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News > From The Archives > The 'Saint' at Rossall!

The 'Saint' at Rossall!

The 'Saint' at Rossall!
Charles Bower-Yin
Charles Bower-Yin

A contemporary in Maltese Cross House of Derek Walker-Smith was a young man who joined Rossall in September 1922 at the age of 15, called Charles Bower-Yin. He left Rossall two year later to have a gap year in Paris before going up to King’s College Cambridge to read law. There in 1927 he changed his name to Leslie Charteris and wrote his first novel ‘X Esquire’, going down from the university to become a writer. In 1930 he published the first ‘Saint’ novel ‘Enter the Saint’ to launch a series of novels which ran to 50, the last being published in 1980. 

In 1934 he dedicated with great affection a collection of short stories ‘Boodle’ to H.H. Gibson, senior modern linguist at Rossall,  House Master of Rose House, his Spanish teacher’ even though this may be a bad book, if I hadn’t come under your guidance many years ago it would probably have been much worse.’ He was always interested in Spanish and translated the autobiography of a famous bull-fighter into English. He could also lay claim to being one of the first members of Mensa!

The ‘Saint ‘novels were adapted for radio and TV both here and in America, enjoying untold popular success `with actors such as Vincent Price and Roger Moore. Who does not remember the stick man figure with the halo?

Aside from his writing he led a long and eventful life. He was married four times worked variously as a gold prospector, pearl diver and bus driver! He died hugely wealthy in 1993.

He was an immensely popular and successful writer of popular fiction unlike the later Rossall writer J.G. Farrell, whose novels gained international critical acclaim, but have never sold in such numbers.

Richard McDowell, Archivist

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