Friday, October 19, 2007

All About Super Spy Cars: And a New CHITTY, CHITTY, BANG-BANG Coming in 2008

By Wesley Britton

May 2008 is going to be a feast for all fans of Ian Fleming. As part of the James Bond author’s centenary celebrations, we’ll be seeing Sebastian Faulks’ Devil May Care, the first 007 continuation novel since the Raymond Benson series; Samantha Weinberg’s The Moneypenny Diaries: Final Fling; Kev Walker’s graphic novelisation of Charlie Higson’s SilverFin; not to mention an exhibition dedicated to the 007 author.

On top of all this, Fleming’s 1964 classic for children, Chitty, Chitty, Bang-Bang, will be reprinted in a new hard-cover collector’s edition complete with original illustrations by John Burningham. Now, while visions of Dick Van Dyke and the strains of the Disneyesque soundtrack fill your head, it’s worth noting that this tale of a flying car does indeed have connections to the James Bond universe. Before dismissing this new release as but a literary footnote to the legacy of Ian Lancaster Fleming, it’s important to remember the significance of super-cars in the super-spy realm of the 1960s and the contribution Chitty, Chitty, Bang-Bang made to children’s literature.

Signature Cars

Four-wheel transport has been part of the spy milieu from the beginning. Back in the 1930s, "Clubland" writer Dornford Yates, pen name for Major William Mercer, established many staples of future spy adventures. For example, his main characters included Jonah Manscell and William Chandos who set out on European adventures in a Rolls-Royce equipped with staff and customized caches and secret compartments hiding rifles, revolvers, maps, water-proof clothes, medicine chests, grave digging tools, handcuffs, and passports. In his Rolls, Jonah carried torches for flashing messages, ropes for hanging crooks, rubber tubes for gassing criminals, and spare clothes to lend girls whose own attire had been drenched. (note 1)

Later, in 1961, four years before Goldfinger made the Aston-Martin DB5 the most famous car in the world, the producers of The Saint, wanting to give Their new TV series a modern touch, contacted several European sports car manufacturers seeking a Saint trademark. As reported in Spy Television (Praeger, 2004), Volvo was so interested in having its P-1800 line on British television, the company flew in a white model from Sweden for the show as no other white Volvos were yet available in England. The Volvo with its license plate reading “ST1,” alongside Leslie Charteris’ haloed stick figure, became a signature icon for The Saint. The Volvo turned out to be a precursor to the similar uses of signature cars in The Avengers with Major John Steed driving classic Bentleys and Rolls--representing England's past--and Emma Peel's powder-blue Lotus Elan--representing the pop culture of the then flashy present.

In fact, cars had important roles in nearly every television show featuring secret agents. In the opening sequence of The Prisoner, Patrick Mcgoohan's unnamed agent was seen driving a Lotus Super Seven series III with the license plate, "KAR120C." This Lotus had special significance in one episode, "Many Happy Returns," in which viewers learned Number Six had built the car himself. (note 2)

When Gene Barry's Amos Burke moved from being a police detective in Burke's Law into Amos Burke, Secret Agent in 1965, viewers saw the millionaire's Rolls in each episode and as the backdrop for the closing titles. In the '60s, fans of old-time radio finally got to see "The Black Beauty," the armored conveyer of The Green Hornet, a TV spin-off of Batman, another series featuring its own special "Batmobile" designed by Chuck Barris. Some series, like The Man From U.N.C.L.E., had special cars created for the show, but ended up using them more for publicity than in the actual aired episodes. (note 3)

Even series set long before the advent of modern transportation--notably The Wild Wild West and the later Secret Adventures of Jules Verne--used fantastic machines to spice up the settings. James West and Artemus Gordon rode in their special train, "The Wanderer," equipped with trick pool tables, hidden telegraph machines, and guns in every nook and cranny. When Jules Verne took off for his 19th century travels in the astonishingly underappreciated 1999-2001 Sci-Fi Channel series, he flew in the dirigible, "The Aurora," a special airship equipped with a lavish laboratory and cozy living quarters.

