BIBLIOGRAPHY 1920

1919
Master List
1921
PUBLISHING

In October, UNION JACK increases size from 20 to 24 pages, introduces a colour cover and a new price of 2d.
The first Blake story by W. W. Sayer (better known as Pierre Quiroule) is published. William Walter Sayer was born in 1892. His first tales featured Detective-Inspector Will Spearing (without Sexton Blake) and appeared in PLUCK. After his war service, Sayer became a full-time writer and wrote his debut Blake novel, in which he introduced Granite Grant. In his next, he created Mademoiselle Julie and, from then on, the two secret agents would appear together in a great many hugely popular tales. He gave up writing Sexton Blake stories in 1930 but he may be the most reprinted author in the series, as his tales were continually republished right up to 1986. W. W. Sayer died in 1982.
ISSUES
No cover as yet DETECTIVE LIBRARY · Issue 30 · 21/2/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE ADVENTURE OF THE FIVE BLUE BOTTLES
by Anon. (E. J. Murray) · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: Unknown
Notes: None at present.
Unrated
At the Volcano's Brink DETECTIVE LIBRARY · Issue 31 · 28/2/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
AT THE VOLCANO'S BRINK
by Anon. (E. J. Murray) · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: Your Editor's Page (ed.); The death Chair by Anon.
Notes: None at present.
Unrated
The Boys of Kingsmere College: The Trust-Breaker DETECTIVE LIBRARY · Issue 32 · 6/3/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE BOYS OF KINGSMERE COLLEGE: THE TRUST-BREAKER
by Anon. (Stanley Gordon Shaw) · Illustrator: A. Jones
Other content: Nelson Lee in the Potteries by Anon.; The Editor's Weekly Letter to His Chums (ed.)
Notes: None at present.
Unrated
The Boys of Kingsmere College: The Master of the Fifth DETECTIVE LIBRARY · Issue 33 · 13/3/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE BOYS OF KINGSMERE COLLEGE: THE MASTER OF THE FIFTH
by Anon. (Stanley Gordon Shaw) · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: Your Editor's Page (ed.); The Affair of the £10,000 Platinum Theft by Anon.
Notes: None at present.
Unrated
The Boys of Kingsmere College: The Madness of Bagley Minor DETECTIVE LIBRARY · Issue 34 · 20/3/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE BOYS OF KINGSMERE COLLEGE: THE MADNESS OF BAGLEY MINOR
by Anon. (Stanley Gordon Shaw) · Illustrator: Arthur Jones
Other content: The Editor's Weekly Letter to His Chums (ed.); The Golden Football Casket by Anon.
Notes: None at present.
Unrated
The Boys of Kingsmere College: The 'Morse' Code DETECTIVE LIBRARY · Issue 35 · 27/3/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE BOYS OF KINGSMERE COLLEGE: THE 'MORSE' CODE
by Anon. (Stanley Gordon Shaw) · Illustrator: Arthur Jones
Other content: Nipper at St. Ninian's by Anon.; Nelson Lee in Lancashire by Anon.
Notes: None at present.
Unrated
The Boys of Kingsmere College: Who Shall Be Captain? DETECTIVE LIBRARY · Issue 36 · 3/4/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE BOYS OF KINGSMERE COLLEGE: WHO SHALL BE CAPTAIN?
by Anon. (Stanley Gordon Shaw) · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: Nipper at St. Ninian's by Anon.; Nipper's Coup! by Anon.
Notes: None at present.
Unrated
The Boys of Kingsmere College: Saved By His Flag DETECTIVE LIBRARY · Issue 37 · 10/4/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE BOYS OF KINGSMERE COLLEGE: SAVED BY HIS FLAG
by Anon. (Stanley Gordon Shaw) · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: Nipper at St. Ninian's by Anon.; The Editor's Weekly Letter to His Chums (ed.); Jim the Penman's Paris Coupby Anon.
Notes: None at present.
Unrated
No cover as yet DETECTIVE LIBRARY · Issue 38 · 17/4/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE BOYS OF KINGSMERE COLLEGE: TINKER ARRESTED!
by Anon. (Stanley Gordon Shaw) · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: Unknown
Notes: None at present.
Unrated
No cover as yet DETECTIVE LIBRARY · Issue 39 · 24/4/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE BOYS OF KINGSMERE COLLEGE: THE GREAT BARRING-OUT
by Anon. (Stanley Gordon Shaw) · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: Unknown
Notes: None at present.
Unrated
The Boys of Kingsmere College: The Schoolboy Film Actors DETECTIVE LIBRARY · Issue 40 · 1/5/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE BOYS OF KINGSMERE COLLEGE: THE SCHOOLBOY FILM ACTORS
by Anon. (Stanley Gordon Shaw) · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: Concerning the Aerial View of the Kingsmere District (article); The Severed Finger by Anon.; Nipper at St. Ninian's by Anon.
Notes: None at present.
Unrated
The Boys of Kingsmere College: New Boys at Kingsmere DETECTIVE LIBRARY · Issue 41 · 8/5/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE BOYS OF KINGSMERE COLLEGE: NEW BOYS AT KINGSMERE
by Anon. (Stanley Gordon Shaw) · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: The Editor's Weekly Letter to His Chums (ed.); The Fifth Notch by Anon.; Nipper at St. Ninian's by Anon.
Notes: None at present.
Unrated
No cover as yet DETECTIVE LIBRARY · Issue 42 · 15/5/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE BOYS OF KINGSMERE COLLEGE: EDUCATING HODGE
by Anon. (Stanley Gordon Shaw) · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: Unknown
Notes: None at present.
Unrated
No cover as yet DETECTIVE LIBRARY · Issue 43 · 22/5/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE BOYS OF KINGSMERE COLLEGE: THE END OF THE TRUST
by Anon. (Stanley Gordon Shaw) · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: Unknown
Notes: None at present.
Unrated
No cover as yet DETECTIVE LIBRARY · Issue 44 · 29/5/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE BOYS OF KINGSMERE COLLEGE: A ONE-LEGGED HERO
by Anon. (Stanley Gordon Shaw) · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: Unknown
Notes: None at present.
Unrated
No cover as yet DETECTIVE LIBRARY · Issue 45 · 5/6/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE BOYS OF KINGSMERE COLLEGE: PERCY'S NIGHT OUT
by Anon. (Stanley Gordon Shaw) · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: Unknown
Notes: None at present.
Unrated
No cover as yet DETECTIVE LIBRARY · Issue 46 · 12/6/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE BOYS OF KINGSMERE COLLEGE: A PLAGUE OF POETS
by Anon. (Stanley Gordon Shaw) · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: Unknown
Notes: None at present.
Unrated
The Boys of Kingsmere College: Like Father Like Son DETECTIVE LIBRARY · Issue 47 · 19/6/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE BOYS OF KINGSMERE COLLEGE: LIKE FATHER LIKE SON
by Anon. (Stanley Gordon Shaw) · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: The Two Signets by Anon.; Nipper at St. Ninian's by Anon.
Notes: None at present.
Unrated
No cover as yet DETECTIVE LIBRARY · Issue 48 · 26/6/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE BOYS OF KINGSMERE COLLEGE: KINGSMERE'S REBELLION
by Anon. (Stanley Gordon Shaw) · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: Unknown
Notes: None at present.
Unrated
No cover as yet DETECTIVE LIBRARY · Issue 49 · 3/7/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE BOYS OF KINGSMERE COLLEGE: THE SCHOOL ON STRIKE
by Anon. (Stanley Gordon Shaw) · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: Unknown
Notes: None at present.
Unrated
No cover as yet DETECTIVE LIBRARY · Issue 50 · 10/7/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE BOYS OF KINGSMERE COLLEGE: GOODBYE TO KINGSMERE
by Anon. (Stanley Gordon Shaw) · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: Unknown
Notes: This was the final issue of DETECTIVE LIBRARY. The following week it was amalgamated with NUGGET WEEKLY
Unrated
No cover as yet NUGGET LIBRARY · Issue 24 · Apr. 1920 · Amalgamated Press · 3d
THE GREEN GEM
by Anon. (Unknown) · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: The Panic Plunderers by Unknown
Notes: This is a short story supporting the main feature.
Unrated
No cover as yet NUGGET WEEKLY · Issue 1 · 17/7/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE CRESCENT OF DREAD: THE CRESCENT OF DREAD (Part 1)
by Anon. (Edwy Searles Brooks) · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: Unknown
Notes: None at present.
Unrated
No cover as yet NUGGET WEEKLY · Issue 2 · 24/7/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE CRESCENT OF DREAD: THE RAID ON CARTERS BANK (Part 2)
by Anon. (Edwy Searles Brooks) · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: Unknown
Notes: None at present.
Unrated
No cover as yet NUGGET WEEKLY · Issue 3 · 31/7/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE CRESCENT OF DREAD: CD38 OR A BID FOR POWER (Part 3)
by Anon. (Edwy Searles Brooks) · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: Unknown
Notes: None at present.
Unrated
Check to the Crescent NUGGET WEEKLY · Issue 4 · 7/8/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE CRESCENT OF DREAD: CHECK TO THE CRESCENT (Part 4)
by Anon. (Edwy Searles Brooks) · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: You and I (ed.); Montelier's Lost Game by Anon.; How Robin Hood Despoiled the King by Anon.; Robin Hood (ed.); The Honour of St. Frank's by Anon.
Notes: None at present.
Unrated
No cover as yet NUGGET WEEKLY · Issue 5 · 14/8/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE CRESCENT OF DREAD: ON THE WINGS OF THE AIR (Part 5)
by Anon. (Edwy Searles Brooks) · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: Unknown
Notes: None at present.
Unrated
The Winning Hand NUGGET WEEKLY · Issue 6 · 21/8/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE CRESCENT OF DREAD: THE WINNING HAND (Part 6)
by Anon. (Edwy Searles Brooks) · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: You and I (ed.); The Desertion of Lone Bull by Anon.; The King's Hireling by Anon.; The Story of the Deadwood Coach (ed.); The Honour of St. Frank's by Anon.
Notes: None at present.
Unrated
No cover as yet NUGGET WEEKLY · Issue 7 · 28/8/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE CRESCENT OF DREAD: THE GREY PHANTOM OF BEECHWOOD (Part 7)
by Anon. (Edwy Searles Brooks) · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: Unknown
Notes: None at present.
Unrated
No cover as yet NUGGET WEEKLY · Issue 9 · 11/9/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE FAKIR'S SECRET (Part 1)
by Anon. · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: Unknown
Notes: This serial was later adapted as a non-Blake tale (he was replaced by Nelson Lee) of the same title which appeared in THE BOYS' FRIEND LIBRARY second series issue 511 (1936).
Unrated
No cover as yet NUGGET WEEKLY · Issue 10 · 18/9/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE FAKIR'S SECRET (Part 2)
by Anon. · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: Unknown
Notes: None at present.
Unrated
The Fakir's Secret (part 3) NUGGET WEEKLY · Issue 11 · 25/9/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE FAKIR'S SECRET (Part 3)
by Anon. · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: The Kidnapped Showmen by Anon.; Buffalo Bill As I Knew Him by James Granger; The Mummers of Nottingham Fair by Anon.; The Defeat of Zingrave by Anon. (Edwy Searles Brooks); You and I (ed.)
Notes: None at present.
Unrated
No cover as yet NUGGET WEEKLY · Issue 12 · 2/10/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE FAKIR'S SECRET (Part 4)
by Anon. · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: Unknown
Notes: None at present.
Unrated
No cover as yet NUGGET WEEKLY · Issue 13 · 9/10/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE FAKIR'S SECRET (Part 5)
by Anon. · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: Unknown
Notes: None at present.
Unrated
No cover as yet NUGGET WEEKLY · Issue 14 · 16/10/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE FAKIR'S SECRET (Part 6)
by Anon. · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: Unknown
Notes: None at present.
Unrated
No cover as yet NUGGET WEEKLY · Issue 15 · 23/10/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE FAKIR'S SECRET (Part 7)
by Anon. · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: Unknown
Notes: None at present.
Unrated
No cover as yet NUGGET WEEKLY · Issue 16 · 30/10/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE FAKIR'S SECRET (Part 8)
by Anon. · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: Unknown
Notes: None at present.
Unrated
The Fakir's Secret (part 9) NUGGET WEEKLY · Issue 17 · 6/11/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE FAKIR'S SECRET (Part 9)
by Anon. · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: The Tomahawk Of Death by Anon.; A Cellar Night by Anon.; The Green Triangle by Edwy Searles Brooks.
Notes: None at present.
