BIBLIOGRAPHY 1918

1917
Master List
1919
PUBLISHING

Halfway through the year, UNION JACK initiates a 'war time price' of 1½d.
BLAKE TRIVIA

Rupert Waldo makes his debut. Throughout the year, the lives of Dirk Dolland and Mr. Reece start to converge until they eventually spark off what would become Sexton Blake's longest case; the fight with the Criminals' Confederation. As on many other occasions, this year Blake pushes himself to the point of mental and physical collapse and is forced, under advisement from a Harley Street specialist, to take a two-week break (see THE VANISHED POLICE).

ISSUES
In the Hands of the Head Hunters THE BOYS' FRIEND LIBRARY · Issue 433 · Sep. 1918 · Amalgamated Press · 4d
IN THE HANDS OF THE HEAD HUNTERS; OR, INTO THE UNKNOWN
by Anon. (Cecil Hayter) · Illustrator: Arthur Jones
Other content: None
Notes: Story features Sir Richard Losely and Lobangu. Sexton Blake and Tinker don't appear until the final chapters. This is an abridged reprint of a serial that appeared in UNION JACK issue 727 to 756 (1917-18). Unusually, this issue was printed in landscape format.
Unrated
The Case of the Girl Reporter THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 1st series · Issue 47 · Date unknown · Amalgamated Press · 4d
THE CASE OF THE GIRL REPORTER; OR, THE "FRAME-UP"
by Anon. (J. W. Bobin) · Illustrator: Arthur Jones
Other content: Jack Noble's Ruse by Anon.
Notes: Story features Glory Gale.
Unrated
TEN DAYS LEAVE THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 1st series · Issue 48 · Date unknown · Amalgamated Press · 4d
TEN DAYS' LEAVE
by Anon. (William Murray Graydon) · Illustrator: Arthur Jones
Other content: The Case of the Gunnersbury Accountant by Anon.
Notes: None at present.
Unrated
No cover as yet THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 1st series · Issue 49 · Date unknown · Amalgamated Press · 4d
THE CASE OF THE TWO BROTHERS
by Anon. (Andrew Murray) · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: Unknown
Notes: None at present.
Unrated
Whose was the Hand? THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 1st series · Issue 50 · Date unknown · Amalgamated Press · 4d
WHOSE WAS THE HAND? OR, THE SECRET OF THE STOLEN PILLAR-BOX
by Anon. (William J. Bayfield) · Illustrator: Arthur Jones
Other content: None
Notes: None at present.
Unrated
No cover as yet THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 1st series · Issue 51 · Date unknown · Amalgamated Press · 4d
IN THE SHADOW OF THE GUILLOTINE
by Anon. (J. W. Bobin) · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: Unknown
Notes: Story features Glory Gale.
Unrated
No cover as yet THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 1st series · Issue 52 · Date unknown · Amalgamated Press · 4d
THE MOSQUE OF THE MAHDI; OR, SEXTON BLAKE IN THE HOLY LAND
by Anon. (Andrew Murray) · Illustrator: Arthur Jones
Other content: None
Notes: Story features Hon. John Lawless. It was later adapted as a non-Blake story (he was replaced by Ferrers Locke) and appeared as WAR IN THE DESERT in THE BOYS' FRIEND LIBRARY second series issue 289 (1930).
Unrated
No cover as yet THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 1st series · Issue 53 · Date unknown · Amalgamated Press · 4d
THE ORDEAL OF ALICK HILLERSDON: A TALE OF THREE CITIES
by Anon. (William Murray Graydon) · Illustrator: Arthur Jones
Other content: None
Notes: Story features Cavendish Doyle.
Unrated
No cover as yet THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 1st series · Issue 54 · Date unknown · Amalgamated Press · 4d
THE STOLEN CROWN; OR, THE HONOUR OF A KING
by Anon. (J. W. Bobin) · Illustrator: Arthur Jones
Other content: None
Notes: Story features George Marsden Plummer.
Unrated
The Missing Ships THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 1st series · Issue 55 · Date unknown · Amalgamated Press · 4d
THE MISSING SHIPS
by Anon. (Andrew Murray) · Illustrator: Arthur Jones
Other content: A Fellow of His Word by Anon.
Notes: Story features Count Ivor Carlac, Professor Kew and Hon. John Lawless.
Unrated
No cover as yet THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 1st series · Issue 56 · Date unknown · Amalgamated Press · 4d
THE GREAT ABDUCTION MYSTERY; OR, BY SHEER DEDUCTION
by Anon. (William Murray Graydon) · Illustrator: Arthur Jones
Other content: The Case of the Missing Attache by Anon. (William Murray Graydon)
Notes: None at present.
Unrated
The Case of the Two Bankers THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 1st series · Issue 57 · Date unknown · Amalgamated Press · 4d
THE CASE OF THE TWO BANKERS; OR, WHO WAS THE THIEF?
by Anon. (J. W. Bobin) · Illustrator: Arthur Jones
Other content: None
Notes: After being released from prison, 'Larry the Badger' is approached by Theodore Ranger, a bank manager who wants to hire him to rob his own bank in order to conceal his illegal 'borrowing'. Larry agrees to the plan and recruits a team for the job. On the day they break in, accompanied by Ranger, they find two safes. Ranger tells them to crack the smaller one, as the larger doesn't contain any worthwhile booty. Larry misjudges the explosives and nearly blows his own head off. Injured and burned, he collects the cash and makes his getaway, leaving Ranger behind. Next morning, it's discovered that both safes have been rifled, thermite having been used to break into the larger one. The police suspect that young called Valentine Thorne, a cashier at the bank, may be an 'inside man'. Thorne happens to be engaged to Ranger's daughter, so he stands to lose everything if found guilty. Inspector Martin is assigned the case but quickly pays a visit to Sexton Blake after being stumped by the fact that two different methods were used to open the safes. The subsequent investigation follows a twisting and turning path with many a red herring to deceive Blake, Martin and the reader. However, when a certain person emerges from the tangled web, the question changes from 'who?' to 'how?' ... George Marsden Plummer is in town!
Rating: ★★★★☆☆ This is a classic whodunnit tale that sees Sexton Blake at his most Holmesian. It's been said that Blake hasn't the deductive powers of his Baker Street neighbour ... this story proves otherwise. His eye is sharp, his wits are sharper and he pieces together a solution to the mystery with great style. There are some truly touching moments in this story when Plummer becomes very inward-looking and wonders what his life would have been like had he not crossed to the dark side. He seems like a man in search of redemption. There's a hugely entertaining court scene towards the end of the adventure in which the accusing finger finally points at Theodore Ranger. The poor man is absolutely flabbergasted to find himself under suspicion. Indeed, he soon supplies a completely cast-iron alibi. But didn't we witness him at the scene of the crime? Well, as we know, Plummer is a master of disguise ...