Classic Motors

But back to Ian Fleming. To begin, like his twelve James Bond novels and short story collections, Chitty, Chitty, Bang-Bang: The Magic Car (1964) reflected Fleming's well-known interest in mechanical gadgets. In his introduction to his only children's book, Fleming said his story was based on the original Chitty, Chitty, Bang-Bang, a car built by Count Zborowski in 1920 on his estate near Canterbury, England. Fleming said the unusual car had a pre-1914 chain drive, 75 horsepower, and a Mercedes chassis installed with a six-cylinder military engine used in German zeppelins. It had a grey steel body with a large eight-foot hood and weighed four tons. According to Fleming, in1921 and 1922, this car won several racing awards until it was wrecked in an accident. Now that's the sort of information any Bond fan should recognize as trademark Ian Fleming. (note 4)

While I don't want to overstate the case, CCBB does indeed offer insights into Fleming's creative process. For example, with the exception of The Spy Who Loved Me (1962), a unique first-person narrative from a female point of view, all the James Bond stories were told from the third person. While CCBB is framed in the voice of a narrator retelling a story he has overheard, Chitty is also primarily a third-person narrative. To give his story a lighter tone than the Bond books, Fleming used onomatopoeia with a chatty, rambling, informal style. As many have said, Fleming's rich descriptions and use of meticulous details in his imaginative Bond books lent an air of credibility to his adventures despite the obviously fantastical elements. In Chitty, he merged this trademark eye for detail with lighthearted humor far different from his other, darker works.

But there is a slice of this in CCBB--the magic car and its owners didn't fly around and stop at enchanted places. Instead, the Pott family finds a cave full of explosives, are chased by "Joe the Monster" and his criminal gang, and are forced to help in a robbery. Beneath the innocence, the underworld finds its way into Fleming's entertainment for the young. Still, Fleming found an appropriate balance between danger and warm family themes. In this book, the descriptive language is toned down to avoid any details of scientific solemnity adding weight to a fantasy. Instead, John Burmingham's drawings and paintings, both small and full-page, enliven the reading experience.

From the beginning, Chitty, Chitty, Bang-Bang found favor with critics, parents, and children. Of course, the initial popularity of CCBB was supported by the then intense interest in the "Bond Bonanza" and the author who started it all. Still, the book earned praise on its own merits. In 1964, mystery writer Rex Stout claimed four out of five children would love the story, most preferring to trade in their parents for Commander Pott. Library journals universally praised the book along with John Birmingham's illustrations as a story for all ages. Some reviewers felt the story was more appropriate for boys.

Flying On Screen

But this critical interest in Fleming's book didn't carry over to the movie. In 1968, United Artists and Albert Broccoli, one of the producers of the James Bond films, decided to create a movie-musical version of Chitty, Chitty, Bang-Bang using the formula that had earlier made Disney's Mary Poppins a financial windfall and a critical success. Drawing from the Poppins cast, versatile entertainer Dick Van Dyke starred in CCBB along with singer Sally Ann Howes as Commander Pott and a non-Fleming character, Truly Scrumptious.

Merchandising included a popular theme song and soundtrack record album. Random House issued a print movie tie-in version of the story, The Adventures of Chitty, Chitty, Bang-Bang, illustrated with photographs from the film. Writer Albert G. Miller's book version of the screenplay kept the Fleming tone and flavor but added new characters and adventures, including Grandpa Pott and Truly Scrumptious, a romantic interest for the widower, Commander Pott. Also in 1968, Random House issued Meet Chitty, Chitty, Bang-Bang: The Wonderful Magic Car by Al Perkins targeted for readers under the age of ten.

But virtually every critic of the decade panned the film, saying the project didn't deliver much of the magic and humanity of the original book. Ironically, decades later, the film helped renew interest in Fleming's effort in 1993 with the video issue of the musical. In 1996, it was reported that one scene in the movie, in which Jemima Pott refuses candy from a dangerous criminal, helped teach children the dangers of accepting gifts from strangers.

