Posts Tagged ‘The Four Just Men’

I have put a new draft ‘Just Woman’ story on to Wattpad: https://www.wattpad.com/myworks/106008959-the-sapphire

And here’s a description:

London, 1924. After the dramatic events of Four Days in October and the exciting General Election, the Three Just Men and One Woman intend to return to solving some of the other criminal cases crying out for their attention. Mirabelle and Leon have an Italian banking case to investigate which would take them away from England and the influence of the irrational and disruptive Maria of Gratz. It’s time to return to the sort of cases that made them famous! But Europe in 1924 is a dangerous place; perhaps they should stay in London and investigate a missing jewel — a valuable sapphire brooch that was given away to a notorious criminal. But as it happens, Mirabelle and Leon know the criminal …
The Sapphire continues the story of Four Days in October and The Woman of Gratz. It is based on the characters in Edgar Wallace’s thriller The Three Just Men (1924)


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After some problems following Amazon’s Cloud failure earlier this week, I’ve uploaded books 2 and 3 of ‘The Just Woman’ series to Amazon Kindle: these are the sequels to The Flat in Doughty Court. With echoes of the golden age of crime and thriller fiction, they don’t set out to be great literature. I wrote them as a fun read for myself, friends and family, and hope that other readers will enjoy them too.

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NaNoWriMo’s latest email tells me that if I upload my NaNoWriMo novel to Wattpad by the end of this month it will be entered into a prize draw. Well, why not? So I’ve uploaded it: it’s here. If any of you reading this would like to take a glance and send me your comments, I’ll be glad to hear from you.
thumbBased on the characters from thriller-writer Edgar Wallace’s (1875-1932) “Four Just Men” series, this story explores what happens when Maria of Gratz, former leader of the Anarchist group the Red Hundred, returns to London in 1924 to escape her enemies on the continent of Europe. It is now 16 years since she and her Red Army tried to destroy London and only the Four Just Men were able to stop her. In revenge, Maria then betrayed George Manfred, the Just Men’s leader, to the English police. Now Maria is back, swearing her love for George, but although he believes she has reformed, his two colleagues Raymond Poiccart and Leon Gonsalez do not — and neither does Leon’s young wife Mirabelle Leicester. With the British economy in crisis and the General Strike just over the horizon, Maria’s rabble-rousing skills look set to stir up revolution in the streets and disaster for the country. Can Raymond, Leon and Mirabelle stop Maria from destroying Britain, and their leader George?

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One of the spin-offs from taking part in NaNoWriMo this year has been that I now know a little more about British history of the first quarter of the 20th century: not the sort of facts one learns at school, but interesting details such as when the first policewomen were recruited in London, the beginnings of electric street lamps and public phone boxes, the state of taxis and tram lines and when certain London Underground lines opened. I also discovered that details of the Edgar Wallace novels I was using as my jump-off point were more true than I’d previously known. Of course, readers at the time would have known what was real and what was made up; but we modern readers don’t know these things.

So: the ‘Aliens Extradition Bill’ which is at the centre of the action in The Four Just Men (1906) is obviously based on The Aliens Act of 1905. And the scene in The Council of Justice (1908) in which the Prince of the Escorial(s) and his bride narrowly avoid having a bomb thrown at them on their wedding day is based on the wedding of Alfonso XIII of Spain to Princess Victoria of England in 1906, when a Catalan anarchist threw a bomb at the wedding procession. After 1908, Wallace seems to have taken his heroic desperados out of politics, because the rest of his ‘Just Men’ stories concentrate on individual villains rather than matters of international importance. Only in the short story ‘The Happy Travellers’, published in Again the Three (1928), does Leon Gonsalez intervene to stop Isola Koskina, an Italian revolutionary, from interfering in Italian politics and attempting to ‘remove tyrants from their high positions’ as Isola puts it. Leon’s excuse is that the British government would not wish to ‘find that they are implicated’ in an assassination. Apparently the Just Men had become a branch of the British secret service! With hindsight, it would have been better for Leon to have left Isola alone, as presumably she was working against Mussolini. What a change from 1906 and the Just Men’s support for the revolutionary Manuel Garcia! Perhaps twenty years had made a change in Wallace’s politics.

It’s a hard life for fictional heroes — always at the mercy of their author.

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