UNION JACK · 1st series · Issue 299 · 13/1/1900 · Amalgamated Press · ½d
THE BRAND OF SIN
by William Shaw Rae · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: Dick Valling's Adventures by H. S. Warwick; For Britain and the Right by Anon.
Notes: Nearly 12 months ago, £60,000 went missing from a drawer in Fox's Bank. During a search of the staff, cardboard strips which had divided the money were found in the coat pocket of Hilary Mantel, a young clerk. A cashier named Anton Defaux, who had discovered the loss, remembered seeing Hilary at the drawer shortly before the young man went out. Mantel was found guilty of the crime and sentenced to five years in prison. As for the money; that was never recovered. Defaux, meanwhile, proposed marriage to Mantel's fiancé, Dorothy, and was summarily rejected. Now the girl, in desperation, pleads with Sexton Blake for help. The detective travels to Dartmoor with We-wee to interview Mantel but just as they arrive, the prisoner escapes onto the moor. That night, Blake finds the fugitive and agrees to help him. He arranges for We-wee to smuggle Mantel off the moor in a turf wagon and soon they are all ensconced in a house in Plymouth. After some days have passed, Mantel decides to blend in by becoming a milkman. Two weeks later, while doing his rounds, he is recognised by an off-duty prison warder. He makes his escape but loses much of the milk and, in consequence, his job. We-wee takes Mantel in a yacht out to a secluded islet where he is to live in a cave until Blake can prove him innocent. The young clerk later discovers a smuggler's den on the other side of the island. Blake returns to London and, at the bank, examines a typewritten note which had arrived together with £20,000 of the stolen money. His analysis leads to the real thief, Anton Defaux, who also turns out to be in cahoots with the smugglers. Back at the isle, the aforementioned bootleggers arrive and attack the hideaways. We-wee is shot in the shoulder but, before any further damage can be done, a police boat arrives and the bad guys are rounded up. Further evidence, found in their vessel, implicates Defaux. Cornered, he commits suicide. Mantel is given a free pardon and marries his girl.
Trivia: There is a suggestive passage which seems to indicate that Blake's fees are quite high. Reference is made in this story to UNDER THE SMUGGLER'S FLAG, which appeared in UNION JACK 1st series issue 186 (1897).
Rating: ★★☆☆☆☆ We-wee steals the limelight and has plenty of excellent scenes in this story. But other scenes are unnecessary and totally illogical. Why on earth does Hilary Mantel decide to become a milkman? Why does Anton Defaux return a third of the stolen money to the bank?
UNION JACK · 1st series · Issue 336 · 29/9/1900 · Amalgamated Press · ½d
THE PARACHUTE KING
by Paul Herring · Illustrator: From the Quarterdeck (ed.); Boys of the Belvedere by Reginald Wray
Other content: Unknown
Notes: Paul Herring wrote the first story to ever appear in UNION JACK: 'The Silver Arrow' (Vol. 1 Issue 1, 1893).
UNION JACK · 1st series · Issue 344 · 24/11/1900 · Amalgamated Press · ½d
THE GHOST OF SMUGGLER'S ROCK
by G. W. Brown · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: Boys of the Belvedere by Reginald Wray; I Will Avenge Him! by S. Clarke Hook; Captured By Castaways by John G. Rowe; The Editor's Christmas Chat (ed.)
Notes: 'The Story of Sexton Blake's Christmas Case.'