But the saga wasn’t over. On April 16, 2002, Chitty, Chitty, Bang-Bang debuted as a stage musical at the London Palladium theatre with six new songs by the
Sherman Brothers who’d written the original academy award
nominated title and score for the film. The London run ended on September 2005 after a
Broadway production opened on April 28 of that year at the
Hilton Theatre in New York City. Nominated for six Tony Awards, winning none, this production closed on December 31, 2005. Touring companies continued to do shows throughout the UK.

By this time, it seemed clear super-cars belonged to children’s entertainment and no longer spy adventures for adults. In 1977, we saw Roger Moore’s Lotus Esprit S1 turn into a submarine, and in 2001 Bond had a BMW Z8 he could control with his cell phone. But when Pierce Brosnan’s 007 raced around in the Aston Martin V12 Vanquish equipped with a cloaking device that made it invisible in Die Another Day (2002), reviewers and fans agreed—it was time for James Bond to find a new direction. It had become time to get back to the basics, the fundamentals created by Ian Fleming.

The Book

For those who haven't read Chitty, Chitty, Bang-Bang, here's a synopsis:

In the first pages of Chitty, Chitty, Bang-Bang, we meet the eccentric Pott family. Jeremy and Jemima are eight-year-old twins living with their mother, Mimsie, and their father, Commander Pott. He's a dreamy and unsuccessful explorer and inventor known in the neighborhood as "Crackpot Pott." We learn they have a lineage going back to the Romans and that they live beside a lake near a turnpike near Canterbury, England. They are poor and can't afford a car.

Then, the remarkable Commander invents "Crackpot's Whistling Sweets," a toy/candy he sells to a candy maker, Lord Scrumptious, who buys the invention for one thousand pounds. With the funds to buy a car, the Potts discover an old wreck on its way to the junkyard, a car that was clearly once so special the entire family falls in love with it on sight. Magical properties can't be missed when the car's license plate says "GENI." Commander Pott repairs the car, and hears the characteristic start-up noises of "chitty chitty bang bang" which becomes the car's name. The special car can go up to one hundred miles an hour, but the Commander worries when he finds the car can make improvements on its own at night. Chitty has sprouted rows of knobs Pott cannot explain.

On their way to a picnic, Chitty and the Potts get bogged down in slow traffic. The personified car gets irritated and gives the Commander instructions on the mysterious knobs. Commander Pott does as the car asks, and "Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang" suddenly grows wings and flies over the other cars.

In part two, the delighted Potts land on a sandbar in the English Channel. After picnicking, all five family members, now including Chitty, doze off and nearly drown until Chitty warns everyone. The Potts flee as the car becomes a hover-craft, skimming over the water to France where they find shelter in a handy cave.

The Potts explore the long cave, full of traps designed to scare visitors away, which leads to a secret underground warehouse full of boxes containing guns, bombs, and weapons. They find a paper saying the vault belongs to a famous criminal named Joe the Monster. Frightened but determined, the Potts light a fuse, drive out of the cave, and leave the explosives to blow up. Outside, Joe the Monster and three gangsters wait for them, but the car sprouts its wings and flies away to a hotel in Calais, France.

Part 3 begins in France where the gangsters find the Potts and kidnap the twins. The children are forced to participate in a robbery of a candy store. The full family shows resolve and cooperation, and the twins are alert and trick the gang while their parents and "Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang" capture Joe's gang. The family earns rewards and flies off for new adventures.


1. See Richard Osbourne's Clubland Heroes (London: Constable and Co., 1953) pages 68 and 80.

Peter Wolfe briefly looks at cars in Eric Amblers fiction on pages 21-22 in Alarms and Epitaphs: The Art of Eric Ambler (Bowling Green: Bowling Green UP, 1993). In Wolfe's opinion, Ambler uses cars and car crashes as a symbol of worrisome science and technology in the modern world.

