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Authors: Leslie Charteris

Tags: #Fiction, #English Fiction, #Espionage

The Saint Meets His Match

BOOK: The Saint Meets His Match
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Meet Miss
Murder

The Saint stood there amazed. The two
musclemen at her side didn’t bother
him
at all, but her face and that softly
rounded body
stopped him cold. So
this
was
Jill Trelawney, England’s most
notorious criminal!

His own poker face showed
nothing of
the fear inside him. Not
because of the
risk of violence or
brutality from the men
but
because of the woman.

The results of this meeting lead to high
adventure as the Saint joins forces
with Europe’s most
dangerous and
voluptuous criminal—in a plan
that
was to rock England to the
inner circles
of Scotland Yard!

 

THE SAINT

MEETS HIS MATCH

(Original
title, “Angels Of Doom”)

 

By
   
Leslie
   
Charteris

 

 

 

 

 

COMPLETE
 
AND
  
UNABRIDGED

 

 

AVON
   
PUBLISHING
  
CO.,
 
INC.

575 Madison Ave.—New York 22

 

ANGELS OF DOOM

Copyright, 1931, 1932, by Leslie Charteris

Avon
Edition
First Printing
                        
December,1952

 

 

 

 

 

 

TO

HUGH CLEVELY

 

Published by arrangement with Doubleday
and Co., Inc.

Printed in U.S.A.

 

Chapter I

HOW SIMON TEMPLAR MET JILL TRELAWNEY,

AND THERE WERE SKYLARKING AND

SONG IN BELGRAVE STREET

 

THE big car had been
sliding through the night like a
great black slug with wide, flaming eyes that
seared the
road and carved a blazing tunnel
of light through the
darkness under
the over-arching trees; and then the eyes
were suddenly blinded, and the
smooth pace of the slug
grew slower and
slower until it groped itself to a shadowy
standstill under the hedge.

The man who had watched its
approach, sitting under
a tree, with the glowing
end of his cigarette carefully
shielded in his cupped
hands, stretched silently to his feet. The car had stopped only a few yards
from him, as he had
expected. He stooped and trod his
cigarette into the grass
and came down to the road
without a sound. There was
no sound at all except the murmur of leaves in
the night
air, for the subdued hiss of the
car’s eight cylinders had
ceased.

Momentarily, inside the
car, a match flared up, reveal
ing everything there with
a startling clearness.

The rich crimson
upholstery, the handful of perfect
roses in the
crystal bracket, the gleaming silver fittings—
those
might have been imagined from the exterior. So also, perhaps, might have been
imagined the man with
the battered face who wore
a chauffeur’s livery; or the rather vacantly good-looking man who sat alone in
the
back, with his light overcoat swept back from his
spotless
white shirt front, and his silk hat on the seat beside him.
Or, perhaps, the girl… .

Or perhaps not the girl.

The light of the match focussed the attention
upon her
particularly, for she was using it
to light a cigarette. On
the face of it, of course, she was exactly what
one would
have looked for. On the face of
it, she was the kind of girl who goes very well with an expensive car, and
there was
really no reason why she
should not be sitting at the
wheel.
On the face of it

But there was something
about her that put superficial
judgments uneasily in the
wrong. Tall she must have
been, guessed the man who
watched her from the shad
ows, and of a willowy
slenderness that still left her a
woman. And
beautiful she was beyond dispute, with a
perfectly
natural beauty which yet had in it nothing of
the
commonplace. Her face was all her own, as was the
cornfield
gold of her hair. And no artifice known to the deceptions of women could have
given her those tawny
golden eyes… .

“So you’re Jill
Trelawney!” thought the man in the
shadows.
        

The light was extinguished
as he thought it; but he
carried every detail of the
picture it had shown indelibly photographed on his brain. This was a living
photograph.
He had been given mere camera
portraits of her before-
some of them were in his
pocket at that moment—but
they were pale and
insignificant things beside the memory of the reality, and he wondered dimly at
the impertinence
which presumed to try to capture such
a face in dispas
sionate halftone.

