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Blackshirt Books In Order

Publication Order of Blackshirt Books

Concerning Blackshirt (1952) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Blackshirt Passes By (1953) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Blackshirt Wins the Trick (1953) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Salute to Blackshirt (1954) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Amazing Mr Blackshirt (1955) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Blackshirt Meets the Lady (1956) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Paging Blackshirt (1957) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Double for Blackshirt (1958) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Blackshirt Helps Himself (1958) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Blackshirt Sees It Through (1960) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Blackshirt Finds Trouble (1961) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Blackshirt Takes the Trail (1962) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Blackshirt on the Spot (1963) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Call for Blackshirt (1963) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Blackshirt Saves the Day (1964) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Danger for Blackshirt (1965) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Blackshirt at Large (1966) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Blackshirt in Peril (1967) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Blackshirt Stirs Things Up (1969) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Blackshirt is a series of mystery/suspense novels that were first written by Graham Montague Jeffries using the ‘Bruce Graeme’ pseudonym. Eventually, his son Roderic took over. The Blackshirt books follow the exploits of a gentleman thief.

+The Story

The Blackshirt books have been around since the 1920s. The books tell the story of a legendary gentleman thief known as Blackshirt. When the Blackshirt series begins, Blackshirt is just a thief.

His real name is Richard Verrell, and Verrell is no quite like any other thief. Though highly effective in his Blackshirt persona, Richard Verrell doesn’t actually need to steal.

As a successful crime novelist, Verrell has made plenty of money from his books over the years. It has been suggested that Verrell’s inclination for crime is the result of his upbringing.

Verrell never knew his parents. As an orphan, his earliest memories were of the criminals who took care of him, raising him into adulthood and instilling in Verrell all the virtues of a thief. Despite his humble beginnings, Verrell rose through the ranks of society to become a respectable gentleman, with his hobby as a masked thief being the only dark speck on his clean record.

A couple of stories have suggested that maybe Verrell grew up a gentleman and that his affinity for crime was attained later in life. But subsequent books have dismissed that idea, categorizing it as wishful thinking on the part of Richard Verrell.

Despite his success as a crime writer, Verrell cannot help but engage in criminal activities, primarily because the thrill he gets from stealing is unlike anything he has ever experienced.

Verrell is eventually named Blackshirt because of his black attire and mask. Despite the allure of his nightly hobby, Verrell isn’t completely comfortable with his double life. He knows that his actions as Blackshirt are wrong and he is, on occasion, plagued by guilt over his actions.

However, that guilt rarely drives Verrell to quit stealing or even to seek atonement. Roderic Graeme has been commended for making Verrell’s guilt a central aspect of his story. And it isn’t something that Verrell grows into.

From the very first book, it is clear that Blackshirt loves the nightlife. Verrell cannot get enough of the action and the adventure that he elicits every time he throws his mask on and breaks into a home.

The temptation is often far greater than he can resist. Yet, Verrell’s conscious is ever present. And it is never far from the forefront of his mind that he might be better off giving up his life of crime and fully embracing his reality as Richard Verrell the respected figure.

Because he has been pursuing his life of crime for so long, it initially seems like Verrell is set in his ways. But as the Blackshirt series progresses, change begins to emerge. Not only is Verrell not as committed to his Blackshirt persona as he once was, but every time the burglar dons his mask, Blackshirt acts more like a hero than a crook.

It eventually becomes the norm for Verrell to face off against other criminals, not to mention saving lives and giving the police a helping hand when the need arises.

The Blackshirt series is quite long. However, one is encouraged to read all the books and in the order that they were published. Only then will one appreciate the transformation that Verrell slowly but surely undergoes as he encounters numerous challenges to his lifestyle as Blackshirt the gentleman thief.

Graham Montague Jeffries was a big fan of the Raffles stories. In fact, he often referred to Blackshirt as the Raffles of the 1920s. That might explain why the Blackshirt series was such an instant success, with the books going on to sell millions of copies.

Graham wrote the Blackshirt books for roughly twenty years. And despite the success the books garnered, he finally ended them in 1940 primarily because Graham was sure he had written all the Richard Verrell stories that could be written.

However, because he couldn’t bring himself to part with the series, Graham decided to skip a few years down the line and launch a whole new series based on the son of Blackshirt.

Once Graham moved on from the books, his son Roderic took over and wrote over twenty additional books. Roderic’s books were more of a reboot of the series and they introduced a few changes to the character of Blackshirt and his background. Roderic maintained the core theme of the books which is that of a gentleman thief struggling to understand his relationship to the law.

+The Author

Even though the Blackshirt series was originated by Graham Montague Jefferies, the books are more closely associated with Roderic Graeme, a pseudonym belonging to Graham’s son.

Roderic was born in 1926 in London. A student of Harrow View House Preparatory and the University of Southampton, the author spent many years as an apprentice on the New Zealand Shipping Company.

Along with his time at the Union Castle Company, the author did a lot of traveling as a young man. Finally coming back home in 1949, Roderic had to juggle writing with reading for the bar.

He eventually became a full-fledged lawyer but he always found the time to write, with his first book hitting the shelves in 1950. Roderic eventually took over the Blackshirt series from his father and took their popularity to new heights.

+Concerning Blackshirt

Richard Verrell has a thing for rough shooting. And rough shooting is exactly what he intends to do when he visits a friend in Kent. Only things are not as they seem. Richard comes across a Bentley parked in the road beyond, just across his host’s field.

It sets off some alarm bells so Richard collects his host and comes back that evening for further investigation. And that is when the madness begins. Not only is Richard fired upon, but when the dust settles, he finds that there is a dead body in the shed.

Richard knows that the issue doesn’t concern him but that doesn’t stop him from pursuing it.

+Blackshirt Passes By

Richard Verrell was surprised to see his own car dashing rather dangerous down a quiet street. He was even more intrigued to learn that the car had been involved in a raid on the British Museum.

Richard Verrell the crime novelist knows better than to get involved in such matters. But Blackshirt the gentleman thief is far more daring.

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