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Enter the Saint, the first novel in the series... that Leslie Charteris was willing to acknowledge.note 
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In 1928, Leslie Charteris had his third stand-alone novel, Meet the Tiger, published. Afterwards, Charteris selected the hero as the strongest of the three protagonists he'd created, and embarked on a series of tales which would run until until 1983. The character's success in print — short stories, novellas and novels in roughly equal measure — led to many adaptations in other media.

Our hero, Simon Templar, is significantly better known by his nickname "the Saint." The origins of his nom de guerre are uncertain, other than the coincidence of his initials, but it is certain that his heroic exploits fly in the face of a nefarious reputation. Like Raffles and Arsène Lupin before him, Simon is a thoroughgoing, unrepentant and in fact joyful criminal. The Saint is a past master at every way (that existed in his time) of illegally separating marks from their money. Police on multiple continents, including and especially Chief Inspector Claud Eustace Teal of Scotland Yard, have done their futile best to bring in the Saint — while at the same time owing some of their biggest arrests to the assistance of Simon Templar.

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This unusual relationship to law enforcement is because Simon's unique moral philosophy places him completely on the side of the, well, saints. His usual targets are referred to collectively, by him, as the "Ungodly". Some are obvious evildoers, including gangsters, murderers and, from roughly 1939-1945, the agents of the Axis. Others of the Ungodly, however, are known as such only to the Saint and his friends; these include corrupt politicians, crooked business men, and (before 1939) warmongering arms dealers. The fortunate Ungodly escape merely with vastly-reduced ill-gotten fortunes; the Saint donates a percentage of his score to charity, and the remainder to himself and his partners in crime. This obviously leads to comparisons, both favorable and otherwise, to Robin Hood. However, when his singular code of ethics demands it, Templar is willing to ruin the lives of the Ungodly or even kill them, justifying these admitted murders as necessary to defend the lives of the innocent.

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Initially, Templar was usually depicted as working with a number of other adventurous young men: right-hand-man Roger Conway, lady-killer Richard "Dicky" Tremayne, technical wizard Archie Sheridan, and doomed hero Norman Kent. Occasionally, the team included his Old Retainer Orace, though mainly in a background/support role. And, very often, Templar heavily relied on his true love, Patricia Holm, who was far more competent than the average heroine of her day. During this period, although the Saint could and did operate internationally, the series was strongly centered around Great Britain, and especially London — the closest thing the Saint has to a home town.

By the mid-1930s, Conway, Tremayne, Sheridan, and Kent had left the field. Templar carried on with Patricia, Peter Quentin — who first appeared as a con victim whom Templar saves from a long prison term — and his most unusual associate, good old Hoppy Uniatz. Mr. Uniatz was a not-overly-bright but unswervingly loyal and courageous, not to mention handy with a Colt 1911 .45 semi-auto, veteran of the Prohibition-era NYC underworld. He was also (according to Charteris) the first Breakout Character in the series, to the point that as the series went on, Simon would appear with only Hoppy as support. The Saint also left the UK more often during this time, especially as his wartime exploits demanded.

Roughly from the beginning of the 1950s, though, even Hoppy had moved on. The Saint was left, essentially, a lone wolf. His solo status also seemingly cut the final threads holding him to England; for the last 20 years of the series, Simon was a true globetrotter, and stories set in London Town became far more the exception than the rule.

Beginning in the 1960s, Charteris occasionally updated stories for reprints, replacing outdated references to topical matters such as pop culture and politics with more modern examples. By the 1970s, he stopped doing that; as with Sherlock Holmes, to which series he directly referred, Charteris believed that part of the charm of the stories was their evocation of their time period.

Charteris wrote all the stories and novels published between 1928 and 1963. From 1964 onwards other writers took over and continued writing stories (many of which adapted episodes of The Saint and Return Of The Saint from TV). These writers were usually credited inside the books, but Charteris received sole credit on the covers. The final Saint novel in the original run was published in 1983.


The Saint provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Ace Pilot: Simon's skill in the air is key to several adventures, notably The Newdick Helicopter and The Damsel in Distress, but it is put on full display in The Art of Alibi; in this story, Simon fights a dogfight and wins despite the fact that his plane is unarmed.
  • Achievements in Ignorance: In The Newdick Helicopter, one of the Ungodly buys plans for a 'helicopter' (actually an autogyro) to use as bait for unwary small investors. When the Con Man assembles the helicopter, he discovers it cannot take off vertically as he expected it to. Assuming he had put it together wrong, he starts tinkering with it and ends up inventing a fully functioning helicopter. (Note that this story was published in 1933, several years before the first fully functioning helicopter was built.)
  • The Alibi: Simon Templar is a past master of these; further, his associates learn well from him. In The Gold Standard, immediately upon the Saint's return to the UK from a trip abroad, a small but nasty specimen of the Ungodly is knocked out and robbed blind. The only clue is the Sign of the Saint, left behind by the perp. Unfortunately for the long-suffering enforcers of the Law, Simon is having a lengthy chat with Chief Inspector Teal in a provincial police station at the exact time the crime occurred. Of course, it was quick-thinking Patricia who took advantage of the opportunity — as noted above, she was far above average for the time.
  • Allergic to Routine: The Saint. Pat also, but not quite as badly.
