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Locke, Ferrers. Ferrers Locke was created by “Owen Conquest,” the pseudonym of Charles Hamilton (Billy Bunter, Arthur Augustus d’Arcy, Sheerluck Jones, Ken King, Len Lex, Herlock Sholmes, Harry Wharton), and appeared in hundreds of stories in The Magnet Library and Greyfriars Holiday Annual and thirty-three novels, story collections, and adaptations from 1914 to 1940, beginning with “Spirited Away” (The Magnet Library, Sept. 19, 1914).

Ferrers Locke is an adventurer, detective, and world traveler who occasionally assists Sexton Blake and is related to Dr. Locke, the Headmaster of Greyfriars, which Billy Bunter attends. Locke is assisted by Jack Drake, a student at Greyfriars. Locke's enemies are Yellow Perils. In one story Locke goes to “Pan-shan,” in the heart of China, to rescue a group of kidnaped Greyfriars students from the Mandarin Tang Wang and his Red Dragon Tong. In another story Locke and Drake go looking for a lost expedition in Tibet. Unfortunately, the party had been discovered by Kang-Pu, a local despot whose ultimate goal was to CONQUER THE WORLD! Kang-Pu had taken the expedition hostage. Locke and Drake swoop in, rescue the explorers, and put paid to Kang-Pu and his plans. Not all of Locke's adventures are so world-spanning, though most were. Sometimes Locke is involved in more mundane and closer-to-home crimes, as when Lancaster, the Greyfriars student who is also the legendary cracksman "The Wizard," finally has to deal with his two lives being in conflict.

* I've included the Ferrers Locke stories in the Best of the Encyclopedia category because they (and Locke himself) are archetypal of a prominent type of story and hero in the British story papers of the last half of the 19th century and the 1901-1939 era. When I say "archetypal" here, I don't mean in the sense of being a very influential icon, but rather in being the singular summation and distillation of an existing genre. In the case of Ferrers Locke and his stories, the genre is the British-men-go-round-the-world-stomping-Johnny-Foreigners'-Arses genre. There were such stories throughout the circa 1850-1940 decades, and especially in the penny dreadfuls, ha'penny dreadfuls, and story papers, but few were as archetypal an example of it as Ferrers Locke, whose stories read like a catalogue of British insecurities and bigotries during the 1914-1940 years. Charles Hamilton gave them a surface competency, but they are unreadable now because of their jingoism and racism. 

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