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  • REVIEW: A ROGUE AT LARGE

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    No cover as yet UNION JACK · New series · Issue 494 · 29/3/1913 · Amalgamated Press · 1d
    A ROGUE AT LARGE
    by Anon. (Andrew Murray) · Illustrator: Unknown
    Other content: Unknown
    Notes: In a prison in Lagos, a dying man tells fellow inmate Count Ivor Carlac that he is Sir Denver Raymond and he knows how to escape. He shares this information with Carlac in exchange for the promise that Carlac will impersonate him and take up the inheritance of the Raymond estate in Norfolk. Some weeks later, Jack Raymond is deposed from his position as head of the estate by Carlac’s arrival. Banished from Raymond Towers, suspicious of his apparent uncle, and concerned about the influence the newcomer has on his mother, Jack spies on Carlac and witnesses him meeting with a man named Gipsy Joe. After following the latter, Jack is captured by him and imprisoned in an old mill house, where Joe’s cruel wife, Lil, keeps guard over him. Jack’s sweetheart, Estelle Clare, reports to Sexton Blake that he has gone missing. The detective sends Tinker to Norfolk to look into the case. There, the youngster learns that the new Sir Denver has raised taxes on the surrounding farms, lowered wages, and is planning to sell the estate. He joins locals in a protest march but is captured and incarcerated with Jack. Meanwhile, Blake is asked by Scotland Yard to investigate crook Flash Harry, who, having been recently released from prison is now regularly in receipt of large amounts of money from an unknown source. Blake recalls that the man was a confederate of Carlac. Clues lead him to Raymond Towers where, with Pedro’s help, he rescues Jack and Tinker and confronts Carlac. Unfortunately, the villain escapes.
    Trivia: Blake makes a statement that suggests that his adventures are fictionalised (by Amalgamated Press?): “The detective of fiction and fact are poles apart…” Flash Harry is referred to as the same that was involved in the Regent Street Robbery. However, in that tale he was named Swagger Harry.
    Rating: ★★★★☆☆
  • REVIEW: THE ABBEY MYSTERY

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    The Abbey Mystery UNION JACK · New series · Issue 605 · 15/5/1915 · Amalgamated Press · 1d
    THE ABBEY MYSTERY; OR, THE TREASURE OF THE TRENTS
    by Anon. (Cecil Hayter) · Illustrator: W. Tayler
    Other content: A Word from the Skipper (ed.); The Bogus Policeman (featuring Detective Spearing) by Anon.
    Notes: Sexton Blake is living in an isolated property in Chelsea, hiding out from three murderers who want him dead before he can give evidence against them. His friend, Richard Gale, receives a summons to Cadgestone Abbey in Cornwall where his uncle has just been murdered. Blake accompanies him and, at the abbey, they are informed by James, the manservant, that Gale is the heir to the estate, which, unfortunately, is almost bankrupt. During the night, Blake investigates the library where Sir Everard had been bludgeoned to death. There, he is attacked by an intruder who then flees. Further attempts are made on his life, though the perpetrator always remains hidden. The detective learns that there are two books hidden on the estate that contain a secret guide to a hidden treasure. After locating the first volume, he summons Sir Richard Losely to help him find the other. Upon its discovery, Blake sets a trap for Sir Everard’s killer. The man arrives with the three murderers in tow, enabling the detective to round them all up at once, though he takes a bullet in the leg in the process. With the identity of the principal villain exposed, Blake is able to discover the treasure without further interruption, making Richard Gale a rich man.
    Trivia: Blake’s refuge in Chelsea is reminiscent of his Messenger Square hideout that featured in the PENNY PICTORIAL stories of 1907-1913.
    Rating: ★★★☆☆☆