Another quick sketch, it’s quite the testing challenge (and again from the same source).
G. D. Holbourne’s Simon ‘Pepper’ Mint is a curious fellow. The tropes that would then and later become the very mockery of the genre (the smart threads, the alcoholism, the middle-aged hero seducing much younger women) were in Holbourne’s stories played absolutely straight. Indeed, in common with almost all his protagonists Pepper Mint is rather a damaged character. The drink and the womanising is rarely fulfilling (and never rewarding) though Pepper is not some maudlin creature, and perhaps it is through his appearances that much of the attitude of those that work, are conned, or just are sent by the mysterious ‘Garden’ into horror and peril are most honestly presented. More of the milieu is hinted at through the Pepper stories than elsewhere – in Marking Time For Master where a girl (Miss. Tix) lives each second stolen from another we see the clearest indication of the otherwise unspoken-of catastrophe that is eating up the world. And more so, where that battle fought and lost decades before there is no victory to be had, where Pepper fights its manifestation not for some eventual victory, but simply for the joy of it perhaps?
From his first appearance in One More Dance; ‘A rake and a scoundrel, he dressed well in that way a man of younger years could not imitate (and so rejected). Everything was an accessory to everything else. Here was a man that dressed with care but without vanity; it was all a mask. The smile, the heavy moustaches and the hair Bohemian to the collar still there was that badly broken nose. He had the eyes of a suicide with too much to live for.’