The Reading Room

The Saint Paperbacks by Hodder

Some of my favourite covers of The Saint series have been produced by Hodder and Stoughton in the 1960s. The Saint titles were reprinted countless times over many decades in both hardback and paperback on both sides of the Atlantic.

The author, Leslie Charteris enjoyed a long and healthy relationship with Hodder and Stoughton, from the first editions to the Yellow Jacket series and the many paperback reprints. Each decade saw a change in style for the covers and these titles are particularly good examples of the style of artwork for books and magazines in the 1960s.

I am reminded of the artwork for women’s magazines from that period and the pictures produced to accompany their featured romance short stories with exotic backdrops, beautiful women and handsome men adding colour and spice to Sixties Britain. There is much to be grateful for with these editions, by the end of the decade the cover artist had been replaced by the cover photographer and what ensued was decades of boring covers featuring cheaply staged photographs and even worse still, the dreaded TV-tie in.

These covers represented a new and exciting era, whilst many of The Saint novels were produced as far back as the 1030s and 40s, these covers brought the novels, along with many other Pre-War titles to a new and younger audience with their eye-catching covers. Who could resist one of these in a bookshop one cold and wet winter’s day in 1960s Britain?

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