No cover as yet THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 1st series · Issue 58 · Date unknown · Amalgamated Press · 4d
THE REFORMATION OF ROYCE REMINGTON; OR, THE CASE OF THE STOLEN WEDDING PRESENTS
by Anon. (William Murray Graydon) · Illustrator: Arthur Jones
Other content: The Case of the Japanese Officer by Anon.
Notes: None at present.
Unrated
No cover as yet THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 1st series · Issue 59 · Date unknown · Amalgamated Press · 4d
A MATTER OF MILLIONS; OR, THE DISAPPEARANCE OF THADDEUS CREMORNE
by Anon. (William J. Bayfield) · Illustrator: Arthur Jones
Other content: None
Notes: None at present.
Unrated
No cover as yet THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 1st series · Issue 60 · Date unknown · Amalgamated Press · 4d
THE LUCK OF THE DARRELLS
by Anon. (Andrew Murray) · Illustrator: Arthur Jones
Other content: None
Notes: Story features Hon. John Lawless.
Unrated
No cover as yet THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 1st series · Issue 61 · Date unknown · Amalgamated Press · 4d
SEXTON BLAKE'S VOW; OR, THE SECRET OF THE SAFE DEPOSIT
by Anon. (Arthur Steffens) · Illustrator: Arthur Jones
Other content: None
Notes: None at present.
Unrated
No cover as yet THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 1st series · Issue 62 · Date unknown · Amalgamated Press · 4d
CAMOUFLAGE; OR, THE CASE OF THE SUPER-SPY
by Anon. (E. W. Alais) · Illustrator: Arthur Jones
Other content: Ordered Off! by Anon.
Notes: Story features Captain Horatio Peak.
Unrated
No cover as yet THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 1st series · Issue 63 · Date unknown · Amalgamated Press · 4d
THE SECRET OF THE HULK; OR, THE STRICKEN TOWN
by Anon. (Andrew Murray) · Illustrator: Arthur Jones
Other content: None
Notes: This was rewritten under the same title in SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY 2nd series issue 708 (1940).
Unrated
The Case of the Hidden Fortune UNION JACK · New series · Issue 743 · 5/1/1918 · Amalgamated Press · 1d
THE CASE OF THE HIDDEN FORTUNE; OR, THE MYSTERY OF THE LITTLE RED BOOK
by Anon. (Cecil Hayter) · Illustrator: P. S.
IN THE HANDS OF THE HEAD HUNTERS; OR, INTO THE UNKNOWN (part 14)
by Anon. (Cecil Hayter)
Other content: None
Notes: None at present.
Unrated
The Mystery of the Standard Ships UNION JACK · New series · Issue 744 · 12/1/1918 · Amalgamated Press · 1d
THE MYSTERY OF THE STANDARD SHIPS
by Anon. (E. J. Murray) · Illustrator: Unknown
IN THE HANDS OF THE HEAD HUNTERS; OR, INTO THE UNKNOWN (part 15)
by Anon. (Cecil Hayter)
Other content: None
Notes: While in the region of the Clyde shipyards, Sexton Blake is called upon by Ferrers Lord to investigate the sinking of his yacht. Descending to the seabed in a submarine, the detective, his assistant and the mystery millionaire don diving suits and cross to the sunken vessel. They find that one of its hull plates has vanished. It was not cut nor blown up but seems to have simply dissolved. Their exploration is interrupted when Tinker is swept into the net of a passing fishing trawler and dragged away. He manages to slice through the mesh and, abandoning his weights, floats to the surface, losing consciousness on the way. Fortunately, he is spotted and rescued by Ferrers Lord's men. Sexton Blake discovers that a number of ships have recently been lost in a manner identical to Lord's and starts to investigate the suppliers of metal hull plates. One of the companies is located near the village of Sandywick where, earlier, Blake had had a run-in with a character named William Rexon. Rexon is paid by an eccentric individual known as Mr Stiles to keep a pump running at an abandoned coal mine. Stiles, who is assisted by a Mr Silk, has the insane notion that he can turn coal into diamonds and is considered, by the villagers, to be a harmless lunatic. One night, Tinker sees Stiles and Silk replacing hull plates that are packed onto a goods train with ones taken from their mine. When they spot him, the youngster finds himself cornered in the mine and, in attempting to escape, is swept away by an underground stream. Blake, who in fighting Rexon gained his respect and friendship, visits him at the pump to ask for his aid in searching for Tinker. While he is there, the pump grinds to a halt — something is blocking it! Hearing a cry for help from the shaft, the detective descends into it and finds Tinker, who tells him about Stiles and Silk. Realising that the two criminals are German agents, Blake, accompanied by Rexon, tackles and captures them.
Rating: ★★★☆☆☆
The Secret of the Allotment UNION JACK · New series · Issue 745 · 19/1/1918 · Amalgamated Press · 1d
THE SECRET OF THE ALLOTMENT
by Anon. (E. W. Alais) · Illustrator: Ernest G. Fryn
IN THE HANDS OF THE HEAD HUNTERS; OR, INTO THE UNKNOWN (part 16)
by Anon. (Cecil Hayter)
Other content: None
Notes: None at present.
Unrated
His Lordship's Valet UNION JACK · New series · Issue 746 · 26/1/1918 · Amalgamated Press · 1d
HIS LORDSHIP'S VALET; OR, THE CASE OF THE JADE EARRINGS
by Anon. (Andrew Murray) · Illustrator: H. M. Lewis
IN THE HANDS OF THE HEAD HUNTERS; OR, INTO THE UNKNOWN (part 17)
by Anon. (Cecil Hayter)
Other content: None
Notes: None at present.
Unrated
The Vanished Man UNION JACK · New series · Issue 747 · 2/2/1918 · Amalgamated Press · 1d
THE VANISHED MAN
by Anon. (Robert Murray Graydon) · Illustrator: Val Reading
IN THE HANDS OF THE HEAD HUNTERS; OR, INTO THE UNKNOWN (part 18)
by Anon. (Cecil Hayter)
Other content: None
Notes: Professor Phineas Gorges and his secretary, John Carruthers, who is engaged to the professor's daughter, Victoria, return from Thebes with the mummy of Ramen-Ka. The morning after their arrival, Gorges is found on his study floor, nearly dead from a stab wound in his back. Carruthers is missing. The wounded man informs Detective-Inspector Coutts that the mummy had been stuffed with Ramen-Ka's crown jewels and that Carruthers had attacked him and made off with them. But when Victoria commissions Sexton Blake to look into the matter, the detective finds a wealth of contradictory evidence. It's not until he receives a visit from Dirk Dolland that matters become less confusing. Dolland explains that he had been following Max Marx, a thief who had cheated him during a shared heist. He had witnessed Marx burgling the Gorges house and saw him get away with the mummy's jewels. Following the lead, Blake corners Marx in a hotel room. The crook admits to stabbing the professor and the detective hands him over to the police. Blake and Coutts go to question the recuperating Gorges to find out why he had accused Carruthers of the crime but when they reach the house Victoria informs them that her father has gone missing. The mummy has also vanished. Blake discovers that the professor has taken the mummy to a cottage he owns 23 miles out of London. He, Coutts and Tinker driver there and witness Gorges lowering the mummy into a well. Blake realises that the bandaged figure is actually the corpse of Carruthers — who had been murdered by the professor during a fit of lust brought on by the discovery of the jewels. Gorges falls into the well and makes a full confession while lying on his death bed.
