Thursday, 12 July 2018

The Progressive Phase of G.H.Teed


The Progressive Phase of G.H.Teed
by Christopher Lowder
from The Collector’s Digest Annual 1972
(G H Teed was a Canadian and a prolific and popular author. Biographical information on the author can be found in this book which has yet to be delivered.)

With very little juggling, we can divide up the career of George Heber Teed (the ‘Hamilton’ was a personal fancy, added, it is thought, because the name Heber had unfortunate associations for him) as a Sexton Blake writer into five phases — Early, Progressive, Mature, Violent, Late.
The Early phase is self-explanatory. Although there is a certain amount of mystery attached to his first couple of years in the game, and although he did seem to leap into a prominence that very few other writers, in any other field of writing were far from assured.
One could tell that here was an extremely promising writer, certainly; but that promise was yet to be fulfilled. Teed was still learning his craft.
By 1915, however, a gradual change can be seen in his work, culminating in that extraordinary Summer Double Number of the Union Jack, “Bribery and Corruption” (see Note 1), in which, throughout the whole of its 80,000-word length, no-one is murdered.
To those who may not have read this particular tale, the idea of a detective story without a body may seem astonishing, not to say laughable. In fact, “Bribery and Corruption” is a tour de force in every way, and can be read on many levels.
It can be read simply as a good story, well told. It can be read as a fine political novel, in which one is given an extraordinary insight into the machinations and motivations of an ambitious rogue who seeks political control over a whole town.
It can be read as an intellectual exercise where one follows the analytical and deductive processes of a detective, and as a clever example of how to write a novel-length story around that detective without resorting to violence, murder or sudden death. And it can be read for its stunningly visual descriptions of a part of the world - New Brunswick, Canada - the author knew as a child, and which obviously affected him deeply.
Following on from this, it can also be read, I think, as a vivid slice of autobiography. There are minor characters in the story who, I am certain, were lifted straight out of Teed’s youthful experiences and not given even the thinnest of fictional veneers. There are situations and incidents aside from the tale’s main plotline that I suspect Teed himself had taken a part in at some time in his early career, or at least knew of at first or second hand.
This is partly what I mean by the term ‘Progressive.’ There is a maturity - almost a self-awaredness - about “Bribery and Corruption” that is largely absent in his previous stories. Clearly Teed enjoyed writing this tale, and clearly he was coming to terms with himself as a writer of what were then considered to be solely ‘juvenile’ stories.
There is another factor worthy of note concerning this phase - and one which is possibly the most important of all. He was beginning to regard the villains he was writing about as not wholly two-dimensional, cardboard characters.
It is made quite plain that Hammerton Palmer, the crooked financier who is the villain of the piece in “Bribery and Corruption,” is a sympathetic character, for all his political wheeling and dealing and general roguery. He saves a young boy’s life through an heroic and unselfish action on his own part, and at the end of the story gets away scot free thanks to the intervention of Sexton Blake.
That this process of ‘cleaning up’ Palmer was a deliberate one on Teed’s part is given added weight if one reads “The Prize Ship,” a two-part, 40,000-word story by Teed, that was published in Pluck a month or so before “Bribery and Corruption” appeared in the Union Jack.
Here, again, Palmer is the hero/villain of the piece, and here, again, he gets away thanks to Blake - and with a sizeable slice of the loot (£8,000) gained by his financial trickery.
Compare this with Palmer’s first appearance almost exactly a year before in the Summer Double Number for 1914, “The Death Club.” In this story, he is nothing more than a cold-blooded murderer, and escapes the law, and the gallows, by the skin of his teeth, and with no help at all from Blake. (See Note 2.)
We see a gradual change in other Teed characters too in this period. Huxton Rymer is a good example of a ruthless killer who becomes far more appealing, and, indeed, ‘real,’ as time goes on. The Rymer of “The Diamond Dragon,” “The Great Mining Swindle” or “The Case of the Radium Patient” is a far less sympathetic character than the Rymer of “The Two Mysteries” or “The Blue God.”
Of course, giving fictional crooks a three-dimensional aspect, making them to a certain extent into sympathetic and appealing characters, was nothing new, and I’m not suggesting that Teed revolutionized detective fiction as a whole when he used this method. What he did do, however, was to give his particular characters much more depth than his fellow-writers in the same field gave theirs.
There is no redeeming feature in Andrew Murray’s Professor Kew, for instance; Lewis Jackson’s Kestrel remained an out-and-out murderous crook from “The Case of the Cataleptic” (1916) right through until “The Case of the Biscay Pirate” (1944) - and who could ever feel any sort of sympathy for Robert Murray’s malignant Mr. Reece? E. S. Brooks made Waldo into a friendly enough type, true, but unfortunately Waldo remained, like Norman Conquest, stubbornly two-dimensional until the end of his days.
Only Zenith, Anthony Skeene’s brilliant albino, aspired to any sort of depth character on the same level as Teed’s best creations. But Zenith, alas, was a paradox, and very quirky.
This Progressive phase of Teed’s lasted from 1915 until 1917, when it was cut short - one might almost say in its prime - with an abruptness that only those who were alive at the time would appreciate.
Quite simply, Rymer, Yvonne, Wu Ling and the rest became War casualties, and when they returned, after the War, when Teed came back to writing in 1921, they had all undergone a subtle change in their characters that made them not quite what they once were.
Mostly, this change was for the better. The period from 1921 until the late ‘20’s is considered by most people, and with justice, to be Teed’s best, happily coinciding with the true Golden Age of the Sexton Blake saga - which is why I term this period, from Teed’s point of view, the Mature phase.
But one of his creations at least altered course so radically that he might just as well have been an entirely different, even new, character.
I refer, of course, to Prince Menes, ‘the Man from Everywhere,’ a character of great originality and easily the most skilful creation of Teed’s Progressive phase.
Incidentally, it is interesting to note that Prince Menes was created at a time (1917) when Teed was certainly refreshed as a writer of Sexton Blake stories, and I think this is why the character was such an original one.