Unrated
The Fakir's Secret (part 10) NUGGET WEEKLY · Issue 18 · 13/11/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE FAKIR'S SECRET (Part 10)
by Anon. · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: The Treachery of Grey Cloud by Anon.; You and I (ed.); The Glover's Prentices by Anon.; Nelson Lee Versus the Green Triangle by Edwy Searles Brooks.
Notes: None at present.
Unrated
No cover as yet NUGGET WEEKLY · Issue 19 · 20/11/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE FAKIR'S SECRET (Part 11)
by Anon. · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: Unknown
Notes: None at present.
Unrated
No cover as yet NUGGET WEEKLY · Issue 20 · 27/11/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE FAKIR'S SECRET (Part 12)
by Anon. · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: Unknown
Notes: None at present.
Unrated
The Head Hunter's Secret THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 1st series · Issue 108 · Jan. 1920 · Amalgamated Press · 4d
THE HEAD-HUNTER'S SECRET
by Anon. (Andrew Murray) · Illustrator: Arthur Jones
Other content: None
Notes: 'A Romance of England and the South Sea Islands.' This was later adapted as a non-Blake story entitled SOUTH SEA LOOT with the detective being replaced by Nelson Lee (THE NELSON LEE LIBRARY second new series issue 136, 1932).
Unrated
Link by Link THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 1st series · Issue 109 · Jan. 1920 · Amalgamated Press · 4d
LINK BY LINK; OR, IN THE CLUTCH OF THE NINE
by Anon. (John W. Bobin) · Illustrator: Arthur Jones
Other content: None
Notes: Story features George Marsden Plummer and The Council of Nine.
Unrated
The Case of the King's Spy THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 1st series · Issue 110 · Jan. 1920 · Amalgamated Press · 4d
THE CASE OF THE KING'S SPY
by Anon. (W. W. Sayer) · Illustrator: Arthur Jones
Other content: None
Notes: The King's Spy, James "Granite" Grant, is pondering whether to delay his wedding to actress Laura Valentine until his next mission is completed when he is knocked out by two men, Dykes and Crick, and delivered to Baron Rodanoff. His clothes are removed and given to a man — his spitting image — who then impersonates him, pretending to be amnesiac. A government minister commissions Sexton Blake to find out how the memory loss happened. The detective visits Miss Valentine and is spotted by Dykes and Crick. They report his involvement to the Baron. Blake quickly realises that 'Grant' is an impostor. That night, Dykes and Crick fall out over money and Dykes murders his partner. The next day, Miss Valentine introduces Blake to an acquaintance: Baron Rodanoff. The detective has already gathered evidence which suggests the Baron's involvement in the affair and the two men are immediately wary of each other. After their meeting, Rodanoff tries to move Grant to a new location — a house in a remote village named Denesford — but the prisoner escapes and manages to telephone his fiancé before being recaptured. Tinker, meanwhile, has followed the trail to Denesford and watches the house. During the night, the Baron's pet baboon escapes from the premises and is chased by a number of his men. A frightened Tinker tries to get away but falls into a deep pot-hole. He wanders lost in underground tunnels until hearing the baboon approaching. Blake, meanwhile, concerned about his assistant's absence, uses Pedro to track Tinker to the brink of the pit. He lowers the hound down by rope then follows and tracks Tinker to where the lad has collapsed. Pedro encounters the baboon and kills it in a terrific fight. When the trio retrace their steps they find the rope gone, removed by Rodanoff. By following the ape's scent, they eventually find a route out of the tunnels. After returning to London, Blake organises a raid on the Denesford house with Inspector Bradley. Dykes is arrested and Granite Grant rescued. Baron Rodanoff returns to Russia to fight another day. The tale ends with Grant happily married and considering settling down.
Trivia: Granite Grant is described as having a dark, short-clipped beard and back-combed hair. Baron Rodanoff reappears in THE SECRET OF THE SIX BLACK DOTS (THE EXTON BLAKE LIBRARY 1st series issue 169, 1921).
Rating: ★★★★★★
The Jewels of Wu Ling THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 1st series · Issue 111 · Jan. 1920 · Amalgamated Press · 4d
THE JEWELS OF WU LING
by Anon. (Jack Lewis) · Illustrator: Arthur Jones
Other content: Unknown
Notes: A Chinaman named Wu Ling (this is a completely different character to the Wu Ling who is president of the Brotherhood of the Yellow Beetle and who, incidentally, hasn't been heard of since the first issue of the SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY back in 1915) comes under suspicion when his wife, a white woman, is shot by a man whom Sexton Blake identifies as Leon Kestrel. Money seems to have changed hands and Wu Ling is obviously far more than the simple laundryman he seems. However, he remains tight-lipped about the crime, leaving Blake and Detective-inspector Harker puzzled. Blake takes matters into his own hands and virtually kidnaps Wu Ling in order to question him. The Oriental tells his story; how he had stolen a diamond from a mine in South Africa only to be cheated out of it by Kestrel, who paid him a fraction of its worth; how Kestrel killed his wife; and how he, Wu Ling, has vowed revenge. Taking pity on the man, Blake sets him free asking only that he be informed should Wu Ling track down Kestrel. Wu Ling does, indeed, catch up with the criminal, intending to kill him. Kestrel, however, has gained power over Wu Ling, so that when Tinker, who has followed Kestrel to his lair, joins Sexton Blake in an attack on the criminal mastermind, the two detectives are surprised to find their prey being protected by Wu Ling. Kestrel, it turns out, has kidnapped, the Chinaman's child. Blake disguises himself as Wu Ling, meets with his arch foe, and tricks him into revealing the whereabouts of the child. He thoroughly frightens and humiliates Kestrel but, unfortunately, cannot prevent a last-minute escape.
Notes: According to this tale, Mrs Bardell's late husband had a career in the Police Force and was 6' 1" in height. Sexton Blake is described as having a 'slightly bald head and iron-grey hair'. Despite the fact that much of this tale is rather slow and dull, the scene where Blake takes great delight in terrifying and humiliating Kestrel is tremendous.
Rating: ★★★☆☆☆
The Changeling THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 1st series · Issue 112 · Feb. 1920 · Amalgamated Press · 4d
THE CHANGELING
by Anon. (Andrew Murray) · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: None
Notes: 'An Exciting Story of Detective Adventure in England, China and Tibet'. Part one is recounted by Hon. John Lawless, part two by Tinker.
Unrated
The Case of the Bogus Ingots THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 1st series · Issue 113 · Feb. 1920 · Amalgamated Press · 4d
THE CASE OF THE BOGUS INGOTS
by Anon. (William J. Bayfield) · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: None
Notes: 'A Narrative of a Remarkable Invention, and a Grim Fight to Prevent the World being Flooded with False Gold.'
Unrated
The Hand that Hid in Darkness THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 1st series · Issue 114 · Feb. 1920 · Amalgamated Press · 4d
THE HAND THAT HID IN DARKNESS
by Anon. (William Murray Graydon) · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: Unknown
Notes: 'A Sensational Mystery that will for ever lie Buried in the Silence of the Grave.'
Unrated
The Affair of the World's Champion THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 1st series · Isssue 115 · Feb. 1920 · Amalgamated Press · 4d
THE AFFAIR OF THE WORLD'S CHAMPION
by Anon. (Jack Lewis) · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: Unknown
Notes: 'A Splendid Detective Adventure in which the Centre of Sexton Blake's Professional Interest is on One of Two Men Fighting for the World's Boxing Championship.' Features Leon Kestrel.
Unrated
Blood-Brotherhood THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 1st series · Issue 116 · Mar. 1920 · Amalgamated Press · 4d
BLOOD-BROTHERHOOD
by Anon. (Andrew Murray) · Illustrator: Arthur Jones
Other content: None
Notes: 'A Thrilling and Unique Detective Story introducing Instances of Curious and Mysterious Indian Magic.' This tale is recounted in first-person by Hon. John Lawless.
Unrated
The Avenging Seven THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 1st series · Issue 117 · Mar. 1920 · Amalgamated Press · 4d
THE AVENGING SEVEN; OR, THE MYSTERY OF THE CINEMA
by Anon. (Leonard H. Brooks) · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: Unknown
Notes: Leonard H. Brooks was the brother of Edwy Searles Brooks and many, possibly even most, of his stories were actually written by his more famous brother. He died of gas poisoning in 1950.
Unrated
The Trail Under the Sea THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 1st series · Issue 118 · Mar. 1920 · Amalgamated Press · 4d
THE TRAIL UNDER THE SEA; OR, THE CASE OF THE MISSING EXPLORER
by Anon. (Reginald H. Poole) · Illustrator: Arthur Jones
Other content: None
Notes: Story features Dr. Lepperman.
Unrated
The Case of the Japanese Detective THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 1st series · Issue 119 · Mar. 1920 · Amalgamated Press · 4d
THE CASE OF THE JAPANESE DETECTIVE
by Anon. (Trevor Wignall) · Illustrator: Arthur Jones
Other content: None
Notes: In his autobiography, this author revealed that he was paid £60 each for the two Blake stories he wrote this year.
Unrated
No cover as yet THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 1st series · Issue 120 · April 1920 · Amalgamated Press · 4d
THE ADMIRAL'S SECRET
by Anon. (Andrew Murray) · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: Unknown
Notes: None at present.
Unrated
Twice Wronged! THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 1st series · Issue 121 · April 1920 · Amalgamated Press · 4d
TWICE WRONGED!
by Anon. (John W. Bobin) · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: Unknown
Notes: Story features Markham Dean.
Unrated
Shadowed Lives THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 1st series · Issue 122 · April 1920 · Amalgamated Press · 4d
SHADOWED LIVES! OR, THE CRIME OF THE COPPER KING
by Anon. (William Murray Graydon) · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: None
Notes: Story features Basil Wicketshaw.
Unrated
The Lincolns Inn Tragedy THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 1st series · Issue 123 · April 1920 · Amalgamated Press · 4d
THE LINCOLNS INN TRAGEDY
by Anon. (William J. Bayfield) · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: Unknown
Notes: None at present.
Unrated
No cover as yet THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 1st series · Issue 124 · May 1920 · Amalgamated Press · 4d
THE MYSTERY OF THE THOUSAND PEAKS
by Anon. (Andrew Murray) · Illustrator: Arthur Jones
Other content: Unknown
Notes: 'A Manchurian Romance' featuring Hon. John Lawless. This was later twice adapted for non-Blake stories, the first time with Blake being replaced by Ferrers Locke in THE TEMPLE OF FEAR (THE BOYS' FRIEND LIBRARY second series issue 316, 1931), and the second time with Blake being replaced by Nelson Lee in THE PRISONER OF THE TEMPLE (THE NELSON LEE LIBRARY second new series issue 134, 1932).
Unrated
The Case of the Strange Wireless Message THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 1st series · Issue 125 · May 1920 · Amalgamated Press · 4d
THE CASE OF THE STRANGE WIRELESS MESSAGE
by Anon. (W. W. Sayer) · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: Unknown
Notes: 'Telling how a strange call for help came to Sexton Blake. Introducing Granite Grant, the Secret Service man.'
Unrated
The Great Diamond Bluff THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 1st series · Issue 126 · May 1920 · Amalgamated Press · 4d
THE GREAT DIAMOND BLUFF
by Anon. (John W. Bobin) · Illustrator: Arthur Jones
A MYSTERY OF THE NIGHT
by Anon. (Unknown) · Illustrator: None
Other content: Diamonds (article)
Notes: Story features Hamilton Fayne.
Unrated
No cover as yet THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 1st series · Issue 127 · May 1920 · Amalgamated Press · 4d
THE AFFAIR OF THE ORIENTAL DOCTOR
by Anon. (Jack Lewis) · Illustrator: Arthur Jones
Other content: Unknown
Notes: Story features Leon Kestrel. This was later adapted as a non-Blake story entitled THE HOUSE OF HORROR with Blake replaced by Nelson Lee (THE NELSON LEE LIBRARY second new series issue 137, 1932).
Unrated
The Palzer Experiment THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 1st series · Issue 128 · June 1920 · Amalgamated Press · 4d
THE PALZER EXPERIMENT; OR, THE MYSTERY OF THE COTTAGE HOSPITAL
by Anon. (Andrew Murray) · Illustrator: Arthur Jones
THE CASE OF THE REFLECTED CLOCK
by Anon. (Unknown) · Illustrator: None
Other content: None
Notes: 'The Story of the Secret of Life, introducing Sexton Blake, Tinker, and the Hon. John Lawless.'