Rating: ★★★★☆☆
The Oil King's Scret UNION JACK · New series · Issue 748 · 9/2/1918 · Amalgamated Press · 1d
THE OIL KING'S SECRET
by Anon. (J. W. Bobin) · Illustrator: Unknown
IN THE HANDS OF THE HEAD HUNTERS; OR, INTO THE UNKNOWN (part 19)
by Anon. (Cecil Hayter)
Other content: None
Notes: Story features George Marsden Plummer.
Unrated
The Affair of the Premium Bonds UNION JACK · New series · Issue 749 · 16/2/1918 · Amalgamated Press · 1d
THE AFFAIR OF THE PREMIUM BONDS
by Anon. (E. J. Murray) · Illustrator: Val Reading
IN THE HANDS OF THE HEAD HUNTERS; OR, INTO THE UNKNOWN (part 20)
by Anon. (Cecil Hayter)
Other content: None
Notes: Story features Ferrers Lord.
Unrated
Rescued By Aeroplane UNION JACK · New series · Issue 750 · 23/2/1918 · Amalgamated Press · 1d
RESCUED BY AEROPLANE; OR, THE TREASURE CITY
by Anon. (Edwy Searles Brooks) · Illustrator: Vine
Other content: None
Notes: None at present.
Unrated
The Bogus Bat UNION JACK · New series · Issue 751 · 2/3/1918 · Amalgamated Press · 1d
THE BOGUS BAT
by Anon. (Robert Murray Graydon) · Illustrator: H. M. Lewis
IN THE HANDS OF THE HEAD HUNTERS; OR, INTO THE UNKNOWN (part 21)
by Anon. (Cecil Hayter)
Other content: None
Notes: A series of robberies seem to mark the reappearance of Dirk Dolland aka The Bat in London. Detective-Inspector Coutts manages to catch the ace cracksman's lady assistant, The Butterfly, but when Sexton Blake visits her in her cell he finds that she's an impostor. A telegram from Dolland confirms this; someone is committing burglaries in his name. Coutts allows the woman to go free, hoping to follow her to her criminal partner, but she gives him the slip. Blake, meanwhile, traces her to an address in Chiswick. Watching the house, he spots Dolland. He follows the cracksman into the premises and finds himself held at gunpoint by a criminal named Sam Salton and his henchman, Max. They bind him hand and foot and leave him in a drainage-sewer where he is attacked by rats before being swept out into the River Thames by a flood of water. Swimming to a nearby tug-boat, he hears through its porthole Salton, Max and a man named Jepson plotting to burgle the Universal Bank. Blake returns to Baker Street where Coutts is waiting for him. The two men fetch a squad of policemen from Scotland Yard and head for the Universal Bank, which they surround. Blake enters the building but is captured by the Salton gang and locked in a safe. Just as his air is running out, the safe is opened by Dirk Dolland. The Bat had eavesdropped at Salton's Chiswick house and had learned of the villain's plan to rob the bank. He had been hiding in the next room when Blake arrived. The detective thanks him and tells the gentleman cracksman to flee before Coutts and his men raid the premises ... but too late, Coutts bursts in and claps handcuffs onto Dolland. Leaving a constable to guard his prisoner, Coutts leads his men, with Blake in tow, up to the roof in pursuit of Salton. A gunfight ensues and the criminal falls to his death. When the group re-enters the bank, they find that Dolland has escaped. Blake can't help but feel pleased.
Trivia: Detective-Inspector Coutts introduces himself to a fellow police officer as Jim Coutts during this story.
Rating: ★★★★★☆
The Golden Reef UNION JACK · New series · Issue 752 · 9/3/1918 · Amalgamated Press · 1d
THE GOLDEN REEF
by Anon. (Robert Murray Graydon) · Illustrator: Unknown
IN THE HANDS OF THE HEAD HUNTERS; OR, INTO THE UNKNOWN (part 22)
by Anon. (Cecil Hayter)
Other content: None
Notes: Story features Sir Richard Losely and Lobangu.
Unrated
The Mystery of the Vlao Vase UNION JACK · New series · Issue 753 · 16/3/1918 · Amalgamated Press · 1d
THE MYSTERY OF THE VLAO VASE
by Anon. (Cecil Hayter) · Illustrator: Unknown
IN THE HANDS OF THE HEAD HUNTERS; OR, INTO THE UNKNOWN (part 23)
by Anon. (Cecil Hayter)
Other content: None
Notes: Septimus Smythe, the youthful secretary to Professor Jordan Cane and, like his employer, an expert in the field of antique procelains and china, discovers a genuine Vlao vase among a set of fakes in a bazaar in Tunis. The companion to the one owned by Cane, it is worth £10,000. He purchases the vase for £10 but it is subsequently stolen by a man who calls himself Guy Cavendish. Weeks later, after Professor Cane learns that his secretary is penniless and stranded in Tunis, he receives a visit from a man named Theodore Flax who has with him a genuine Vlao vase. Cane buys it for £10,000. Later, an American millionaire named John D. Rogan purchases two genuine Vlao vases from a young man named David Lascelles. Sexton Blake, Tinker and Detective-Inspector Coutts respond to a call for help from Professor Cane's butler. Cane has been knocked unconscious by an intruder and his two Vlao vases have been stolen and replaced by imitations. The following day, Blake receives a call from Rogan. He, too, has been attacked and his vases replaced. Blake realises that both men have fallen for the same swindle — a fact that becomes even more apparent when Septimus Smythe finally arrives home to reveal that he, too, has been robbed of a vase. The detective is quick to surmise that Cavendish, Flax and Lascelles are all one man — Dirk Dolland aka The Bat! The ace-cracksman's brand of cigarettes put Blake on his trail and he arrives at Dolland's flat in time to find the young crook being attacked by a hindu. The detective knocks the assailant out and learns from The Bat that someone else has been responsible for the crimes against Cane and Rogan. Dolland had, indeed, sold the genuine vase then substituted it for a fake... but the subsequent robberies were nothing to do with him. The hindu reveals that he was the thief — he was trying to recover the original vase on behalf of his master, the bazaar owner. Dolland and the hindu escape (Dolland a considerably richer man) but the vases are left behind for Blake to return to Cane and Smythe.
Rating: ★★★★★★ A brief but thoroughly enjoyable tale.
The Secret of his Birth UNION JACK · New series · Issue 754 · 23/3/1918 · Amalgamated Press · 1d
THE SECRET OF HIS BIRTH; OR, A TRAITOR TO THE FATHERLAND
by Anon. (William Murray Graydon) · Illustrator: H. M. Lewis
IN THE HANDS OF THE HEAD HUNTERS; OR, INTO THE UNKNOWN (part 24)
by Anon. (Cecil Hayter)
Other content: None
Notes: None at present.
