The existence of this story is the direct fault of my lovely friend Ginger (and not only because she is the source of a whole stack of the Saint books in my possession). In my delight over Simon Templar’s near-encounter with zombies in the story “The Questing Tycoon”, I had remarked that I would only be more entertained if he found himself tangling with vampires or werewolves. Of course, Ginger then had to issue a challenge for me to write such a scenario myself—and amazingly, defying a two-year case of writer’s block, the idea for this story came to me.
Although I am anything but a traveler, I felt it was incumbent upon me to live up to Leslie Charteris’ penchant for painting exotic locales in the Saint stories. So I chose to set this tale in my own favorite holiday spot: the beautiful city of St. Augustine, Florida. In researching the Old City as it was in the 1930s, I found another useful storytelling hook in its history as an artists’ colony. Throw in a dash of legend to tie together the theme and setting, and the plot fell neatly into place.
This tale is merely a work of fanfiction. I have not profited from it, save in the pleasure of time spent looking at one of my favorite places through the eyes of Simon Templar (or at least trying to). The Saint will forever belong to Mr. Charteris, and although I shall never be half the writer that he was, I hope it would please him that someone has loved his creation enough to try to share another adventure in his absence.
For my own personal Roger Conways: Saint Ginger, Chief Counsel on Convoluted Thinking at the Richard Diamond Institute, and Saint Aspen, Professor of Mutation at Renfield University.
The Beast of Matanzas Bay
I. How Tania Riker Confessed, and Simon Templar Went to Jail