Best 1938 Adventures (6)

By: Joshua Glenn
May 15, 2018

One in a series of 10 posts identifying Josh Glenn’s favorite 1938 adventure novels. Happy 80th anniversary!

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Leslie Charteris’s Simon Templar adventure Prelude for War (also published as The Saint Plays with Fire).

Spotting a manor house on fire as they’re driving through the English countryside, Simon Templar and Patricia Holm attempt unsuccessfully to rescue a man inside. Learning that the victim was a prominent Socialist agitator, and that the rest of the house party were conservative pillars of society, the Saint — who, earlier, while listening to a broadcast about the Sons of France, an influential right-wing party across the Channel, predicted that Europe’s future will involve invasions and concentration camps — investigates the suspicious blaze. Why was the victim’s bedroom door locked… and the key missing? The Sons of France, Templar soon discovers, are involved somehow; and so is an unscrupulous munitions maker. Was this an assassination designed to spark a Second World War? Also… will the Saint’s nemesis, police detective Teal, get the last laugh?

Fun facts: Previously serialized in the American magazine Cosmopolitan (!). Later editions of the book were retitled The Saint and the Sinners and The Saint Plays with Fire.

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JOSH GLENN’S *BEST ADVENTURES* LISTS: BEST 250 ADVENTURES OF THE 20TH CENTURY | 100 BEST OUGHTS ADVENTURES | 100 BEST RADIUM AGE (PROTO-)SCI-FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST TEENS ADVENTURES | 100 BEST TWENTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST THIRTIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST GOLDEN AGE SCI-FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST FORTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST FIFTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST SIXTIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST NEW WAVE SCI FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST SEVENTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST EIGHTIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST DIAMOND AGE SCI-FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST NINETIES ADVENTURES (in progress) | 1994 | 1995 | 1996 | 1997 | 1998 | 1999 | 2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | NOTES ON 21st-CENTURY ADVENTURES.

Categories

Adventure, Lit Lists

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