Unrated
No cover as yet THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 1st series · Issue 129 · June 1920 · Amalgamated Press · 4d
THE CASE OF THE NAMELESS MAN
by Anon. (Oliver Merland) · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: Unknown
Notes: Story features Topper.
Unrated
No cover as yet THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 1st series · Issue 130 · June 1920 · Amalgamated Press · 4d
AFRICAN GOLD; OR, THE KAFFIR'S SECRET
by Anon. (William Murray Graydon) · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: Unknown
Notes: 'Introducing that Battle-worn Zulu Warrior, Shumpogaas, the Staunch Friend of Sexton Blake in the Past.' (See SEXTON BLAKE IN THE CONGO, BOYS' FRIEND issue 294 through to 313, 1907). Also features Basil Wicketshaw.
Unrated
No cover as yet THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 1st series · Issue 131 · June 1920 · Amalgamated Press · 4d
THE AFFAIR OF THE BLACKFRIARS FINANCIER
by Anon. (Leonard H. Brooks) · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: Unknown
Notes: None at present.
Unrated
THE MAN FROM KURA KURA THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 1st series · Issue 132 · July 1920 · Amalgamated Press · 4d
THE MAN FROM KURA KURA
by Anon. (Andrew Murray) · Illustrator: Arthur Jones
THE CASE OF THE CARRIER PIGEONS
by Anon. (Andrew Murray)
Other content: None
Notes: 'A Magnificent Detective Tale of Stirring Adventures in England and Central Africa, including Sexton Blake, Tinker, and the Hon. John Lawless.' This story was later adapted as a non-Blake tale (he was replaced by Ferrers Locke) and appeared as THE PERIL PIT in THE BOYS' FRIEND LIBRARY second series issue 300 (1931).
Unrated
THE ONLY SON THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 1st series · Issue 133 · July 1920 · Amalgamated Press · 4d
THE ONLY SON
by Anon. (John W. Bobin) · Illustrator: Arthur Jones
THE EATON SQUARE MYSTERY
by Anon. (Unknown) · Illustrator: None
Other content: None
Notes: 'A Gripping Detective Novel of a Mother and a Son, with a well-written Episode in a Brigand's Stronghold.'
Unrated
THE KING'S SECRET THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 1st series · Issue 134 · July 1920 · Amalgamated Press · 4d
THE KING'S SECRET
by Anon. (Reginald H. Poole) · Illustrator: Arthur Jones
THE CASE OF THE EXMOOR MURDER
by Anon. · Illustrator: None
Other content: None
Notes: Story features Dr. Lepperman and Eldrid Kurtin.
Unrated
The Mystery of the Turkish Agreement THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 1st series · Issue 135 · July 1920 · Amalgamated Press · 4d
THE MYSTERY OF THE TURKISH AGREEMENT
by Anon. (W. W. Sayer) · Illustrator: Arthur Jones
Other content: None
Notes: A man breaks into the Veuxpillo Art Gallery in London and replaces a painting with a faked version. Before he can leave another man arrives, kills him, and makes off with the genuine canvas. The body is discovered — and left — by Granite Grant. Sexton Blake is called to the crime scene. He finds and identifies Grant's fingerprints. He also notices a woman observing his movements and instructs Tinker to follow her. The youngster does so, little realising that it's Mlle. Julie. She spots that he's on her track and arranges for him to be captured and held prisoner. Blake, meanwhile, has realised that the painting is a forgery. When he places it in the hands of an expert it is stolen by Mlle. Julie, who thinks it is the genuine article. She is disappointed to find that it does not have what she's looking for concealed in its frame: a cipher. Tinker manages to get a message to Blake who comes and rescues him. The detective finds a telephone number and code word which he uses. He is given a time and place to meet the 'chief' ... who turns out to be Sir Vrymer Fane, head of the Secret Service. Sir Vrymer reveals that the man killed in the gallery was Gustave Fulk, and that he had stolen a cipher through which documents relating to the London/Paris agreement on the Turkish question could be deciphered. A man — the murderer — working for a Turk named Kalib Pasha, is believed to have possession of the cipher. Granite Grant, for the English, and Mlle. Julie, for the French, are pursuing this man ... and now so is Sexton Blake. The trail takes them all to Algeria and a mosque called Ak-el-baran. Here all the participants gather and, through trickery, Tinker gains possession of the real painting. A struggle ensues and the building catches fire. Blake is caught up in the inferno and only just escapes thanks to the timely arrival of Pedro. Finally, the two secret agents and Blake meet together and Tinker hands over the painting upon the back of which is the secret they have all been hunting.
Trivia: We are given a nice picture of the inside of Blake's home: 'All Blake's curios and relics, his documents and papers, his pipes and tobacco-jars—the pictures on the wall, the antlers, the tanned-hide shields, the rusty, antiquated weapons, the boxing-gloves and foils ...'
Rating: ★★★★★★
The Sheikh's Son THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 1st series · Issue 136 · Aug. 1920 · Amalgamated Press · 4d
THE SHEIKH'S SON
by Anon. (Andrew Murray) · Illustrator: Arthur Jones
SEXTON BLAKE'S HOLIDAY
by Anon. (Unknown)
Other content: None
Notes: 'A Thrilling and Original Detective Story of Adventure in England and Syria, introducing Sexton Blake, Tinker, and the Hon. John Lawless.' This was later adapted as a non-Blake story entitled DESERT FOES with Blake replaced by Nelson Lee (NELSON LEE LIBRARY second new series issue 147, 1932).
Unrated
No cover as yet THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 1st series · Issue 137 · Aug. 1920 · Amalgamated Press · 4d
THE TWIST IN THE TRAIL; OR, THE IRISH CONSTABULARY MYSTERY
by Anon. (William J. Bayfield) · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: Unknown
Notes: 'A Stirring Detective Narrative, introducing Sexton Blake and Tinker in Exciting Adventures in the mountains of Kerry and by the lakes of Killarney.'
Unrated
The Black Streak THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 1st series · Issue 138 · Aug. 1920 · Amalgamated Press · 4d
THE BLACK STREAK; OR, THE CASE OF THE SPANISH SENORITA
by Anon. (William Murray Graydon) · Illustrator: Unknown
THE CASE OF THE DISTRICT MESSENGER BOY
by Anon. (William Murray Graydon)
Other content: None
Notes: THE BLACK STREAK: During his travels in Spain, Britisher Richard Ashurst wins the hand of Jacinta Lopez, much to the displeasure of her suitor, Juan Zarella. He returns to England with her as his bride. Fourteen years later, Sexton Blake and Tinker are on their way to a party thrown by Lord Tanquar, who lives in a country estate, when a fellow partygoer's jewels are stolen aboard the train. The thief escapes and Blake postulates that the man threw the jewel case from the train and would search for it later. Lord Tanquar lives near the Palgrave estate and his daughter, Millicent, is engaged to be married to the eldest Palgrave son, Philip, whose first wife had died years ago. Tanquar's party commences and, during it, the safe is burgled by a man who answers to the same description as the jewel thief. Two weeks later, the strange events continue when Hugh is attacked in the grounds by an intruder — a Spaniard — who then escapes and, some time later, attacks Philip, who knocks him unconscious and leaves him. When the man is then discovered by the local constable with a bullet in his heart, the evidence suggests that Hugh killed him. Philip keeps quiet about his own involvement. Sexton Blake is called to investigate and it soon emerges that Millicent loves Hugh rather than Philip. The elder Palgrave, though, refuses to cancel their engagement. Hugh is arrested but Blake believes him innocent and discovers clues which lead him to think that a woman may have committed the crime. He also learns that the victim is Juan Zarella and that Philip's first wife was Spanish. He and Tinker travel to Spain where they learn the story of Richard Ashurst and Jacinta. They also discover that Zarella had been loved by the daughter of a local bandit, Sancho Valdez, and that she recently travelled to England. When Valdez discovers that the two Englishmen know that his daughter has murdered Zarella, he captures them and commands that they be shot at dawn. However, Spanish soldiers arrive and Blake and Tinker are rescued. Confirming that Richard Ashurst and Philip Palgrave are one and the same man, they return to England. Blake investigates the Palgrave family's past while Tinker shadows Philip, who has gone to his London house for the week. Tinker reports to Blake that Palgrave has been attending a gambling club in a disguise which matches the description of the man who stole the jewels and robbed the safe. With Detective-Inspector Widgeon, Blake raids the club and captures Palgrave who promises to come clean and clear his brother's name. However, he breaks his word and eludes the detective, heading back to the railway line to try to find the lost jewel case. Blake pursues him and, in trying to evade the detective, Philip is hit by a train. On his deathbed, he confesses all. Blake informs Hugh that his brother had been victim of a 'black streak' which arises every few generations in the Palgrave family. Hugh, now proclaimed innocent, marries Millicent.
Trivia: Professor Platinum receives a mention in this story. Blake visits one of the professors who taught him at Oxford: Professor Drysdale.
Rating: ★★★★☆☆
Notes: THE CASE OF THE DISTRICT MESSENGER BOY: A French detective named Gaston Cochemard asks Sexton Blake to call on him at Lambert's Hotel. Operating under the name Ballantine, Cochemard has recovered stolen jewels but is now living in fear of a crook known as The Rat. When Blake arrives, he finds that Cochemard has departed. The French detective had apparently forgotten a small parcel which, via a telegram, he asked the hotel manager to recover from a hiding place in the fireplace and forward to him in Dover via a District Messenger boy. Blake realises that this parcel contains the jewels but he also theorises that The Rat will try to exchange the parcel with an identical one containing a bomb. The detective travels to Dover and intercepts the messenger, a boy named Raggles, who confirms that a man tried to swap the parcels. However, Raggles had cleverly reversed the exchange without the man realising. At the hotel, Blake spots The Rat and he and Raggles give chase. During the pursuit, the bomb the criminal unknowingly carries detonates, killing him.
Trivia: M. Gaston Cochemard is said to be the French equivalent of Sexton Blake and the two have known each other — and occasionally worked together — for many years. This story is a 'Blakenised' version of a Gordon Fox— Detective tale of the same title which was published in DREADNOUGHT, 12/07/1913.
Rating:
The Kestrel's Claw THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 1st series · Issue 139 · Aug. 1920 · Amalgamated Press · 4d
THE KESTREL'S CLAW
by Anon. (Jack Lewis) · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: Unknown
Notes: 'A Dramatic Tale of a Mysterious Sequence of Theatre Robberies, which Draw Sexton Blake once again on the Trail of Leon Kestrel, the Master-Mummer.'
Unrated
No cover as yet THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 1st series · Issue 140 · Sept. 1920 · Amalgamated Press · 4d
THE BEACH COMBER
by Anon. (Andrew Murray) · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: Unknown
Notes: 'A Story of Detective Adventure at home and in the South Sea Islands' featuring Hon. John Lawless.
Unrated
The Mystery of the Living Shadow THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 1st series · Issue 141 · Sept. 1920 · Amalgamated Press · 4d
THE MYSTERY OF THE LIVING SHADOW
by Anon. (W. W. Sayer) · Illustrator: Arthur Jones
Other content: Unknown
Notes: 'An Unique and Thrilling Story of a clever camouflage, introducing "Granite" Grant, the famous King's Spy, and the famous Detective of Baker Street, London, W.' Also features Mlle. Julie. This was reprinted as THE LIVING SHADOW in THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY second series issue 451 (1934).
Unrated
No cover as yet THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 1st series · Issue 142 · Sept. 1920 · Amalgamated Press · 4d
OUT OF REACH OF THE LAW
by Anon. (John W. Bobin) · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: Unknown
Notes: Story features George Marsden Plummer and the Council of Nine.
Unrated
No cover as yet THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 1st series · Issue 143 · Sept. 1920 · Amalgamated Press · 4d
THE HOUSE WITH THE RED BLINDS
by Anon. (Trevor Wignall) · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: Unknown
Notes: See note under SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY issue 119.
Unrated
THE SECRET OF THE HUNGER DESERT THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 1st series · Issue 144 · Oct. 1920 · Amalgamated Press · 4d
THE SECRET OF THE HUNGER DESERT
by Anon. (Andrew Murray) · Illustrator: Arthur Jones
THE CASE OF TWO LEOPARDS
by Anon. (William Murray Graydon) · Illustrator: None
Other content: None
Notes: Story features Hon. John Lawless. This was later adapted as a non-Blake story entitled THE TREASURE OF THE HUNGER DESERT with Blake replaced by Nelson Lee (THE NELSON LEE LIBRARY second new series issue 149, 1932).
