WILLIAM HOLMES

 
Full Name: William Holmes
Nationality: British
Organization: Prime Minister
Occupation Agent

Creator: Conrad Voss Bark
Time Span: 1962 - 1967
ABOUT THE SERIES

       William Holmes is a troubleshooter for the British Prime Minister.
       He holds no discernable title. He usually calls himself a simple civil servant when asked what he does for a living, although on a couple of rare occasions, he has admitted that he trouble-shoots problems the Prime Minister sees need attending. His office is a small room at 10 Downing Street but he can often be found walking any of the governmental corridors along Whitehall.
       In his mid thirties, assumed since he is considered fairly young by most who deal with him but who did serve right after WWII in Europe ferreting out war criminals and sympathizers. As the first recorded adventure takes place in 1962 and presuming he joined the military when he was in his late teens, he would be about 34-35 as the series begins.
       Mr. Holmes is the way most people address this energetic man-on-the-go, some because of the things he is known to have accomplished and others simply because of his understood authority. Others who do not quite know how to take this man who often jokes at the most serious of times and has a rakish smile for all who deal with him, especially attractive young women are quite surprised when people with considerable years of experience deal with Holmes as an equal if not a superior.
       Superior is never the way that Holmes would consider himself. He is often annoyed when he finds he has missed an important clue and very angry with himself if he fails to anticipate an upcoming event. This self-demoting attitude is probably because Holmes is a very smart and observant and, as needed, crafty individual who expects the most out of himself and is irked when he fails to live up to his own standards. The fact that he is looked upon so favorably is humbling to him, a facet that is quite appealing to the reader.
       Though some of these descriptions might give the appearance of a bookish brain, Holmes is far from that in truth. He enjoys a good, exciting case and he gets involved in many governmental problems largely because he does not like being bored. If there is nothing going on at the moment, he is likely to be found chasing down a new technology or procedure or anything that gets him out of the office and doing something. In one book it is commented by an annoyed fellow worker that he often disappears for days or weeks at a time doing who-knows-what.
       Holmes is unmarried and unattached but he most definitely is drawn to the fairer sex and they are not adverse to his attentions. In keeping with the proper gentleman that Holmes decidedly is, there is no implication that his intentions are anything other than honorable.
       Holmes is a character who, though understandably serious about his work, likes to crack a smile now and then and who can, in the oddest moments, switch from his normal manner of talking and affect a deep Scottish brogue or Cockney accent or anything to ease tensions when they get too heavy. This often makes people who do not know him wonder how seriously he should be taken, especially when they see a mischievous gleam in his eye. Holmes, of course, takes his job for real while still having fun with it.
       In contrast to his claims that he handles the odd problem for the Prime Minister, the adventures that Holmes has are definitely important and interesting. In the first, he has to find a possibly kidnapped major Cabinet minister before an economic crisis strikes. In another, he goes up against terrorists planning to explode a nuclear weapon. In yet another, he goes in search of a missing scientist whose research could have global implications. Mr. Holmes knows how to stay busy.

Note: One listing I have found for this series showed a seventh book, The Second Red Dragon, copyright 1968, as being in the series but research indicates the cover says "Detective Lune and Scotland Yard track a fiery preacher and his follower suspected of murder and a bombing." I found no mention of Mr. Holmes but I have not yet acquired the book.

BOOKS

Number of Books:6
First Appearance:1962
Last Appearance:1967

1 Mr. Holmes At Sea Mr. Holmes At Sea
Written by Conrad Voss Bark
Copyright: 1962

When the Chancellor of the Exchequer for the British government is badly burned in a sailing accident, it is newsworthy. When it is discovered the injured man is NOT the cabinet officer and that man is missing, Mr. Holmes is sent to investigate.

2 Mr. Holmes Goes To Ground Mr. Holmes Goes To Ground
Written by Conrad Voss Bark
Copyright: 1963

Mr. Holmes is a tad surprised that someone would place explosives in his apartment while he was attending a war memorial in France. He is even more put off when they try to kill him. Then the people plotting to explode a nuclear missile inside its silo try to kidnap him.

3 Mr. Holmes and the Fair Armenian Mr. Holmes and the Fair Armenian
Written by Conrad Voss Bark
Copyright: 1964

A Soviet agent has managed to record the private discussions between the Prime Minister and the US President, causing considerable embarrassment and trouble. Mr. Holmes is assigned the task of finding out how it happened and sealing the hole.

4 Mr. Holmes and the Love Bank Mr. Holmes and the Love Bank
Written by Conrad Voss Bark
Copyright: 1965

A party at Downing Street, a geophysicist late for his honeymoon, and dead fish in the Atlantic. Three odd events are somehow connected and all of them intriguing to Mr. Holmes.

5 The Shepherd File The Shepherd File
Written by Conrad Voss Bark
Copyright: 1966

The Chinese are engaging in experiments on the military use of LSD and Mr. Holmes is tasked with finding the proof. To do so, he must join with his counterpart in the Soviet embassy but both parties are suspicious of the other.

6 See The Living Crocodiles See The Living Crocodiles
Written by Conrad Voss Bark
Copyright: 1967

The Prime Minister's close friend and the chief scientist advisor to the Cabinent has disappeared. Mr. Holmes is tasked with sorting through an assortment of odd clues to track him down but a retired Soviet agent has plans for both the scientist and Mr. Holmes.

MY COMMENTS

       After the first book, I knew I had found a winner and I grabbed the second right away. At the end of that one, I had to take a break as other series were demanding my attention but when I had finished books in two different series, I grabbed the third Mr. Holmes adventure because he was calling to me.
       The Holmes books read much like a British detective story and many of the books are billed as mysteries rather than thrillers or spy novels but they are definitely in the spy-fi genre. The adventures all deal with missing people who are governmentally or internationally important or with terrorists or other enemies of the state. No run-of-the-mill death in the library cases for Mr. Holmes.
       The writing style that Mr. Bark brings to these books is decidedly British in feel but very light in atmosphere. This does not mean the books are frivolous or humorous for they are certainly not, the odd joke by Mr. Holmes notwithstanding. It is just that while the action can get heated at times, there is no somber mood projected.
       I really enjoyed the Holmes books as a relaxed change of pace and would highly recommend it to anyone who likes British mysteries and spy fiction.

GRADE

My Grade: A

Your Average Grade:   A

YOUR OPINIONS
DHolloway A 2016-08-17

I don't believe the choice of the main character's surname was accidental here. These are really old school British detective stories with just a little twist. I really liked the protagonist and enjoyed the series. Probably would appeal to the older reader. Recommended.


DHolloway A 2016-08-17

I don't believe the choice of the main character's surname


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