  • All Just a Dream: The very offbeat story variously titled Dawn or The Darker Drink may have been this; or Simon may have temporarily been a Dream Walker in another's Dying Dream. By the end of the story, neither he nor we are sure.
  • Ambiguously Brown: Charteris's own mixed English and Chinese ancestry may have implications for the frequent references to Simon's tanned complexion and thick, straight black hair.
  • Arch-Enemy: Rayt Marius for a couple of books and a short story; he has the distinction of being the only villain to kill one of the Saint's gang.
  • Badass Driver: His passengers disagree on which he is, but all who've seen him behind the wheel — especially of his beloved Hirondel — agree Simon Templar is either badass or barking mad. His remarkably accident-free record tends to indicate the former.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: Simon, in virtually every adventure.
  • Banana Republic: The Wonderful War is the story of how The Saint (almost) singlehandedly liberates one of these.
  • Batman Gambit: The Saint loves these with a holy love. A prime example is in The Man From St. Louis, where he manipulates a vicious wannabe-bigshot mook into disposing of a white slaver — and in such a way that Chief Inspector Teal immediately arrests said mook.
  • Battle Butler: Orace attends Simon throughout most of the pre-World War II adventures; however, his combat abilities are mostly implied by references to his time in the service, and he never plays as prominent a role as, say, Alfred Pennyworth.
  • Berserk Button: Do not hurt or threaten Pat; he will go into Unstoppable Rage even if he is badly wounded. In fact, do not hurt any woman in his presence. Period. He will undertake your systematic destruction and there will be absolutely nothing you can do about it, and you can expect no mercy.
  • The Big Rotten Apple: The Saint in New York is set in the immediate post-Prohibition era of NYC; all the corruption without even the fig leaf of resisting an unpopular law.
  • Birds of a Feather: Pat and Simon Templar; Templar often comments that she's the only woman he's ever met who shares his lust for life and adventure. In The Saint in New York, Simon realizes that this was also true of Fay Edwards — a realization that comes too late.
  • Blackmail Backfire: Type 2 in The Art Photographer, among others.
  • Bookcase Passage: In The Affair of Hogsbotham, Simon's country house has a tiny room concealed behind a bookcase secret door. As one might expect from the Saint, though, the opening mechanism is far more complex than the usual pull-the-right-book trick.
  • Break the Haughty: In The Golden Journey, Simon observes a Rich Bitch being rude to the staff of the hotel where he is staying. Deciding that she needs a lesson in humility, he arranges for her to be forced into a situation where she has to accompany him on a several day cross-country hike. He uses the opportunity to thoroughly humiliate her, and then instil in her a much healthier attitude towards life.
  • Britain Is Only London: Averted. Many of Simon's exploits take place in London, but he also has adventures across the isle, especially on the coasts.
  • Calling Card:
    • The familiar haloed stick figure was Simon's trademark, often sent before an adventure as a warning, during as an ominous reminder, and after as a signature to a completed work. Even after his identity is made public, Simon continues to use it; as Inspector Teal observes glumly, every bobby in Britain knows it's his trademark, but the fact that everyone else in England knows it too allows Simon to claim that some cheap crook was just copying it.
    • In one of the stories in The Saint in London, one of the Ungodly finally tries a Frame-Up using the Sign of the Saint. Simon is only surprised that it's taken someone so long. He further muses that perhaps every other crook who thought of it was smart enough to realize that it would only attract his attention, and that it's far better to take their chances with the bobbies than with The Saint.
  • Card Sharp: The Man Who Was Clever establishes the Saint's skill at this; surrounded by a gang of experienced hoods and despite the fact that their own Sharp has stacked the deck as part of Hustling the Mark, he still deals himself a winning hand. (Simon does, however, prefer to play honestly; although he's never shown to be a Professional Gambler, he usually wins in games such as Poker anyway because he's so good at reading other people.)
  • Casual Danger Dialog: If there is any story in the Saint series that does not feature Templar doing this, it's not a Saint book.
  • Catch-Phrase: "As the bishop said to the actress/as the actress said to the bishop," an Edwardian British predecessor to "that's what she said," was used by Simon in his very first adventure and for many years thereafter.
  • Cement Shoes: Narrowly averted in The High Fence. The Big Bad has kidnapped the Saint with a clever use of Knockout Gas, and gotten all the info he needs using scopolamine; he has no reason to keep Simon alive. At that point, rather than act with the same efficiency he's shown throughout, he delegates the disposal to his career criminal henchman. Said henchman doesn't take the time to make actual cement shoes; he just ties the Saint to an iron weight and drops him in the Thames. Of course the Saint always has a final trick up his sleeve....
  • The Charmer: The Saint. Women (almost always) find him irresistible. Further, he would never take advantage of a woman and is always courteous and (barring the occasional female villain) polite towards them.
  • Comic-Book Time: As Charteris himself notes in The First Saint Omnibus, Templar was aging at a practically normal rate in the first decade or so. His aging process began to slow as The Saint dealt with Those Wacky Nazis. Then, from the time Charteris retired from primary authorship in 1963 through the end of the series 20 years later, Simon showed his age almost exclusively by a much more world-weary attitude than his exuberant pre-war years.
