Justice-without jury, without appeal and without mercy
These are stories of the Four Just Men, Edgar Wallace's famous characters known to the wider public principally as a result of the early television series of the same name. The source material is, of course, far removed from its celluloid derivative. Far from being set in the world post WW2, the original stories take place in the colourful period immediately following the Great War. The principal characters remain a refreshing antidote to stereotypical heroes for they are group of ruthless and dedicated vigilantes, disillusioned with a world where the wicked and the abusers of power perpetually go unpunished. The Just Men set about to rectify matters according to their own standards and retribution is dispensed on swift and deadly wings. All the Four Just Men stories are gathered together in a two volume set from Leonaur, available in soft or hardcover with dust jacket.
The editor wondered, as he climbed the stairs, how much longer the Four would fill the contents bill of his newspaper, and rather hoped that they would make their attempt, even though they met with a failure, which he regarded as inevitable.<br>
His room was locked and in darkness, and he fumbled in his pocket for the key, found it, turned the lock, opened the door and entered.<br>
“I wonder,” he mused, reaching out of his hand and pressing down the switch of the light. . . . <br>
There was a blinding flash, a quick splutter of flame, and the room was in darkness again.<br>
Startled, he retreated to the corridor and called for a light.<br>
“Send for the electrician,” he roared; “one of these damned fuses has gone!”<br>
A lamp revealed the room to be filled with a pungent smoke; the electrician discovered that every globe had been carefully removed from its socket and placed on the table.
From one of the brackets suspended a curly length of thin wire which ended in a small black box, and it was from this that thick fumes were issuing.<br>
“Open the windows,” directed the editor; and a bucket of water having been brought, the little box was dropped carefully into it.<br>
Then it was that the editor discovered the letter—the greenish-grey letter that lay upon his desk. He took it up, turned it over, opened it, and noticed that the gum on the flap was still wet.<br>
When you turned on your light this evening you probably imagined for an instant that you were a victim of one of those ‘outrages’ to which you are fond of referring. We owe you an apology for any annoyance we may have caused you. The removal of your lamp and the substitution of a ‘plug’ connecting a small charge of magnesium powder is the cause of your discomfiture. We ask you to believe that it would have been as simple to have connected a charge of nitro-glycerine, and thus have made you your own executioner. We have arranged this as evidence of our inflexible intention to carry out our promise in respect of the Aliens Extradition Act. There is no power on earth that can save Sir Philip Ramon from destruction, and we ask you, as the directing force of a great medium, to throw your weight into the scale in the cause of justice, to call upon your Government to withdraw an unjust measure, and save not only the lives of many inoffensive persons who have found an asylum in your country, but also the life of a Minister of the Crown whose only fault in our eyes is his zealousness in an unrighteous cause.<br>
(Signed) <I>The Four Just Men</I>