“On the face of
it—hell!” thought the man in the
shadows.

But in the car, the man in
evening dress said, more
elegantly: “You’re an
extraordinary woman, Jill. Every
time I see you—”

“You get more
maudlin,” the girl took him up calmly. “This is work—not a mothers’
meeting.”

The man in evening dress
grunted querulously.

“I don’t see why you
have to be so snappy, Jill. We’re
all in the same
boat——

“I’ve yet to sail in a
sauceboat, Weald.”

The end of her cigarette
glowed more brightly as she inhaled, and darkened again in an uncontested
silence.
Then the man with the battered face
said, diffidently: “As
long as Templar isn’t
around——

“Templar!” The
girl’s voice cut in on the name like
the crack of a whip.
“Templar!” she said scathingly.
“What
are you trying to do, Pinky? Scare me? That man’s
a
bee in your bonnet——

“The Saint,” said
the man with the battered face
diffidently, “would
be a bee in anybody’s bonnet what was
up against him.
See?”

If there had been a
light, he would have been seen to be blushing. Mr. Budd always blushed when
anyone spoke to
him sharply. It was this weakness that
had given him the
nickname of “Pinky.”

“There’s
 
a story——

 
ventured the man in evening
dress; but he got no further.

“Isn’t there always
a story about any fancy dick?” demanded the girl scornfully. “I
suppose you’ve never heard
a story about
Henderson—or Peters—or Teal—or Bill
Kennedy? Who
is
this man Templar, anyway?”

“Ever seen a man pick
up another man fifty pounds above his weight ‘n’ heave him over a six-foot wall
like
he was a sack of feathers?” asked Mr. Budd, in
his diffident
way. “Templar does that as a kind
of warming-up exercise for a real fight. Ever seen a man stick a visiting card
up
edgeways ‘n’ cut it in half with a knife at fifteen
paces?
Templar does that standing on his head with his eyes
shut. Ever seen a man take all the punishment six hood
lums can hand out to him ‘n’ come back smiling to qualify
the whole half-dozen for an ambulance ride? Temp
lar——

“Frightened of him,
Pinky?” inquired the girl quietly.

Mr. Budd sniffed.

“I been sparring
partner—which is the same as saying
human punchbag—to
some of the best heavyweights what
ever stepped into a
ring,” he answered, “but I always been
paid
handsome for the hidings I’ve took. I don’t expect
the
Saint ‘ud be ready to pay so much for the pleasure of beating me up. See?”

Mr. Budd did not add that since
his sparring-partner
days he had seen service
in Chicago with “Blinder”
Kellory and other
gang leaders almost as notorious—men
who shot on sight
and asked questions at the inquest. He
had
acquitted himself with distinction in Kellory’s “war”
with
“Scarface” Al Capone—and he said nothing about
that, either. There was a peculiarly impressive
quality
about his reticence.

“Nobody’s gonna say
I’m frightened to fight anybody,”
said
Mr. Budd pinkly, “but that don’t stop me knowing
when
I’m gonna be licked. See?”

“If you take my advice, Jill,” yapped
the man in eve
ning dress, “you’ll
settle with Templar before he gets the
chance
to do any mischief. It ought to be easy——

The man in the shadows
shook with a chuckle of pure
amusement. It was a warm evening, and all the
windows
of the car were open. He could hear
every word that was
said. He was standing so near the car that he could
have
taken a pace forward, reached out a
hand, and touched it.
But he took two
paces forward.

The girl said, with cool contempt, as though
she were
dealing with a sulky child:
“If it’ll make you feel any happier to have him fixed——

“It would,”
said Stephen Weald shamelessly. “I know
there
are always stories, but the stories I’ve heard about
the
Saint don’t make me happy. He’s uncanny. They
say——

The words were strangled
in his throat in a kind of sob,
so that the other two looked at him quickly,
though they
could not have made out his face
in the gloom. But the
girl saw, in an
instant, what Weald had seen—the deeper
shadow that had blacked out the grey square of one
window.

BOOK: The Saint Meets His Match
11.6Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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