The year 1916 saw Teed much more concerned with another market - the Nelson Lee Library. He had started writing for this market the previous year, but in 1916 he wrote nearly half the total output - seventeen stories, as opposed to the six (including one Library) he wrote about Sexton Blake. In 1917, the reverse was the case, as E. S. Brooks began to corner the market, so to say - six Nelson Lee stories, and sixteen Blakes (again, including one Library).
One of the main factors that caused Teed to concentrate on the Nelson Lee Library was probably simple economics. It’s far easier in the long run to knock out seventeen novelettes than seventeen longer stories, and if the reward, in terms of hard cash, is proportionately easier to come by, then Teed (who, concerning his own money-making activities was fairly hard-headed - even if he did tend to lose it at a rather faster rate than it actually came in) probably didn’t hesitate too much in his choice of markets.
Whatever the reason, he undoubtedly came back to the Blake fold full of new ideas and new courses for his characters to take.
It is a pity that the only real sign of this renewal of vitality shows itself in one single new series. True, 1917 was the year when the Black Rat made his first appearance, and also Marie Galante - but the former was a typical Teed character, and the latter, since she was featured in only one story, never had time to develop.
Prince Menes, on the other hand, had plenty of time to develop, and he made the most of it.
There are four stories which concern us here - “A Case of Reincarnation,” “The Secret Hand,” “The Case of the Crimson Terror,” and “The Invisible Ray” - and a brief synopsis of the background of the series might well be in order.
Ten thousand years ago, Egypt was a flourishing and mighty nation that ruled the known world. However, the country itself was ruled by the Order of Ra, the Sun God (remember, this is Teed’s version of history) whose Supreme Master was Prince Menes, twin brother to the actual Pharaoh. In time, the Pharaoh grew jealous of Menes’ power, and eventually the Order was betrayed by ten priests and priestesses, Menes was exiled, and the fortunes of Egypt sank, over the succeeding ten thousand years, because of this betrayal and banishment.
Before the original Menes died, however, he swore that in ten thousand years he would be reincarnated, and that his appearance on earth would coincide with the reappearance of those same ten priests and priestesses of Ra, who had betrayed their Order. Also, that during those ten thousand years, the spirit of Ancient Egypt would pass from one civilization to another, from one nation to another, and these civilizations and nations would rise up and fall again, just as Egypt had done, until this spirit would eventually pass to a nation that would rebuild the shattered Egypt, to make her great once more.
Then, in the latter half of the 19th Century, a son was born to a Russian Grand Duke and a Chinese princess. At the age of ten, he was placed in charge of a priest of the Greek Orthodox Church who later ‘renounced his former faith and embraced the ancient beliefs of Egypt - the worship of Ra and Amen-Ra - the reverence of Isis and Osiris’ (“A Case of Reincarnation”).
This was Akbad the patriarch, who taught his young charge that he was the reincarnated Prince Menes, who had been born again to find the spirit of Ancient Egypt, and weld the modern Egypt into one mighty nation. But first he had to seek out those ten priests and priestesses of the Order of Ra, who were all now reincarnated and alive somewhere in the world, and exact a terrible vengeance on them for their original betrayal of the Order, ten thousand years before.
This, in essence, was the premise for Teed’s new series, and the jumping-off point for the weirdest, most original set of stories Teed ever envisaged. The pity of it was that it was never finished.
However, in the course of the four stories that were written, Teed came up with some strange, not to say astonishing, angles, which, apart from anything else, give us a good idea of the state of his personal philosophy at the time.
It is dangerous to connect a man’s fiction with the man himself, but sometimes, as in this case I think, it is largely justified by the intensity of the writing, and the esoteric knowledge that Teed obviously had at his finger-tips.
It is a well-known fact that Teed was what might be described as a hack - I use the word in its best sense; Charles Hamilton was a hack, so was Dr. Johnson. Basically, he wrote for money - and he wrote, in his time, a lot of words for a lot of money. He also spent a lot of money, owed a lot of money, drank more than was good for him, womanised more than somewhat, and generally racketed around the environs of Fleet Street behaving like just about every other writer who was (and, indeed, still is) engaged in the business of making a living by writing stuff that will never come up for nomination in the literary section of the Nobel Prize awards.
That he was a better writer, per se, than the majority of his colleagues has nothing to do with the fact that his market was the lowest in Grub Street.
Strange, then, that this same hack should show such a wide-ranging knowledge of such rather esoteric subjects as: Freudian psychology, mysticism, metaphysics and physiological structurization - not to mention high finance and modern business techniques.
These last two, of course, are themes that Teed often used in his stories - “The Crimson Pearl,” “Scoundrels All,” “The Green Portfolio,” “The Crook of Marsden Manor,” to name but a few - and he showed a truly remarkable grasp of involved financial chicanery for a man who had lived most of his early life managing- plantations of one sort or another.
That Teed knew something of ancient religions and beliefs, too, is fairly common knowledge and, indeed, obvious to anyone who has ever read any of his early Wu Ling tales. There is a graphic and totally authentic account of a pagan sacrificial ceremony in “The Yellow Tiger,” and “The Black Abbot of Cheng-Tu” is packed with esoteric Buddhist lore and information.
But one has only to start into the first four Prince Menes stories to realize that Teed not only knew a bit about mysticism - the sort of ‘bit’ one can read up in any good encyclopaedia - but was a positive authority on it.
That his obvious enthusiasm for mysticism and the occult was mis-placed is an unfortunate fact, but it still does not detract from the immense amount of study he had plainly put into the matter.
I say ‘mis-placed’ since most of the premises Teed used as jumping-off points for his stories in the ‘Man from Everywhere’ series are false ones.
At some time or other, he had obviously come into contact with that extraordinary farrago of falsification and sheer downright nonsense The Secret Doctrine by Mme. Helena P. Blavatsky, the founder of Theosophy.
Mme. Blavatsky, who, during the course of her life, had been a circus bareback rider, a professional pianist, and a sweat-shop worker, amongst other things, largely created a pre-historic macrocosm and a gaudy panoply of gods and goddesses to people it.
The Secret Doctrine is supposedly based on an Atlantean treatise “The Book of Dzyan,” which she said had been showed to her by the ‘world-ruling’ Mahatmas of Tibet. Mme. Blavatsky was a firm believer in Atlantis, Lemuria and other lost continents, some of which she even invented herself.