2. According to Prisoner fan "Wolfe, "KAR120C" was originally registered to the Lotus Dealer and "rented" for the opening credits of the show filmed for "Arrival". The super seven seen in "Many Happy Returns" was actually another Super Seven that used the same plate number, as the plate was property of the dealership - not the car. Wolf" says that the car used in "Arrival" ended up somewhere in South Africa but its actual whereabouts are unknown. Lotus no longer makes the Seven as it sold the rights to an American company in Georgia and its now called the Caterham Seven with the same basic design with a few modern changes (engine and suspension).

For information about a new Canadian version of the car, see:

There are several models available - a build it yourself kit and a good sized 1:18 scale die-case Super seven from a company by Kyosho. More info is at:


"KAR120C" was also important in the Prisoner novel, Number Two by David McDaniel. See discussion in "Novelizing TV Spies" file at this website.

3. An article with great photographs about the little-used Man From U.N.C.L.E. car can be found at:

It discusses how AMT designer Gene Winfield was asked to come up with a futuristic car with gull-wing doors and special accessories intended for the series. Like the "Saint" Volvo, manufactures hoped exposure on television would promote their "Piranha" line of specialty models and kits. (Thanks to Bob Short for this info.)

4. Much of this information came from my article on Chitty, Chitty, Bang-Bang for Masterplots II: Juvenile and Young Adult Literature (Pasadena, CA: Salem Press, 1996). For those interested, that article stresses the educational value of the book.

For related articles, see

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Free Spybooks online: An Annotated Bibliography of Ebook Espionage
By Wesley Britton

In August 2007, joined the list of websites offering a free spy book for download. In our case, we have available James Bond under the Microscope, the never-before-published revision of O. F. Snelling’s 1964 best-seller then known as James Bond: A Report. It’s in PDF format under the “James Bond Files” at:

While James Bond Under the Microscope is one of the few non-fiction espionage titles any reader can legitimately download for free, a number of websites offer a variety of classic novels now in the public domain. There are important yarns by the likes of John Buchan, James Fenimore Cooper, Joseph Conrad, and Eric Ambler. There’s also escapism in SF flavored adventures by E. Philipps Oppenheim and William Le Queux, as well as juvenile entertainment from both the 19th and 20th centuries. More recent titles include modern Spy-Fi as in a 2005 short story by Elizabeth Bear. And for those seeking historical facts, there’s everything from analysis of spycraft in World War I to a 2003 exploration of what the CIA did or didn’t do in Chile in 1970.

Below are lists of sources for these books and what they offer. We also include annotations for specific authors and titles when information may help guide new readers to what might be of most interest to them. In addition, we’ve added some details about any film versions adapted from the text. Much of this material is drawn from Wes Britton’s Beyond Bond: Spies in Film and Fiction (Praeger Pub., 2005) and Onscreen and Undercover: The Ultimate Book of Movie Espionage (Praeger Pub., 2006) where more in-depth discussions can be found.

Note: We’ve taken care to only include books either in the public domain or are new publications posted by authors and sites giving all readers access to their offerings. Please alert us to any potential problems so we can delete any titles in violation of any copyright law. We also welcome any additional information, including short review material for future annotations.

E-Book Sources

Project Gutenberg

Project Gutenberg is an extremely valuable source of thousands of public domain titles, many long out-of-print, many hard to find elsewhere. A number of other online sources are essentially catalogues that link to Project Gutenberg’s holdings.

ManyBooks has “Free eBooks for your PDA, iPod, or eBook Reader . . . Thousands of free e-books available in multiple formats for PDAs.”

In particular, they had 39 titles under the subject category of “Espionage.” One, at least, The Pathfinder by James Fenimore Cooper, is questionable. Many are duplicates of what Project Gutenberg offers, but some are only available at ManyBooks. For example, they offer non-fiction publications from the CIA.

Diesel eBooks

Diesel has a number of free titles, but they also offer many “espionage and intrigue” ebooks at very reasonable prices. Spy oriented selections can be seen at:

While holding many titles, this source is difficult to search by topic. Readers must look by title or author—all can be found doing the same with a Google search.

5. Free Books

A directory of free book sources—can search by topic including “Spy Stories and Intrigue.”


While this site claims to offer free e-books, I was able to only find listings of titles for minimal costs, so perhaps worth your time to check out. Note: most seem to come from the Romance genre.