Unrated
The Marble-Arch Mystery THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 1st series · Issue 145 · Oct. 1920 · Amalgamated Press · 4d
THE MARBLE-ARCH MYSTERY
by Anon. (William J. Bayfield) · Illustrator: Arthur Jones
THE FOOTMAN FROM FRANCE
by Anon. (William Murray Graydon) · Illustrator: None
Other content: None
Trivia: THE FOOTMAN FROM FRANCE is reprinted from THE BOYS' REALM issue 230.
Notes: None at present.
Unrated
THE VENGEANCE OF THREE THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 1st series · Issue 146 · Oct. 1920 · Amalgamated Press · 4d
THE VENGEANCE OF THREE; OR, THE MYSTERY OF BARRY MELMONT
by Anon. (William Murray Graydon) · Illustrator: Arthur Jones
HIS LORDSHIP'S VALET
by Anon. (William Murray Graydon)
Other content: None
Notes: Story features Basil Wicketshaw.
Unrated
No cover as yet THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 1st series · Issue 147 · Oct. 1920 · Amalgamated Press · 4d
THE MYSTERY OF THE X.O.4.
by Anon. (Jack Lewis) · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: Unknown
Notes: Story features Leon Kestrel.
Unrated
No cover as yet THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 1st series · Issue 148 · Nov. 1920 · Amalgamated Press · 4d
IN THE MIDNIGHT EXPRESS
by Anon. (Andrew Murray) · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: Unknown
Notes: Story features Professor Kew and Hon. John Lawless.
Unrated
No cover as yet THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 1st series · Issue 149 · Nov. 1920 · Amalgamated Press · 4d
THE HOME OF HIS CHILDREN
by Anon. (William J. Bayfield) · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: Unknown
Notes: None at present.
Unrated
His Son's Honour THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 1st series · Issue 150 · Nov. 1920 · Amalgamated Press · 4d
HIS SON'S HONOUR; OR, SHADOWED BY SEXTON BLAKE
by Anon. (John W. Bobin) · Illustrator: Arthur Jones
Other content: None
Notes: This adventure occurs nine months before THE ISLAND MYSTERY (SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY 1st series 69, 1919). Jasper Bowman, son of millionaire shop-owner Timothy Bowman, wants to marry Gwen, a distant cousin who works as a shopkeeper in his father's business empire. Concerned at the conditions his father forces the workers to endure, Jasper treats them to an outing. However, the company 'spy', James Phelps, learns of the and informs Bowman sr. who, upon seeing Gwen and his son dancing together, promptly dismisses her and disowns Jasper. The stress of this causes him to faint and, while he is unconscious, Phelps helps himself to the company chequebook and, the next day, withdraws £2000 for himself. However, he has been seen by the shop's floorwalker, who happens to be Aubrey Dexter. Dexter has been looking for a chance to get his hands on Bowman's money, and this is it. Phelps quickly finds himself in Dexter's power and together they plot to raid the millionaire's strongroom. Meanwhile, upon discovering the missing funds, Bowman sr. blames his son and commissions Sexton Blake to find out whether his suspicions are well-founded. Blake traces Jasper to a farm, where the youth, now married to Gwen, is struggling to make a living. In the guise of a Frenchman, the detective suggests to Jasper that they burgle his father. Jasper agrees. On the night of the planned robbery, Blake takes Timothy Bowman to the store on Regent Street in which is located the strongroom. They find that it has already been burgled. While they are there, Jasper arrives leading Detective-Inspector Martin and Detective-Inspector College. He is determined to capture the Frenchman, not realising that it had been Sexton Blake. Bowman sr. now sees that his son is innocent of any wrongdoing and they are reconciled. Upon examining the scene of the crime, Blake picks up clues which suggest the involvement of Aubrey Dexter. Pedro tracks the cracksman to his hotel room but Dexter escapes from his pursuers. Phelps does not fare so well, and is arrested.
Trivia: Aubrey Dexter has had his teeth removed so that he can use false ones when in disguise. Tinker hates being referred to as a 'boy' and has been trying to grow a moustache.
Rating: ★★★★★★
The Mystery Box THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 1st series · Issue 151 · Nov. 1920 · Amalgamated Press · 4d
THE MYSTERY BOX
by Anon. (W. W. Sayer) · Illustrator: Arthur Jones
Other content: None
Notes: In 1890, Prince Bismarck's private secretary stores a box filled with his employer's memoirs in the vaults of Goyle's Bank, London. He puts the bank receipt in a flask which he throws into the Thames. He is never seen again. Thirty years later, the flask is found by a river worker who takes it to Sexton Blake. A German agent named Stromburg has a brief tussle with the detective before raiding the bank and stealing the memoirs. By intercepting a letter from Lord Vavasour to Stromburg's employer, Count Dorflisch, Blake learns what the box in the bank vault had contained. Vavasour's letter concerns a forthcoming meeting between him and Dorflisch. When this occurs at Vavasour's home, Mylton Towers, Dorflisch reveals that the memoirs contain damning facts about Vavasour's father. His attempted blackmail is cut short though; Vavasour leaves the room for a moment and when he returns he finds a man dead on the floor and Dorflisch gone. But even worse, he discovers that important government papers pertaining to Persia have been stolen from his desk. A disguised Sexton Blake arrives on the scene to investigate and sees that the dead man is Stromburg. Meanwhile, Sir Vyrmer Fane, head of the Secret Service, sends Granite Grant to find out what has become of the Persian documents. Mademoiselle Julie also appears on the scene. Between them, they identify the real killer, reclaim Vavasour's lost papers and recover the Bismarck memoirs.
Trivia: The author states that Sexton Blake was a mere schoolboy back in 1890. This, of course, cannot be accurate, since the detective's first recorded case was published in 1893. The current story was reprinted under the same title in THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY 2nd series issue 432 (1934) and again as SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY 5th series novel 28 with the title THE CASE OF THE BISMARK MEMOIRS (1966). My copy seems to have belonged to whichever editor it was who chose to re-issue the story and has many notes in the margins and words and phrases struck through in pen — words and phrases which did not appear in the later reprints.
Rating: ★★★☆☆☆ This is enjoyable but hard to swallow — too many people are running around the crime scene while the police do nothing but watch.
The Prison Breakers THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 1st series · Issue 152 · Dec. 1920 · Amalgamated Press · 4d
THE PRISON BREAKERS
by Anon. (Reginald H. Poole) · Illustrator: Arthur Jones
Other content: None
Notes: Story features Dr. Lepperman and Eldred Kurtin.
Unrated
The Secret of the Glacier THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 1st series · Issue 153 · Dec. 1920 · Amalgamated Press · 4d
THE SECRET OF THE GLACIER
by Anon. (Andrew Murray) · Illustrator: Arthur Jones
THE BANISHED PRINCESS
by Anon. (Cecil Hayter)
Other content: None
Notes: Main story features Trouble Nantucket. The second story is a reprint of THE BANISHED PRINCESS AND HER DAUGHTER from PENNY PICTORIAL issue 411 (1907).
Unrated
By the Terms of the Will THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 1st series · Issue 154 · Dec. 1920 · Amalgamated Press · 4d
BY THE TERMS OF THE WILL
by Anon. (William Murray Graydon) · Illustrator: Arthur Jones
Other content: None
Notes: Story features Laban Creed.
Unrated
The False Alibi THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY · 1st series · Issue 155 · Dec. 1920 · Amalgamated Press · 4d
THE FALSE ALIBI; OR, THE CASE OF THE £1,000,000 FORMULA
by Anon. (Jack Lewis) · Illustrator: Arthur Jones
Other content: None
Notes: Story features The Kestrel Syndicate.
Unrated
The League of the Cobblers' Last UNION JACK · New series · Issue 847 · 3/1/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE LEAGUE OF THE COBBLERS' LAST
by Anon. (George N. Philips) · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: The Cinema-Athlete by Walter Edwards
Notes: John Dane, the owner of a large department store, has become the target of the League of the Cobbler's Last. Some time ago he had accidentally killed a business rival. A man named Grey has been instructed by Zenith the Albino to secure a position in the store. He does so by threatening to expose Dane's secret. In desperation, Dane confesses to his fiancé, Moira, who advises him to seek help from Sexton Blake. The detective frightens the blackmailer away but, having seen him use the secret mark of the League, he suspects that Grey's presence in the store has been for some other purpose. And indeed it has: during his time there, the small-time villain gained details of the safe and its contents. The Baker Street detective, knowing when the safe will be most full and therefore most likely to be robbed, lays a trap accompanied by Detective-Inspector Coutts, Tinker and Pedro. Sure enough, Zenith and his gang break through a wall from the next-door building and begin cracking the safe. Blake leads an attack and the criminals are rounded up. Zenith, though, gets away, audaciously leaving a note declaring that he will finish the job the following day. The next morning Blake hears that Dane has moved the store's valuables from the safe to his own home in St. John's Wood. Following a lead, the investigator looks into the background of Mr Grey. While he is doing so, the League of the Last, disguised as a film-making unit, robs Dane. With his business now on the point of bankruptcy and Mr Grey recommencing his blackmail, John Dane is on the point of fleeing the country when Sexton Blake intervenes. The detective, aided by Moira's father, corners Grey and exposes him as the man Dane supposedly shot dead. The store owner is innocent of murder and Grey, his disguise pierced, is found guilty of blackmail. Finally, Blake manages to recover much of the stolen loot ... but of Zenith, there is no sign.
Trivia: In case you didn't know (I didn't!), a cobblers' last is an iron cast around which shoes are moulded.
Rating: ★★★★☆☆ A slight but entertaining tale. But why is Zenith's gang named The League of the Cobblers' Last? This is never explained.
Kestrel's Great Bluff UNION JACK · New series · Issue 848 · 10/1/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
KESTREL'S GREAT BLUFF
by Anon. (Jack Lewis) · Illustrator: Val Reading
Other content: The Four Shadows by Anon.
Notes: Story features Leon Kestrel.
Unrated
Tinker's Lone Hand UNION JACK · New series · Issue 849 · 17/1/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
TINKER'S LONE HAND
by Anon. (Cecil Hayter) · Illustrator: Val Reading
Other content: The Four Shadows by Anon.
Notes: On page 7 Blake makes a reference to Marston Hume. This is the only mention of Hume outside of the PENNY PICTORIAL where his encounters with (and eventual defeat by) Sexton Blake were recorded.
Unrated
No cover as yet UNION JACK · New series · Issue 850 · 24/1/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE CASE OF THE CRIMINAL SCIENTIST
by Anon. (W. W. Sayer) · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: Unknown
Notes: The author's first Blake story.
Unrated
The Forest of Ghosts UNION JACK · New series · Issue 851 · 31/1/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE FOREST OF GHOSTS
by Anon. (Cecil Hayter) · Illustrator: E. E. Briscoe
Other content: The Four Shadows by Anon.
Notes: This is a short and simple story that begins in the thick of the action with Sexton Blake in darkest Africa looking down the barrel of a pistol. It’s an unusual and gripping start to the tale but it actually feels like a couple of early chapters are missing. The detective is on an expedition to find lost ruins but it’s only later that we learn the reasons for the journey: a former client has been killed but before he died he sent Blake a map describing an ancient Roman city in which a fortune of gold and jewels can be found. Blake has been en route for some time with the client’s killer hot on his tail. This villain, Strives, is determined to lay claim to the treasure and, to help him, has hired the services of the Manoorie, a vicious tribe of cannibals. Blake is also assisted - by Sir Richard Losely and Lobangu. The two safaris venture into unknown land where they encounter the Forest of Ghosts. This is an area where all the trees are dead and festooned with moss, where no birds sing and everything is silent. Here, one of the bearers is crushed to death by a huge creature resembling an armadillo. It’s a dinosaur! Blake shoots it and the natives devour the corpse. Apparently it tastes like crocodile tail. After temporarily shaking off Strivers and his cannibals, Blake reaches the ruins and discovers the gold. But his explorations are interrupted when a herd of dinosaurs enters the city. Fortunately, the beasts are distracted by the arrival of the pursuing party and poor old Strivers gets his head bitten off. Blake and co. wait until the herd disperses with the coming of daylight then build canoes and escape back to civilisation. Yup, it’s as simplistic as that.
Rating: ★☆☆☆☆☆ Strictly a pot-boiler, this is a quick and mildly entertaining read but, with the exception of a very good opening paragraph, it has little else to recommend it. The forest of the title should have a haunting atmosphere but the author was obviously in a hurry. The descriptions don’t do it justice and there’s no real sense of the mysterious or of oppression and danger. In fact, nothing in this tale is dwelt upon long enough to bring it to life. As for the tribesmen, the pigeon English they speak (and which is used by Blake and Losely when addressing them) is truly appalling: ‘Blake strode into the midst of the bearers, a light cane in his hand. “What name this fool palaver?” he said angrily. “You make dem monkey noises, you lib for trouble one time, my word!” And he emphasised his remarks by a cut or two at the nearest bare backs.’
