The Saint in MiamiThe Saint in Miami by Leslie Charteris

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is an outstanding book for many reasons.

It’s the first Charteris book I’ve read and I must seek more. The writing is very good.The characters are well defined. The plotting also intricately planned. Especially considering today there is the perspective of the past and how much Charteris was cobbling together of the larger World War to come.

Reading this book had me banging my head into the wall as to why authors just won’t write like this today???? Same thoughts while reading Slaughter or even Brett Halliday. Is it so hard to write with intelligence?

The Florida angle: This, for me, is the best part! Charteris went far, far, far beyond my expectations depicting Florida! Clearly he traveled the state and did careful research.

His weakest description is around Miami. The beach area and the coast are written loosely. Though, a commentary of Miami Beach tourists is particularly well done. Since the sketchy description is early on, I figured the Florida setting to get worse. It doesn’t. His driving narrative reflects well the roadways around Dade County in 1940.

He kicks it all up a notch with his writing of areas in the Everglades. A floating gambling pub and surroundings are well depicted. It’s their trip through the Big Cypress (Which was yet to come and referred to as the Everglades) that Charteris really nails down the writing of sawgrass, swamp trudging, a rain storm, felled trees in the swamp and so much more.

So much of Charteris description of Florida is better than what celebrated Florida authors do today.

A couple of oddities in writing of Florida:
*) The sheriff is a main character throughout. But the more prominant law in the area, the Miami and Miami Beach police are barely mentioned. Seems that is for expediting the story.
*) A character is coming from “Olustee”, which is written as somewhat nearby. Olustee sems to stand in for Raiford.
*) Though heat and sweat are occasionally mentioned, the reality of a visitor from the UK in many situations exposed to heavy heat is not well covered.

The best part of the book is the accurate Florida setting.

Bottom line: I recommend this book. 9 of 10.

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