Crime Fiction Alphabet – X is for X Esquire

OK I admit it I am beaten. In homage to Sue Grafton I attempted to put together a crime fiction alphabet of one word titles (of books I have read) but the dastardly letter X has stumped me. Though I have seen this title written with a hyphen: does that count?

Leslie Charteris published his first book, X Esquire, in 1927. You don’t have to look too hard to see the genesis of the series Charteris’ is most famous for featuring Simon Templar (a.k.a. The Saint) which started two books later. X Esquire starred a chap by the name of Terry Mannering who took it upon himself to knock off some evil doers who were attempting to flood Britain with poisonous cigarettes (more poisonous than usual that is). Signing himself anonymously X, esquire in his communiqué’s Mannering matched wits with an unconventional Scotland Yard detective by the name of Bill Kennedy who also appeared in Charteris’ second novel.

If the world is divided into Bond fans and Saint fans then I am definitely in the second camp. I suspect it’s because my older brother had all the books in a box which he inherited from some distant male relative and never looked at but I slowly worked my way through them when I’d run out of everything else to read and it wasn’t time to go back to the library yet.

One of the useless (unless I’m at the right quiz night) facts swimming around my brain is that Charteris had a Chinese father and was therefore excluded from gaining residency in the US under something called the Chinese Exclusion Act until an act of Congress granted him and his daughter permanent residency. If you want to know more about the man and his works check out Leslie Charteris and the Saint: An Appreciation at the excellent Shots Magazine website.

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8 Responses to Crime Fiction Alphabet – X is for X Esquire

  1. BooksPlease says:

    I would say a title with a hyphen is one word!

    I haven’t read any Bond or Saint books, but of the two I’d plump for the Saint having watched so many programmes on TV years ago. Roger Moore became James Bond later on, but Sean Connery has to be my favourite Bond.


  2. Bernadette – I agree with Margaret; I consider X-Esquire one word, so you are still leaving me gobsmacked at your ability to choose one-word titles for this meme. I would never have been able to do that. My preference is for Templar, too, so I’m glad you featured this one : ).


  3. Maxine says:

    This definitely counts! Well done to you. I think we shall see a range of inventive cheats this week, but in my view your selection is the real thing.
    Hyphens are fine, eg “X-ray” is generally considered to be a word beginning with X.
    I wonder what Sue Grafton will actually come up with when she gets to X, which is very close for her now. (Not X-ray I hope – this is the usual choice for all those kids’ “learing the alphabet” matrices..but I hope she’ll be more inventive. Xylophone? Xerxes? )


  4. Dorte H says:

    No rule-bending here, but it is quite funny to see how people work their way around these non-existing letters (we only have q, w, x and z in foreign words – but then we have æ, ø, å instead).


  5. Kerrie says:

    I’m with the others! Well done on locating this one, and that useless tidbit of information was interesting


  6. moreVikings says:

    Wow, I’m a Charteris fan and didn’t even know about this book. Definitely going to have to ferret out myself a copy. Thanks!

    Oh, and I totally feel your pain with trying to find an ‘X’ book. I got a crazy whim to do an A to Zed series of book reviews for historical fiction on my book review blog for this May and it took me two weeks to find even one ‘X’ titled work.

    The problem solving part of my nature wants to go write a whole series of books that begin with ‘X’ in different genres just to solve this problem for the future, but it’s probably best I don’t listen to that little voice of insanity.


  7. bernadetteinoz says:

    LOL – I love the idea of you writing lots of X books – it must feel like such an unloved letter on the library shelves.


  8. Pingback: Goodbye to the Crime Fiction Alphabet « Reactions to Reading

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