Double-Crossed UNION JACK · New series · Issue 852 · 7/2/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
DOUBLE-CROSSED
by Anon. (Andrew Murray) · Illustrator: C. H. B.
Other content: The Four Shadows by Anon.
Notes: Story features Trouble Nantucket.
Unrated
The Case of the Vanished Australian UNION JACK · New series · Issue 853 · 14/2/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE CASE OF THE VANISHED AUSTRALIAN
by Anon. (William Murray Graydon) · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: The Four Shadows by Anon.
Notes: None at present.
Unrated
No cover as yet UNION JACK · New series · Issue 854 · 21/2/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE END OF THE TRAIL
by Anon. (Robert Murray Graydon) · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: Unknown
Notes: None at present.
Unrated
The Case of the Rival Promoters UNION JACK · New series · Issue 855 · 28/2/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE CASE OF THE RIVAL PROMOTERS; OR, PLUMMER'S "BUCKET SHOP"
by Anon. (J. W. Bobin) · Illustrator: H. M. Lewis
Other content: Unknown
Notes: Story features George Marsden Plummer.
Unrated
The Beggars' Hotel UNION JACK · New series · Issue 856 · 6/3/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE BEGGARS' HOTEL
by Anon. (George N. Philips) · Illustrator: E. E. Briscoe
Other content: The Four Shadows by Anon.; A Word From The Skipper (ed.)
Notes: Zenith the Albino and his cohort Jim the Penman obtain an example of handwriting from the manager of Potter's Bank. With this, they intend to forge a letter giving them access, in the guise of carpenters, to Mortlake bank, which they plan to rob. Unfortunately, events go awry when Jim's rough handling causes the death of the manager. The two criminals depart and, by chance, a young man named Elphinstone, who is the manager of the Mortlake branch, stumbles upon the murder scene and is accused of the crime. Sexton Blake and Detective-Inspector Coutts investigate and, while they are doing so, the Mortlake Bank is robbed. Blake sees the connection between the two events and ascertains that Zenith and the Penman are involved. The Albino tricks the detective into a rendezvous at a lodging house known as The Beggars' Hotel and there ambushes him. During a tremendous fight, Zenith receives a gunshot wound to the shoulder but ultimately his men overpower Blake. However, Tinker, suspecting that something is wrong, has followed his guv'nor and now steps in to rescue him. The criminals scatter and escape but there are enough clues remaining for Blake to to able to run down and arrest Jim the Penman. Elphinstone is declared innocent.
Trivia: It is confirmed for the first time that Zenith's gang, The League of the Cobblers' Last, is part of the Criminals' Confederation. Tinker goes to the cinema with Nipper (Nelson Lee's assistant) during this story. George N. Philips was one of the few Blake authors to frequently reference other authors' characters in such a fashion.
Rating: ★★★☆☆☆
No cover as yet UNION JACK · New series · Issue 857 · 13/3/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE MYSTERY OF THE S. S. OLYMPIC
by Anon. (Robert Murray Graydon) · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: Unknown
Notes: This was based on the silent movie THE FURTHER EXPLOITS OF SEXTON BLAKE — THE MYSTERY OF THE S.S. OLYMPIC.
Unrated
The Informer UNION JACK · New series · Issue 858 · 20/3/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE INFORMER
by Anon. (Robert Murray Graydon) · Illustrator: Val Reading
Other content: The Four Shadows by Anon.
Notes: After a series of setbacks at the hands of Sexton Blake, the Criminals' Confederation has recovered and is now prospering from a secret location somewhere in London. Despite his best efforts, Blake has been unable to find a single clue to the nefarious organisation's new headquarters. After yet another fruitless day, he returns to Baker Street only to find himself confronted by an armed crook. The man — Simon Martin — says he's willing to reveal the Confederation's whereabouts in return for a pardon, a reward, police protection and passage to a secret location overseas. Blake agrees to this but before Martin can utter another word, Mr Reece appears and shoots him. Blake is unable to catch the master criminal but all is not lost; Martin is wearing a bullet-proof vest. A call to Detective-Inspector Coutts brings that worthy gentleman to Blake's door with a squadron of constables in tow. They bundle Martin into a police van and drive towards Scotland Yard. En route, a lorry crashes into them and drives away. Blake is knocked unconscious. An ambulance arrives and Martin is given medicine before Blake is placed in the vehicle and driven away. Martin collapses — poisoned! The ambulance was driven by Confederation men and now Sexton Blake is their captive! Meanwhile, in the Argent Hotel, which is under new management, Dirk Dolland encounters Mademoiselle Yvonne, who is waiting to meet Blake. When the detective doesn't show up, Dolland goes to Baker Street and meets Tinker. While they both wonder where Blake is, Yvonne is kidnapped. She finds herself at Blake's side in the hands of Mr John Smith, Sir Philip Champion and Mr Reece. They are informed that Martin is on the brink of death. If he betrays the Confederation, they will be killed. If he dies without speaking, they will live — but as prisoners. Word reaches Smith that Martin has passed away ... without saying a word.
Trivia: Sexton Blake keeps a framed photograph on his desk of Inspector Coutts taken on the day he had accepted an O.B.E. We learn a few more details about Sexton Blake's home, too: an alley leads from Baker Street down the side of the house to the back. A high wall with a gate leads into the paved back yard, in which is Pedro's kennel. A shed is against the house beneath Blake's bedroom window (seems rather risky!) and a back door leads into the kitchen. The ground floor is up one level. Blake's study has a curtained alcove on the right of the fireplace behind which are kept sundry books, an old globe and other clutter. Blake's bedroom opens directly onto the study. This story was rehashed in UNION JACK issue 1,508 THE SQUEALER (1932).
Rating: ★★★★★★
The Mystery of the Gnarled Oak UNION JACK · New series · Issue 859 · 27/3/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE MYSTERY OF THE GNARLED OAK
by Anon. (Edwy Searles Brooks) · Illustrator: Harry Lane
Other content: None
Notes: Sexton Blake teams up with Nelson Lee in this issue. The story is told through letters written between Tinker and Nipper, Blake and Lee, and others.
Unrated
The Hidden Headquarters UNION JACK · New series · Issue 860 · 3/4/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE HIDDEN HEADQUARTERS
by Anon. (Robert Murray Graydon) · Illustrator: Val Reading
Other content: A Word from the Skipper (ed.); The Four Shadows by Anon.
Notes: Three days have passed since Sexton Blake and Mademoiselle Yvonne were taken prisoner by the Criminals' Confederation (see THE INFORMER, UNION JACK issue 858) and, so far, Tinker, Detective-Inspector Coutts and Dirk Dolland have found no clue to their whereabouts or to the location of the organisation's secret headquarters in London. In those headquarters, locked in a cell, Blake manages to slip a small note into a roll of bread. Uneaten, the roll eventually finds its way into the hands of a tramp who upon reading that there's a five pound reward for delivering it to Tinker, takes it to Baker Street. Coutts, Dolland and Tinker are delighted at this evidence that Blake is still alive, though the detective was unable to give them a clue to his whereabouts. Tinker, though, questions the tramp and learns that he was given the roll at the back entrance of the Hotel Argent. Meanwhile, Blake manages to escape from his cell and out of the Confederation's headquarters via the sewers. After being attacked by rats and almost drowned, he is swept into the Thames, where he is rescued by the police. He proceeds to Baker Street and meets up with his friends. They inform him that his message seems to have originated at the Argent. A telegram arrives from John Smith inviting Blake to dine there. Proceeding to the hotel, Blake & Co find Mademoiselle Yvonne seated at a dining table with Sir Philip Champion, Mr. Reece and John Smith. After an exchange of words the lights go out for thirty seconds. When they come back on, the criminals and Yvonne have vanished. Blake finds that their table stands on a concealed trapdoor and realises that the Confederation's headquarters is beneath the hotel. He has the manager arrested but can't prevent him from pressing an alarm button. The Confederation members flee through the sewers and escape with Yvonne still in their custody.
Trivia: This was rehashed in UNION JACK issue 1,508 THE SQUEALER (1932).
Rating: ★★★★★★
The Strange Case of the Clyde Emeralds UNION JACK · New series · Issue 861 · 10/4/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE STRANGE CASE OF THE CLYDE EMERALDS
by Anon. (A. C. Murray) · Illustrator: Harry Lane
Other content: None
Notes: None at present.
Unrated
Tinker's Big Case UNION JACK · New series · Issue 862 · 17/4/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
TINKER'S BIG CASE
by Anon. (Edwy Searles Brooks) · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: The Four Shadows by Anon.
Notes: This story is recounted by Tinker.
Unrated
No cover as yet UNION JACK · New series · Issue 863 · 24/4/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE CARGO STEALERS
by Anon. (Andrew Murray) · Illustrator: H. M. Lewis
Other content: None
Notes: Sexton Blake is asked to look into a spate of cargo robberies along the Thames. Aboard a steamer, he and the river police disturb a gang of crooks who flee into the darkness. One man, Ben Webley, is captured. He insists that he is nothing to do with the gang but refuses to say why he sneaked aboard. Next day, Webley's niece, Nancy, visits the detective and says that he went to the vessel on her behalf to fetch a note from her admirer, an American sailor named Pete Radley. However, the letter from Radley asking him to do this turns out to be a forgery. Webley, it seems, has been set up. After Blake spots a known criminal named Ethel Matrol lurking near Nancy's tobacco shop, he discovers that her associates, Dave Brunting and Tandy, are being released from prison. He arranges to have them detained and he and Tinker disguise themselves as the two crooks. Ethel makes contact and they find themselves among a twenty-strong gang of thieves in an old river-facing warehouse. The lights are turned out and the gang leader arrives. He is a short thick-set man known as The Owl due to the fact that his eyes glow and he can see perfectly well in the dark. He calls Blake into his private chamber and the two men don diving suits, pass through an air-lock, and walk out onto the bed of the Thames. Blake is led to a metal cylinder located beneath a cargo ship. He realises that the thieves tow this out to the ships, fill it with stolen cargo, and then sink it to be recovered later. Following The Owl's instructions, he afixes a chain to it. He and the gang-leader return to the air-lock and The Owl signals for the container to be winched in. Meanwhile, his gang have been tipped off that Brunting and Tandy are not who they seem. Tinker is captured but Blake makes a break for it and fetches police reinforcements. While they are raiding the warehouse and rounding up the gang, Tinker escapes and follows The Owl as he flees the scene. The crook drives to an office but, from there, eludes the young detective. Tinker does, however, learn that his real name might be Signor Bartello.
Trivia: Tinker was taught the art of escapology by a famous music-hall artiste.
Rating: ★★★★☆☆
No cover as yet UNION JACK · New series · Issue 864 · 1/5/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE DANCE OF DISASTER
by Anon. (Jack Lewis) · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: Unknown
Notes: Story features Leon Kestrel.
Unrated
The Clue of the Green Stain UNION JACK · New series · Issue 865 · 8/5/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE CLUE OF THE GREEN STAIN
by Anon. (Edwy Searles Brooks) · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: Unknown
Notes: This story features Waldo the Wonder Man and is narrated throughout by Tinker.
Unrated
The Marley Farm Mystery UNION JACK · New series · Issue 866 · 15/5/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE MARLEY FARM MYSTERY; OR, THE OPIUM SMUGGLERS
by Anon. (Cecil Hayter) · Illustrator: Val Reading
Other content: The Four Shadows by Anon.
Notes: Story features Sir Richard Losely and Lobangu.