Unfortunately for her, an elderly Californian scholar, William Emmette Coleman, decided to dig rather deeper into The Secret Doctrine than Mme. Blavatsky cared for or, indeed, her misguided followers bothered to. He discovered that her sources (all unacknowledged) were the Indian Vishnu Purana, Alexander Winchell’s World Life, Ignatius Donnelly’s infamous Atlantis: the Antediluvian World (which, in turn, is a medley of inventions, misstatements of fact, errors of interpretation and downright lies), and other pseudo-scientific works. The crowning cheat of all was that most of the “Book of Dzyan” was cribbed wholesale from the “Hymn of Creation” in the ancient Sanskrit “Rig-Veda” (see Note 3).
Thus, it can be readily seen that anyone who relies on The Secret Doctrine - and, indeed, the hundreds of Theosophical, mystical and occult tomes that have sprung, directly or indirectly, from it - as a cornerstone of his spiritual convictions is sadly deluding himself, and the only practical use to be made of it is either as kindling, or, as the fantasy writer Edgar Rice Burroughs did, a basis for a series of science fiction stories (i.e. his ‘Martian’ novels).
It is doubtful whether Burroughs, who was something of a super-materialist, ever put any real faith in the occult, and especially The Secret Doctrine. Teed, on the other hand, for all his hard-headedness and general practicality, was obviously rather taken with the whole concept of lost continents, occult lore, and the ‘wisdom of the ancients’ at this stage in his development.
The ‘Man from Everywhere’ series is full of the sort of esoteric mystical lore that was packed into the books and pamphlets of Donnelly, Mme. Blavatsky, and others of their ilk.
“The Case of the Crimson Terror,” for instance (the third in the series), contains an interesting synopsis of all that had gone before in the previous stories, and also a facinating account of world history that owed a huge debt to the theories of the occultists.
Before the known civilizations there existed the continent of Atlantis, and also the ‘Pacific continent’ (see Note 4), which were the cradles of all learning and knowledge. When Atlantis supposedly disappeared beneath the waves, the survivors spread out through the world and colonized places as far apart as Egypt, India, South America, and so on. These colonists brought with them their crafts, advanced knowledge, and religious philosophies - the latter chiefly centring around the sun and the moon.
The colonists who reached Egypt found a wide and beautiful valley where the Sahara now lies, and there built a vast temple to Ra, the Sun God, in the massive pyramid of Zagwa, which was later covered over by the drifting sands of the desert when Egypt fell after the betrayal of the Order of Ra.
Though Egypt itself tumbled to the position of a vassal to nations, then as a slave, then as a barren desert, the Order of Ra survived and prospered, hidden in the secret underground temple, and through the ages gathered in the knowledge and scientific discoveries of other civilizations, so that at the time of the ‘Prince Menes’ series, the Order of Ra had at its disposal a vast fund of scientific knowledge and arcane lore (a mixture of the profane and the sacred), all of which was inculcated into the man who was said to be the reincarnation of the first Prince Menes, who had lived ten thousand years before.
The debts that Teed owed to the occultists are many and varied. In the ‘Prince Menes’ series, he has various characters arguing, favourably, such myths and theories as reincarnation, lost continents, ancient wisdom of the most sophisticated nature (he even mentions, at one point, ‘men from the stars’ as the bringers of advanced knowledge), hypnotism as a means of seeing back into the past, ESP, rejuvenation, and a host of other ideas, some of which, like ESP, have been found to have a factual and scientific basis.
It would take more than my alloted space to fully go into the occult sources (and, too, the fictional sources - see Note 5) that Teed plundered to construct this fascinating series. Indeed, a complete exegesis would probably fill a medium sized novel.
The most curious part of all is that Teed undoubtedly more than half-believed what he was writing about, when he was setting down all the background data and mystical information for the series. It wasn’t simply a case of mugging it up in the local reference library, for again and again he warns the reader not to scoff at the weird happenings or startling psychic occurrences he is describing. And there is a basic integrity, an intensity, as I have said before, about the tone of his writing that, it seems to me, has nothing whatsoever to do with the fiction writer’s normal ‘warning to the curious’ that is written purely as a realistic effect.
The stories themselves - apart from all the mystical angles which must have puzzled his younger readers, as well as excited their imaginations - were extremely adult in other ways, too.
Although “A Case of Reincarnation” contains some fairly heavy occult philosophy (far more sophisticated stuff than one gets in the lost-race type of novel that Rider Haggard, for instance, was busily churning out around this time, and which would have found favour with the same type of readership), there are some extremely abstruse stock market and financial convolutions in the story that even I had to read twice. In the end, Menes ruins the ‘villain,’ Lord Roncote, because Roncote it appears is the reincarnation of one of those priests who betrayed the Order of Ra so many thousands of years before.
“The Secret Hand” contains perhaps the strongest meat of all. Here Blake acts as King-maker in a political drama that exceeds even “Bribery and Corruption” in its scope and sophistication. We learn that Blake is a supporter of the government in power (see Note 6), and that out of ‘sheer party loyalty’ he takes the case offered to him, by an M. P. of the Opposition party, to stave off a political crisis that might force a general election, the outcome of which would run against his own political views.
During the course of the story, it comes out that the wife of the M. P. is a murderess, and also the reincarnation of one of the traitorous priestesses of Ra.
In the end, Menes exacts a terrible vengeance by deliberately driving her insane.
As an incidental point to this story, it is interesting to note that Teed was by no means totally wrapped up in matters occult. Blake makes use of a sophisticated type of lie-detector at one point, and Menes goes one better by employing what can only be described as a pocket tape-recorder.
In “The Case of the Crimson Terror,” Teed sets out his Atlantis theories, and we learn that Blake has written a monograph on the Rosetta Stone and made ‘some little study of Egyptology.’ Menes employs his vast scientific know-how to good effect by sending his intended victim half-crazy by using his knowledge of oxydization.
If “The Secret Hand” is the most dramatic of the quartet, the fourth story, “The Invisible Ray,” is certainly not far behind it in that respect, and has, to a certain extent, an even more adult subject-matter - modern psychology. At one point in the story, we are given a description of Blake’s knowledge of the subject that is extremely advanced . . . including, as it does, a theory of Blake’s that criminals cannot simply be cured by terms of imprisonment, but by a training of the subconscious mind.
