Apparently it’s been common knowledge to Sexton Blake fans and collectors for some time now, but I didn’t know it until yesterday, and I don’t think that most Gold Medal collectors in this country do either.

   What seems to have happened back in 1956 or 1957 is that three Gold Medal books were published by Amalgamated Press, the folks who published the Sexton Blake books at the time, and had them rewritten to become, you guessed it, adventures of Sexton Blake instead.

   For the full story, you can go here, but here’s a brief recap. The three Gold Medal books were the following:

The Crimson Frame, by Aylwin Lee Martin, Gold Medal 253, pbo, August 1952.

The Crimson Flame

Fear Comes Calling, by Aylwin Lee Martin, Gold Medal 214, pbo, 1952.

Fear Comes Calling

Little Sister, by Lee Roberts (Robert Martin), Gold Medal 229, pbo, March 1952. (The cover shown is that of the Canadian printing.)

Little Sister

   A fellow named Arthur Maclean was the chap who was asked to do the conversion, which was not a very easy job, as he describes it. (“Maclean” was actually a writer named George Paul Mann, which is another tale altogether, one told in the comments in this earlier post. But I digress.) Changing the hero’s name was the least of it. Locales had to changed, Blake’s assistant Tinker had to be written in, and if Amalgamated thought they were saving either time or money, they were sadly mistaken, and they never tried such a short cut again.

   For the record, also included in Part 18 of the online Addenda for the Revised Crime Fiction IV, here are the adventures of Sexton Blake that each of the above were transformed into:

The Crimson Frame
==> Deadline for Danger, by Arthur Maclean (George Paul Mann), 4th series #380, April 1957.

Deadline for Danger

Fear Comes Calling ==> Roadhouse Girl, by Desmond Reid (George Paul Mann), 4th series #386, July 1957.

Roadhouse Girl

Little Sister ==> Victim Unknown, by Desmond Reid (George Paul Mann), 4th series, #384, June 1957.

Victim Unknown

   Collectors of hard-boiled Gold Medal paperbacks who think they have them all may have another think coming. For them and everyone else, for that matter, tracking down copies of each of two versions and comparing them might provide a thesis for someone – or who knows? – a doctoral dissertation. (Probably not, but I’ll leave the suggestion on the table for anyone who wants it.)