Unrated
THE FIVE CLUES UNION JACK · New series · Issue 867 · 22/5/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE FIVE CLUES
by Anon. (George N. Philips) · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: Unknown
Notes: Blake and Tinker are fishing on the Norfolk Broads when they stumble across a murder scene in a remote house. Five clues tell Blake that twelve men were recently summoned to it by Zenith the Albino and, there, one of them—a man named Rigshaw—was identified as a traitor and shot dead. The identity of the murderer, “Killer” Shandon, is revealed by a letter he left behind, and Blake feels certain the villain will return to the crime scene to retrieve the incriminating evidence. Furthermore, the detective learns that Shandon used the sign of Zenith to summon the twelve without the albino’s knowledge, a crime the League of the Last considers punishable by death. That night, Blake waits alone in the house, having sent Tinker away, and apprehends the villain. After a tremendous fight, he corners him in a houseboat and binds him hand and foot. The vessel, however, is set adrift during the struggle and floats toward certain destruction on a sluice. Blake liberates Shandon that he might swim for his life. Blake also escapes and finds refuge in an a house which, to his consternation, is inhabited by Zenith and a woman, Mademoiselle Louise de la Beaucaire. The albino accepts him as a guest but they are interrupted by Oaklahoma Sam who has been savaged by Pedro while capturing Tinker. Learning of his assistant’s peril, Blake fights his way out of the house and is almost killed by Zenith’s gang. The house is set alight during the struggle and the flames attract the attention of Detective-Inspector Coutts, who has come at Blake’s bidding to investigate the murder of Rigshaw. Coutts and his constables chase off the gang and rescue Blake. Zenith and his cohorts drive away with Tinker and Pedro in their car and dragging Blake’s jacket behind it. They then loose Pedro to follow the scent trail back to his master—but with a time bomb attached to his collar! Tinker escapes and races to catch up with the hound, which he does in the nick of time. Blake surmises that Killer Shandon has probably returned to the house where Rigshaw died, thinking no one will think to look for him there. Zenith has come to the same conclusion and, knowing Blake will go after the man, sends his thugs to kill the detective. Shandon overpowers the exhausted Blake and, when he spots Zenith’s assassins, mistakes them for Coutts and Tinker. He dresses in Blake’s clothes, hoping to fool them. The crooks shoot him dead and report to the albino that the Baker Street man has finally been disposed of.
Rating: ★★★★★★ An action-packed tale that doesn’t let up for a moment. One of Skene’s best page-turners.
The New President UNION JACK · New series · Issue 868 · 29/5/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE NEW PRESIDENT
by Anon. (Robert Murray Graydon) · Illustrator: Val Reading
Other content: Curtis of the Fifth by Anon. (probably Edwy Searles Brooks).
Notes: While the police clear out and search the Argent Hotel — formerly the headquarters of the Criminals' Confederation — Sexton Blake, Dirk Dolland and Detective-Inspector Coutts show the Home Secretary around. During the tour, they encounter a disguised Confederation man who seems to be searching for something. He escapes and, after a fruitless chase, Blake returns to Baker Street. Later, he is visited by Coutts who tells him that the Home Secretary and Sir Henry Fairfax, head of Scotland Yard, have both been kidnapped by the nefarious organisation. The detective receives a letter from John Smith, President of the Confederation, in which a compact is proposed: the two men will be returned safely provided one of Smith's men is allowed to enter the hotel unhampered and unwatched for ten minutes. An accompanying letter from the Home Secretary bids Blake accept the deal, so he does. After the Confederation man has made his visit, Blake investigates and find that something was retrieved from a secret compartment in a piece of furniture. When Coutts tries to open it, there is a massive explosion which, miraculously, everyone survives unscathed. Meanwhile, a meeting of the Confederation is called and Mr. Reece gains support for his proposal to kill Blake & Co. once and for all. This runs counter to the wishes of John Smith and Sir Philip Champion and marks Reece's ascendency within the organisation. Now operating under the name the Tip Top Film Company, the Confederation sends a man to Baker Street who proposes that Blake and his friends should portray themselves in a film about their fight against the criminal gang. It will be, they are told, a wonderful item of propaganda against the Confederation. This argument persuades them and soon Blake, Dolland, Tinker and Coutts find themselves tied to pillars in a film studio to enact an action scene. However, when Mademoiselle Yvonne is brought out and tied up with them, Blake realises that they've fallen into a trap. Reece sets fire to the studio and the Confederation men depart, leaving the detective and his friends to burn to death. Pedro comes to the rescue, chewing through his master's bonds. They all escape the blaze but fail to recapture Reece and his cohorts, who sail away on a yacht.
Trivia: This was rehashed in UNION JACK issue 1,513 CROOKS DIVIDED (1932).
Rating: ★★★★★☆
Dirk Dolland's Dilemma UNION JACK · New series · Issue 869 · 5/6/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
DIRK DOLLAND'S DILEMMA; OR, NO.14 STAMFORD ROW
by Anon. (Robert Murray Graydon) · Illustrator: Val Reading
Other content: Curtis of the Fifth by Anon. (probably Edwy Searles Brooks).
Notes: Detective-Inspector Coutts visits Baker Street to inform Sexton Blake that the yacht belonging to the Criminals' Confederation has sunk in a storm. Pieces of wreckage have been discovered on the Belgian coast and among them have been found, apparently, the bodies of John Smith, Sir Philip Champion and Mr. Reece. Coutts has with him photographs flown over from Belgium; they show the corpses of the three criminals. Coutts leaves for the continent to examine the bodies. Meanwhile, Dolland goes home and finds a letter, delivered the day before, which invites him to help retrieve — and take a share in — a large amount of stolen loot. He suspects that this might be a hidden cache left by the Confederation and kicks himself that he's missed the appointment with its mystery writer. Shoving the letter into his coat pocket he goes to his club. When he leaves, he finds that his hat and coat have been accidentally given to someone else. He traces this person to 14 Stamford Row and finds the man in the house slumped across his desk, seemingly dead. Moments later, though, the man revives and tells Dolland to call the police. Dolland leaves the house but remembers that there was a telephone in it and so returns. He finds that the man has vanished. A search reveals that he was the person responsible for the letter and Dolland suddenly realises that he might have walked into a trap. He hastily leaves the house just as a taxi cab draws up. Inside it, Dolland sees John Smith! The taxi speeds away and Dolland goes to Baker Street and tells Sexton Blake the full story. Blake identifies the house-owner as Denver-Maughan, a shady criminal lawyer. However, having received a telegram from Coutts which confirms that the three dead bodies are definitely Smith, Champion and Reece — all now buried — the detective refuses to believe that it was Smith that Dolland saw. Things get worse for Dolland; Detective-Inspector Teach arrives and arrests him on a charge of attempted murder. A safe-deposit room has been broken into and Dolland's hat was found at the scene. The deposit box broken into, it turns out, belonged to Denver-Maughan. Blake takes the investigation back to 14 Stamford Row where he finds John Smith and immediately handcuffs him. Smith explains that Reece is now president of the Criminals' Confederation and that Denver-Maughan had been the organisation's treasurer. The deposit box had contained the Confederations' loot, which they have now reclaimed. Blake reflects that while Smith is at last captured, the Confederation will become much more ruthless with Reece at its head.
Trivia: Its not explained how the three corpses were so convincingly those of Smith, Champion and Reece. This story was rehashed in UNION JACK issue 1,513 CROOKS DIVIDED (1932).
Rating: ★★★★★☆
The Mystery of the 9.12 Express UNION JACK · New series · Issue 870 · 12/6/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE MYSTERY OF THE 9.12 EXPRESS
by Anon. (Edwy Searles Brooks) · Illustrator: Harry Lane
Other content: Curtis of the Fifth by Anon.
Notes: Sexton Blake teams up with Nelson Lee in this issue.
Unrated
The Case of the Four Statues UNION JACK · New series · Issue 871 · 19/6/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE CASE OF THE FOUR STATUES
by Anon. (George N. Philips) · Illustrator: E. E. Briscoe
Other content: Curtis of the Fifth by Anon. (Edwy Searles Brooks).
Notes: George Jacob Smith receives a death sentence for the murder of the artist Sir John Grad, for whom he was a butler. Sir John had been killed in a room containing four life-sized statues. The only way in or out of the room is via a corridor in which the butler had been seen at the time of the crime. Elsie West, his fiancé, calls for aid from Sexton Blake, insisting that her intended is innocent. The detective, while investigating the artist's empty house, interrupts a burglar who, after a terrific fight, gets away without recovering what he had come for. Blake is able to identify the man as a model named Shrai who had posed for Sir John. He visits the man's lodgings where he encounters Zenith the Albino and Oaklahoma Sam. After being captured, he is driven away in a mock ambulance and taken to an iron foundry where The League of the Cobbler's Last have gathered. While he awaits his fate, Pedro, who followed the ambulance, arrives and is told to fetch Tinker. Zenith orders Blake to be put to death beneath a giant press. At the very last moment before the detective's execution, Tinker, Detective-Inspector Coutts and a squad of policemen crash into the factory aboard a small goods train and a battle ensues. Many of the gang are rounded up but Zenith gets away. Learning that the albino will be attending a masked ball that evening, Blake, Coutts and Tinker also make an appearance. Once again, though, Zenith eludes them. The Baker Street detective once again visits the home of Sir John and here he finds Shai who, in attempting to tackle Blake, is crushed when one of the statues falls on him. He confesses to the murder of the artist. George Jacob Smith is set free from prison.
Rating: ★★★☆☆☆
The Clue of the Golden Hair UNION JACK · New series · Issue 872 · 26/6/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE CLUE OF THE GOLDEN HAIR
by Anon. (H. Gregory Hill) · Illustrator: Sid Pride
Other content: Curtis of the Fifth by Anon. (Edwy Searles Brooks).
Notes: None at present.
Unrated
The Man Who Died UNION JACK · New series · Issue 873 · 3/7/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE MAN WHO DIED
by Anon. (Robert Murray Graydon) · Illustrator: Val Reading
Other content: Curtis of the Fifth by Anon. (probably Edwy Searles Brooks).
Notes: While Sexton Blake and Detective-Inspector Coutts puzzle over the fact that Mr. Reece and Sir Philip Champion are apparently alive, despite the fact that Coutts saw their dead bodies, Dirk Dolland encounters a new mystery. Gun shots are heard from the apartment below his in Jermyn Street. When he investigates, he finds that the shots were fired in a room that's locked from the inside... but the room is empty! When the coat Dolland lost the previous day is found, the ex-burglar realises that the apartment had been occupied by Villiers, the man who had stolen the funds belonging to the Criminals' Confederation. He then intercepts a message to Villiers from Mr. Reece. It instructs the man to meet Reece at a certain house, wearing a disguise. Dolland decides to take Villier's place. Meanwhile, Blake is summoned to prison by Mr. John Smith who informs him that Mr. Reece intends to betray the Confederation by meeting with Villiers and making off with the funds. The detective visits Dolland in time to see his disguised friend depart on a mysterious errand. He follows but a gunshot from an unknown source injures Tinker and delays Blake, who loses track of his quarry. Dolland travels to an isolated cottage in Devon where he meets with Reece and manages to overpower him. Blake, meanwhile, follows on Dolland's tracks and finds Villiers, who has been caught by the police. He then encounters Dolland and is astounded to see that Mr. Reece has, at last, been captured.
Trivia: This takes place the day following DIRK DOLLAND'S DILEMMA (Union Jack issue 869). The story was rehashed in UNION JACK issue 1,518 THE SHADOW (1932).
Rating: ★★★★★★
The Chessington Towers Mystery UNION JACK · New series · Issue 874 · 10/7/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE CHESSINGTON TOWERS MYSTERY; OR, THE CASE OF THE EXILED SONS
by Anon. (Edwy Searles Brooks) · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: Unknown
Notes: None at present.
Unrated
The Death-Spider UNION JACK · New series · Issue 875 · 17/7/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE DEATH-SPIDER
by Anon. (George N. Philips) · Illustrator: E. E. Briscoe
Other content: Curtis of the Fifth by Anon.
Notes: Blake and Tinker are holidaying in Hampton on the Thames. One morning they find a dead rabbit drained of its blood. Detective-Inspector Coutts arrives and reports that a man has been pulled from the river, having died a similar death to the rabbit's. Blake is visited by a young man named Willington-Smale. His uncle, a professor who lives on a houseboat, has forbidden him to marry his ward, Nora Grierson — Blake surmises that this is because the old man is misappropriating her trusteeship funds. Willington-Smale tells him that one night he found himself paralysed and noticed a haze in his room. Blake examines his wrist and finds a puncture wound. Later, during a crooked gambling party thrown by the uncle, Blake poses as the young man's valet and foils a plot to kidnap Miss Greirson. He then sabotages the means through which the gamblers are being cheated. The whole operation, he deduces, is being run by the League of the Cobblers' Last, that branch of The Criminals' Confederation overseen by Zenith the Albino. The professor is obviously an accomplice of this villainous organisation. Clues suggest that the recent deaths have been caused by a giant venomous spider. Next morning, Blake is overcome by a paralysis and the death-spider, exuding a deadly miasma, appears and bites his wrist. Tinker arrives just in time and, after flicking the spider aside, applies a tourniquet to his Guv'nor's arm. The professor is less lucky; just after telephoning Zenith to ask for assistance, he is killed by the spider which is then crushed by Blake. Tinker sets off to fetch the police. Meanwhile Zenith arrives and captures Blake, binding him to a chair and leaving him alone aboard the houseboat with a time bomb ticking away. It explodes, setting the boat alight and, as it sinks, Blake sinks with it — only to be rescued by Tinker once again. They race after Zenith. The trail leads to a riverside factory which the police successfully raid before lying in wait for the albino. When he arrives and is cornered, he pulls a bomb from his cloak and threatens to set it off. They back away from him and he flees, leaving the bomb behind. Upon closer inspection, it proves to be a box of chocolates!