Annotated Bibliography

Ambler, Eric
Epitath for a Spy link to the Internet Archive

From Beyond Bond:

Eric Ambler's early bestsellers included Epitaph for a Spy (1938) and Journey into Fear (1940). Both transformed the genre from heroic stories into more complex and ironic tales of corruption, betrayal, and conspiracy . . . Epitaph for a Spy, in particular, was a major turning point in spy fiction as the theme of the innocent being blackmailed into government service was introduced. In this case, a photographer was threatened with deportation back to the Communist bloc if he didn't perform what turned out to be bungling duties.

Angellotti, Marion Polk, 1894-1979
The Firefly of France

This 1918 book was made into a silent film the same year. In it, an American joined the French Aviation Corps and falls for a girl whose brother is the mysterious “Firefly.” False papers are given to the Germans to save the damsel in distress.

Baden-Powell of Gilwell, Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell, Baron, 1857-1941.
My Adventures as a Spy

Written by the founder of the Boy Scouts, this short memoir is useful for anyone interested in espionage of the First World War. Baden-Powll discusses types of agents and operations along with lively descriptions of spy adventures.

Bear, Elizabeth.

An 11 page 2005 short story by the noted SF author.

Benson, E. F. (Edward Frederic), 1867-1940
Crescent and Iron Cross

Published in 1918, historian Benson recounts events in Turkey and Armenia during the First World War.

Blasco Ibáñez, Vicente, 1867-1928
Mare Nostrum, Our Sea Novel

Spanish novel translated by Charlotte Brewster Jordan.

Brandt, Johanna, 1877-1964
The Petticoat Commando Boer Women in Secret Service

Buchan, John, 1875-1940
Green Mantle
Mr. Standfast
The 39 Steps
(All titles listed available both at Project Gutenberg and

One of the important “Clubland Writers,” no novelist ever had as wide an influence as John Buchan. Alfred Hitchcock drew from him, and not only from The 39 Steps, the first of the four Richard Hannay novels. Buchan was certainly childhood reading for Ian Fleming and his generation. While the stories may now seem quaint and outdated, they remain enjoyable diversions for any spy buff, and contain many of the templates used in spy films and books to the present day.

The Central Intelligence Agency Homepage

The CIA offers numerous studies of varying lengths including full books which include:

Cia And The Vietnam Policymakers: Three Episodes, 1962-1968
by Harold P. Ford
Cia Assessments Of The Soviet Union: The Record Versus The Charges
by Douglas J. Maceachin
Getting To Know The President: Cia Briefings Of Presidential Candidates, 1952-1992
by John L. Helgerson
Interrorgation: The Cia's Secret Manual On Coercive Questioning
by John Elliston
Report To The President By The Commission On Cia Activities Within The United States
by United States Commission On Cia Activities Within The United States

Chesterton, G. k. (Gilbert Keith)
The Man Who Was Thursday

Published in 1908, from Beyond Bond:

While not the first spy novel some have claimed it to be, the fanciful story had more
undercover agents than most books of the era. In this case, one agent thinks he's
investigating a group of anarchists disguising themselves as anarchists because their
leader says that if anyone trumpets their beliefs out loud, no one will take them seriously.
Chesterton's spy joined the inner circle of seven scheming bombers, six of whom all turn
out to be police informants spying on each other. The evil leader was the mysterious
Scotland Yard official who'd hired them in the first place.

A surreal classic.

Childers, Erskine, 1870-1922
Riddle of the Sands

According to Michael JR Jose:

"The shock of this book on its release a century ago, set in the years of European tension leading up to the First World War, caused a sensation in Britain
by successfully analysing what in military terms can only be called Germany's increasingly 'aggressive posture'. Childers did this in a story which broke
new ground, as it is generally agreed to be the first straight modern spy thriller, even more remarkable for it being a first novel.