Teed also tells us that Blake’s monograph on the “Psychological Relation of the Human Physique to the Mentality” is acknowledged by a distinguished authority on the subject as being ‘a very able treatise.’ This might come as something of a shock to those who only know of Blake’s various papers on tobacco ash, firearms, and the rest of the rather mundane subjects that other writers foisted on to him.
Taken as a whole, there is no doubt that the “Man from Everywhere’ series is the culmination of Teed’s Progressive phase, and one of the very best sets of stories he ever embarked upon. The fact that it was cut short when it hadn’t even reached the half-way mark is a tragedy of the first water. In any case, if Teed was using themes like this, what on earth would the next series have been like? To what new heights would he have raised the Sexton Blake mythos?
The mind, as they say, boggles, and any speculation we might make on the subject would be mere wishful thinking. Teed didn’t go on with the series, and, in fact, he didn’t return to the Blake fold for nearly five years.
A lot can happen in that time, and, quite obviously, a lot did. In 1923, Teed was writing ‘Blake was no believer in the occult’ (“The Hyena of Paris”), and when Menes returned in 1924, in “The Mummy’s Twin,” he was no longer the embodiment of mystical power but, as S. Gordon Swan so rightly put it once, just ‘a sinister Easterner working against the West, a Wu Ling of Egypt, but a rather inferior Wu Ling’ (see Note 7).
As I have said, I consider the phase from 1921 to the latter part of the same decade to be Teed’s very best - his ‘Mature’ phase. And, indeed, “The Mummy’s Twin” is a terrific yarn on all counts, and a marvellous example of this ‘very best.’
But it is not Prince Menes - or, at least, the Prince Menes that Teed originally envisaged. (See Note 8.)
What actually changed his mind about mysticism and the occult is by no means clear. It is certain, however, that his attitude towards figures such as Menes and Wu Ling and even Marie Galante had hardened over the intervening period when he had not been writing. Where before they had been romantic figures - characters that had more kinship with 19th Century fantasy heroes; brooding figures of myth and legend - now they presented a definite threat to Western civilization. Each character now headed a coloured organization that had as its basic aim world domination.
And although this basic aim was the jumping-off point for some marvellous stories, something within G. H. Teed had been lost in the change-over process from Progressive to Mature. A spark of youthful idealism, perhaps, that, though based on a mis-placed enthusiasm for an assortment of ill-considered and largely illogical occult theories, is still to be regretted - as the quenching of any youthful flame is to be regretted.
NOTES:
1.      Stories mentioned in the text are as follows: “Bribery and Corruption” (UJ No. 616 - Summer Double, 1915); “The Prize Ship” (Pluck, Nos. 555/556 - 1915); “The Death Club” (UJ No. 558 - Summer Double, 1914); “The Diamond Dragon” (UJ No. 493 - Easter Double, 1913); “The Great Mining Swindle” (Boys’ Friend 3d. Library, No. 228 - May, 1913); “The Case of the Radium Patient” (UJ No. 548 - Spring Double, 1914); “The Two Mysteries” (SBL 1st 11 - June, 1916); “The Blue God” (UJ No. 685 - Christmas Double, 1916); “The Case of the Cataleptic” (UJ No. 620 - 1915); “The Case of the Biscay Pirate” (SBL 3rd 65 - February, 1944); “The Crimson Pearl” (UJ No. 564 - Holiday Double, 1914); “Scoundrels All” (UJ No. 613 - 1915); “The Green Portfolio” (UJ No. 1066 - 1924); “The Crook of Marsden Manor” (SBL 2nd 224 - January, 1930); “The Yellow Tiger” (SBL 1st 1 - September, 1915); “The Black Abbot of Cheng-Tu” (UJ Nos. 1236-1254 - 1927); and “The Hyena of Paris” (UJ No. 1033 - 1923).
2.    There seems no evidence at all for the theory mooted by E. S. Turner, in the chapter devoted to Sexton Blake in his classic “Boys Will Be Boys” (Michael Joseph: 1948, 1957), that Hammerton Palmer was modelled on Sir John Hammerton, a senior executive and Editor of the Amalgamated Press around that time. Apart from anything else, Palmer wasn’t ‘quietly dropped’ as Turner says. He was a leading character in “The Blue God” (see Note 1) and “The Great Ivory Swindle” (SBL 1st 325 - 1924). He was also mentioned on numerous occasions, in such novels as “The Case of the Courtlandt Jewels” (SBL 1st 253 - 1922), etc.
3.    L. Sprague de Camp & Catherine C. de Camp: Ancient Ruins and Archaeology (Doubleday, 1964). Chapter XI, “Nan Matol and the Sacred Turtle.”
4.    There may indeed have been such a place as ‘Atlantis,’ though the very fact that its location has been shunted about the globe by such a variety of enthusiasts, eccentrics, and downright madmen tends to make one very sceptical. Best location seems to be either somewhere in the Mediterranean, or around the tip of southwestern Spain. Flying machines made out of unknown metals and cities built out of solid gold can be crossed off the list of the sort of activities the ‘Atlantean’ went in for, however. The myth of the ‘Pacific continent’ can be exploded far more easily. Due to the geological structure of the earth’s crust in that area, there never has been, nor is, nor ever will be a large land-mass in the Pacific.
5.    Teed’s third wife, Mrs. Inez Teed, said that her husband used to enjoy the novels of Sax Rohmer. This figures. I would guess that he had delved fairly deeply into Guy Boothby’s stories, too, especially the ‘Dr. Nikola’ series. I would also suspect that he read quite early on in his life two fantasy novels that were extraordinarily popular at the turn of the century - Phra the Phoenician by Edwin Lester Arnold (Chatto & Windus, 1891), and George Griffith’s Valdar the Oft-Born (C. Arthur Pearson, 1895), the latter a rather tedious plagiarism of Arnold’s book.
6.    This would be Lloyd George’s wartime government. In the story, it is implied that Blake (and, presumably, Teed as well) is an opponent of Asquith, whom Lloyd George toppled from power in the December of 1916.