Trivia: There's a nice passage in this tale in which Blake contemplates the fact that Tinker is 'destined for greatness' and will, ultimately, be the man to beat all the master criminals.
Rating: ★★★★☆☆
The Shadow UNION JACK · New series · Issue 876 · 24/7/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE SHADOW
by Anon. (Robert Murray Graydon) · Illustrator: Val Reading
Other content: Curtis of the Fifth by Anon. (probably Edwy Searles Brooks)
Notes: Mr Reece receives a long prison sentence. While in court he threatens that 'the Shadow' will have vengeance. During the following night, Sexton Blake receives a call from Detective-Inspector Coutts who informs him that the judge who convicted Reece has been murdered. At the scene of the crime, "The Shadow has avenged" has been written on a mirror and the only opening into the room through which the killer could have passed suggests that the villain is freakishly small, though fiendishly strong. Later that night, Blake himself is attacked in his bedroom. He manages to survive but doesn't catch sight of his assailant, who escapes in the dark. Next morning, Coutts and Blake decide to visit John Smith in prison but when they get there they find that he's been strangled to death. Later the same day, Sir Philip Champion telephones the detective and warns him that Reece is about to escape from Pentonville. Blake races back to the prison but too late; in the midst of a pre-arranged riot, the new president of the Criminals' Confederations has been sprung!
Trivia: This story was rehashed under the same title in UNION JACK issue 1,518 (1932).
Rating: ★★★★★☆
The Jewel of Muralpoor UNION JACK · New series · Issue 877 · 31/7/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE JEWEL OF MURALPOOR; OR, THE MYSTERY OF BOX NO.6
by Anon. (Andrew Murray) · Illustrator: Harry Lane
Other content: Curtis of the Fifth by Anon. (probably Edwy Searles Brooks)
Notes: An invitation to a masked charity ball arrives at Baker Street. The event is to be hosted by Lord Stedley at the Orient Hospital. With Sexton Blake not due back from Paris in time to attend, Tinker invites the Hon. John Lawless. Costumes are delivered to Baker Street with compliments from Stedley and, in due course, the duo arrive at the sparkling affair, which is also attended by the Maharajah of Muralpoor, who sports a massive jewel on his turban. A waiter shows Tinker and Lawless to Box 6. A little time later, he returns to tell them that someone wishes to see them. He leads them to the foyer but whoever it was has gone. As they return to the box, all the lights go out. In the darkness, they stumble over an unconscious man. The lights come back on to reveal the Maharajah — minus the jewel! The next day Blake returns and agrees with Tinker that someone had tried to frame them for the robbery. The fact that it occurred in the dark leads them to suspect The Owl. While tracing the origin of the costumes, Tinker spots the waiter and follows him to a tenement building. Given the opportunity to search the man's room, the youngster slips in only to find himself face-to-face with The Owl. The crook knocks him unconscious and leaves him bound and gagged on a bed. Meanwhile, Blake follows a man who recovers the costume used by the thief and is led towards the tenement building. John Lawless encounters one of The Owl's henchmen, Big Harry, who is in possession of the diamond and arranging to take it to Amsterdam. Lawless engages in a fist-fight with this man, takes the gem, then reads a note from The Owl which instructs Harry to meet him at the tenement. Lawless goes there and, with Blake's help, rescues Tinker and tackles The Owl. The latter, though, thanks to his ability to see in the dark, manages to escape.
Trivia: Hon. John Lawless is 'a few inches taller' than Sexton Blake.
Rating: ★★★★★☆
The Island of Death UNION JACK · New series · Issue 878 · 7/8/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE ISLAND OF DEATH
by Anon. (Cecil Hayter) · Illustrator: E. E. Briscoe
Other content: Curtis of the Fifth by Anon. (probably Edwy Searles Brooks)
Notes: Story features Sir Richard Losely and Lobangu.
Unrated
The Clue of the Death's-Head Moth UNION JACK · New series · Issue 879 · 14/8/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE CLUE OF THE DEATH'S-HEAD MOTH
by Anon. (H. Gregory Hill) · Illustrator: Harry Lane
Other content: Curtis of the Fifth by Anon. (Edwy Searles Brooks)
Notes: None at present.
Unrated
The Man in the Smoked Glasses UNION JACK · New series · Issue 880 · 21/8/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE MAN IN THE SMOKED GLASSES
by Anon. (Andrew Murray) · Illustrator: Willis Reading
Other content: Unknown
Notes: Story features The Owl.
Unrated
The Colour Line UNION JACK · New series · Issue 881 · 28/8/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE COLOUR LINE
by Anon. (R. C. Armour) · Illustrator: C. H. Blake
Other content: The Fighting Scot by Walter Edwards
Notes: None at present.
Unrated
The Man With Two Faces UNION JACK · New series · Issue 882 · 4/9/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE MAN WITH TWO FACES
by Anon. (William Murray Graydon) · Illustrator: Val Reading
Other content: The Fighting Scot by Walter Edwards
Notes: None at present.
Unrated
The Mystery of La Perousse UNION JACK · New series · Issue 883 · 11/9/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE MYSTERY OF LA PEROUSSE
by Anon. (Cecil Hayter) · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: The Fighting Scot by Walter Edwards.
Notes: Story features Sir Richard Losely and Lobangu.
Unrated
The Case of the Cotton Syndicate Fraud UNION JACK · New series · Issue 884 · 18/9/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE CASE OF THE COTTON SYNDICATE FRAUD
by Anon. (Andrew Murray) · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: The Fighting Scot by Walter Edwards.
Notes: None at present.
Unrated
The Heir to Chiverton UNION JACK · New series · Issue 885 · 25/9/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 1½d
THE HEIR TO CHIVERTON
by Anon. (Stanley Gordon Shaw) · Illustrator: Harry Lane
Other content: A Word from the Skipper (ed.); The Fighting Scot by Walter Edwards.
Notes: This story is narrated by Tinker.
Unrated
The Case of the Bogus Judge UNION JACK · New series · Issue 886 · 2/10/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 2d
THE CASE OF THE BOGUS JUDGE
by Anon. (Jack Lewis) · Illustrator: H. M. Lewis
Other content: A Word from the Skipper (ed.); The Fighting Scot by Walter Edwards.
Notes: With this issue, UNION JACK introduces a colour cover, increased page count and a new price of 2d. Story features Leon Kestrel
Unrated
The Dog Detective UNION JACK · New series · Issue 887 · 9/10/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 2d
THE DOG DETECTIVE
by Anon. (Robert Murray Graydon) · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: Unknown
Notes: An ex-jailbird named Carne writes to Sexton Blake to tell him that he has information concerning the whereabouts of Mr Reece. However, when Blake,Tinker and Pedro go to meet him at his tobacco shop, they get lost in a dense London fog. Attracted by a woman's scream, they enter a store and become separated. Blake finds evidence that the scream came from Mademoiselle Yvonne (though this turns out to be a ruse) but before he can investigate he is attacked and rendered unconscious by The Shadow. Tinker is confronted by Reece, who pulls a lever which opens the floor, sending Tinker and Pedro hurtling into a sewer which washes them into the Thames. The youngster is dragged ashore by the bloodhound and is found by Sergeant Mace, with whom he goes to Carne's shop, only to find the old crook dead, murdered by The Shadow. Meanwhile, Sir Philip Champion visits Detective-Inspector Coutts at Scotland Yard and informs him that he wants revenge on Reece for the murder of John Smith and will take the Yard man to where the villain is hiding. Coutts accompanies Champion to the premises where Blake was overpowered but it has been booby-trapped and he and Champion find themselves trapped in a blazing inferno. Tinker and Mace come to the rescue, having used Pedro to follow The Shadow's trail from Carne's shop. The bloodhound then follows Blake's scent. The detective has recovered consciousness and been introduced to The Shadow — a boy-like killer who happens to be Reece's son. The crooks leave Blake in the keeping of four thugs, who have orders to hang him at dawn. Pedro leads Tinker and Coutts to the detective's rescue and, led by Champion, and in Richard Test's speedboat, they all pursue the criminals who are fleeing aboard a ship. Reece, though, has planned ahead — he and his son transfer to a seaplane and escape.
Trivia: An excellent story for Pedro fans! It was reprinted in UNION JACK issue 1,247 as BEHIND THE FOG (1933).
Rating: ★★★★★★
The Human Link UNION JACK · New series · Issue 888 · 16/10/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 2d
THE HUMAN LINK
by Anon. (Edwy Searles Brooks) · Illustrator: Harry Lane
Other content: The Fighting Scot by Walter Edwards
Notes: Detective Inspector Lennard alerts Sexton Blake to a murder scene where the killer was apparently interrupted and, by accident, also killed. The only clue is a green stain on the carpet. Some weeks later, a number of jewelers are conned into buying counterfeit gold jewellery. Blake investigates and finds a similar green stain, which is apparently caused by a chemical used to create the convincing artificial gold. He finds no further leads until Tinker one day witnesses a low-flying aeroplane crashing into a greenhouse at the back of a private residence. The pilot and his passenger survive and the latter visits Baker Street to describe the events. Apparently, after the ‘plane’s motor malfunctioned and caused the crash, the occupant of the house braved the resultant fire to save the two unfortunate men. Though this person was severely burned, he showed no sign at all of pain. From this description, Blake recognises Rupert Waldo, and is further intrigued when he is shown traces of a chemical that was spilled during the accident leaving a bright green stain. That night, Blake visits the house while Tinker stands watch in the garden. Walking into a trap, he finds himself suspended in a net while Waldo explains that, having seen the original murder take place, he’d apprehended the killer only for the man to fall over and accidentally shoot himself. Waldo had then discovered the gold making chemical and had taken and used it. Tinker arrives on the scene and manages to knock the crook out. He and Blake wrap Waldo in the net and call the police. However, after they have handed him over, he breaks free and escapes.
Rating: ★★★☆☆☆ Edwy Seamless Brooks is as entertaining as ever, but the tale suffers through its dependence upon unbelievable coincidences.
The Case of the Crystal-Gazer UNION JACK · New series · Issue 889 · 23/10/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 2d
THE CASE OF THE CRYSTAL GAZER
by Anon. (George N. Philips) · Illustrator: H. M. Lewis
Other content: The Fighting Scot by Walter Edwards; Paid in Full by John Goodwin
Notes: Jacob Donnithorpe, a diamond dealer, discovers that the famous Rhanee's diamond which had been in his safe has been replaced by a clumsy imitation. He consults Sexton Blake and it's quickly revealed that Mrs Donnithorpe took the diamond to use while crystal-gazing and was drugged while looking into it. The gem was then stolen and switched with the dud. The detective pays a visit to Mrs Donnithorpe's psychic; a man known as Kraken. He turns out to be Zenith the Albino and Blake soon finds himself surrounded by members of the League of the Cobblers' Last. Making a daring escape, he summons Detective-Inspector Coutts and 'Kraken's' house is raided by the police. Zenith slips through the cordon but his car is followed by Tinker. However, Blake's assistant is spotted and attacked. Thinking him dead, Zenith continues on to an old windmill. Tinker, who was only faking, calls Blake who arrives in time to save the lad from a second attack, this time from a recently released prisoner who had grown suspicious while asking directions to the mill. This man, Bentinct, is a diamond cutter, summoned by Zenith to break up the Rhanee's diamond. Blake disguises himself as Bentinct and heads for the mill but he is seen and followed by Oaklahoma Sam who, in turn, is observed and followed by Tinker. Upon arrival, the detective and albino fight a pitched battle which first favours the one man and then the other until, finally, Coutts arrives with his men. Zenith escapes and climbs out onto one of the windmill's sails. They revolve under his weight, lowering him to the ground and he races away. Blake has, at least, recovered the stolen diamond. He goes in search of Zenith's lover, Mademoiselle Louise de la Beaucaire, who had been seen in the albino's car. The detective finds the car concealed in a gravel pit. He also finds Zenith and the girl there. When the master criminal tries to back the car out of the pit, an accident occurs and Blake, acting instinctively, saves the couple from certain death. The detective and his opponent engage in hand-to-hand combat and plunge into a sheer-sided pool. Zenith is pulled out by Louise ... and, returning the earlier favour, he then saves Blake's life — though not without first extracting a promise of one hour's grace in which to make his getaway.
Rating: ★★★★★☆
The Mist of Sleep UNION JACK · New series · Issue 890 · 30/10/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 2d
THE MIST OF SLEEP; OR, THE CASE OF THE SLEEPING GAS
by Anon. (Jack Lewis) · Illustrator: H. M. Lewis
Other content: The Fighting Scot by Walter Edwards.