  • Condescending Compassion: Templar loves pretending this attitude around and in regards to the police.
  • Con Man: A high percentage of the Saint's targets, particularly in the short stories, are con artists who prey on the innocent, the unwary, and the desperate; it is their misfortune to attract the attention of the master of the craft, Simon himself.
  • Cool Car: Leslie Charteris didn't believe that any car in the real world was cool enough for Simon to drive, so he made up one. The Hirondel was the ultimate roadster of the 1930s; its cost alone, let alone its fantastic performance, put it in the supercar class of Ferrari and Aston Martin today. Automobile Quarterly devoted an issue to imaginings of this fictional classic, images of which can be found here. In one later story (Vendetta for the Saint), an Italian mechanic who has devoted himself to preserving a Bugatti Type 41 "Royale" (currently worth approximately $10 million) is impressed that Simon drove a Hirondel. It's that cool.
    • Much as he loved the Hirondel, though, the Saint appreciated the artistry of Ettore Bugatti equally. This led to a comedic Felony Misdemeanor moment when Simon discovers and safely disposes of a bomb that the Ungodly planted in the Royale. He's less annoyed that they were trying to kill him than that they were willing to destroy such a work of art to do so.
  • Cops Need the Vigilante: The Saint lends his brain to the bobbies more than once — notable examples include The Appalling Politician and The Man Who Liked Toys — but when The Man From St. Louis tries to transplant "Chicago Way" crime to London, Teal flatly tells Simon, "You can do things we can't do." For the rest of the story, Teal and the Yard as a whole abandon their usual intense interest in The Saint's activities, and our hero takes full advantage.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Just in the pages of The First Saint Omnibus, the Saint encounters Messrs. Hugo Campard (stock manipulator turned oil tycoon), W. Titus Oates (shady financier and philatelist), Sir Melvin Flager (trucking magnate and slave-driving, safety-ignoring boss), and, worst of all, Grant Lasser (legitimate importer of wine & spirits; smuggler of those and other things; and torture-murderer). Distaste for scum who pretend respectability is something Simon seems to more than share with the general public — the difference being, the Saint can do something about it.
  • Corrupt Politician: The Simon Templar Foundation's note  initial endowment of one million pounds (more than 65 million pounds or $87 million in 2017!) is extracted from a quintet of examples from His Majesty's Government. Considering what Simon hints that he's learned about them in Rayt Marius's journal, they got off easy:
    The Saint: I don't want you to miss the idea, your lordship.... This isn't just ordinary naughtiness. This is high treason.
  • Costume Porn: Particularly in the early adventures, Charteris goes into loving detail about the Saint's bespoke wardrobe.
  • Could Say It, But...: During one of the rare and wonderful times Chief Inspector Teal and The Saint are not only on the same side, but actually working together, Claud Eustace indulges in a great deal of this to help Simon bring down The Appalling Politician. It works, but not quite as Claud Eustace expects.
  • Cultured Badass: Simon has a deserved reputation as a connoisseur of fine food and wine; as noted in several entries on this very page, his fashion sense is impeccable; he behaves flawlessly in the highest of high society (unless his plans require deliberate misbehavior); and he is a five-star kicker of hindquarters.
  • Damsel out of Distress: Most of the novels and stories through World War II feature Templar's true love, Patricia Holm, as an active accomplice in his exploits. She's also noted to be a very good shot and is the person he trusts to drive the getaway car when the chase is particularly hot. Villains have been known to be more afraid of the icy steel in her voice and eyes than they are of Templar at first meeting (of course, it probably helps that she's usually the one pointing a gun in those instances).
  • Decoy Damsel: Pat occasionally (for example, in The Gold Standard) does a heroic version of this, allowing herself to get captured to further some plan of Simon's.
  • Diabolical Mastermind: Rayt Marius, war profiteer and utter blackguard, earns his status as Simon's arch-foe, even striking out at Simon one last time from beyond the grave in The Simon Templar Foundation.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: Pat eventually vanishes from the chronicles; some writers after Charteris have explored the details.
  • Direct Line to the Author: At the close of Knight Templar, Simon is writing down his latest adventure "for the benefit of an author bloke I know, who has sworn to make a blood-and-thunder classic of us one day." Charteris plays with the notion again (almost in a Literary Agent Hypothesis fashion) in his notes for The First Saint Omnibus.
  • Dirty Communist: One of the Saint's wilder later adventures, The Saint in Pursuit, has this as one of the antagonists, the other being a SS veteran. Both are racing Simon and the daughter of an American OSS operative for untraceable bearer bonds in the amount of $60 million (almost $390 million in 2018!), said bonds originally funded with Nazi Gold.
  • Dirty Cop: The High Fence reveals an example at the very end.
  • Dirty Coward: Galbraith Stride, in The Death Penalty, and Ronald Nilder in The Man From St. Louis reveal themselves to be thoroughgoing dastards. It is an indication of how low Simon thinks they are that, although they are now chatting each other up in a super-tropical climate, the Saint doesn't personally dirty his hands on either of them.
  • Dissonant Serenity: The more angry The Saint is, the calmer and more relaxed he seems and the more likely he will call villains by ironic endearments as he describes in calm and loving detail how he is going to destroy them. It's only worse if he drops the endearments... The Unlicensed Victuallers learn this most horribly.