7.    S. Gordon Swan: “Character Changes” - Collectors’ Digest No. 208; April, 1964.
8.    For readers who are interested in following the ‘Prince Menes’ series through to the bitter end, the entire sequence (1917 and post-War, in chronological order) is as follows: “A Case of Reincarnation” (UJ No. 722 - 1917); “The
Secret Hand” (UJ No. 723 - 1917); “The Case of the Crimson Terror” (UJ No. 728 - 1917); “The Invisible Ray” (UJ No. 731 - 1917); “The Mummy’s Twin” (UJ No. 1067 - 1924); “The Adventure of the Blue Bowl” (UJ No. 1112 - 1924); “The House on the Cliff” (UJ No. 1113 - 1924); “The Great Canal Plot” (SBL 2nd 19 - 1925); and “The Case of the Mummified Hand” (SBL 2nd 35 - 1926).
I use the term ‘bitter end’ advisedly - in “The Case of the Mummified Hand,” Menes takes poison. About the only instance I can recall of a major Teed villain ending it all by his own hand. Teed villains were usually a pretty hardy lot.

Monday, 9 July 2018

Lost Gold Mines


From Sexton Blake Library #644 Dated October 1938
Recently in the Press there has been reported the discovery of a new gold-mine. This is located in a place bearing the fascinating name of Yellow Knife in the North-West Territory of Canada. The Yellow Knife River flows into the Great Slave Lake to the North of Alberta.
The great difference between this discovery of gold and previous finds lies in the fact that it was made from the air. A prospector, who had been knocking about Canada for thirty years, was flying over a bit of desolate country when he spotted the strike.
He was able to see the veins in the rocks and, landing immediately, began to stake his claim. In addition to the veins in the rock there are also gold deposits at the bottom of the lake. No wonder the lucky finder christened his biggest claim as Treasure Island.
It seems as if the mine now dis­covered is quite incapable of getting lost—mainly through the fact that its position can be constantly located from the air. Many of the old-time prospectors would have been very grate­ful for such an aid. For in the old days mines were constantly getting lost, and often tragedy dogged the footsteps of the original finder.
! For Instance, there is the story of the Lost Arch mine situated in the Turtle Range, California. This mine was actually discovered on two occasions. Yet no one can locate it to-day.
The Lost Arch was first found entirely by chance. Two men dying of thirst lay under an arch of rock. One of them spotted a golden nugget.
Scrabbling with his hands he found that he was reclining over a large pocket of gold. But this discovery was fated to do him no good. His com­panion died there on the spot. And it was a long time before the discoverer could crawl into civilisation, almost at the last gasp.
After recovering he made several attempts to find this gold-mine, but when he died, in 1889, it was in poverty, for he could not make his way back to the mine.
And this is not the end of the Lost Arch. Some fourteen years later a young botanist stumbled upon the same canyon with its amazing natural arch. He also spotted the gold and made a note of the site.
Back in civilisation he told of his find and arranged with another man to set out for the spot. But the very next day he was killed in an accident.
So the Lost Arch mine is still lost.
And there have been many others with a like history—mostly the original finders have found tragedy.
An old prospector once got lost in the arid wastes of that stretch of country known as Death Valley. He was dying of thirst when he happened to dislodge a rock. That rock was solid gold!
Looking round, he saw that he was surrounded by the precious metal. Thirst, for the moment, was forgotten.
He loaded himself with samples of the gold and set out to win his way back to civilisation. But after several days of nightmare-walking he fell into the hands of a wandering tribe of Indians.
In the course of a fight the unlucky prospector was badly wounded in the head, which caused him to go out of his mind.
Subsequently he recovered, and for many years after he would set out on his journey to Death Valley. But he never saw his mine again, and though the country has been searched for many years since the gold has never been found.
It almost seems that the discovery of gold is linked up with some sort of trouble for the finder.
A month or so ago the papers re­ported the death of a man in the Paddington district. He was found gassed in a back room.
It came out that for some time he had been drawing the dole.
Yet at one time he had been rich.
For he had been a gold-mining engineer in California where he had been able to amass several thousand pounds.
With this behind him he had set out on his travels. Then the gold-mining concern failed and he was soon penniless. Though still under sixty he could not find employment, and this undoubtedly preyed on his mind.
The Strange story of the Goler mine brings out the fact that it is not the obssession of gold that is the chief lure. In this case, a man named Goler with two partners discovered a rich mine. The partners died of thirst and Goler returned to civilisation determined to fit out an expedition to exploit his mine. He never found it again.
But later another man set out to find it. He failed in his quest, but by an extraordinarv chance found another rich strike. This proved so fruitful that he is said to have amassed a huge fortune. However, he ran through it. And once more penniless he set out for the Goler mine.
From this last journey he never came back. No trace of him was ever found.

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

G. H. Hamilton Teed Chronology (magazines)


TEED, G(eorge) H(eber) (1886-1938); see pseudonyms Louis BrittanyGeorge Hamilton & Murray Hamilton (stories)
See Also GHTeed.blogspot.Ca for more updated information and some of his stories.
