I read quite a few mysteries by John Creasey when I was a kid because all the libraries had them, but only a few about the Hon. Richard Rollison, the gentleman adventurer known as the Toff. They always seemed a little tame to me. I preferred Creasey’s books about the Baron and Inspector Roger West. But I recently read the first book in the Toff series, INTRODUCING THE TOFF, first published in 1938 and expanded from a novella that previously appeared in THE THRILLER in 1933. There’s nothing tame in this yarn about the Toff’s battle against an international drug smuggling ring known as the Black Circle, which includes a sinister Egyptian and an American gangster.
This book is good old-fashioned British blood and thunder, full of gunfights, fistfights, car chases, and explosions. It’s reminiscent of Sax Rohmer, Edgar Wallace, and very much of Leslie Charteris’s The Saint, a character also introduced in THE THRILLER. I thoroughly enjoyed it, but I’m told it’s not really representative of the series as a whole. I have a few more Toff novels on my shelves and may read them if I can get around to them. This one is available as an e-book on Kindle Unlimited, and I recommend it if you want a fast-moving, action-packed yarn with a likable hero.