  • Doesn't Like Guns: In the early stories, Simon considers firearms noisy and barbarous, isn't particularly expert with them, and further admits as much on more than one occasion; around World War II, his attitude relaxes and his expertise rises, in both cases considerably.
  • Enhanced Interrogation Techniques: The Saint himself almost never resorts to what used to be called "the third degree" (although Hoppy isn't nearly so squeamish); his manner when merely threatening mayhem is so unnervingly saintly that it usually breaks the resistance of the Mook-du-jour. Occasionally, though, Simon has to get creative with his techniques; for example, both The Unblemished Bootlegger and The Sleepless Knight get sent on variations of the Fauxtastic Voyage that literally bring them to their knees.
  • Ethical Slut: Pat and Templar have an open relationship, but Templar usually avoids doing much more than flirting with other women because (while they might be more beautiful, and witty or charming) they can't match up to Pat for intelligence and thirst for adventure.
  • Exploding Cigar: Specifically referenced by Claude Eustace in The Lawless Lady, when Simon offers him a fine specimen. Of course that's far too obvious for the Saint, but knowing Templar as he does, the good Inspector was still uncharacteristically unsuspicious to have accepted it.
    • In The Man Who Was Clever, the Saint makes use of some exploding cigarettes; not only do they explode, they emit an obscuring cloud of smoke. Curiously, this is the only time in the stories they are used — curious because they would have been useful on a number of occasions.
  • Face of an Angel, Mind of a Demon: Certainly all The Saint's marks would say this, especially when he pulls off his wide-eyed innocent look and his beatific smile that usually marks his being particularly mischievous.
  • Flaw Exploitation: Often used by The Saint; in fact, Simon has even used the hobbies of the Ungodly against them, notably versus The Unfortunate Financier and the employer of The Careful Terrorist. It is attempted against him, of course, but it is the rare time that he doesn't have a contingency for someone trying to do this.
  • Flowery Insults: Occasionally, when Templar is in a poetic mood and you are starting to annoy him or piss him off or he wants to annoy and piss you off.
  • Framing the Guilty Party: Done masterfully by The Saint in The Death Penalty.
  • Gentleman Adventurer: Even invokes this trope by name when describing himself.
  • Gentleman Snarker: Templar and his original companions noted above: Conway, Tremayne, Sheridan and Kent. Peter Quentin and Monty Hayward were just as snarky, though not quite as upper-crust.
  • Gentleman Thief: The Saint, obviously, though occasionally his conduct slips down into Lovable Rogue territory.
  • Going by the Matchbook: Averted in The Saint and the Sizzling Saboteur. The police find the matchbook used to set fire to the victim. One of the officers thinks this might be the clue that breaks the case open, only for the lead detective to reach into his pocket and pull out a matchbook, saying that he has no idea where this particular bar is or how the matchbook came to be in his possession.
  • Good Is Not Soft: The Saint's entire modus operandi is built on this trope.
  • Go-to Alias: Sebastian Tombs; eventually, this alias becomes almost as well known as Simon's nom de guerre.
  • Great Escape: In The Case of the Frightened Innkeeper, Simon and Hoppy become embroiled in one of these — but not as escapees themselves.
  • The Greatest Story Never Told: In The Million Pound Day, the Saint foils a diabolically clever counterfeiting scheme that would've unleashed the titular value of fake lira on the European market. No one but Simon himself, Pat, and a few highly-placed Italian officials will ever know, though, because news of the very attempt would cause a financial panic. This would devastate Europe's economy even worse than it had already been by The Great Depression, if such a thing were possible. (It should also be noted that this adventure took place several years before Italy broke away from the League of Nations and from a friendly relationship with the U.K.)
  • Heel–Face Turn: It doesn't happen often — possibly because the Ungodly often meet the Saint just before they meet their Maker — but by the end of the story, The Sleepless Knight is a changed man. It may not be a coincidence that this is one of a very few stories in which the Saint makes not a penny of profit.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: In The Last Hero, made by Norman Kent
  • High-Heel–Face Turn: As one might expect, Simon often has this effect (for example, The Affair Of Hogsbotham). On the other hand, "Straight Audrey" Perowne and Kathleen "The Mug" Allfield are wooed to the side of the Saints by the charms, not of The Saint, but of Dicky Tremayne and Peter Quentin respectively.
  • Hired to Hunt Yourself: The Simon Templar Foundation introduced Hoppy Uniatz to the series; in turn, Hoppy introduces "Pete 'de Blood' Orconi" to the enemies of said institution, who hire "Pete" and Hoppy to take out the Foundation's founder. Of course, "Pete" is Simon himself.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Simon regularly arranges this; he directly references (though not exact-quotes) the Shakespeare line in The Art Photographer and again in The Careful Terrorist .
  • Horse Racing: Charteris was an aficionado of the Sport of Kings to the point that it's mentioned in his Washington Post obituary. Several of Simon's adventures, including the very first, involve the track directly, and it is referred to so regularly that readers unfamiliar with racing, particularly the UK circuit, may find the TVT quick primer helpful.
  • Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: The Death Game, from The Saint On TV; both of which are Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
  • I Call It "Vera":
    • The Saint's twin throwing knives, Anna and Belle.
