The Avengers Dead Duck


Dead Duck by Patrick Macnee and Peter Leslie

First published in the UK by Hodder and Stoughton early in 1966 and costing a mere three shillings and sixpence, this was reprinted in 1994 by Titan Books.

From the back of the first UK edition:

"In the eerie wilderness of an Essex marsh a plot of ruthless immorality is nearing fruition, a plot born of madness, genius and revenge.  In the luxury of a world-famous restaurant John Steed and Emma Peel embark on an investigation fraught with dangers that even The Avengers have never met before, an investigation prompted by an unexplained break-out of death.
An original novel based on the theme of the ABC Television series, THE AVENGERS"

The Avengers - Dead Duck - First UK edition
Dead Duck - First edition cover

The Avengers - Dead Duck - Second UK Edition
Dead Duck - reprint cover


Deadline was published in Portugal in 1967 by Dag as Os Vingadores: O Pato Morto.  Translated by M. M. Ferreira da Silva

This was the first Avengers paperback I ever found, and is certainly the one that gave me the most pleasure.  Little did I know what a Friday afternoon trip to the local second-hand bookshop would lead to.   The next day, fired up by my discovery of this gem I went back, scoured the shelves even more thoroughly, and emerged with a copy of 'The Floating Game'.  'Heil Harris' soon followed, courtesy of the Salvation Army charity shop, and that's why my spare room is now such a mess...

This is by far the best of the books based around The Avengers, and is something of a treat for ornithologists.  Not having read it for nearly twenty years it might, however, be tripe, so beware.  Peter Leslie was a writer for the English music newspaper The Melody Maker in the 1950s, writing mainly about jazz. In the early 60s he moved to France in order to take up a career as a novelist. This book, and its sister book 'Deadline', were written while he was living over there. (An aside - Peter Leslie's daughter contacted me by e-mail a year or so back and gave me some background information about her father. Unfortunately I had a hard-drive failure and had not backed up recently, so I lost her contact details and the information she had given me. If she is reading this I would be very grateful if she could drop me a line).

on to The Floating Game