ANTHOLOGY · 1986 · Everyman Paperbacks · £5.95
Other content: An introductory essay by Jack Adrian.
Note: Jack Adrian gives an excellent overview of the Blake saga in his introduction, packing in essential facts and figures while at the same time managing to capture the essence of what made Sexton Blake so popular. This essay is essential reading.
Notes: Lady Richmond calls on Sexton Blake and tells him that her husband has been stricken with a rare tropical disease. Blake knows of only one man qualified to treat the condition: Huxton Rymer! After locating the crooked doctor, Blake arranges a truce, goes to meet him, and negotiates for him to treat Sir Herbert Richmond for a salary of £500 a month plus expenses, and — if he successfully cures his patient, a reward of £20,000. After establishing that the treatment will require at least a year, Rymer takes Sir Herbert to Jamaica and contacts Marie Galante. She communicates a time and place for them to meet but, when Rymer gets there, he finds her engaged in an argument with Captain Pearson, a sailor who has worked for her, and who is now declaring his love for her, despite that she scorns him. Rymer snaps the man's arm, beats him, and throws him into the street. Five months later, Lady Richmond returns to Baker Street accompanied by Pearson. The sailor informs Blake that Sir Herbert is recovering well but being held prisoner while Rymer swindles him out of his fortune. Also, the rare herbs employed in his cure grow only on a small coral island, which Rymer and Galante persuaded Sir Herbert to purchase and which they, with the sick man, are now living on. Unexpectedly, the island turned out to be a rich source of tortoiseshell. Rymer and Galante — who has taken the role of nurse — are now stripping it of that resource and gaining vast profits that rightfully belong to their patient. Blake, Tinker and Pearson sail for Jamaica where, just hours after their arrival, Pearson is murdered and the detectives are attacked by a voodoo-crazed mob. When Blake catches sight of Rymer, he shoots him, and threatens to kill him if Galante doesn't withdraw her forces. She does, and he then orders her to immediately fetch Sir Herbert, all of Rymer's treatment notes, and the money and papers pertaining to the tortoiseshell island else he will allow Rymer to bleed to death. When this is done, the detective allows the voodoo queen to take Rymer away. The story ends with Rymer's life in the balance.
Trivia: This is reprinted from UNION JACK issue 1,110 (1925).
Notes: This is reprinted from DETECTIVE WEEKLY issue 20 (1933). That original story also appeared in an abridged form in THE SEXTON BLAKE ANNUAL 1940.
Notes: This is reprinted from DETECTIVE WEEKLY issue 8 (1933). The story features Zenith the Albino.
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: This is reprinted from THE LONDON EVENING STANDARD (23 November, 1936) and is a reworking of THE UNION JACK story THE CLAYTON MOAT MYSTERY from issue 1,103 (1924), which in turn was based on The SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY novel THE MYSTERY BOX (series 1, issue 151, 1920) from which this review derives. It was later republished in 1966 as THE CASE OF THE BISMARK MEMOIRS (THE SEXTON BLAKE LIBRARY 5th series novel 28).