Unrated
Absent Without Leave UNION JACK · New series · Issue 755 · 30/3/1918 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
ABSENT WITHOUT LEAVE
by Anon. (Andrew Murray) · Illustrator: Val Reading
IN THE HANDS OF THE HEAD HUNTERS; OR, INTO THE UNKNOWN (part 25)
by Anon. (Cecil Hayter)
Other content: None
Notes: With this issue the price rises to 1½d.
Unrated
The Mystery of Alazion UNION JACK · New series · Issue 756 · 6/4/1918 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE MYSTERY OF ALAZION
by Anon. (Cecil Hayter) · Illustrator: Unknown
IN THE HANDS OF THE HEAD HUNTERS; OR, INTO THE UNKNOWN (part 26)
by Anon. (Cecil Hayter)
Other content: The Reformation of Reggie Wren by Anon.
Notes: None at present.
Unrated
For Political Reasons UNION JACK · New series · Issue 757 · 13/4/1918 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
FOR POLITICAL REASONS; OR, THE CASE OF THE KIDNAPPED PRINCE
by Anon. (E. J. Murray) · Illustrator: H. M. Lewis
Other content: The Red Raiders by Anon.
Notes: Story features Ferrers Lord.
Unrated
The Amazing Mystery of Frederick Fennell UNION JACK · New series · Issue 758 · 20/4/1918 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE AMAZING MYSTERY OF FREDERICK FENNELL
by Anon. (Robert Murray Graydon) · Illustrator: Val Reading
Other content: The Red Raiders by Anon.
Notes: None at present.
Unrated
The Tragedy of the Top-Floor Flat UNION JACK · New series · Issue 759 · 27/4/1918 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE TRAGEDY OF THE TOP-FLOOR FLAT
by Anon. (W. J. Bayfield) · Illustrator: Philip Swinnerton
Other content: The Red Raiders by Anon.
Notes: None at present.
Unrated
A Dead Man's Hate UNION JACK · New series · Issue 760 · 4/5/1918 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
A DEAD MAN'S HATE
by Anon. (E. J. Murray) · Illustrator: Val Reading
Other content: The Red Raiders by Anon.
Notes: Story features Ferrers Lord and takes place at Calcroft School.
Unrated
The Baker Street Mystery UNION JACK · New series · Issue 761 · 11/5/1918 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE BAKER STREET MYSTERY; OR, LABAN CREED'S HAZARD
by Anon. (William Murray Graydon) · Illustrator: H. M. Lewis
Other content: The Red Raiders by Anon.
Notes: A criminal named Chauncey Deacon is desperate to escape from justice. With Sexton Blake and the police in hot pursuit, he turns to Laban Creed for help. When they find themselves cornered, Creed promises Deacon that, if the criminal goes to prison, he will find a way to break him out. Deacon is captured while Creed makes a getaway. Some four weeks later, in early March, the LONDON ILLUSTRATED WEEKLY publishes an article describing Sexton Blake's home life. He is furious about this and tears a strip off Mrs Bardell when she admits that she allowed a reporter into the house. Though ostensibly a friend of Blake's, it turns out that this man was an impostor. Blake lets the matter drop and, the next day, he stays out of the house apart from a brief return to take Pedro to the vet, where he leaves him. Over the course of the ensuing week, as he searches for any sign of Laban Creed, Blake remains in a dour mood, barely communicating with his assistant. When he does, eventually, recover, his behaviour still puzzles Tinker, who notices subtle changes in his guv'nor's habits. The youngsters suspicions are aroused even further when Blake sends him to watch a house where Creed's men are known to gather. The mission proves to be a trap from which Tinker barely escapes. Later, while Tinker is out, Pedro escapes from the vet and returns to Baker Street where he takes a dislike — as does Mrs Bardell — to a visitor named Montague Drayne. Furthermore, these feelings seem to extend to the detective as well. Siding with the hound, Mrs Bardell finds herself arguing with Blake too. Tinker returns and is attacked by the two men, tied up and carted off to the house he'd been watching earlier. It is now clear that 'Sexton Blake' is a disguised Laban Creed who, pretending to be a reporter, had earlier discovered from the landlady all of Blake's habits. A child helps Tinker to escape and, as he does so, he sees that his guv'nor, who was imprisoned in the basement, has also broken free. They return to Baker Street with Detective-Inspector Widgeon and there capture Creed and Drayne. Blake then pretends to be Creed and sets out to capture Chauncey Deacon, whose release from prison the two crooks have arranged. While he's away, other members of Creed's gang raid the Baker Street house and free their leader. Blake catches Deacon but Creed and Drayne remain at large.
Trivia: Tinker introduces this story and gives a very full description of his and Blake's domestic life, which is worth reproducing verbatim. You can read it here. As with so many of the stories from this period, there is inconsistency with Mrs Bardell's first name. In some issues she is 'Emily', in others 'Martha', and in this, she is Mrs Betsy Bardell.
Rating: ★★★☆☆☆
In Sheep's Clothing UNION JACK · New series · Issue 762 · 18/5/1918 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
IN SHEEP'S CLOTHING; OR, THE MOLLAN CASE
by Anon. (Andrew Murray) · Illustrator: H. M. Lewis
Other content: The Red Raiders by Anon.
Notes: None at present.
Unrated
A Mid-ocean Mystery UNION JACK · New series · Issue 763 · 25/5/1918 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
A MID-OCEAN MYSTERY; OR, THE CASE OF THE MYSTERIOUS BLACK BOX
by Anon. (Robert Murray Graydon) · Illustrator: Val Reading
Other content: The Red Raisers! by Anon.
Notes: This can be considered a prequel to the Criminals' Confederation story arc. Blake and Tinker are due in America on business but before they sail they're approached by a shifty-looking lawyer who commissions Blake to act as courier, transporting a small black box full of legal documents across the Atlantic. The detective accepts the job and the following day he and his assistant are aboard the Lustania bound for the States. Also aboard is a heavily disguised Detective-Inspector Coutts who's on the track of a jewel thief named Joe Banks. When a passenger's emerald necklace goes missing, the culprit seems obvious but then Banks is murdered and the case becomes much more complex. The thief was strangled in his cabin — which was locked on the inside. A card left behind by the mysterious murderer reveals that Mr. Reece is out to revenge himself upon those who previously defeated him. But why Banks? The answer becomes clear when Blake realises that the thief's cabin-mate is Dirk Dolland aka The Bat. Dolland was the target; Banks had been killed by mistake. When Coutts is almost done away with by the same inexplicable method, Blake realises that he himself is also a target. The expected attack comes, catching the detective by surprise and he is almost defeated. After a last-minute escape, he joins forces with Dolland to catch the culprit. They identify their man but he jumps overboard rather than allowing himself to fall into their hands. Mr Reece, as ever, remains unseen — the guiding hand behind the crimes. Reaching America, Blake and Dolland part company on good — though wary — terms. But, after handing over the black box to a man who meets him at the docks, the detective receives a letter from Dolland which reveals that the stolen emeralds had been hidden in it and were now in the hands of The Bat.