    • Both Simon and Hoppy refer to Hoppy's trusty equalizer as "Betsy."
  • Icy Blue Eyes:
    • Pat's are noted to be this, generally contrasting Simon's innocent baby blues. Also notable character-wise because it symbolizes her tendency to come across as more even keel and less manic than Templar. She can, however, do the Innocent Blue Eyes too, just to freak Teal out.
    • Simon has these when he's angry.
  • Impersonating an Officer: The Saint doesn't have much use for English bobbies, American cops, or any other nation's law enforcement officers — but he often finds it useful for he or one of his colleagues to pretend to be them: for examples of the former, see Knight Templar and The Tall Timber,; of the latter,The Affair of Hogsbotham.
  • Innocent Blue Eyes: The Saint has these and is very, very aware of it. He loves giving beatifically innocent looks at his most infuriating.
  • Instant Sedation: Happens quite frequently, and to just about anyone: to the Ungodly in The Unblemished Bootlegger, to the Saint himself as noted above in The High Fence, to Inspector Teal in The Lawless Lady, and even used for medicinal purposes on a victim of the Ungodly in The Million Pound Day.
  • Internal Deconstruction: The late short storyThe Spanish Cow deconstructs Simon's usual attitudes and behaviour. He comes close to seducing and stealing from an unattractive, middle-aged, nouveau riche woman, and only realises at the last minute that he is about to do something truly evil to another person just because she isn't sexy and cool.
  • I Owe You My Life: Downplayed with Peter Quentin in his origin story, The Unblemished Bootlegger. It's unlikely that the stretch in His Majesty's Gaol from which The Saint saves him would've been fatal, but as Simon himself notes, it certainly isn't healthy; and, without ever mentioning it again, Peter goes on to become a valuable member of Simon's team.
  • Ironic Nickname: Lots, but Templar's nickname of "Angel Face" for the very ugly Rayt Marius is the foremost example of this trope. His enemies would say this applies to Simon himself.
  • I Shall Taunt You: Templar doesn't have an off button when he's around the police or villains. All of his insults are very snarky and both for his own (and his comrades) amusement and to keep villains and policemen off their balance. In one adventure (The Policeman With Wings), he defeats a villain using only his mocking wit.
  • Just Like Robin Hood:
    • In the very earliest stories, The Saint steals from criminals and gives all but 10% of it to charities (unless it can be determined where the ill-gotten gains were stolen or extorted from in the first place, in which case The Saint gives it all back to its rightful owners). As the series goes on, the percentage varies, but The Saint never wavers in his philosophy — in The Man From St. Louis, Simon even sends some of his boodle to a policeman who'd been shot by the eponymous bad guy.
    • Several tales refer to the newspaper stories that explicitly dub him "the Robin Hood of Modern Crime."
  • Kansas City Shuffle: Another thing The Saint loves with a holy love. The Prince of Cherkessia, for example, is warned of the exact day on which the Saint will — for a variety of good reasons — steal the crown that has just been made for him by London's finest jewelers. Chief Inspector Teal guards the Prince and his crown practically as well as England's own Crown Jewels, and yet the crown is still stolen — because Claud Eustace could never imagine that the "Prince" is actually The Saint in disguise, and has been all along.
  • Knife Nut: Templar prefers knives to guns, and is an expert with them. He is particularly fond of, and adept at, throwing them.
  • Knight In Shining Armour:
    • In The Last Hero, one of the earlier Saint novels (1931), Simon Templar takes backstage to his gallant and tragic associate Norman Kent, who falls in love hopelessly with Templar's girlfriend Patricia Holm (who hardly notices him) and at the end of the book sacrifices his life to let Templar and his other comrades-in-arms escape the current villain and fight again another day.
    • A book called Knights Errant of the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries by Caroline Whitehead and George Mc Leod says it all: "Norman Kent is an archetypal knight-errant. Though formally a man of 20th Century England, he lives (and dies) by the Code of Chivalry. He loves totally his Lady, Patricia Holm - who, like Don Quixote's Dulcinea, is not aware of that love. He is totally loyal to his Liege Lord, Simon Templar. Like Sir Gawain in "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight", Norman Kent takes on the threats to his Lord. Not only physicial threats to life and limb, but also the sometimes inavoidable need to take dishourable acts which would have reflected badly on the reputation of King Arthur/Simon Templar is taken on, wholly and without reservation, by Sir Gawain/Norman Kent."
  • The Last Title: The Last Hero, which does not refer to Simon himself, but rather to Norman Kent.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Occasionally Templar talks about a situation or his life being rather like an adventure novel, and that if it stays true to form something will or won't happen. For example, in The Million Pound Day, Simon notes that he cannot be killed before page 320.
  • Locked Room Mystery: The Man Who Liked Toys was the center of one of these.
  • Long-Running Book Series: 50 books published between 1928 and 1983, all written or overseen by Leslie Charteris.
  • Mad Scientist: The Saint mostly dealt with mundane villains; however, in The Man Who Liked Ants, Simon is faced with a classic example of this trope, majoring in Evilutionary Biologist studies.
  • The Mafia: In Vendetta for the Saint, Simon takes on the actual Sicilian Mafia.