o                    The Spendthrift (na) The Nelson Lee Library Sep 18 1915uncredited. [Nelson Lee]
o                    The Black Wolf (na) The Nelson Lee Library Oct 2 1915uncredited. [Nelson Lee]
o                    The Secret of the Swamp (na) The Nelson Lee Library Oct 16 1915uncredited. [Nelson Lee]
o                    The Crystal Urn (na) The Nelson Lee Library Dec 4 1915uncredited. [Nelson Lee]
o                    The Yellow Tiger (n.) The Sexton Blake Library #1 1915uncredited. [Sexton Blake]
o                    A Mystery of Venice (na) The Nelson Lee Library Jan 1 1916uncredited. [Nelson Lee]
o                    The Frozen Man (na) The Nelson Lee Library Jan 8 1916uncredited. [Nelson Lee]
o                    Robbery Wholesale (na) The Nelson Lee Library Jan 29 1916uncredited. [Nelson Lee]
o                    The Mystery Man of Lhassa (na) The Nelson Lee Library Feb 12 1916uncredited. [Nelson Lee]
o                    The Red Menace (na) The Nelson Lee Library Mar 11 1916uncredited. [Nelson Lee]
o                    The Robbery at Ponder’s Bank (na) The Nelson Lee Library Apr 1 1916uncredited. [Nelson Lee]
o                    The Last of the Genghis (na) The Nelson Lee Library Apr 22 1916uncredited. [Nelson Lee]
o                    At Half Tide (na) The Nelson Lee Library Jun 3 1916uncredited. [Nelson Lee]
o                    The Man with Four Identities (na) The Nelson Lee Library Jun 24 1916uncredited. [Nelson Lee]
o                    The Crimson Disc (na) The Nelson Lee Library Jul 15 1916uncredited. [Nelson Lee]
o                    The Golden Boomerang (na) The Nelson Lee Library Aug 5 1916uncredited. [Nelson Lee]
o                    The Crook (na) The Nelson Lee Library Sep 16 1916uncredited. [Nelson Lee]
o                    The Mystery of Barron Hall (na) The Nelson Lee Library Sep 30 1916uncredited. [Nelson Lee]
o                    The Clue of the Raincoat (na) The Nelson Lee Library Oct 14 1916uncredited. [Nelson Lee]
o                    Blue Diamonds (na) The Nelson Lee Library Oct 28 1916uncredited. [Nelson Lee]
o                    The Mystery of the Closed Door (na) The Nelson Lee Library Dec 9 1916uncredited. [Nelson Lee]
o                    The Plantation Mystery (na) The Nelson Lee Library Dec 23 1916uncredited. [Nelson Lee]
o                    The Two Mysteries (n.) The Sexton Blake Library #11 1916uncredited. [Sexton Blake]
o                    The Broken Vase (na) The Nelson Lee Library Jan 6 1917uncredited. [Nelson Lee]
o                    The Great Air Mystery (na) The Nelson Lee Library Jan 27 1917uncredited. [Nelson Lee]
o                    The Man Hunters (na) The Nelson Lee Library Mar 10 1917uncredited. [Nelson Lee]
o                    Loot (na) The Nelson Lee Library Jun 23 1917uncredited. [Nelson Lee]
o                    The Kidnapped Stockbroker (na) The Nelson Lee Library Jun 30 1917uncredited. [Nelson Lee]
o                    The Diamond Sunburst (n.) The Sexton Blake Library #37 1917uncredited. [Sexton Blake]
o                    The Diamond Dragon (n.) The Sexton Blake Library #233 1922uncredited. [Sexton Blake]
o                    The Ivory Screen (n.) The Sexton Blake Library #219 1922uncredited. [Sexton Blake]
o                    The Spirit Smuggler (n.) The Sexton Blake Library #229 1922uncredited. [Sexton Blake]
o                    The Crimson Belt (n.) The Sexton Blake Library #307 1923uncredited. [Sexton Blake]
o                    The Eight Pointed Star (n.) The Sexton Blake Library #283 1923uncredited. [Sexton Blake]
o                    The Ofloff Diamond (n.) The Sexton Blake Library #312 1923uncredited. [Sexton Blake]
o                    The Secret Emerald Mines (n.) The Sexton Blake Library #271 1923uncredited. [Sexton Blake]
o                    The Great Ivory Swindle (n.) The Sexton Blake Library #325 1924uncredited. [Sexton Blake]
o                    The Three Gold Feathers (sl) The Boys’ Friend Jul 18 1925, etc.
o                    The Case of the Pink Macaw (n.) The Sexton Blake Library #371 1925uncredited. [Sexton Blake]
o                    The Case of the Ten Diamonds (n.) The Sexton Blake Library #8 1925uncredited. [Sexton Blake]
o                    The Clue of the Four Wigs (n.) The Sexton Blake Library #16 1925uncredited. [Sexton Blake]
o                    The Great Canal Plot (n.) The Sexton Blake Library #19 1925uncredited. [Sexton Blake]
o                    The Mystery of the Seine (n.) The Sexton Blake Library #366 1925uncredited. [Sexton Blake]
o                    Under the Eagle’s Wing (n.) The Sexton Blake Library #21 1925uncredited. [Sexton Blake]
o                    The Digger ’Tec (sl) The Boys’ Friend Jan 2 1926, etc.
o                    The Black Emperor (n.) The Sexton Blake Library #52 1926uncredited. [Sexton Blake]
o                    The Island of the Guilty (n.) The Sexton Blake Library #41 1926uncredited. [Sexton Blake]
o                    The Terror of Tangier (n.) The Sexton Blake Library #77 1926uncredited. [Sexton Blake]
o                    The Night-Club Mystery (n.) The Sexton Blake Library #82 1927uncredited. [Sexton Blake]
o                    The Rogues’ Republic (n.) The Sexton Blake Library #85 1927uncredited. [Sexton Blake]
o                    The Tiger of Canton (n.) The Sexton Blake Library #89 1927uncredited. [Sexton Blake]
o                    The Case of the Bogus Monk (n.) The Sexton Blake Library #144 1928uncredited. [Sexton Blake]
o                    Crooks in Clover (n.) The Sexton Blake Library #161 1928uncredited. [Sexton Blake]
o                    The 8th Millionaire (n.) The Sexton Blake Library #165 1928uncredited. [Sexton Blake]
o                    The Mystery of Gold Digger Creek (n.) The Sexton Blake Library #158 1928, as “The Terror of Gold Digger Creek”, uncredited. [Sexton Blake]
o                    The Rubber Smugglers (n.) The Sexton Blake Library #147 1928uncredited. [Sexton Blake]
o                    The Victim of Black Magic (n.) The Sexton Blake Library #134 1928uncredited. [Sexton Blake]
o                    The Cabaret Crime (n.) The Sexton Blake Library #204 1929uncredited. [Sexton Blake]
o                    The Gunners (n.) The Sexton Blake Library #178 1929uncredited. [Sexton Blake]
o                    The Pearls of Doom (n.) The Sexton Blake Library #207 1929uncredited. [Sexton Blake]
o                    The Prisoner of the Chateau (n.) The Sexton Blake Library #213 1929uncredited. [Sexton Blake]
o                    The Grey Ghost (na) The Thriller Jan 18 1930