Trivia: Mrs Bardell has an uncle. Detective-Inspector Coutts's first names are John William (elsewhere he's George).
Rating: ★★★★★★ A truly entertaining tale marred only by the fact that Tinker sleeps through most of the action scenes!
The Learmouth Chambers Mystery UNION JACK · New series · Issue 764 · 1/6/1918 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE LEARMOUTH CHAMBERS MYSTERY; OR, THE CASE OF THE THREE RED DISCS
by Anon. (Cecil Hayter) · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: The Red Raiders by Anon.
Notes: None at present.
Unrated
A Golden Stratagem UNION JACK · New series · Issue 765 · 8/6/1918 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
A GOLDEN STRATAGEM; OR, THE CASE OF THE STOLEN CONCESSIONS
by Anon. (E. J. Murray) · Illustrator: H. M. Lewis
Other content: The Red Raiders by Anon.
Notes: Story features Ferrers Lord.
Unrated
No cover as yet UNION JACK · New series · Issue 766 · 15/6/1918 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
NO. 13 BROUGHTON SQUARE
by Anon. (Cecil Hayter) · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: Unknown
Notes: None at present.
Unrated
The Lost Letter UNION JACK · New series · Issue 767 · 22/6/1918 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE LOST LETTER
by Anon. (Robert Murray Graydon) · Illustrator: Val Reading
Other content: The Red Raiders by Anon.
Notes: While eating out in one of London's French restaurants, Sexton Blake notices a man who seems to want to approach him. But as the man gets to his feet, he collapses and is found to be dead: shot with a silent air-gun. Pushing through the crowd that gathers around, the detective retrieves a note from the man's fist ... but half of it has already been grabbed by an unknown person among the onlookers. The note seems to warn of imminent danger and suggests that full details have been sent to Blake by registered post. But when he returns to Baker Street, Blake finds that his postman has been murdered on his doorstep, apparently by a woman who Mrs. Bardell had let into the house. The registered letter is missing. Later the same evening, a man named Frederick Ross consults the investigator. He believes that his eldest brother is being slowly poisoned by his own secretary and wants Blake to come to their house in High Wycombe to look into the matter. The detective realises that the story is fabricated and that a trap is being set. He decides to purposely walk into it, and so agrees to go, bidding Tinker to stay put. Sure enough, upon arriving at the house, he is taken prisoner and discovers that he has fallen into the hands of Mr. Reece. He is locked in the cellar where he finds another captive: Dirk Dolland aka The Bat. Dolland explains that he had stolen an emerald which Reece had himself wanted. He and his assistant, Mademoiselle Miguet, known as The Butterfly had been captured and Dolland was tortured but refused to reveal where he had hidden the gem. One of Reece's men, who owed a debt to Mlle Miguet, allowed her to write a letter pleading for Blake's help. When he tried to deliver it, he was murdered in the restaurant by Ross. Miguet had managed to get free and fled to Baker Street only to arrive in time to witness Ross killing the postman and retrieving the letter. Mr. Reece, who remains unseen throughout, now instructs Ross to kill the two men. The villain leaves them standing on a precariously balanced plank of wood with nooses around their necks. When a candle burns through a rope, the plank will collapse and they will hang. This happens just as Tinker and Inspector Coutts lead a raid on the house. Blake and Dolland are saved, but the gang and Mr. Reece get away.
Trivia: Blake reveals that he first met Coutts, who was a Detective-Sergeant at the time, in Frascadero, one of London's French restaurants.
Rating: ★★★★★★ Another excellent lead up the the Criminals' Confederation story arc.
THE MOUNT STONHAM MURDER MYSTERY UNION JACK · New series · Issue 768 · 29/6/1918 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE MOUNT STONHAM MURDER MYSTERY; OR, THE CASE OF THE MYSTERIOUS HUNCHBACK
by Anon. (Edwy Searles Brooks) · Illustrator: Vine
Other content: The Red Raiders by Anon.
Notes: Blake teams up with Nelson Lee in this story.
Unrated
The Shirker UNION JACK · New series · Issue 769 · 6/7/1918 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE SHIRKER
by Anon. (William Murray Graydon) · Illustrator: H. M. Lewis
Other content: The Red Raiders by Anon.
Notes: None at present.
Unrated
No cover as yet UNION JACK · New series · Issue 770 · 13/7/1918 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE STOLEN NEGATIVE
by Anon. (Andrew Murray) · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: Unknown
Notes: Story features Hon. John Lawless, Professor Kew and Count Ivor Carlac.
Unrated
The Mystic Cypher UNION JACK · New series · Issue 771 · 20/7/1918 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE MYSTIC CYPHER; OR, THE LONE HOUSE IN THE FOREST
by Anon. (Edwy Searles Brooks) · Illustrator: Val Reading
Other content: The Red Raiders! by Anon.
Notes: Blake teams up with Nelson Lee in this story, which is recounted by Tinker.
Unrated
The Mystery of the Appeal Tribunal UNION JACK · New series · Issue 772 · 27/7/1918 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE MYSTERY OF THE APPEAL TRIBUNAL
by Anon. (J. W. Bobin) · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: The Red Raiders! by Anon.
Notes: Story features George Marsden Plummer.
Unrated
The Clue of the Food Card UNION JACK · New series · Issue 773 · 3/8/1918 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE CLUE OF THE FOOD CARD; OR, THE KING'S COURTENAY MYSTERY
by Anon. (William Murray Graydon) · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: The Red Raiders! by Anon.
Notes: None at present.
Unrated
The Dual Detectives UNION JACK · New series · Issue 774 · 10/8/1918 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE DUAL DETECTIVES
by Anon. (Edwy Searles Brooks) · Illustrator: Val Reading
Other content: The Red Raiders! by Anon.
Notes: Blake teams up with Nelson Lee in this story.
Unrated
The Case of the Clubfooted Man UNION JACK · New series · Issue 775 · 17/8/1918 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE CASE OF THE CLUBFOOTED MAN
by Anon. (Robert Murray Graydon) · Illustrator: G. M. Dodshan
Other content: The Red Raiders! by Anon.
