Mayflower-Dell, London, 1967
The blurb on the back:
To the worried American father the plea was simple – ‘Find my missing son in London.’
The body of work centred on Sexton Blake – surely the longest running British detective series ever – isn’t really within the scope of this site, but I couldn’t resist this one. Cos it’s set in the midst of swinging London, among the alleged Chelsea set, and consequently is irresistible to those of us in love with British popular culture.
The reality, of course, is that it simply borrows from the standard stock of clichés about alternative society, without any real attempt at genuine observation, but hell, it’s still fun. Here, for example, is Sexton Blake’s venerable assistant, Tinker, in a Chelsea pub:
At the centre of a dastardly and murderous criminal network is a beat guru known as Bobo, who’s an aficionado of Aleister Crowley and Jean Paul Sartre, a man who wears sunglasses after dark, has pure white, shoulder-length hair and is given to ‘reciting a mish-mash of half-digested opinions, filched from every second-rate hack philosopher of the century’ (p.61). Sounds like my kind of guy.
Not exactly a classic of its kind, but a nice bit of fun. And I do love the thoroughly unconvincing photos on the cover of Bohemian thugs. Marvellous.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: 3/5
HIPNESS QUOTIENT: 3/5