o                    The Masked Killer (n.) The Sexton Blake Library #247 1930 [Sexton Blake]
o                    The Secret of the Strong Room (n.) The Sexton Blake Library #250 1930 [Sexton Blake]
o                    The House of Silence (n.) The Sexton Blake Library #253 1930 [Sexton Blake]
o                    The Crook of Paris (n.) The Sexton Blake Library #262 1930 [Sexton Blake]
o                    The Adventure of the Pearl Pirates (n.) The Sexton Blake Library #265 1930, as “The Secret of the Thieves’ Kitchen”. [Sexton Blake]
o                    Cassidy the “Con” Man (n.) The Sexton Blake Library #239 1930uncredited. [Sexton Blake]
o                    The Crook of Canada (n.) The Sexton Blake Library #236 1930uncredited. [Sexton Blake]
o                    The Crook of Marsden Manor (n.) The Sexton Blake Library #224 1930uncredited. [Sexton Blake]
o                    The Secret of the Thieves’ Kitchen (n.) The Sexton Blake Library #265 1930; also as “The Adventure of the Pearl Pirates”. [Sexton Blake]
o                    The Victim of the Gang (n.) The Sexton Blake Library #230 1930uncredited. [Sexton Blake]
o                    The Crime on Gallows Hill (n.) The Sexton Blake Library #272 1931 [Sexton Blake]
o                    The Yellow Skull (n.) The Sexton Blake Library #277 1931 [Sexton Blake]
o                    Hounded Down (na) The Thriller May 30 1931
o                    The Crime of the Catacombs (n.) The Sexton Blake Library #285 1931 [Sexton Blake]
o                    The House of Curtains (n.) The Sexton Blake Library #293 1931 [Sexton Blake]
o                    Gang War (n.) The Sexton Blake Library #297 1931 [Sexton Blake]
o                    The Cross-Channel Crime (n.) The Sexton Blake Library #306 1931 [Sexton Blake]
o                    The Crook of Costa Blanca (n.) The Sexton Blake Library #310 1931 [Sexton Blake]
o                    The Man from Shanghai (na) Thrilling Detective Jan 1932
o                    The Crook of Shanghai (n.) The Sexton Blake Library #333 1932 [Sexton Blake]
o                    The House of Cellars (n.) The Sexton Blake Library #343 1932 [Sexton Blake]
o                    The Eye of the Dragon (sl) The Ranger Oct 1 1932, etc. [Nelson Lee]
o                    The Phantom of the Creek (n.) The Sexton Blake Library #353 1932 [Sexton Blake]
o                    The Crook of Monte Carlo (n.) The Sexton Blake Library #362 1932 [Sexton Blake]
o                    The Chinatown Mystery (n.) The Sexton Blake Library #319 1932; also as “Limehouse Loot”. [Sexton Blake]
o                    Limehouse Loot (n.) The Sexton Blake Library #319 1932, as “The Chinatown Mystery”. [Sexton Blake]
o                    The Silent Woman (na) Detective Weekly Mar 11 1933 [Sexton Blake]
o                    The Isle of Horror (n.) The Sexton Blake Library #376 1933 [Sexton Blake]
o                    The Chocolate King Mystery (na) Detective Weekly Apr 1 1933 [Sexton Blake]
o                    The Plot of the Persian Oil King (na) The Thriller Apr 29 1933
o                    Perilous Pearls (na) Detective Weekly May 13 1933 [Sexton Blake]
o                    Rogues of Ransom (n.) The Sexton Blake Library #384 1933 [Sexton Blake]
o                    Gambler’s Gold (na) Detective Weekly Jun 10 1933 [Sexton Blake]
o                    The Banker’s Box (na) Detective Weekly Jul 22 1933 [Sexton Blake]
o                    The Crook’s Decoy (n.) The Sexton Blake Library #391 1933 [Sexton Blake]
o                    Frame-Up! (na) Detective Weekly Aug 12 1933 [Sexton Blake]
o                    The Terror of Malabar (na) The Thriller Aug 19 1933
o                    The Secret of the Slums (na) Detective Weekly Sep 23 1933 [Sexton Blake]
o                    Black Traffic! (na) Detective Weekly Oct 28 1933 [Sexton Blake]
o                    Blood Brothers in Formosa (na) Detective Weekly Nov 25 1933 [Sexton Blake]
o                    The Affair of the Missing Financier (na) Detective Weekly Jan 6 1934 [Sexton Blake]
o                    Murder in Manchuria (n.) The Sexton Blake Library #415 1934 [Sexton Blake]
o                    The Mystery of Cell 13 (n.) The Sexton Blake Library #441 1934 [Sexton Blake]
o                    The Fatal Amulet (n.) The Sexton Blake Library #456 1934 [Sexton Blake]
o                    Killer Aboard (n.) Thriller Library #11 1934
o                    The Mystery of the Girl in Blue (na) Detective Weekly Jan 26 1935 [Sexton Blake]
o                    Mr Wong-Detective (ss) The Ranger Mar 2 1935
o                    Spies Ltd. (ss) Detective Weekly Mar 16 1935
o                    The Trail of the Four Assassins (ss) Detective Weekly Mar 30 1935
o                    The Martello Tower Mystery (n.) The Sexton Blake Library #474 1935 [Sexton Blake]
o                    The Mystery of Plan ’B6’ (ss) Detective Weekly May 11 1935
o                    Spies in Singapore (ss) Detective Weekly Jun 15 1935
o                    Death in the Barber’s Chair (na) Detective Weekly Jul 6 1935 [Sexton Blake]
o                    The Heart of Mohammed (ss) Detective Weekly Aug 3 1935
o                    The Case of the Temple Dancing Girl (ss) Detective Weekly Aug 17 1935
o                    Voodoo Gold! (ss) The Thriller Aug 17 1935 [Cort Jurgens]
o                    The Feranti Pearl (ss) The Thriller Sep 21 1935
o                    The Secret of the Five Rings (na) Detective Weekly Oct 19 1935
o                    The Tiger of Tampico (nv) The Thriller Oct 19 1935 [Cort Jurgens]
o                    Death in the Palace (ss) Detective Weekly Oct 26 1935
o                    Slave of Trickery (ss) The Thriller Nov 16 1935 [Cort Jurgens]
o                    The Xmas Party Crime (na) Detective Weekly Dec 21 1935
o                    The Banker of Monte Carlo (ss) The Thriller Jan 11 1936 [Cort Jurgens]
o                    The Shadow Crook’s Secret (na) Detective Weekly Feb 29 1936 [Shadow Crook]
o                    The Trail of the Shadow Crook (na) Detective Weekly Mar 7 1936 [Shadow Crook]
o                    The Shadow Crook’s Vengeance (na) Detective Weekly Mar 14 1936 [Shadow Crook]
o                    The Mystery of the Kidnapped Killer (na) The Thriller Apr 18 1936 [Cort Jurgens]
o                    The Snake’s Secret (ss) The Thriller Jun 6 1936 [Cort Jurgens]
o                    The Secret of Red Valley (na) Detective Weekly Sep 19 1936
o                    The Dictator’s Secret (n.) The Sexton Blake Library #548 1936 [Sexton Blake]
o                    The Secret of the Three Prayer Wheels (sl) Detective Weekly Jan 9 1937, etc.