Notes: Sexton Blake and Tinker are roused in the early hours of the morning by Detective-Inspector Coutts who wants them to come to Scotland Yard to identify a prisoner. They accede and are surprised to find that the Yard man has caught Dirk Dolland, The Bat. But the cracksman seems strangely dazed, as if drugged. After giving a positive identification, Blake and Tinker begin walking home. In Hyde Street, they hear a cry for help and, by following a trail of blood, find a man stabbed in a large house. A club-footed man appears on the scene and flees in a car when the detective attempts to question him. Blake and Tinker appropriate a vehicle and give chase but their quarry crashes and is killed. However, when the detective examines the corpse he is astounded to find that it is not his man! At some point, the club-footed villain had run over a bicyclist, put the body in the car, and sent it careening off the road while he made a getaway on foot. Blake returns to his own vehicle only to discover that it — and Tinker — have vanished; the lad obviously kidnapped by the villain. The detective takes the train back to London and, at Baker Street, is met by Coutts who despondently informs him that The Bat has escaped. Blake tells Coutts of his own adventure and is surprised to hear that the police have not learned of the stabbed man ... which means he might still be at the house. The two men race to the scene of the crime — and upon arrival Coutts declares that this is the very house where he had arrested Dolland the night before. Inside, they find Tinker bound to a chair; but the residence is otherwise empty. The detective and his assistant return to Baker Street where they are surprised to find The Bat waiting for them. He explains that he had first met the club-footed man when the latter commissioned him to steal jewels from the safe in the Hyde Street house (this belongs to a man who is currently abroad). He had done the job but his employer had then drugged him, left him there, and tipped off Scotland Yard — thus his arrest. Dolland gives Blake a clue which leads the detective to identify the club-footed man's hideaway. He tips off Coutts who leads a raid and rounds up the criminals. Captive among them is the stabbed man, who was the Hyde Street house owner's secretary. The Bat, meanwhile, eludes the police once again.
Trivia: Blake owns and plays a Stradivarius.
Rating: ★★★★☆☆
The Case of the Mysterious Book UNION JACK · New series · Issue 776 · 24/8/1918 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE CASE OF THE MYSTERIOUS BOOK; OR, A TALE OF THE "DEFENCE OF THE REALM ACT"
by Anon. (William Murray Graydon) · Illustrator: Vine
Other content: The Red Raiders! by Anon.
Notes: Story features Cavendish Doyle.
Unrated
The Flashlight Clue UNION JACK · New series · Issue 777 · 31/8/1918 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE FLASHLIGHT CLUE
by Anon. (Edwy Searles Brooks) · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: The Red Raiders! by Anon.
Notes: Blake teams up with Nelson Lee in this story.
Unrated
The Vanished Police UNION JACK · New series · Issue 778 · 7/9/1918 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE VANISHED POLICE
by Anon. (Robert Murray Graydon) · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: The Red Raiders! by Anon.
Notes: Under orders from a Harley Street specialist, Sexton Blake has been on a two-week holiday in the West country, accompanied by his assistant, Tinker. Upon his return, he finds that London is in the grip of a massive crime wave. Detective-Inspector Coutts brings worse news: Chief Commissioner Sir Henry Fairfax has been kidnapped and sixteen members of the London Metropolitan Police Force have vanished! Coutts has discovered that at least six expert cracksmen must be a part of the gang responsible; six men who were recently released from prison and who then disappeared without a trace. Blake decides to replace a bobby on his beat near a bank that has yet to be robbed. The move pays off; that night the bank is broken into and Sexton Blake vanishes! Tinker, following up his Guv'nor's investigation, follows a cracksman who has just been released from gaol. He sees the man approached by Frederick Ross, and trails them to a metalwork factory. Here he is captured and presented to Mr. Reece. This is the first time he has ever seen the criminal mastermind in the flesh. Reece has the lad imprisoned in a cell. Unknown to Tinker, Sexton Blake is in another cell nearby after having been knocked unconscious by the bank raiders. Blake escapes and frees Tinker, the missing police constables and Sir Henry Fairfax. They fall upon the gang and take them into custody but, after Blake and Reece confront one another, the brains behind the operation escapes.
Trivia: Once again, Sexton Blake is under doctor's orders to take it easy after overworking to the point of mental and physical collapse. This story dates itself as beginning on August 17th (though the year is given as '19—').
Rating: ★★★★☆☆ Although this isn't the first Mr. Reece story, it does mark the first time the criminal and Sexton Blake meet face to face. This tale can be considered a prequel to the Criminals' Confederation series.
Suspended From Duty UNION JACK · New series · Issue 779 · 14/9/1918 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
SUSPENDED FROM DUTY
by Anon. (Robert Murray Graydon) · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: The Red Raiders! by Anon.
Notes: Sexton Blake receives three visitors; representatives from the London, Paris and New York police forces. The leader of this deputation, Detective-Inspector Sark of Scotland Yard, informs him that Detective-Inspector Coutts has been suspended from duty due to his lack of progress with regard to the apprehension of The Bat. Dirk Dolland has been running rings around him for two years; now Sark has taken on the case instead... and he wants to know everything Blake knows about Dolland! The interview is interrupted by a telephone call from the gentleman cracksman himself. Dolland informs Sark that he intends that very night to steal the Danesby Murillo — a valuable painting owned the collector Simon Kneller — and he challenges the Inspector to stop him. That evening, the three policemen, Blake, Tinker and Kneller stand guard over the painting. When the house catches fire, they find themselves trapped on an upper storey. Fortunately, the fire brigade arrives and a fireman ascends a ladder to their window. Between them, Sark and Blake hand him the painting to take to safety. Before they can climb out and follow him down, more firemen burst into the room. Their chief declares that the fire was faked with smoke bombs and incendary chemicals. Furthermore, none of his men had been up a ladder to the window. The man Sark and Blake handed the painting to was The Bat! Hours later, when Sark leaves the scene of the crime, he hails a convenient taxi and promptly finds himself kidnapped and rendered unconscious. Sexton Blake, meanwhile, visits the Chief Commissioner, Sir Henry Fairfax, at Scotland Yard and learns that Sark had indicated to his superior that Coutts was in collusion with The Bat. Their meeting is interrupted when a taxi arrives with Sark tied up in the back; a mocking note from Dirk Dolland pinned to his coat. Sir Henry begins to tear him off a strip but is interrupted once again, this time by the arrival of Inspector Coutts. He has a parcel with him which had been delivered with instructions to take it to Sir Henry. It turns out to be the stolen painting. Coutts has also brought with him the man who delivered it ... and, despite the disguise, that man turns out to be The Bat. Coutts makes the arrest, redeeming himself and winning a £4,000 reward. Blake realises that Dirk Dolland has deliberately let himself be caught in order to help Coutts.
Trivia: Blake's club is named 'The United States'. Detective-Inspector Coutts, at this stage of his career, lives at No. 54 Wyatt Road on the opposite side of Westminster Bridge from the Houses of Parliament.
Rating: ★★★★★★ A superbly written and very entertaining story with a surprise ending — The Bat in police custody!
The Only Clue UNION JACK · New series · Issue 780 · 21/9/1918 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE ONLY CLUE
by Anon. (Robert Murray Graydon) · Illustrator: Val Reading
Other content: The Red Raiders! by Anon.
Notes: None at present.
Unrated
The Case of the American Soldier UNION JACK · New series · Issue 781 · 28/9/1918 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE CASE OF THE AMERICAN SOLDIER
by Anon. (Edwy Searles Brooks) · Illustrator: Vine
Other content: The Red Raiders! by Anon.
Notes: Blake teams up with Nelson Lee in this story.
Unrated
The Steel Claw UNION JACK · New series · Issue 782 · 5/10/1918 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE STEEL CLAW; OR, THE MYSTERY OF DEEPGRANGE MANOR
by Anon. (Robert Murray Graydon) · Illustrator: W. Reading
Other content: The Red Raiders! by Anon.