With exciting bluff and counterbluff, chases, and manoeuvres, always using credible military and navy knowledge and terms, his popularity endures to this
day. His two heroes are duck hunting and holiday sailing off the German/Dutch coast in the North Sea when they stumble on a plot to trial-run a massive
sea-borne infantry attack from Germany's Frisian coast (north of Holland and due east of north England). Being full of treacherous sand bars and storms,
and suspicious yachting characters and dubious wreck salvagers, this is dangerous work. With plenty of variation in pace and scenery, this storyteller
really knew his facts and captured the attitudes and conversation of his era with some style. Childers' descendents are Ian Fleming's Bond novels, and
the vast array of war novels published since."


Collins, J. E. (Joseph Edmund), 1855-1892
Annette, The Metis Spy. A Heroine of the N.W. Rebellion

Published in 1886, also available at

Conrad, Joseph, 1857-1924
The Secret Agent

An important writer beyond any genre, Conrad’s character study of a terrorist contains themes relevant today. Twice made into a film, the most famous was Alfred Hitchcock’s updated Sabotage. Analysis of the book is at

Full text and analysis also posted at

Cooper, James Fenimore, 1789-1851
The Spy, A Tale of the Neutral Ground

The first American spy novel, Cooper’s look into the costs of undercover patriotic service is a significant contribution to espionage literature. Also available at Criticism is posted at

Copplestone, Bennet, 1867-1932
The Lost Naval Papers

Crane, Laura Dent
The Automobile Girls at Washington Checkmating the Plots of Foreign Spies -

Published in 1913, apparently one of a series including The Automobile Girls in Newport, The Automobile Girls in the Berkshires, The Automobile Girls Along the Hudson, The Automobile Girls at Chicago, the Automobile Girls in Palm Beach and more.

Cruikshank, Robert, 1789-1856 [Illustrator]
The English Spy. An Original Work Characteristic, Satirical, and Humorous. Comprising Scenes and Sketches in Every Rank of Society, Being Portraits Drawn from the Life

Davis, Richard Harding, 1864-1916
The Spy

Davis was a best-selling American novelist, playwrite, and journalist who lived an interesting life, and was accused of being a spy himself during World War I. As a war correspondent, he befriended Theodore Roosevelt, helping publicize the “Rough Riders” in Cuba. The Spy is also posted at

Dell, Ethel M. (Ethel May), 1881-1939
Rosa Mundi and Other Stories. (includes “The Secret Service Man.”)

Durham, Victor G.
The Submarine Boys and the Spies Dodging the Sharks of the Deep

Part of a series including The Submarine Boys Lightening Cruise, The Submarine Boys and the Middies, The Submarine Boys For the Flag, among others.

Futrelle, Jacques, 1875-1912
Elusive Isabel.

A summary of this 1909 novel is posted at:

Made into a 1916 silent movie. From Wes Britton’s Onscreen and Undercover: The Ultimate Book of Movie Espionage:

In Elusive Isabel (1916), Secret Service agent Hamilton Grimm went after a conspiracy planning to take over the world. He fell for one of the gang, Isabel (Florence Lawrence) who was deported after the gang was captured. Grimm followed her hoping to turn the bad girl good, but, well, she’s elusive.

Garrett, Gordon Randall.
Brain Twister.

Listed in the “Espionage” category at

Written by Garrett in conjunction with author Laurence Janifer (using the joint
Pseudonym Mark Phillips), this SF book was nominated for the
Hugo Award for Best Novel in 1960. More details are at:

Green, Anna Katharine. 1846-1935
The Mayor’s Wife

Listed by in their “espionage” category—questionable listing.

This 1907 novel was by one of the most prolific women writers of the 19th and early 20th centuries, a predecessor to future forensic detective writers. Her biography is at:

Gustafson, Kristian C
CIA Machinations in Chile in 1970:Reexamining the Record

This 2003 history is by a frequent contributor to the CIA’s official periodical, Studies in Intelligence. This indicates this book has both the support of the agency and that the content is likely quite credible.