Notes: Story features Leon Kestrel.
Unrated
The Case of the Paralysed Man UNION JACK · New series · Issue 891 · 6/11/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 2d
THE CASE OF THE PARALYSED MAN
by Anon. (Jack Lewis) · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: Unknown
Notes: Story features Leon Kestrel.
Unrated
The Mystery of the Chinese Antique UNION JACK · New series · Issue 892 · 13/11/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 2d
THE MYSTERY OF THE CHINESE ANTIQUE
by Anon. (Edwy Searles Brooks) · Illustrator: E. E. Briscoe
Other content: The Fighting Scot by Walter Edwards.
Notes: The Marquis of Hammerton consults Sexton Blake after his huge collection of rubies disappears overnight. The gems were taken from showcases in his library but how this was done is a mystery, since the room in question is so secure that it's virtually a bank vault. At Hammerton's house, Detective-Inspector Lennard is at a loss and greets Blake warmly. He shows the detective the scene of the crime and, like the Scotland Yard man, Blake can see no clue as to how the burglary was committed. However, when Hammerton mentions that the antique table in the library was a gift which had arrived just the day before, Blake's interest is aroused. The piece of furniture, he learns, was sent by a Chinese mandarin named Si Fang Chu who had visited the house the previous week. Some moments later, while the detective is examining the grounds, a letter arrives from Si Fang Chu. In it, the oriental informs Hammerton that he had accidentally made a gift of the wrong table. He asks that it be returned via a truck that is waiting outside and he promises that a better table will be delivered in its stead. Upon learning of this, Sexton Blake examines the table. Though he finds nothing suspicious, his attentions have a startling affect: its top slides open and Rupert Waldo emerges from hiding! The crook admits that he was the Chinaman and then renders Blake and Hammerton unconscious with knockout gas. Waldo places the detective in the table, which is then loaded into the truck and driven away. The crook leaves the house, eludes a pursuing Tinker, and returns to his flat. However, Blake, who had faked unconsciousness, is waiting with reinforcements and Waldo finds himself captured. The detective recovers the rubies but Waldo breaks his bonds, leaps through a window and escapes.
Trivia: Blake is paid £20,000 for this case and also receives a priceless ruby as a token of thanks.
Rating: ★★★★★★
A Bid for Billions UNION JACK · New series · Issue 893 · 20/11/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 2d
A BID FOR BILLIONS
by Anon. (Robert Murray Graydon) · Illustrator: Val Reading
Other content: The Fighting Scot by Walter Edwards.
Notes: Having escaped from Sexton Blake in England, Mr Reece and his son, The Shadow, drive to Paris and set up headquarters in a secret room of the Hotel des Vielle Temps. Here they meet Number 444,444, the head of the Criminals' Confederation's New York branch. Reece gives him a four-part mission: to set up a new HQ in London, to kill Sexton Blake, to recover the half million in cash that had been stolen by Villiers, and to undertake a scheme which will net the Confederation billions of pounds. Some days later, in the restaurant of London's Argent Hotel, Dirk Dolland bumps into an old friend; a thief named Ned Hatton. This man challenges him to prove that he has not lost his skill — he wagers that Dolland cannot remove a revolver from an American's room without getting caught. Dolland makes the attempt but is discovered by the American, whose name is Colonel Quartz, and is forced to sign a document agreeing that he will do the colonel one service when called upon to do so. The call comes very soon: Dolland is dining with Sexton Blake, Tinker, Mademoiselle Yvonne and Detective-Inspector Coutts when Quartz asks to be introduced. He ingratiates himself with the diners and informs them that he has purchased a stable and that he has a horse, Silverheels, which is sure to win a double even though most people regard it as a dud. A bookmaker, overhearing this, allows Quartz to place a bet which, if the horse wins, will net him millions. Coutts, meanwhile, has news: Villiers has told him where the Confederation money is hidden — it's in the flat below Dolland's! Accompanied by Quartz, Blake and Co. go there and find the strongbox. Suddenly, the lights go out and the box is snatched from Coutts's hands. Dolland thinks he catches a glimpse of Ned Hatton but they are unable to catch him. Over the next few days, Quartz lays bigger and bigger bets on his horse. When it wins the first of the two races, the bookmakers start to panic. Blake and his friends are invited to Quartz's estate for the second race. During the night, Blake overhears, via the chimney, the colonel conversing with Hatton and The Shadow. He realises that Quartz is the Confederation's agent and that Silverheels is being doped. At the second race, the police close in and Quartz and The Shadow are arrested. Hatton escapes with the Confederation loot.
Trivia: This story was rewritten for UNION JACK issue 1,529 SEXTON BLAKE WINS! (1933).
Rating: ★★★★★★
No cover as yet UNION JACK · New series · Issue 894 · 27/11/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 2d
THE STRANGE CASE OF THE ELSINGHAM LEGEND
by Anon. (George N. Philips) · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: Unknown
Notes: Young Lord Elsingham has recently arrived in Britain from South Africa after learning that he's inherited the Elsingham title and estates. He's also inherited the family ghost, which supposedly visits each Lord Elsingham three times: the first to warn; the second to doom; and the third to escort him into the spirit world. The previous two Lords both died violent deaths after seeing the ghost — and the current one visits Sexton Blake, afraid that the same will happen to him, having already seen the ghost once. Travelling to Lavernock Hall, on the coast, Blake and Tinker see, spying on them from a nearby house, a recluse named Detton. Upon arrival at the hall, they are visited by the apparition of an old man. Blake dives at it but it vanishes in a cloud of smoke and the detective is then distracted from following by the collapse of his host. Elsingham has been struck by some sort of well-aimed gas cloud. The detective performs artificial respiration and, as Elsingham revives, a girl arrives. Gwendoline Detton is the recluse's daughter and Elsingham's fiancee. Blake is shocked when the butler, Dent, angrily orders her out of the house before, himself, being dismissed by the young baron. The detective discovers that the 'ghost' — which he suspects was Dent — had appeared via a secret passage. They follow this into deep dark caves and to the mouth of a pit. Here, they are attacked and Pedro is thrown into the well, landing with a splash at the bottom. Their unknown assailant escapes, so Blake and Tinker make their way back to the house, where they are rejoined by their bloodhound, who had been swept out to sea via the caves. At the recluse's cottage, Detton — who is one and the same man as Dent — sits in conference with Zenith the Albino. Detton reckons to be the real Lord Eslingham and intends to murder Sexton Blake's client in order to reclaim the title. The albino has agreed to help (Detton is No. 2,736 in the League of the Cobblers' Last) but in payment wants to gain possession of an oil painting belonging to Elsingham. This picture contains the secret to a hidden treasure. Blake discovers the secret but is overheard by Zenith, who, with his gang, rushes to a nearby island where the valuables are buried. Blake and Tinker follow in an aeroplane and crash land on the island. Blake captures Zenith, who then tries to escape in the plane. The detective leaps into it and they fight while the aircraft spins out of control. Blake overcomes his opponent but Zenith escapes and calls in the Criminals' Confederation. They steal the treasure from the detective but Tinker has the last laugh, and the crooks depart empty handed.
Rating: ★★★☆☆☆
The Extreme Penalty UNION JACK · New series · Issue 895 · 4/12/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 2d
THE EXTREME PENALTY
by Anon. (Robert Murray Graydon) · Illustrator: Harry Lane
Other content: The Fighting Scot by Walter Edwards
Notes: Julian Villiers, the Criminals' Confederation man, is executed in prison. Moments later, a police constable is shot dead and a note, in Mr Reece's handwriting, is found pinned to his corpse. It reads: In memory of Julian Villiers. Detective-Inspector Coutts receives a phone call from Reece. The villain promises that if The Shadow and Colonel Quartz aren't released within 24 hours, a police constable will be murdered every hour. Coutts sends Sergeant Brown to trace the call. The Sergeant rushes to a call-box at Westminster Bridge Station ... and a short time later is found inside it — almost dead from asphyxiation! Once again, there is a note from Reece claiming responsibility. Blake thinks they are being fooled — that Reece can't possibly have made his way back into Britain from France ... but when Reece calls him at Scotland yard and tells him to return home for proof, the detective — after narrowly avoiding a booby trap — finds that the criminal mastermind has taken a photograph of himself in the consulting room! The next day, Reece's campaign begins and each hour a policeman is shot dead or badly wounded. Blake arranges to be in court for the trial of The Shadow and Colonel Quartz and there he spots a man communicating via blinked Morse Code with Quartz. The man is captured by Coutts. The message is in code but once Blake cracks it he discovers that an attempt to free the prisoners will be made when they are transported back to Brixton Prison. Upon learning that they are already on their way, the detective gives chase and arrives just as the attempt is made. He manages to prevent The Shadow's escape but cannot stop Quartz from fleeing. Later, Blake examines the man from the court and is able to connect him with Pontori's International Circus. While he is doing this, Tinker is kidnapped. Reece calls the detective and informs him that Tinker, Mademoiselle Yvonne and Dirk Dolland are prisoners of the Confederation and will be killed if The Shadow isn't released by 10pm. Blake and Coutts lead a police raid on the circus and there capture Mr Reece. The three captives are found and released. Quartz, though, remains at large.
Trivia: Detective-Inspector Coutts and his wife have a baby son. In SUSPENDED FROM DUTY (UNION JACK issue 1,519, 26/11/1932) another son, named Tom, is mentioned. He was killed in the Great War.
Rating: ★★★★★★
The Mystery of Littlethake Cottage UNION JACK · New series · Issue 896 · 11/12/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 2d
THE MYSTERY OF LITTLETHAKE COTTAGE
by Anon. (Cecil Hayter) · Illustrator: Sid Pride
Other content: The Fighting Scot by Walter Edwards
Notes: None at present.
Unrated
No cover as yet UNION JACK · New series · Issue 897 · 18/12/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 2d
A PRICE ON HIS HEAD
by Anon. (Jack Lewis) · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: Unknown
Notes: Story features Leon Kestrel.
Unrated
No cover as yet UNION JACK · New series · Issue 898 · 25/12/1920 · Amalgamated Press · 2d
THE CASE OF THE TOXIC TULIPS
by Anon. (George N. Philips) · Illustrator: Unknown
Other content: Unknown
Notes: After the suspicious death of her sister, Florence Carshalton asks Sexton Blake to investigate. He visits her home and discovers clues which suggest that her uncle Vulpin, who is also her guardian, is attempting to kill her so that he might inherit her fortune. Blake finds the house is thick with the scent of flowers and Florence, who has now fallen ill, is being denied fresh air. Vulpin has developed a species of tulip with toxic pollen and has employed these as a means of murder. Tinker follows the villain to an opium den where, to his shock, he finds that Vulpin has a double identity and is, in fact, a Chinaman named Wing Lo. Captured and bound, Tinker is thrown into a river but, fortunately, an apparently oblivious opium addict had passed him a knife, so he is able to free himself and escape drowning. Meanwhile, Wing Lo is visited by Zenith the Albino who informs him that the Criminals' Confederation has organised a convention to which he, Wing Lo, is invited. At this, the opium addict comes to life, proving to be a disguised Sexton Blake. The detective captures the two villains and then leaves the building only to run into Detective-Inspector Coutts, who has been fetched by Tinker. They raid the opium den but find that Oklahoma Sam has liberated Zenith and murdered Wing Lo. Blake, Tinker, Coutts and a squadron of police constables next gather on Lindisfarne Island where the Confederation is due to meet. From hiding, they observe the arrival of Leon Kestrel, Mr. Reece, Captain Smith, Waldo the Wonder-Man, Count Ivor Carlac, The Owl, George Marsden Plummer and Zenith, who is accompanied by Oklahoma Sam, Captain Starlight and a handsome youth. The meeting commences but when a Scotland Yard man enters the scene and proves to be an agent for the villainous organisation, Coutts is so infuriated that he launches an attack. Blake and his allies have little choice but to join the battle, though the odds seem hopelessly against them. However, when a massive storm strikes the island, the fight is abandoned and everyone runs for cover. Some hours later, Blake and his friends emerge from shelter and find that the Confederation forces have escaped ... except for Oklahoma Sam and the youth, who proves to be a disguised Louise de la Beaucaire. These two stand guard over the dying Zenith, who has been crushed by a falling wall. The albino utters a few words of farewell to the detective and passes away. Oklhama Sam is arrested.
Trivia: Sexton Blake has roses in the back garden at Baker Street. However, in most mentions of the house's rear, there is a walled yard rather than a garden.
Rating: ★★★★★★



1919
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1921






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