- PART 1 -

by Jean-Marc Lofficier

Article Page 1

Article Page 2

Article Page 3

Article Page 4

Article Page 5


Cover Gallery 1

Cover Gallery 2

Cover Gallery 3

Cover Gallery 4

Cover Gallery 5

Cover Gallery 6

Cover Gallery 7

German covers by Regino Bernad

Le Saint Detective Magazine 1

Le Saint Detective Magazine 2

Le Saint Detective Magazine 3

Le Saint Detective Magazine 4

About Nero Wolfe & The Toff

About artist
Regino Bernad

The Saint on French Radio

Text Comparisons

De Saint (The Dutch Saint)

© 2001 Jean-Marc Lofficier. This article first appeared in a slightly different form in the Summer '94 issue of The Epistle.

Thanks to Ian Dickerson for Research Assist.
Thanks to Dan Bodenheimer, Marcel Bernadac, and Patrick Verdant for additional cover scans.

The history of the French Saint books can pretty much be broken into five sections:

  • (1) the "originals", i.e.: the translations and/or adaptations of Leslie Charteris' work, which fill the first twenty-five slots in the series.

  • (2) the radio "fix-ups" (a term coined by critic Peter Nicholls, meaning a book composed of separate stories cemented together), derived from the Saint radio scripts, which occupy the next ten slots.

  • (3) and (4) the "comic stories", books loosely adapted from the New York Herald-Tribune comic-strip which fill almost the entirety of the rest of the series. (This period can itself be divided into two "sub-periods", according to style and contents.)

  • (5) a few, latter-day, Charteris' short-story collections, some uncollected stories, and finally, the publication in the early 1980s of a number of Charteris "collaborations."

In order to make the article easier to read, I have
bolded the original English titles when known. In the case of Charteris' own stories, which have often been published under different titles in England in in the United States, I have chosen what I hope to be the most recognizable title, I have italicized my translations of the French titles for the pastiches.

1. The "originals" (1938-1949)

The Fayard
Saint series debuted with The Saint in New York (No. 1) which, as every devotee knows, opens with a memo sent by Teal to Fernack recapping some of Simon Templar's more notorious adventures, including Meet the Tiger!, The Last Hero and Knight Templar. Why therefore begin a series with material which was bound to confuse a new reader?

Further confusion must have ensued when one realizes that the second volume released by Fayard was
Knight Templar (translated under the title of The Heroic Adventure), a direct sequel to The Last Hero.

The reason for this strange release pattern is that there were previous French
Saint editions of The Last Hero and Meet the Tiger!, published in 1935 by Editions Gallimard in their "Detective" imprint. Fayard, therefore, did not have the rights to publish these books -- yet -- but legitimately assumed that the reader of the times could refer to them if they wished to do so.

The copyright on
The Saint in New York is 1938. Normally, the French copyright is supposed to indicate the date of the first French publication of a work (i.e.: referring to a specific translation). However, mistakes creep up frequently. Sometimes, the later date of printing of a subsequent edition is substituted. For example, the copyright on a subsequent edition of Knight Templar is 1946, even though the first Fayard edition of that book was released in 1938. The copyright on Thieves' Picnic (No. 10) is mistakenly listed as 1930, even though that particular book was written by Leslie Charteris in 1937! This is just to illustrate the fact that French copyright mentions are notoriously unreliable, thus making serious research all but impossible.

Dedicated researchers might further note that the copyright on
Thieves' Picnic is in the name of "A. Fayard et Cie (& Co.)", while all the other books in the series were copyrighted in the names of "F. Brouty, J. Fayard et Cie" until 1956 (No. 47), when suddenly the copyright became "Librairie Arthème Fayard", until the end of the series. One can only assume that F. Brouty bought stock in the original Arthème Fayard publishing company sometime around 1939, at which time the original Arthème Fayard was succeeded by J. Fayard. The later change to Librairie Arthème Fayard must have been the result of some form of corporate restructuring.

