men from their money.

She is the daughter of the captain of a trading schooner; a man she has always known as Pierre Galante, the great-great-grandson of a famous French buccaneer and former governor-general of Haiti, also named Pierre Galante. For many years, Marie believed that her father had been lost at sea when she was a child. However, unknown to her, he survived and settled on Haiti as an an inn keeper. When he eventually reveals himself to her, he confesses that Pierre Galante was never his real name — he simply adopted it after reading a book about the famous seaman. His real name is Bob Kidd and he intends to oppose her criminal activities.

Marie Galante's mother is a Creole who had married Kidd two years before Marie was born. As soon as the child came, she ran away into the interior of Haiti, taking the baby with her. Kidd had then discovered that his wife was an adept at voodoo and was raising his daughter to be the same. With Sexton Blake's help. Kidd frees his daughter from her mother's mesmeric influence and, for a while, it seems like he might have regained his lost daughter. However, the call of voodoo proves to be too strong and, before too long, Marie Galante is once again exercising her black arts.

Chronology:

1. By Full of the Moon (UNION JACK issue 710, 1917)
Seeking a missing millionaire, Sexton Blake arrives on Haiti where he encounters a young woman named Marie Galante. Leader of a voodoo cult, she soon has him under her spell — or so she thinks. However, unknown to her, Bob Kidd, her father, is also on the island. He allies himself with Blake in opposition to her. Marie herself is under the hypnotic influence of her mother, Kidd's former wife, who is a voodoo high priestess. When Blake and Kidd's actions lead to the death of this wicked woman, Marie Galante seems to change and ceases to be a threat.

2. The Voodoo Curse (UNION JACK issue 984, 1922)
In the West Indies, Dr Huxton Rymer allies himself with Marie Galante to establish a black empire in the Caribbean with themselves at its head. As they start to strip investors of their property, Sexton Blake steps in to investigate their activities. The detective infiltrates a voodoo rite and puts Galante in a position whereby she will lose all her power over the natives unless she relinquishes the stolen property. Her plans are thus defeated, though she and Rymer retain their liberty.

3. The Case of the Six Rubber Balls (UNION JACK issue 1,050, 1923)
Galante sails to England in search of Dr Huxton Rymer and aboard ship meets a crooked Colombian who intends to blackmail a man named Priestly. A one-time adventurer, Priestly is under the impression that he killed a man while trying to smuggle emeralds out of South America. In fact, this is not the case, as the man had survived. Galante joins the wicked scheme and, with her new companion, establishes herself in the home of the victim, virtually holding Priestly, his wife and their baby daughter as prisoners. Sexton Blake comes to the rescue and saves the innocent family. The Colombian is arrested but Galante is allowed forty-eight hours to get out of the country.

4. The Treasure of Tortoise Island (UNION JACK issue 1,110, 1925)

5. The Black Emperor (SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY 2nd series, issue 52, 1926)

6. The Rogues' Republic (SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY 2nd series, issue 85, 1927)

7. The Voodoo Queen (SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY 2nd series, issue 153, 1928)

8. The Secret of the Thieves' Kitchen (SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY 2nd series, issue 265, 1930)

9. Voodoo Vengeance (UNION JACK issue 1,421, 1931)

10. Black Spaniard Creek (UNION JACK issue 1,432, 1931)

11. The Isle of Horror (SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY 2nd series, issue 376, 1933)

More to come... ...