LESLIE CHARTERIS “The Angel’s Eye.” Short story. Simon Templar aka “The Saint.” First published in The Saint Detective Magazine, June/July 1953; reprinted in the September 1963 issue. First collected in The Saint in Europe, (Hodder & Stoughton, hardcover, 1954). TV episode: The Saint, 11 November 1966. (Season 5, Episode 7), with Roger Moore.

   While making various stops along the way in a vacation trip across Europe, Simon Templar, as he always does, comes across a strange request for help, this time in Amsterdam. An employee of a diamond merchant tells the Saint he brought an expensive diamond known as The Angel’s Eye into the office of a well-known diamond cutter to be recut. When he returned later, he was told they did not have the diamond, that it was never brought in, the receipt was forged, and they’d never seen him before.

   The Saint has a certain kind of radar for this sort of thing:

   Something like a phantom feather trailed up the Saint’s spine, riffling his skin with ghostly goose-pimples. And on the heels of that psychic chill came a warm pervasive glow of utter beatitude that crowned his recent feast more perfectly than the coffee and Napoleon brandy which he had not yet touched, nor would ever do. His interest was no longer polite or even perfunctory. It had the vast receptive serenity of a cathedral.

   Could you stop reading at this point? I think not.

   If in any dreams I may have ever had of writing mystery fiction and producing passages such as this, I’d pinch myself immediately and wake up.