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Simon Templar

Simon Templar is a fictional character in a series of books by Leslie Charteris. He is also known as "The Saint" due to his initials, and sometimes uses the nom de guerre[?] Sebastian Tombs (and in one episode he also calls himself by sundry other names such as Sullivan Titwillow and Sugarman Treacle - the Saint has a boyish sense of humour).

It is not clear exactly what Simon Templar does for a living, although burglary is often alluded to in the books. It is clear from the texts, however, that all of his income derives from the pockets of the 'ungodly' (as he terms those who live by a less moral code than his own). These unworthies include bent politicians, warmongers, indeed all the nastier forms of low life. "He claims he's a Robin Hood," bleats one of his victims, "but to me he's just a robbing hood."

The time period of the books begins in the 1920s and moves through the 1930s and 1940s quite recognisably as the series of about 45 books by Charteris progresses. The quality of writing also changes; early books have a freshness of spirit which becomes replaced to an extent by an air of cynicism in the later works. The most recent spate of books to appear are pale trashy imitations of the original, and seem to have been house-written by others, following the death of Charteris in 1993.

The character appeared in a long-running 1960s television show The Saint, played by Roger Moore. Since then there have been several other actors who played him in less successful TV series, most notably Return of the Saint starring Ian Ogilvy (who outdid Moore in his interpretation of the Saint, in the view of some fans). A film with Val Kilmer in the title role was also made, but diverged far from the Charteris books.

Compare with: James Bond



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