Notes: A police detective named Durant has been missing for two days. Then Detective-Inspector Coutts receives a telegram from the man, sent from the Essex village of Cattenham. In it, Durant claims to be on the trail of something big and requests that Coutts should bring Sexton Blake. Coutts, Blake, Tinker and Pedro arrive at Cattenham late in the evening. There is no sign of Durant at the local inn where he's supposedly lodging. Tinker turns in for the night. The two detectives go for a walk and, on the periphery of the grounds of Deepgrange Manor, are startled to hear the roar of a lion followed by a terrified scream. A police constable runs out of the darkness and tells them that he saw a man climb over the wall into the grounds of the manor. The estate belongs to Sir Henry Carles, an explorer known to keep wild animals on his property. Blake picks the lock of the gate and the three men enter the overgrown gardens. They find the corpse of Durant; he has been killed by a lion. Sir Henry arrives on the scene and helps them carry the corpse back to his house. He shows them his lioness — now returned to her cage — and Blake examines her claws, noting that they are clean. While the constable remains behind to take charge of the body, Sexton Blake and Detective-Inspector Coutts return to the village inn. Blake hears that Durant's papers are in his room and asks the landlord to show him to it. It's locked from the inside! Hearing someone within, the detective breaks down the door but stumbles in the dark. He just catches site of a figure leaving through the window. Using Pedro, he tracks the intruder back to Deepgrange Manor. There, in the pitch dark, Pedro runs off after something. Alone, Blake is suddenly confronted by two glowing green eyes. Believing the lioness is about to attack, he falls backwards just as claws rip through the front of his jacket. Then he hears Pedro return to attack the creature and see it off. Sir Henry approaches and Blake hides. When the man has passed, the detective heads for the Manor where he finds a man bound to a chair. This turns out to be the real Sir Henry. The impostor is his evil half-brother, Raven, who has been torturing him and stealing his money. But the guiding hand behind Raven's actions belongs to Mr. Reece! Blake calls the police then hides behind a curtain. Raven returns accompanied by Reece and they begin to force Sir Henry to sign a cheque. But Reece has no further need of Raven and poisons him. Suddenly, the police arrive in force and Reece is cornered. But he threatens them with a glass ball holding nitro-glycerine. They back off and he runs from the room, throwing the bomb in behind him. It bounces harmlessly on the floor: a mere decanter stopper! Blake discovers the truth behind the 'lion' attacks (which is given away by the story's title!). Mr. Reece remains at large.
Rating: ★★★☆☆☆ A tale of fairly inconsequential events which occur in a single night and which Tinker sleeps through.
Behind the Lines UNION JACK · New series · Issue 783 · 12/10/1918 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
BEHIND THE LINES; OR, THE CLUE OF THE CRYSTAL PHIAL
by Anon. (William Murray Graydon) · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: The Red Raiders! by Anon.
Notes: Story features Matthew Quinn.
Unrated
The Crooks of Rapid Hollow UNION JACK · New series · Issue 784 · 19/10/1918 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE CROOKS OF RAPID HOLLOW
by Anon. (Edwy Searles Brooks) · Illustrator: Vine
Other content: None
Notes: Blake teams up with Nelson Lee in this story.
Unrated
The Ten Mile Champion UNION JACK · New series · Issue 785 · 26/10/1918 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE TEN MILE CHAMPION; OR, THE FACTORY MYSTERY
by Anon. (Andrew Murray) · Illustrator: Harry Lane
Other content: The Red Raiders! by Anon.
Notes: None at present.
Unrated
The Terror of Trevis Wold UNION JACK · New series · Issue 786 · 2/11/1918 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE TERROR OF TREVIS WOLD
by Anon. (Edwy Searles Brooks) · Illustrator: Val Reading
Other content: The Red Raiders! by Anon.
Notes: Blake teams up with Nelson Lee in this story.
Unrated
The Silent Partner UNION JACK · New series · Issue 787 · 9/11/1918 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE SILENT PARTNER; OR, THE CASE OF THE STOLEN HEIRLOOMS
by Anon. (Robert Murray Graydon) · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: The Red Raiders! by Anon.
Notes: Four months ago, Dirk Dolland gave himself up to the police to save the reputation of Detective-Inspector Coutts. Since then, he has resided in Moorlands Prison. But now, the priceless Canvey diamonds have been stolen and a card signed 'The Bat' is left behind. Sexton Blake believes that Dolland's partner, Mademoiselle Mignon aka The Butterfly, is responsible. Later that afternoon, Coutts turns up at Baker Street bearing a written invitation for himself and Blake to dine with The Bat. They keep the appointment and are astonished to find themselves with Dirk Dolland, a man they know for sure to be in prison. Coutts arrests him and they all go to Scotland Yard where Dolland's identity is confirmed by fingerprints. Coutts is sent by Sir Henry Fairfax to inspect the 'other Dolland', so he and Blake travel to Moorlands Prison where, to their complete amazement, they find their man — every bit as genuine as the one they left in London. The two detectives board a train back to the city with Dolland handcuffed to Coutts. They are taking him back so that they can examine the 'two Bats' side by side. Much of the rest of the train is filled with a theatrical company, touring a play named 'Convict 77', which, by coincidence, is Dolland's prison number. Upon arrival at Paddington, the carriage doors open and a swarm of men dressed in prisoners' uniforms swarm out, engulfing Blake, Coutts and Dolland. In the confusion, the handcuffs are cut and The Bat vanishes into the throng. Blake realises that they've been bamboozled by a clever scheme dreamed up by The Butterfly to secure Dolland's release. Tinker falls foul of the escapee and finds himself accompanying The Bat and The Butterfly as they flee to Dover. He listens as the lady crook reveals how she trained a man to impersonate her partner and how the fingerprints had been faked. Then he is dropped of by the roadside and watches as the car drives the pair off to freedom.
Trivia: In previous stories The Butterfly's real name was Mademoiselle Miguet. In this tale it has suddenly become Mademoiselle Mignon.
Rating: ★★★★★★ A really excellent tale.
The Studded Footprints UNION JACK · New series · Issue 788 · 16/11/1918 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE STUDDED FOOTPRINTS; OR, THE CLUE OF THE BLUE DUST
by Anon. (Edwy Searles Brooks) · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: The Red Raiders! by Anon.
Notes: Blake teams up with Nelson Lee in this story, which is narrated throughout by Tinker.
Unrated
FOES IN THE DARK UNION JACK · New series · Issue 789 · 23/11/1918 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
FOES IN THE DARK; OR, THE CURIOUS CASE OF ANTHONY BASSETT
by Anon. (William Murray Graydon) · Illustrator: Arthur Jones
Other content: A Conspiracy at Sea by Anon.
Notes: None at present.
