JONATHAN GAUNT

 
Full Name: Jonathan Gaunt
Nationality: Scottish
Organization: Queen and Lord's Remembrancer
Occupation Agent

Creator: Noah Webster
Time Span: 1970 - 1990
ABOUT THE SERIES

       Jonathan Gaunt is an agent for the Queen's and Lord Treasurer's Remembrancer Office.
       That long and highly unusual name for a department in the British government, or more accurately, the Scottish government, is a real name just as the agency is a very real one. It got its start hundreds of years ago as a position to help the monarch remember facts of finance; who owed the throne money and who was owed money by the monarch. Over time, its duties grew until it was involved in every facit of government where money was a part and since money paid for everything in government, that meant it was connected to everything.
       In this ten-book series by Noah Webster, which was a pseudonym for Robert MacLeod, which was itself a pseudonym for Bill Knox, the hero is an external operative for this organization. Though at times he is referred to by some as an auditor, it is not Gaunt's job to show up with calculators and tabulators and pencils and pads of papers to scour through ledgers and peruse wills. His job is to uncover facts that cannot be found in bookkeeping files and boxes of receipts. Once in a while he will look through such things but he is much more a government detective than an accountant.
       Gaunt is in his mid thirties when the series begins, the first recorded adventure taking place in the mid to late 60's. He had been a paratrooper in the military for several years, seeing action in several hotspots around the world. When his enlistment came up, he tried his hand at this and that but eventually answered an opening listing for the Remembrancer's, as it is commonly called, and was hired.
       An interesting man in that he does not particularly crave excitement and danger, Gaunt is never one to shrink away from it either. He has a keen curiousity and an aversion to being pushed around. He also can shoot quite well and can hold his own in a fist fight so people who look at him thinking a bookworm are often surprised and dismayed.
       Gaunt likes the ladies and enjoys their company whenever he can. He does not, however, spend much money on them because he invariably is short on that commodity. Gaunt loves the stock market. He loves to research the forms and the financial papers and talk with people in the know and is forever finding the next great investment. It is sad that more often than not, it is not next but past and not great but lousy and his banker is far more aware of his overdraft than Gaunt would like. This periodic hounding by the banks is what makes Gaunt so willing to take the assignments which take him far away.

       It is true that Jonathan Gaunt is not a spy but his duties for the government takes him all over Europe and gets him involved in international intrigue, global crime, and all sorts of other nasty schemes that often put Her Majesty's realm in danger and Gaunt is the man to help set things right.

Note: the books were originally published under the pseudonym of Noah Webster. Some time shortly thereafter, they were republished under his "real" name of Robert MacLeod. Some more time later, it was revealed that Webster, aka MacLeod, was really Bill Knox.

BOOKS

Number of Books:10
First Appearance:1970
Last Appearance:1990

1 A Property In Cyprus A Property In Cyprus
aka Flickering Death
Written by Noah Webster
Copyright: 1970

When a Scottish couple perished in a Cypriot mountain car crash, Jonathan Gaunt is sent to handle the estate proceedings but is immediately struck by the bids coming in for the couple's small hotel. Then the bodies start showing up and Gaunt is almost one of them.

2 A Killing In Malta A Killing In Malta
Written by Noah Webster
Copyright: 1972

The Sword of State is a special part of the Scottish Crown Jewels, a celebrated weapon that is a part of that land's heritage. When it was decided that it would accompany the Queen on a royal visit to Malta, it fell on Jonathan Gaunt to act as courier. Though he got it there safely, when it was later stolen, he wanted in on tracking it down.

3 A Burial In Portugal A Burial In Portugal
Written by Noah Webster
Copyright: 1973

Gaunt was attending the funeral of a famous archaelogist, a man he had not known, but he was curious why the man had found dead in the Moorish castle he was excavating. He also wanted to know why his presence would cause someone nervous enough to try and kill him.

4 A Witchdance In Bavaria A Witchdance In Bavaria
Written by Noah Webster
Copyright: 1975

He was just going to collect a debt owed the government by Herr Ritter but someone tries to give Gaunt the business end of a switchblade and then the talk of a missing truckload of silver and a mysterious past for this unsettling man. All leads Gaunt to a carnival where death was waiting.

5 A Pay-Off In Switzerland A Pay-Off In Switzerland
Written by Noah Webster
Copyright: 1977

The tip said that a half-million pounds was being smuggled out of Scotland in one of the cars in a holiday car safari heading to the tourist spot at Montreux. Jonathan Gaunt was told to go along as a tourist but he had not expected a different gang would try to rob the smugglers.

6 An Incident In Iceland An Incident In Iceland
Written by Noah Webster
Copyright: 1979

Jonathan Gaunt was more than a little amused to be sent to Iceland to handle the estate of an elderly woman who had left the Crown a few hundred pounds and half ownership in a bootlegging operation. The humor left when he became a target.

7 A Problem In Prague A Problem In Prague
Written by Noah Webster
Copyright: 1981

Needing to duck his creditors for a wee bit, Jonathan Gaunt was not sorry to be given the assignment to follow a widow whose lifestyle did not match the small income she reported. That might have been suspicious on its own but considering her employer was the Inland Revenue, that was very bad. And someone wanted her and he dead.

8 A Legacy From Tenerife A Legacy From Tenerife
Written by Noah Webster
Copyright: 1984

The death of an elderly Canadian woman who had come to Scotland to claim an estate got Jonathan Gaunt curious since whatever she had unearthed back home making her belief she was entitled disappeard with her. His investigation is making someone very unhappy.

9 The Money Mountain The Money Mountain
Written by Noah Webster
Copyright: 1987

The murder of a freelance pilot starts a dangerous assignment for Gaunt as the deceased had been a courier for a mysterious money-launderer called the Banker. Gaunt is told to track down this international criminal once and for all.

10 The Spanish Maze Game The Spanish Maze Game
Written by Noah Webster
Copyright: 1990

A man was lucky enough to inherit stock in a company, his stake being nearly a half million pounds. Shortly thereafter he is at a German car safety test site when someone put two bullets into his back. Now it is Gaunt's turn to find out more about this company and why the man was murdered.

MY COMMENTS

       When I finished the first book in the Gaunt series, I pondered whether he belonged since he was officially an "External Auditor" for the government, not a spy. The assignment he had in that book could really be thought of as either a spy or a detective novel. I had so very much enjoyed the first book, though, that I ordered the next two regardless of whether it fit. They were that much fun for me.
       Once I saw the kind of trouble that Gaunt got into in these two next books, it was a done deal. He fit. Moreover, he really belonged if nothing else for his international travels. The man certainly got around, which is good for him and bad for his banker. It is funny that on subsequent books when you hear him still making bad investments, you really grimace and think, "Oh, Jonathan!" Okay, I did. You could say that Gaunt just cannot pick a good stock but you also have to wonder if Gaunt is not a jinx - good stocks go bad only after he buys them.
       His travails in the stock market are never belaboured. They had a quick peak into his personal life but do not detract from the cases he works. Most of the contents of the books are good solid action and fun. And there are ten books to enjoy. I am sure you will. I know I did.

GRADE

My Grade: A-

YOUR OPINIONS
- 4/7/2013 12:24:52 PM

I still have a hard time inter-loaning these books from my Library. I lived in Scotland for many years and went back as an adult. The places and people are real or are easily identifiable. I love these books they encapsulate a specific time. Compared to John Creasey I liked Bill Knox better.


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