SEXTON BLAKE'S FAMILY
by Brad Mengel
Philip Josť Farmer in DOC SAVAGE :HIS APOCALYPTIC LIFE gave some details about the Blake Family. He states that Wanda Fogg, niece of Phileas Fogg, married a William Blake who claimed to be descended from an illegitimate son of the poet William Blake. Farmer suggested that William II was a liar and probably descended from Arthur Blake coachman at the Wold Newton Crash (whose father Alan is mentioned on THE SECRET HISTORY OF THE WOLD NEWTON UNIVERSE by Dennis Power), this claim is strengthened by William claiming to be the brother of Sexton Blake. William's, and possibly Sexton's, mother was Jill Fagin, a descendant of Fagin from Oliver Twist.
Farmer states that Wanda and William II fled England to Chicago after getting into trouble with the law. Their son Robert Blake was born there in 1917 and it rumoured that he killed both of them in 1927. Robert met his end in 1936 in an abandoned Church on Federal Hill in Providence as told in H.P. Lovecraft's "The Haunter of the Dark".
So is there any evidence in the recorded cases of Sexton Blake to substantiate William's claim? E. S. Turner in his excellent reference book BOYS WILL BE BOYS devotes a chapter to Sexton Blake. In that chapter it gives the following information Sexton Blake's father was an eminent Harley Street Doctor Berkeley Blake. Turner also mentions that in 1933 Lewis Jackson revealed the only skeleton in Sexton's closet with Sexton's full permission. Apparently it took Sexton a period of 13 years before he could bring himself to reveal the details of this case. It appeared that Sexton had a brother called Nigel, a waster whose conduct broke his father's heart and he died soon after. Around 1890 Sexton found his brother drinking himself to death in the Cameroons only taking time off to beat his wife. Nigel ordered Sexton away a pistol point, calling him a snivelling parson. Twenty years later Sexton is investigating a forgery case and discovers that the forger is his brother. Sexton is working on this case with Nigel's son who had been abandoned by his father. Sexton was able to hush up the capture and had him looked up in a fortress like house in Buckinghamshire after this confrontation. "Nigel Blake Forger and Crook! What would our mother have said to that!" Turner points out that this is the only reference to Sexton's mother.
The obvious conclusion is that Nigel is, of course, William Blake and that Sexton did not imprison his brother but told him to leave England and change his name. Nigel William Blake fled with his second wife, Wanda, to Chicago and dropped his first name..
But what of Nigel's first son? Apparently this was his only case with his uncle but he did enter the field of criminology after learning the ropes from his uncle. The Sexton Blake style of detection is always more physical than cerebral and his nephew, James, follows this example. He joined Scotland Yard rose to the rank of Inspector , at some point being knighted and retired. In 1936 he battled a master criminal called the Scorpion for control of a death ray he developed to fight crime with his niece Hope Mason (Hope must be related on his wife's side). This battle was filmed as a fifteen part serial in 1937.
My colleague Jess Nevins through information revealed through an adventurer known only as M.N. revealed the following information connecting the Blakes to the Carters
"[Dr John "Jack"] Quartz [enemy of Nick Carter and killer of both his wives Ethel Ackerman and Edith Blake] died in Sing-Sing in 1932 immediately following a visit by Sir James Blake of Scotland Yard. Quartz's death was suspicious, but Blake's reputation was beyond reproach, and there was no evidence beyond the very circumstantial of his involvement. It was later discovered that Sir James was Edith Blake's nephew, but the New York State Police somehow never got around to pursuing this crime any further."...
Mr Nevins and M.N. also reveal that Edith was the daughter of British factory owner travelling to New York. Whilst I applaud M.N. and Mr Nevins I must respectfully disagree with their conclusion that Edith was Sir James' Aunt and instead submit that she was in fact his mother. As you will have read earlier Nigel Blake abandoned his wife and son after 1890. This took place in 1891 and Edith, after leaving her son in the care of relatives, went on the cruise to refresh herself. Unfortunately, I am unable to explain why Edith retained her married name unless it was for the sake of her son. The cruise liner was hijacked by Ordway the Unaccountable Crook and Nick Carter managed to foil his plot.
Nick suffering from the loss of his first wife sought comfort with and later fell for Edith who in turn had a crush on the first decent man she had met since her husband had abandoned her. Tragically, this was to be a short marriage as Dr Quartz, the killer of Ethel, also murdered Edith.
Jess Nevins and M.N. have also possibly located the Mrs Blake who is referenced in Turner's work in their article "This Shadow Hanging Over Me Is No Trick Of The Light" as Anna Lugoff when Sexton was possibly operating under the alias of Victor. Please read this article for the children of this relationship.
Farmer, Philip Josť DOC SAVAGE: HIS APOCALYPTIC LIFE (Panther: London, 1973)
Lovecraft H. P. "The Haunter of the Dark" in THE HAUNTER OF THE DARK AND OTHER TALES OF TERROR (Panther: London, 1950)
Nevins, Jess. "The Carters of Virginia: A Tragedy" and "This Shadow Hanging Over Me Is No Trick Of The Light" SOME UNKNOWN MEMBERS OF THE WOLD NEWTON FAMILY TREE
Power, Dennis "Big Valley Small World" THE SECRET HISTORY OF THE WOLD NEWTON UNIVERSE
Turner, E. S. BOYS WILL BE BOYS (Penguin, Harmondsworth, 1975)
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