THE MYSTERIOUS MR MIST

by Mark Hodder

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

Professor Ian Craig is disfigured and driven to crime by his tragedy, though he is a decent man at heart. He is an inventor and has harnessed the power of invisibility. His significant others are: Larry and Sally Lunn (con artists), Napoleon (a half-breed Canadian Indian), Pamela Wynne (his ex-fiancee), and Denver Dan.

Mr Mist

In 1928, Professor Ian Craig is left hideously disfigured when a laboratory experiment explodes in his face. Horrified by his appearance, his fiancee leaves him and takes up with a rich playboy. Bitter, alone, and permanently masked, Craig becomes a solitary figure. However, his scientific genius has not left him and he learns how to master the art of invisibility — it is, he says, just a question of optics and wavelengths, which he distorts via the 'Invicta Ray'.

To begin with, he uses his power to torment his ex-fiancee by pretending to be a ghost. However, egged on by petty criminals Larry and Sally Lunn, he soon begins to stray across the boundaries of the law.

Mr. Mist, as Craig styles himself, first comes to Sexton Blake's attention when he organises, with the Lunns, a fake seance to swindle money out of a research institute. This initial plot is ruined by the detective and Sally ends up captured, convicted and sent to Hollowville Gaol. Larry, meanwhile, goes on the run. Mr. Mist uses his invisibility to enter the gaol and free Sally, reuniting her with her brother. They are joined by a new recruit to the gang: an American named Denver Dan. In an attempt to frame Detective-Inspector Coutts — who had secured Sally's conviction — Denver Dan impersonates him and behaves despicably in a nightclub. Sexton Blake clears his friend of this blot on his character and rounds up Mr. Mist's gang.

Despite his foray into crime, Craig isn't all bad. When the young wife of the Chancellor of the Exchequer is blackmailed, he comes to her rescue, though this involves him entering parliament and disrupting the House of Commons by stealing the mace!

After his short brush with the law, Professor Craig abandons his alter-ego and sails to a new life in Africa, where he commits himself to doing good.

Chronology:

1. The Man Who Walked By Night (UNION JACK issue 1,277, 1928)
After being hideously disfigured in an accident and then abandoned by his fiancee, Professor Ian Craig retreats into solitude and develops a method whereby he can make himself invisible. Taking on the identity of 'Mr. Mist', he falls in with swindler Larry Lunn and his sister Sally. They create a scheme to gain money by faking a seance. However, the plan goes awry when Sexton Blake intervenes. Sally is arrested and sent to prison.

2. The Phantom of Scotland Yard (UNION JACK issue 1,278, 1928)
Mr. Mist walks into prison and frees Sally Lunn. Reuniting with Larry, and teaming up with a disguise artiste named Denver Dan, they seek to revenge themselves on Detective-Inspector Coutts by ruining his reputation. Sexton Blake defeats them and Coutts is able to round up all the gang apart from Mr. Mist.

3. The Great Budget Conspiracy (UNION JACK issue 1,280, 1928)
The young wife of the Chancellor of the Exchequer is blackmailed by a cocaine-addicted crook named Rudolph Kent. She pleas for help from Mr. Mist via the newspaper personals. He responds but her message is also spotted by Tinker, who begins to investigate. Kent's henchman, Skeleton Sims, catches him and injects him with poison. Tinker slips into a coma but recovers enough to tell Sexton Blake about the blackmailing scheme.

4. The Mystery of the Missing Mace (UNION JACK issue 1,281, 1928)
Skeleton Sims has been arrested and the letters used to blackmail the Chancellor's wife lay — as yet unread — in an office in Scotland Yard. Rudolph Kent is making investments based on information about the forthcoming budget — this information has been forced from his victim. Mr. Mist enters the House of Commons and steals the mace to disrupt and delay the budget. Sexton Blake recovers the letters and returns them to the Chancellor's wife. Mr. Mist captures Kent and hands him over to the police. He then abandons his crime spree and his invisibility and sails to Africa intent on doing good — as Professor Ian Craig.

Thus ends the story of Mr Mist.