Unrated
The Amazing Affair at Clanmere Mansions UNION JACK · New series · Issue 790 · 30/11/1918 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE AMAZING AFFAIR AT CLANMERE MANSIONS; OR, THE MAN IN GREY
by Anon. (Robert Murray Graydon) · Illustrator: Val Reading
Other content: A Conspiracy at Sea (Nelson Lee) by Edwy Searles Brooks.
Notes: This is a prequel to the Criminals' Confederation story arc. Blake and Tinker are present when a man is found dead in the street. He is identified as a writer named James Jenner, who lives nearby. When Blake accompanies the police to the man's flat — No.6 — at Clanmere Mansions, they find that it has been ransacked and there is a dead man on the floor. Next morning, Tinker reads in the paper that the Mallinan Diamond has been stolen. Before he can engage his guv'nor in conversation about this, Detective-Inspector Coutts arrives and they return to the crime scene only to find that the flat has been searched again. The mystery has them all puzzled and, late that night, Blake once again returns to No.6 where he encounters a masked intruder. The man escapes via the back door. Blake leaves by the front but someone else is there; they assault him and knock him cold. Later, Tinker is awoken by tapping at his bedroom window. Outside, the same masked man that his guv'nor had seen is clinging to a drainpipe. He instructs the lad to go to Clanmere Mansions then slides to the ground and makes off. Tinker follows the instruction and finds the unconscious Blake. After reviving the detective, they prepare to leave when they suddenly hear morse code being tapped on a pipe — an S.O.S. from the flat above! They creep up the fire escape and, peering through the window, they see tied to a chair the masked man — it's Dirk Dolland aka The Bat! And his captor is Mr. Reece! Blake and Tinker attack but Reece gets away. After Dolland is untied, he explains that this flat — No.7 — is his. He had been approached by a man whom Reece had commissioned to steal the Mallinan Diamond. The villain intended to cheat Reece and wanted Dolland to help him dispose of the gem in return for a cut of the profit. The Bat agreed. But when the man, pursued by Reece, arrived at Clanmere Mansions he had accidentally gone to the flat beneath Dolland's and thus Jenner had become caught up in the business. The thief had forced Jenner to impersonate him in an attempt to put Reece off the scent but Reece had killed first Jenner then the thief. Since then, the master criminal had repeatedly searched the flat for the missing diamond. Dolland had eventually found it and now returns it to Blake who allows him to go free. Both men vow to hunt Mr. Reece and make him answer for his crimes, no matter how long it takes.
Rating: ★★★★★★
Dirk Dolland's Redemption UNION JACK · New series · Issue 791 · 7/12/1918 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
DIRK DOLLAND'S REDEMPTION; OR, A MYSTERY OF THE LINE
by Anon. (Robert Murray Graydon) · Illustrator: W. Reading
Other content: A Conspiracy at Sea (Nelson Lee) by Edwy Searles Brooks; The Headless Robin (Nelson Lee) by Edwy Searles Brooks.
Notes: This can be considered the first part of the largest Sexton Blake story arc ever: the Criminals' Confederation. A man is hit by a train but Sexton Blake deduces that he was dead already — it's a case of murder. Hidden in the man's clothing, he finds a priceless diamond earring. Footprints at the scene lead him to a secluded and empty cottage on Canvey Island. There, he finds the stub of a cigarette — the scarce brand smoked by Dirk Dolland aka The Bat. A bullet crashes through the window and creases the detective's skull. Tinker pursues two men, one of whom he recognises as Dolland. They get away in a boat. Back at Baker Street Blake uses a secret phone number once given to him by Dolland to try to make contact with the master cracksman. His call is answered by Mademoiselle Mignon who worriedly admits that Dolland is missing. Detective-Inspector Coutts arrives and informs Blake that the dead man has been identified as a lawyer named Lewis Rogers. He used to work for Lord Dunton, who turns up as Blake's next visitor. The Lord explains that the famous Dunton diamonds had always been kept in Roger's safe but when Dunton had decided to sell them the lawyer had been very reluctant to hand them over. Eventually he did and Lord Dunton took them away only to discover that they were imitations. Later, Lord Dunton reports that his wife has disappeared. Blake tracks her to Dover where she confesses that she had had the fake diamonds made while she pawned the real ones to cover her gambling debts. She's conspired with Dolland to try to cover up her indiscretion but it all went wrong when Rogers was killed and the real diamonds stolen. Sexton Blake returns to Baker Street and finds Dirk Dolland waiting for him. The Bat hands over the diamonds which, at great personal risk, he has retrieved from the man who stole them. This man was also responsible for the murder —and his name is Mr Reece! The criminal master-mind had escaped from Dolland on a tugboat which was then wrecked at sea with all hands presumed lost. Mr Reece, it would seem, is dead.
Rating: ★★★★☆☆
The Case of the Missing Bolshevik UNION JACK · New series · Issue 792 · 14/12/1918 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE CASE OF THE MISSING BOLSHEVIK
by Anon. (William Murray Graydon) · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: The Headless Robin by Anon.
Notes: None at present.
Unrated
The Case of the Hollow Dagger UNION JACK · New series · Issue 793 · 21/12/1918 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE CASE OF THE HOLLOW DAGGER
by Anon. (Edwy Searles Brooks) · Illustrator: Arthur Jones
Other content: The Headless Robin by Anon.
Notes: Blake teams up with Nelson Lee in this story.
Unrated
Waldo the Wonder-Man UNION JACK · New series · Issue 794 · 28/12/1918 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
WALDO THE WONDER-MAN
by Anon. (Edwy Searles Brooks) · Illustrator: Arthur Jones
Other content: The Professor's Gold by Anon.
Notes: Sexton Blake and Tinker are in Sussex having just finished a case. While Blake enjoys a social evening with the local police inspector, Tinker takes the man's children to a circus. While there, a performer named Durand is murdered by means of a poisoned dart. This occurs in his caravan during a performance by the circus's strong-man, Waldo the Wonder-Man. Another member of the circus troupe — a named Fletcher — is accused of the crime and the evidence against him seems overwhelming. However, Tinker is convinced of his innocence and fetches Blake, who agrees. He sets a trap for the real killer and, that night, chases a shadowy figure who is plainly trying to get rid of evidence. Though the man remains unseen, when he is tackled by Blake and Tinker, he picks them up and throws them into a river. This display of strength points to Rupert Waldo and, when Blake goes to London to consult Scotland Yard's fingerprint records, it emerges that the strong-man is an escaped convict named William Waldron. While Sexton Blake is away, Tinker pays a visit to Nelson Lee and Nipper at nearby St. Frank's. This proves fortunate because when Blake and Detective-Inspector Lennard attempt to arrest Waldo, the criminal starts a fire and escapes on a goods train, despite being badly burned, as well as shot in the leg. Blake telephones Lee who organises the local police to stop the train as it passes near St. Frank's. Waldo is captured and demonstrates that in addition to his immense strength, he is incapable of feeling pain. Later, he escapes from police custody and goes on the run, promising, in a letter to Blake, to begin a crime spree.
Trivia: This tale is recounted in first person by Tinker. Christmas issue.
Rating: ★★★★★☆



1917
Master List
1919






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