Haliburton, Thomas Chandler, 1796-1865
The Attache or, Sam Slick in England -

Best known for his comic 19th century “Sam Slick” novels, a biography of this Nova Scotia born satirist is at: -

Haggard, H. Rider (Henry Rider), 1856-1925
Lysbeth, A Tale of the Dutch - 20k -

Biographies of the author best known for King Solomon’s Mines are at: -

Kipling, Rudyard, 1865-1936

For a detailed analysis of this classic, see “Rudyard Kipling's `Great Game’: Kim, Spy Stories, and `The Spies March’" posted at this website. This article also contains analysis of Kipling’s spy short stories and links to online texts of them.

Lang, Andrew, 1844-1912
Pickle the Spy; or the Incognito of Prince Charles

The Prince Charles in question seems to be Charles Edward, Prince, grandson of James II, King of England, during the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745-1746. More about the story is posted at

Le Queux, William, 1864-1927
The Czar’s Spy: The Mystery of a Silent Love -

The Four Faces, A Mystery

From Beyond Bond:

. . . Le Queux wrote fiction impressing the then Prime Minister, Arthur Balfour, although later critics believed Le Queux wasn't especially literary and questionable in his factual information. But, according to Kingsley Amis, realism wasn't yet the point. In his view, espionage based on imagination rather than actual life began at the beginning of the century "with the almost completely free-lance status of a Bulldog Drummond" and William Le Queux's Duckworth Drew. Drew's early adventures were precursors to later adventures focused on new technology as when he encountered an "electronic eye," an Italian device that detonated mines. In addition, Le Queux's novel, The Great War in England in 1897 (1894 was an early example of literary speculations about an invasion of England. The Secret Service (1896) dealt with Jews in Russia, and England's Pearl (1899) was an early novel shifting British fears from the French to Germany. This fear continued in The Invasion of 1910 (1905) in which Germans wormed secrets out of shipyards, arsenals, factories, and individuals. Le Queux's later books, No. 70, Berlin (1915) and The Mystery of the Green Ray (1915) had increasingly preposterous plots.

Lincoln, Natalie Sumner, 1885-1935
I Spy

The Lock and Key Library. The Most Interesting Stories of All Nations: Real Life.
(Various authors, short stories)

Julian Hawthorne edited a series of Lock and Key anthologies, most stories being detective or mystery. A table of contents for these collections is at

Munro, Neil
Doom Castle

A 1900 novel.

Mundy, Talbot, 1879-1940
King of the Khyber Rifles, A Romance of Adventure

Published in 1916, the book was Number 3 in the JimGrim
Series. According to

Athelstan King is a secret agent for the British Raj at the beginning of World War I. Heavily influenced both by Mundy's own unsuccessful career in India
and by his interest in theosophy, it describes King's adventures among the Muslim tribes of northern India accompanied by the mystical woman adventurer
Yasmini and the Turkish mullah Muhammed Anim.

A discussion of the 1953 film version is at:

Oppenheim, E. Phillips (Edward Phillips), 1866-1946
Project Gutenberg has 38 titles, below is a representative list. More are available at

The Black Box
The Double Life of Mr. Alfred Burton
The Double Traitor
The Great Secret
Kingdom of the Blind
Mr. Grex of Monte Carlo

From Beyond Bond:

Oppenheim produced 115 novels and 39 short story collections, many of which were Edwardian spy stories emphasizing gambling and secret diplomacy as in The Mysterious Mr. Sapine (1898). Praised by John Buchan as his "master in fiction," Oppenheim spiced up his tales with local color in major city settings as in Mr. Grex of Monte Carlo (1915). Oppenheim was also later lauded by Eric Ambler as one of the earliest outstanding writers of cloak and dagger stereotypes including "the black-velveted seductress, the British Secret Service numbskull hero, the omnipotent spymaster," and the appeal to the snobbery of readers of the era. Kingsley Amis saw Oppenheim as a logical forefather to Ian Fleming. Perhaps the best of Oppenheim's output was Kingdom of the Blind (1917) featuring raids by submarines and zeppelins.

