Overboard is a much darker Saint adventure, and a lot like The Saint in New York. In this episode, Templar battles Kurt Vogel, a criminal who searches for sunken ships laden with treasure and steals the treasures before the ships can be properly recovered. Loretta Page, the “Saint Girl” of the piece, who works for a detective agency tracking Vogel, informs the Saint of the plot after Templar rescues her from one of Vogel’s henchmen. The Saint weaves his way into Vogel’s confidence to stop him (he is a dreadful chap, after all, and a murderer, too) and to grab some of the treasure for himself (even the happy highwayman needs a paycheck now and then!). The suspense will make you hold your breath. You will find Vogel one of the best villains ever written. He could have been a great arch enemy for Simon Templar; the book could have alternatively been titled The Saint Meets His Match. He is just plain creepy, guv.
But a serious Saint equals a boring Saint, or at least a less entertaining Saint. For all its seriousness, this could have been a James Bond novel (imagine Bond on holiday when he stumbles onto the plot and either takes it upon himself or gets permission from Her Majesty's Government to pursue…). There are only two funny moments. Both are short.
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The Saint Overboard also suffered from a lack of Templar’s Gal Friday, Patricia Holm. I fell in love with old Pat during The Saint Plays With Fire and The Saint’s Getaway. They are great together, have a wonderful relationship, and share terrific banter. But she is missing from quite a few Saint books, and I wish she were not (there is supposedly a story behind her removal from the series but whether or not it is a canonical story I am not sure so we will not mention it here). Instead, we get a “Saint Girl” and it is not as good. We know Loretta, like every Bond Girl (except Tiffany Case), will be gone by the next story.
My next Saintly reading will be one of the short story sets; I have two more Saint novels to go through and I will save them for later. I do not think Patricia Holm appears in either of them, damn and blast.