o                    Spanish Loot (na) Detective Weekly Jun 5 1937
o                    The Temple of the Tiger (na) Detective Weekly Sep 18 1937
o                    The Atom Smashers (ss) Modern Wonder Oct 2 1937 [Prof. Sampson Parr]
o                    Invaders from Space (ss) Modern Wonder Oct 16 1937 [Prof. Sampson Parr]
o                    Voyage into Space (ss) Modern Wonder Oct 30 1937 [Prof. Sampson Parr]
o                    The Mystery Crater (ss) Modern Wonder Nov 20 1937 [Prof. Sampson Parr]
o                    Murder on the Riviera Express (na) Detective Weekly Jan 1 1938
o                    The Dawn Men (ss) Modern Wonder Jan 22 1938 [Prof. Sampson Parr]
o                    The Bailiff’s Secret (n.) The Sexton Blake Library #608 1938 [Sexton Blake]
o                    Shanghai Nights (na) The Thriller Library Feb 26 1938
o                    The Tiger of Shanghai (ss) Detective Weekly Mar 12 1938
o                    The Mystery of the Jade Amulet (ss) Detective Weekly Mar 26 1938
o                    The Riddle of the Rose Diamond (ss) Detective Weekly Apr 23 1938
o                    The Diamond Dragon (ss) Modern Wonder May 7 1938 [Black Abbot]
o                    The Crook of Saigon (ss) Detective Weekly May 21 1938
o                    The Mandarin’s Ear (ss) Modern Wonder May 21 1938 [Black Abbot]
o                    The Secret of the Marble Bacchante (sl) Detective Weekly May 21 1938, etc.
o                    Treachery of the Black Abbot (ss) Modern Wonder May 28 1938 [Black Abbot]
o                    Monastery of the Silver Lakes (ss) Modern Wonder Jun 4 1938 [Black Abbot]
o                    Peril of the Living Buddha (ss) Modern Wonder Jun 11 1938 [Black Abbot]
o                    The Last Round! (ss) Modern Wonder Jun 18 1938 [Black Abbot]
o                    Terror of the Reef (ss) Modern Wonder Jul 2 1938
o                    The Lost Road (ss) Modern Wonder Jul 16 1938
o                    Murder Loot (na) Detective Novels Magazine Aug 1938
o                    Third Degree (na) The Thriller Library Nov 5 1938
o                    The Plunder of Santa Maria (na) The Thriller Library Jan 14 1939
o                    Don Rico’s Millions (na) Detective Weekly Apr 15 1939; revised from “The Plunder of Santa Maria”, The Thriller #519, January 14, 1939. [Sexton Blake]
o                    The Green Eye of Banyah (na) Detective Weekly Dec 9 1939uncredited. [Sexton Blake]
o                    Chinese Gordon (ss) Chums Annual, 1941 1940
o                    The Brotherhood of the Beetle (na) The Union Jack #507, uncredited. [Sexton Blake]
o                    The Case of the Blazing Island (na) The Union Jack #591, uncredited. [Sexton Blake]
o                    The Case of the Conistan Diamond (na) The Union Jack #594, uncredited. [Sexton Blake]
o                    The Case of the Money King (na) The Union Jack #495, uncredited. [Sexton Blake]
o                    The Case of the Purple Cotton (na) The Union Jack #492, uncredited. [Sexton Blake]
o                    The Case of the Secret Courier (na) The Union Jack #498, uncredited. [Sexton Blake]
o                    The Council of Eleven (na) The Union Jack #555, uncredited. [Sexton Blake]
o                    The Gallows Hill Mystery (na) The Sexton Blake Library #272 [Sexton Blake]
o                    The Girl Who Made Pearls (na) The Union Jack #485, uncredited. [Sexton Blake]
o                    The Island of Lost Men (na) The Sexton Blake Library #293 [Sexton Blake]
o                    A Riddle in Red Leather (na) The Union Jack #518, uncredited. [Sexton Blake]
o                    The Trail of the Black Knight (na) The Sexton Blake Library #235 [Sexton Blake]
o                    The Trail of the Red Sombrero (na) The Sexton Blake Library #250 [Sexton Blake]
o                    The Vengeance of Yvonne (na) The Union Jack #509, uncredited. [Sexton Blake]
o                    The Wolf of Paris (na) The Sexton Blake Library #285 [Sexton Blake]
o                    A Stubborn Case (na) The Nelson Lee Library Feb 17 1917uncredited. [Nelson Lee]

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As an armed forces brat, we lived in Rockcliff (Ottawa), Namao (Edmonton), Southport (Portage La Prairie), Manitoba, and Dad retired to St. Margaret's Bay, NS.
Working with the Federal Govenment for 25 years, Canadian Hydrographic Service, mostly. Now married to Gail Kelly, with two grown children, Luke and Denyse. Retired to my woodlot at Stillwater Lake, NS, on the rainy days I study the life and work of A. Hyatt Verrill 1871-1954.