Book info

The Saint Meets The Tiger (1980)

The Saint Meets the Tiger (1980)
Rating
3.73 of 5 Votes: 2
ISBN
0441524117 (ISBN13: 9780441524112)
languge
English
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publisher
ace books
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The Saint Meets The Tiger (1980)
The Saint Meets The Tiger (1980)

About book: Meet The Tiger (later retitled as The Saint Meets The Tiger, but my copy has the original title) is the first story to feature Simon Templar, alias The Saint. From this first entry, it seems clear that Charteris wasn't planning to give the Saint his own series; the novel is a self-contained story that does not set up for a sequel, strongly implying (without giving anything away) that Simon Templar is going to retire and settle down with the girl of his dreams after this last adventure. Little did the author know that the star of what he had intended as a one-shot adventure story would go on to become one of the most popular fictional characters of the 20th century, spawning more than fifty novels, sixteen motion pictures, three television series, radio dramas, magazines, comic books and more.Perhaps because the characters are new in their wrappers, or because Charteris was still a fairly fresh author, the writing style feels a bit more restrained than what I have come to expect from the Saint series. While the text is unadulterated Charteris -- vintage slang, clever understatement, plenty of references to P.G. Wodehouse -- the author's trademark wit is not as distilled here as in later works, and the fourth wall remains (mostly) intact. Consequently, this entry reads more like a typical crime-adventure novel of the era. It is still quite good, and worth reading (especially for fans of the series), but expect the plot to follow more of a typical detective-story formula rather than the usual hell-for-leather Saint adventure.Far from being an origin story, Meet The Tiger picks up eight years into the Saint's career, somewhat in medias res in that the adventure of the day has already begun (in contrast to later Saint stories, which often start with Simon catching the first whiff of something interesting and beginning to investigate). Even though he is well established as a career adventurer, the Saint in this book is younger and cleaner than his future self, even to the point of playing nice with the law (unfortunately Claud Eustace Teal missed this stage in Simon's life; Templar's favorite foil, whom Charteris introduced a year later in Daredevil, would not meet the Saint for a few more years). We see him both vulnerable and flustered at times, which is rare in later stories. Most of the trademarks that identify the Saint are also missing in this early incarnation; there is no cream and red Hirondel, no stick-figure with a rakish halo, and the Saint lacks the front-page notoriety and (admittedly Robin Hood-like) criminal reputation he developed later.This novel also introduces Simon's long-term love interest Patricia Holm, who takes a leading role in the action -- a refreshing change from the typical "stay-in-the-car" heroines of the genre. Pat has always been a strong female character, as compared to most other 1920s glamour girls, but in later stories she is often relegated to sidekick status. It's nice to see her on the front lines with a gun in her hand. Also in the limelight here is Orace, the Saint's faithful valet-cum-bouncer, who in later books is rarely seen outside of the kitchen in Upper Berkeley Mews (if mentioned at all).Overall, Meet The Tiger is a light and enjoyable read for Saint fans, but it's so different from the rest of the Saint series that I wouldn't recommend it as a reader's first exposure to the character. New Saint converts should read the 1930s- and '40s-vintage books first, and then come back to Meet The Tiger with the mentality of someone looking back at a loved one's childhood photo album: "Aww, Simon was so cute and clueless back when he was 27...."

The very first Saint novel. Age wise it stands up remarkably well. An interesting glimpse into the origin of the character. The Saint here is different from the Saint of the later books, but still undeniably Simon Templer. The Story flows quite nicely and its a quick read. Definitely interesting for Saint fans, perhaps not so much for others. Possibly a little bit to bear if you only know the character from either the Early films (before he became The Falcon), or the Vincent Price radio show, or the Roger Moore (and Ian Oglvy) TV Series, but still deep down, undeniably The Saint.
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Reviews
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
I do like cheese.Cheese is one of my favourite foods, and at times cheese in book form is just what I want. In the foreword to the reissue of this first Saint novel, Charteris himself admits that it is startlingly bad, in the so-bad-it's-good sense. First published in 1928, there is a definite 1920s feel to it; imagine if Lord Peter Wimsey wrote pulp fiction to while away the hours between cases. Simon Templar chatters away to himself in Wimsey's best silly-ass way, and of course Our Hero is indestructible, infallible, and incredible. I shouldn't be surprised if he could leap tall buildings in a single bound.The last thing you can do is to try to take a book of this type seriously--though it amused me no end when Charteris spoke rather scathingly of the 007 novels as "parodies". If that's what they are, is the Saint Saga serious? Hardly that. Predictable, certainly. I'd got the red herrings, such as they are, taped within a few moments of sniffing them. But there's a certain enjoyment to be had in suspending disbelief so high that it waves in every passing breeze, and just letting the nonsense wash over you. The story is told in grammatically correct English, which helps--barring the transliterated "Cockney" spoutings of 'Orace, which could become annoying if he were not fortunately a rather quiet sort of bloke.Charteris (an interesting character in his own right) wrote Saint novels and stories until about 1968, by which time it had become a "franchise" with TV series, films etc and was taken over by other authors. It would be interesting to see if Templar aged well.
Ross Armstrong
The first book in the Saint series later immortalized on TV by Roger Moore. This is straight up pulp fiction. Simon Templar has taken up residence in a quaint English seaside town. On the surface things are quiet and laid back. But underneath it all, there is a sinister plot afoot. Simon Templar, known as the Saint, is trying to discover who the mysterious Tiger is. The Tiger is the head of a criminal operation responsible for stealing millions in gold from an American Bank. This is an action-packed tale with many twists and turns and a little bit of romance for our hero.
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