Saint Errant is a collection of short stories by Leslie Charteris, first published in 1948 by The Crime Club in the United States and in 1949 by Hodder and Stoughton in the United Kingdom. This was the 28th book to feature the adventures of Simon Templar, alias "The Saint", and the first Saint short story collection since 1939's The Happy Highwayman. Several of the stories were based upon the then-current Saint comic strip, while the story "Judith" was first published in 1934 (the version featured in this book has been revised and updated).
Saint Errant was the first of several themed story collections that Charteris would publish over the next decade. In the case of Saint Errant, each story focuses on a different female acquaintance of Templar's. This was also the final book to feature Templar's longtime love interest and partner, Patricia Holm. Charteris decided that Templar should no longer be tied down to just one woman (although he had enjoyed romantic dalliances in several previous books, suggesting his relationship with Holm was non-exclusive). In later years, Charteris would refuse to allow continuation writers to bring Holm back to the series, although he might have made an exception with the unpublished Saint novel, The Saint's Lady (1979) as Holm appears in that work. There is also a brief reference to Holm in the final book of the series, Salvage for the Saint.
The Saint book series went on hiatus fafter this release; the next Simon Templar story collection would not appear until 1953, although the character continued to appear in radio plays and comic strips during the interval. All further Saint books used the short story format until Vendetta for the Saint was published in 1963.
The book consisted of 9 stories:
- Judith aka The Naughty Niece
- Iris aka The Old Routine
- Lida aka The Foolish Frail
- Jeannine aka The Lovely Sinner
- Lucia aka The Homecoming of Amadeo Urselli
- Teresa aka The Uncertain Widow
- Luella aka The Saint and the Double Badger
- Emily aka The Doodlebug
- Dawn aka The Darker Drink
Early editions of the book use only the single female names for the titles of the different stories. Several stories were novelisations of radio show episodes.
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All but two of the stories from this collection formed the basis for episodes of the 1962-69 TV series, The Saint. In all cases, the episode titles did not include the original stories' subtitles.
During the second season "Judith" aired on October 3, 1963, followed by "Teresa" on October 10, "Iris" on November 7, and "Luella" on January 23, 1964. "Lucia" was retitled "Sophia" and aired on February 27, 1964. During the third season, "Lida" aired on October 15, 1964 and "Jeannine" followed on October 22.
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