  • Mark of Shame: In the backstory of The Death Penalty, it's revealed that the Saint bestowed his Sign on both (facial) cheeks of Abdul Osman, in an especially agonizing manner. Mr. Osman is a combination of all the worst stereotypes associated with rotund, Middle Eastern chieftains. Further, he makes his money in human trafficking and illicit narcotics. In short, in the Saint's eyes, he was let off lightly. On that occasion.
  • Master Actor: The Saint. He often appears as a wealthy, amiable and helium-headed aristocrat (see below) but, when circumstances demand it, can appear to be a down-at-heel lorry driver, a haughty but corrupt barrister, an American "button man," or even a Central American peasant with little more than a change of clothes.
  • Mercy Lead: The Saint has come to the apartment of Tex Goldman, The Man From St. Louis, for a rare Vigilante Execution. Before he can make his move, though, he overhears part of a conversation between Tex and a woman Simon thinks is just the gangster's moll. When Simon does move, he gets the drop on both and tells Tex that he's there to kill both of them. Tex faces the Saint down, saying that whatever Simon thinks the lady's done, he's wrong. Tex goes on, though, to say he can take it for both of them — because they were just married that day. Simon is so touched, he not only lets the young woman go (he never intended to harm her anyway), he also lets Tex flee with her, and even gives them back some of the loot that he, Simon, has just lifted from Tex's safe.
  • Moral Guardians: Few things that are not actual felonies raise Simon's ire more than these. One, Mr. Ebenezer Hogsbotham, sets off an adventure that Charteris himself, in The First Saint Omnibus, called "a story that in its own way would summarize them all". By the end of The Affair of Hogsbotham, though Mr. H. never appears in person, the Saint has given him a most satisfactory comeuppance, while also solving a bank robbery, arranging for the sudden decease of said robbers, and enriching himself and his associates to the tune of fifteen thousand pounds.
  • Motor Mouth: The Saint will only stop talking when his Gentleman Thief activities absolutely demand it. When he's excited or has a Eureka Moment his mouth tries a desperate job of trying to keep up with his brain, resulting in fragments of the subject in particular, bits of plans on what he's going to do, and jokes all jumbled together coming out of his mouth at a mile a minute (think The Doctor at his most insensibly manic). Even the most brilliant of his associates, notably Pat, find it a strain to keep up with him at these moments.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Templar, even when he's wearing all his clothes.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Pat or whatever woman happens to be in the story is usually described in loving detail.
  • Mysterious Past: In one of the later adventures, The Saint In Pursuit, an American intelligence officer awkwardly tries to draw Simon out by mentioning that he hasn't been completely briefed about Templar's background. Simon's answer: "Nobody has."
  • Never Gets Drunk: Simon himself can hold his liquor handily (see, for example, The Art Photographer), but Hoppy Uniatz's ability to imbibe is a source of astonishment to all who know him, including and especially the Saint. In view of Hoppy's unusual personality, he is probably a type 2. On the other hand, Simon hypothesizes he simply does not drink enough, which given the descriptions of how much and what he drinks would make him Type 3.
  • The Nicknamer: Templar hands out these like he's handing out candy to children.
  • Noodle Implement: The father of The Damsel in Distress plans to effect the Shotgun Wedding referenced below, using a cake of soap as the instrument of persuasion. Unfortunately for him and his crew, he forgets the implement and has to send Simon out to buy some.
  • Not My Driver: Played with on a World Cup level. It's both lampshaded and avoided in The Story Of a Dead Man. It's expected and turned against the Ungodly in The Gold Standard. It's played straight by Simon himself or one of his associates in The Man From St. Louis and The Sleepless Knight. And it's even played straight against the Saint in The High Fence. (In Simon's defense, he was being carted off by a detective in the last instance, so he wasn't quite on his guard.)
  • Omniglot: Simon is shown to be fluent in French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and German in addition to his native English. While very impressive, the total number doesn't rise to the level of some of the examples of this trope. However, it should also be noted that for the Saint, his level of fluency is such that he can pass as a native in multiple dialects of these languages, as part of his Master Actor abilities.
  • Only Sane Man: Victimized by a Con Man, Peter Quentin is looking at bankruptcy and a stretch in a British prison until The Saint intervenes. He becomes one of Simon's most trusted assistants, but his incredulous bemusement with the Saint's devil-may-care mad genius never changes.
  • Nothing Up My Sleeve: Simon's favorite hiding place for Anna, though he also uses a calf sheath on occasion.
  • The Pardon: In Knight Templar, the one time the bobbies had him dead to rights, all Detective-Inspector Carn can say to him is, "I think the King is waiting to speak to you." Simon had just prevented the bombing of a train carrying His Majesty and other members of the royal family.
  • Passed-Over Inheritance: Pops up more than once, for example in The Wonderful War and in The Loving Brothers. One is a result of very foul play, the other involving an alcoholic, disbarred barrister, an Inadequate Inheritor (more than one, actually) and a Spiteful Will. In both cases Simon sets matters aright, at least from a Saintly perspective.
  • Percussive Pickpocket: Simon uses this to save a young man from a prison stretch in The Man Who Was Clever. His pickpocket skills also come in handy in The Gold Standard and The Man from St. Louis.
  • Protagonist Title: Many of the books in the series have The Saint in the title ; as noted above, though, The Last Hero refers not to Simon but to Norman Kent. Further, two of the books enshrine Mr Teal in their titles, as befitting his high status in the series (see below).