Meet the Tiger! and The Last Hero were eventually re-released, first by Gallimard again in 1951, then by Fayard in 1962, respectively as No. 70 and No. 72 in the series. However, the copyright on these two books -- even in the Fayard edition -- remains Gallimard's, even though the books were translated by the same writer. From this, it is clear that, even though Meet the Tiger! and The Last Hero were first published in France in the 1930s, for some contractual reasons, the rights to these novels did not become available to Fayard until the early 1960s.

1b. The Translators

The matter of the identity of the translator of the French Saint books remained for a long time relatively clouded in mystery. Nos. 1 to 6, 9 to 14, 23 and 70 (
Meet the Tiger!) were credited to "E. Michel-Tyl", with No. 19 being specifically credited to "Ed. Michel-Tyl" -- "Ed." being for Edmond.

Edmond Michel-Tyl (1891-1949) was the author of a number of adventure and romance novels, including Marquita au Col d'Or [Marquita of the Golden Neck] (Tallandier, 1936) and La Vallée du Mystère [The Valley of Mystery] (Librairie des Champs-Élysées, 1940); he also translated many other crime novels, such as William Irish's The Bride Wore Black, Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe, Rafael Sabatini's Sea Hawk and Captain Blood, Dashiell Hammett's The Maltese Falcon, and novels by R. K. Goldman, Hugh Austin, Sidney Fairway, Erskine Caldwell, etc.

No. 8 (in a later edition) and Nos. 27 to 29 are credited "M.-E. Michel-Tyl" -- note the periods and the hyphen. All this confusion in the credits merely reflects the fact that, after Edmond Michel-Tyl's death in 1949, his wife,
Madeleine (who had previously been collaborating with her husband), took over his duties.

Nos. 7 and 15 (in later editions), Nos. 22, 24 to 26, 30 to 69, 71, 72 (
The Last Hero, which is odd since, in in all logic, this book should have been translated by Edmond and not by Madeleine), Nos. 73 to 78 are all credited to "M. Michel-Tyl" -- the credit normally given to Madeleine Michel-Tyl.

Clearly, mistakes were made in the attribution of credits in the reprinting of later editions, and it is likely that Nos. 7, 8 and 15 -- at least -- are indeed the work of Edmond and not of Madeleine, who took over the series somewhere in the mid-No.20s -- probably with No. 24, the first of that sequence to be credited to "M. Michel-Tyl" instead of "E. Michel-Tyl".

Finally, a letter from Jenny Bradley, Leslie Charteris' French agent, dated 27th February 1969, indicates that Madeleine Michel-Tyl was somewhat extensively assisted by Fayard editor Francis Didelot, himself a well-known writer/editor of French mystery novels. Mrs. Charteris remarked that Leslie Charteris himself stepped in when the quality of the French novels had started to come down, and ended up working in "quite a close partnership" with Madeleine Michel-Tyl. He offered the
New York Herald-Tribune comic strips as source material -- which contained much specific dialogue as well as descriptions -- thereby facilitating the novelisation process.

In any event, the Michel-Tyls are, without a doubt, the greatest of all of Leslie Charteris' "collaborators" and, to the extent that they "rewrote" the original comic-strip stories, virtually co-authors. Edmond Michel-Tyl, a talented writer in his own right, succeeded wonderfully in duplicating Charteris' light style and wry characterization in French, perhaps inspired by, or following in the literary tracks of, Maurice
Leblanc, creator of the incredibly popular character of Arsène Lupin, gentleman-burglar, which must have been one of Charteris' major source of inspiration when creating the Saint.

1c. The "originals" -- continued (1938-1949)

Knight Templar (No. 2) and She was a Lady (No. 3), the Fayard series continued with Saint Overboard (No. 4), Alias the Saint (No. 5), Getaway (No. 6) and The Saint versus Scotland Yard (No. 7), the latter bizarrely copyrighted in 1956 in a later edition printed in 1964, even though the first Fayard edition was released in 1939, illustrating again the vagaries of French copyrights.