Orczy, Emmuska, Baroness, 1865-1947
(At Project Gutenberg)
El Dorado, An Adventure of The Scarlet Pimpernel
The League of The Scarlet Pimpernel
The Scarlet Pimpernel
I Will Repay

From Beyond Bond:

. . . Other fanciful adventures looked to the past, as in the "Scarlet Pimpernel" series penned by the Baroness Orczy (whose full name was Emma Magdalena Rosalina Marie Josepha Barbara Orzy). First appearing in a play in 1903 and then in The Scarlet Pimpernel (1905), Percy Blakeney was a brave and efficient English secret agent rescuing kindly, victimized French aristocrats from the guillotine under the noses of French revolutionaries. He was something of a Robin Hood figure in reverse, saving the lives of the rich unfairly tormented by a cold-blooded government ostensibly run on behalf of working peasants .

. . . Blakeney was a character masking his heroism behind seeming idleness and frivolity, a master of quick disguises in a series of books including I Will Repay (1906), El Dorado (1913), and Sir Percy Hits Back (1927).

The first film adaptation of the character was The Scarlet Pimpernel (1935) starring Leslie Howard. In 1982, The Scarlet Pimpernel was a British TV movie starring Anthony Andrews and Jane Seymour. In 1999, the story became a three-part miniseries (re-broadcast on American A&E) starring Richard E. Grant and Elizabeth McGovern.


Emperor’s Candlesticks

From Onscreen and Undercover:

Based on the Baroness Orczy novel, The Emperor's Candlesticks (1937) starred William Powell and Louise Rainier . . . In the story noted for unrealized potential, a Polish secret agent smuggled messages to St. Petersburg in candlesticks while Russian secret police investigate as a peace treaty is in the balance.

Royden, Barry G, 1938-.
Tolkacheb, A Worthy Successor to Penkovsky. An Exceptional Espionage Operation

This non-fiction account first appeared in the official CIA periodical, Studies in Intelligence, Vol. 47, No. 3, 2003 - Unclassified Edition. Written by a former CIA operative.

Snell, Roy J. (Roy Judson), 1878-
Triple Spies

Theiss, Lewis E.
The Secret Wireless or, the Spy Hunt of the Camp Brady Patrol!Adventure~

Lewis E. Theiss wrote primarily illustrated aviation adventure stories for boys, many in the “Young Wireless Operator” series. Another title was The Hidden Aerial: The Spy Line on the Mountain (Boston: W.A. Wilde Co, 1919).

Tomlinson, Paul Greene, 1888-
Bob Cook and the German Spy -

Published in 1888.

Vance, Louis Joseph, 1879-1933
The False Faces: Further Adventures from the History of The Lone Wolf

Part of a very popular literary and film series. Discussed in detail in Wes Britton’s Onscreen and Undercover, a portion of that discussion includes:

While many film series began during the silent era, most were detective and not spy oriented. However, Joseph Vance's creation, the former jewel thief, `The Lone Wolf,’ got involved in at least four spy adventures throughout his on-again, off-again career. Films in this series were noted for the formula of the audience never being certain if the Wolf
would end up good or bad--but always saved by a beautiful woman.

. . . Henry B. Walthall was the Wolf in The False Faces (1919) who is given important papers to take to America. On a ship, he discovered an old foe (Lon Chaney) had become a German agent. Our Hero pretended to also be a German when a U-boat sinks the steamer. When he arrived in the states, the Wolf and his girlfriend (Mary Anderson)
defeated a spy ring.

Williams, Valentine, 1883-1946
(At Project Gutenberg)
Okewood of the Secret Service

The Man With the Club Foot
The Yellow Streak

Zitt, Hersch L, 1925-2005

A summary of this 2006 title at reads: “A coalition of intelligence officers from the US, Russia, and Israel work to reveal and defeat a complex web of deception spun by a group of nuclear terrorists-- all while protecting Operation TROIKA from rival agencies.”

Related articles also posted at

Rudyard Kipling's "Great Game": Kim, Spy Stories, and "The Spies March"
Don DeLillo's Libra: America's Best Spy Novel?
Sisters of Mata Hari: Reviews of Books on Lady Spies
Espionage Around the Galaxy: The Spi-Fi of Harry Harrison