  • Psycho Sidekick: Hoppy Uniatz to the nth degree. Templar is no shrinking violet himself, yet several times the Saint gets the Ungodly to talk simply by threatening to leave them alone with good old Hoppy. Hoppy will do anything Simon asks, and further interprets everything through his unorthodox upbringing and previous profession. In The Case of the Frightened Innkeeper, Templar forgets this. Meaning only for Hoppy to escort some of the Ungodly from the Saint's presence, Simon carelessly says "Get rid of them;" Hoppy does.
  • Quitting to Get Married: Gender-flipped: it is either directly stated or strongly implied that Conway, Tremayne, Sheridan, and Quentin left the adventuring life for marriage. In Peter's case, though, it doesn't quite stick.
  • Real Men Cook: Simon usually prefers to eat out, but is quite capable of making a delicious meal entirely on his own.
  • Rebellious Spirit: The Saint, full stop. Teal lampshades this now and again; he sarcastically suggests to his superiors that they should make it a law that British subjects must commit a crime at regular intervals. The Saint would be thus be a traditional saint for those times, just to be contrary, and they'd get a little peace from him. Said superiors are not amused.
  • Regretful Traitor: The Saint in Miami, which is also notable for being Simon's first adventure in the USA and his first direct encounter with Those Wacky Nazis, uses one of these skillfully for both its inciting incident and its climax.
  • Rich Idiot with No Day Job: Played with: The Saint's skill at pretending to be an Upper-Class Twit is one of his most effective tactics against the Ungodly. However, it's strongly implied that Simon was not born into wealth and privilege, and compared to some of the examples of this trope, he's practically impoverished.
    • In the post-WWII stories, especially the stories written by other authors and only supervised by Charteris, Simon more fully becomes this. No longer driven to intentionally seek out danger and punishable villains, he's simply drifting round the world enjoying his wealth, unless he stumbles into a situation where his interest or sense of justice is aroused... which happens a lot.
  • Safe Cracking: Simon's larcenous expertise includes this too; The Man From St. Louis has him open and empty a gangster's safe "offscreen" — i.e. so easily that Charteris doesn't bother to write the scene.
  • Shotgun Wedding: In The Damsel in Distress, Simon is enlisted to help bring one of these about. An Italian financier in England seduces and abandons the beautiful daughter of a fellow countryman. In fairness, his business practices, when uncovered by the authorities, force him to flee the UK at approximately the same time. Since this is just the type of Ungodly that usually attracts Simon's attention, he is more than happy to serve as the pilot in a scheme to illegally extract the cad from Italy and return him to England — gratis! In the end, Simon discovers that the "family" may not even be related, and is in fact a CaperCrew who is exacting precisely the same kind of financial justice that Simon himself would usually dispense. Naturally Simon relieves them of their ill-gotten gains, which he would not have done had they only been up front with him.
  • Slumming It: In The Wonderful War, Simon pretends to be a Banana Republic peon — and even lets himself be arrested! — to bring about his master plan.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: In any situation where it is remotely reasonable, Simon is the very flower of fashion. However, it is noted repeatedly that he simply looks phenomenal in whatever he happens to be wearing by virtue of good looks and sheer personality.
  • The Spymaster: Another legacy of World War II: during the war, Simon worked for an American intelligence officer known only as "Hamilton".
  • Sword Cane: In the early stories, particularly in The Man Who Was Clever, Simon is shown to be a master with one; since in those days a cane was still appropriate for upper-class gentlemen, he was also "seldom without it."
  • Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist: Chief Inspector Claude Eustace Teal; one of (perhaps) two policemen whom the Saint considers a truly Worthy Opponent, his ongoing entanglement with the Saint is a constant bright spot in the pre-WWII books. Simon loves very few things more than poking Teal both verbally and physically, in Teal's well-padded midsection. But when the chips are down, Simon speaks of him with both affection and respect. The Saint alternates helping Teal solve the good Inspector's toughest cases (other than those that Simon committed himself, that is), and leaving Teal grasping at thin air when he attempts to nail Simon for the Saint's crimes. Further, Teal is shown to be a more-than-competent detective (for example, in The Unusual Ending) in every respect; it's simply that, as The Lawless Lady put it, "Simon Templar was not common clay; and Teal, who was of the good red earth earthy, recognized this without resentment." Finally, he and Simon have each saved the other's life at least once, in The Story of a Dead Man and The High Fence respectively.
  • Tap on the Head: Played straight occasionally (though not as often as in some adventure series of the period), but it and Injury Bookend are viciously deconstructed in The Affair of Hogsbotham. One unfortunate soul gets hit on the head three times in the space of a weekend. The first, Simon's attempt at the tap of the trope, results in long unconsciousness followed by a nearly-realistic case of amnesia. The second, Hoppy's attempt at the bookend, results in almost-complete dementia, in which the victim begins obsessively mumbling the key information the Saint needs to know. The third happens when Simon must defend himself against a last-second psychotic outburst from the victim, and causes the victim to forget all his troubles, forever.