The next two volumes complicate the researcher's life. The first, released under the translated title of
The Saint Here! (No. 8), in addition to being also wrongly copyrighted to 1951 (even though it was originally released in 1940), contained only two stories, The Gold Standard and The Death Penalty, taken from the original three-story collection The Saint and Mr.Teal (a.k.a. Once More the Saint). The third story, The Man from St.Louis, for reasons unknown, was published in The Companions of the Saint (No. 9), an equally incomplete translation of the original three-story collection Enter the Saint.

Having to make room for
The Man from St.Louis in The Companions of the Saint, Fayard then chose to defer the publication of the first story of that book, The Man Who Was Clever, to No. 18 of its own series. To further complicate matters, The Man from St. Louis, The Death Penalty and The Gold Standard were all released separately in 1950, under different titles, by another French publisher, Editions Ferenczi, in their "Le Verrou" (The Deadbolt) imprint.

As we have seen, No. 10 was a straightforward adaptation of
Thieves' Picnic (it only stands out because of its puzzling 1930 copyright), No. 11 of The Misfortunes of Mr.Teal and No. 12 of Follow the Saint. These three books were published in 1941.

After an interruption due to the war, difficulties begin again with No.13, which was released in 1945. Again for reasons unknown, Fayard chose to rearrange the order of the short stories published. No.13, whose French title translates as
The Saint Goes to War, reprinted The Wonderful War from Featuring the Saint, and The High Fence and The Case of the Frightened Innkeeper from The Saint Goes On. The third story of that volume, The Elusive Ellshaw, was later used in No. 22. As for the other two stories from Featuring the Saint (The Logical Adventure and The Man Who Could Not Die), they were used in conjunction with The Man Who Was Clever (see above) to make up No.18, entitled The Mark of the Saint.

The series continued with adaptations of
The Saint on Guard (No.14) and The Saint Plays with Fire a.k.a. Prelude for War (No. 15). This title may lead to some confusion as a latter volume (No. 37) bears a French title which also translates as The Saint Plays with Fire, while No.15's French title translates as The Saint Plays... And Wins.

The Ace of Knaves (No. 16) and The Saint in Miami (No. 17) followed. No. 18 was, in effect, an original collection by gathering the three stories listed above, under the title of The Mark of the Saint.

This was followed by an adaptation of
The Saint Steps In (No. 19) and The Saint Goes West (No. 20). Perhaps for reasons of space, the latter only reprinted the Arizona and Hollywood stories. Fayard eventually combined the third story, Palm Springs, with The Ellusive Ellshaw to make yet one more "original" collection, under the title of The Saint Leads the Dance (No. 22). In 1960, a French motion picture adapting the Palm Springs short story was released under the same title.

The series went on, with adaptations of
The Saint Sees It Through (No. 21) and Call for the Saint (No. 23), released in 1948. Fayard then discovered that they were running out of original Saint stories, just as the popularity of their books in France was growing by leaps and bounds.

First, they decided to put out two more collections of short stories collections. No. 25 was a straightforward translation of
Saint Errant.

No. 24, on the other hand, was an original collection, entitled
The Saint Has Fun. In this book, Fayard picked and chose stories from The Brightest Buccaneer (two stories), The Saint Intervenes (five stories) and The Happy Highwayman (seven stories). This was the first book sequentially credited to Madeleine Michel-Tyl, barring exceptions made for possibly erroneous credits in earlier volumes.

The stories which were not included in
The Saint Has Fun were later used in two more original collections, released as No. 69 (The Trumps of the Saint) and No. 76 (Again the Saint!). Why were these stories not used earlier? I do not know.

The Noble Sportsman (from The Saint Intervenes) was translated and published in Le Saint Detective Magazine No. 24, but not included in the books. The Uncritical Publisher (also from The Saint Intervenes) was not translated at all! The likely reason for these rather bizarre omissions is either page count, or the editors simply forgot about them! All in all, a rather confusing situation.

Note: There is a 1945 French-Canadian of The Saint Intervenes, Le Saint intervient, published by Editions Modernes Ltée, translated by Madeleine Didayer, and it is likely that the "missing" stories were included there.)

In any event, with less original material to translate, and a growing demand for more stories, the time had come for Fayard to develop its own homegrown substitute.