  • A Taste of the Lash: The Dragon of The Million Pound Day uses a whip as his favorite instrument of torture. At the orders of The Big Bad, he tries to use it on a (for once) tightly and efficiently bound Saint. Unfortunately for both underling and mastermind, the first stroke of the whip sets off a rage rising to temporary insanity that allows Simon to break his bonds. Simon then goes on to prove that he himself can Whip It Good.
  • Terms of Endangerment: Templar tends to use pet names or terms of endearment when talking to villains; the sweeter, the more inappropriate, and the more frequent the endearments get, the closer the villains are to doom.
  • Themed Aliases: Simon's aliases often use the initials "S.T."
  • The "The" Title: The series is called The Saint.
  • This Bear Was Framed: In The Convenient Monster, a murderer kills his victim with a Polynesian club studded with shark teeth and attempts to place the blame on the Loch Ness Monster!
  • This Is My Name on Foreign: In Salvage For The Saint, Charles Tatenor's real name is revealed to be Schwarzkopf. As literally translating his surname into English would have sounded ridiculous ('blackhead'), he went for something that sounded like blackhead in French (tête noire).
  • To the Pain: As mentioned above under "Enhanced Interrogation Techniques," the Saint excels at this when questioning mooks, to the point that usually all he has to do is talk to get the subject to do likewise. Some examples of going further:
    • First degree — In The Unlicensed Victuallers, Simon utilizes the intimidating presence of good old Hoppy, who's already volunteered for the job without being asked:
    The Saint: The last time I had to leave him to ask a fellow a few questions, when I came back I found that he'd got the mincing machine screwed onto our best table and he was feeding the guy's fingers into it. He got the right answers, of course, but it made such a mess of the table.
    The Saint: We brought you here because there's something we want you to do, and the only interesting point is how long it's going to take you to do it.... (Simon lays out "a life preservernote , a short length of rubber hose, a large pair of pincers, and an instrument that looked very like a thumbscrew but was actually a patent tin opener.")... What would you like to have done to you first?
    The Saint: Our friend Mr. Teal has been known to complain about there being no Third Degree in this country. Now that's obviously ridiculous, because you can see for yourself that there is a Third Degree, and I'm It. Our first experiment is the perfect cure for those who suffer from cold feet. I'll show it to you now — unless you'd rather talk voluntarily?
  • Trademark Favorite Food:
    • Teal is extremely fond of gum, especially Wrigley's. Simon thoughtfully provides a fresh pack when Teal lets him know in advance that he's on his way to the Saint's current domicile for another friendly chat.
    • Hoppy Uniatz and Scotch whiskey.
  • The Trickster: The Saint. Oh hallowed heavens, The Saint! Perhaps the most extreme example comes in The Million Pound Day. The main villain sends the Saint a thorny little surprise in a pair of gloves. Simon's usual caution saves him, fortunately. Then Simon purchases a trick matchbox from a toy & novelty shop, and uses it to return the gift to the main villain. Let's just say The Joker would've been proud.
  • Underhanded Hero: Above and beyond his already-noted larcenous proficiencies, Simon Templar is a confidence artist on a level above even Professor Harold Hill or Gondorff and Hooker. As often as not, the Ungodly are eagerly thrusting their ill-gotten gains into the Saint's hands. Beyond that, Simon has even conned the Ungodly into killing each other or themselves (see, for example, The Careful Terrorist). Finally, if absolutely necessary, the Saint will not hesitate to do his dirty work himself (see immediate next item).
  • Vigilante Execution: Templar rarely resorts to this; he generally prefers to let the Ungodly engineer their own dooms. However, rarely is not never, as certain of the Ungodly in The Unlicensed Victuallers and The Gold Standard, amongst others, learn to their great sorrow.
  • Warrior Poet: Templar writes poetry in comic and satirical vein to entertain and amuse his compatriots and to annoy his enemies, then sometimes more serious stuff about justice and chivalry. He is also prone to, amidst jokes, philosophize on battle, honor, chivalry, love, how modern man has lost his thirst for adventure, and any numbers of those combined.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: The only time Patricia calls Simon out on anything in real anger occurs in The Melancholy Journey of Mr. Teal. The good Chief Inspector has almost nailed the Saint, when Simon informs him that without Teal's knowledge, Simon has been depositing money into Teal's account, making it appear that the detective is a Dirty Cop. The world, and Teal's superiors at Scotland Yard in particular, will all too readily accept this as the real reason Teal's never caught the Saint. Teal proceeds with the case anyway, knowing the consequences to himself. This in turn causes Simon one of his extremely few attacks of conscience. The Saint reverses himself and not only does not proceed with the plot, he makes amends by giving Teal the Great Big Book of Everything of London crime that Simon has taken years to compile. Of course, Simon arranges for he, Patricia, and the boodle to escape anyway.
  • "Will Return" Caption: The books end in many editions with Simon's "haloed stick man" symbol and the words "Watch for the sign of The Saint, he will be back".
  • The World Is Not Ready: In The Gold Standard, Simon encounters the inventor of a modern, DieselPunk-ish Philosopher's Stone process, and the criminal who is murderously determined to make the process work for him. By the end of the story, everyone who knew the secret of the process is dead, leaving no records behind, and The Saint believes that's a good thing.
  • Worthy Opponent: Prince Rudolf and The Saint view each other as one; as noted above, so do Templar & Teal.

watch for the sign of the saint

he will be back

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