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CLUBFOOT

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Full Name: Dr. Adolf Grundt
Nationality: German
Organization: German Secret Service
Occupation Spymaster

Creator: Valentine Williams
Time Span: 1918 - 1944

ABOUT THE SERIES

       Adolf Grundt, also referred to as Clubfoot, is a spymaster for German Intelligence.
       We first meet him in 1918 when a British spy named Desmond Okewood has his first of several run-ins with the man but later on we will be given a couple of prequels moving our initial contact back to 1913, a full year before World War I would get started.
       According to one of the adversaries he will face in his activities, "[Grundt] was always a man of mystery, was 'der Stelze' (The Lame One), as he was often catted in the inner circles of government in Imperial Germany. In the days before the war he was known by name and repute only to the chosen few of us in the British Secret Service, and, of these, I was the only one who, up to the outbreak of hostilities, had come into direct contact with that ruthless and terrifying cripple. For Grundt was not of Germany's official espionage services, neither of Nicolai's branch of the Great General Staff, nor yet of von Boy-Ed's Admiralty Intelligence.
       "He was supposedly attached to Section Seven of the Berlin Police Presidency (the Political Police). In reality, however, he was head of the personal secret service of the Emperor and derived his power and authority from none other than the Supreme War Lord himself. So far as I have been able to discover, he possessed no official credentials and there is no mention of his name in the innumerable publications dealing with the Kaiser and his Court, even in the notorious Bulow Memoirs. Grundt worked in the dark, and German officialdom trembled before him - the bureaucrat knows, none better, that the servant of the autocrat is often more powerful than the autocrat himself. It fell to my lot to discover that, if the shadow of old Clubfoot (as we were wont to call him among ourselves) fell across our path, it was a fight to a finish."
       Yet another combatant of Grundt remarked, "Dr. Grundt and the 'G' Branch of Section Seven of the Prussian Political Police. As head of the ex-Kaiser's personal Secret Service ... was the all-powerful instrument of the anger and suspicion of the capricious and neurotic William II. In Germany his very existence was a mere rumor whispered only in the highest circles; and abroad, except in the innermost ring of the Secret Service, he was quite unknown. In the archives of the French Foreign Office there is, I understand, a dossier dealing with his activities of the time of the Algeciras Conference and, later, on the occasion of King Edward's meeting with the Czar at Reval."
       And finally, "Clubfoot was answerable to no one save to the Emperor alone. His work was of so delicate, so confidential a nature, that he rendered an account of his services only to his Imperial master. There was none to stay his hand, to check him in his courses, save only this neurotic, capricious cripple who is always open to flattery...." and "No one may catalog the crimes that Clubfoot committed, the infamies he had to his account. Not even the Kaiser himself, I dare say, knows the manner in which his orders to this black-guard were executed - orders rapped out often enough, I swear, in a fit of petulance, a gust of passion, and forgotten the next moment in the excitement of some fresh sensation."
       The unwanted nickname of Clubfoot was given him because of his physical handicap, one leg shorter than the other due to a deformity of the foot twisted inward. He was forced to wear a special boot to compensate for the length difference but even with the added height, he always walked with a heavy limp. Other descriptions of the man let us know that he had an "immense bulk which, with the overlong sinewy arms, the bushy eyebrows and the black-tufted cheek-bones irresistibly suggested some fierce and gigantic man-ape". Another man talked of Grundt being "a picture of a vast and massive man, swarthy and sinister".

Good Line:
"The Soviets find that spies, like meat, don't keep!"

[Note: most editions of the books have Clubfoot's first name as Adolf but some put it alternatively as Adolph."

BOOKS

Number of Books:8
First Appearance:1918
Last Appearance:1944

1 The Man With The Clubfoot The Man With The Clubfoot
Written by Valentine Williams
Copyright: 1918

The Kaiser has written a letter which was indiscreet to say the least. If it were to fall into the hands of the other side, the War effort would be lost. It falls to Dr. Adolph Grundt to get it back. Working to stop him is a young novice British agent named Desmond Okewood who also wants to learn what happened to his brother.
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2 The Return Of Clubfoot The Return Of Clubfoot
aka Iron Gold
Written by Valentine Williams
Copyright: 1922

On a vacation in Central America, Desmond Okewood of the British Secret Service learns of a hidden treasure from a dying beachcomber. Enlisting the aid of a wealthy man, he sets out for Cock Island in the Pacific to find it. He is stunned to learn that Clubfoot, Dr. Adolph Grundt, whom he was certain was dead, is also after the treasure and one step of ahead of him. While Okewood has a cipher which is vital to finding it, Clubfoot has his advantage.
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3 Clubfoot The Avenger Clubfoot The Avenger
Written by Valentine Williams
Copyright: 1924

The death of a Swedish merchant who had appealed to the British Secret Service for help as he was convinced he was about to be murdered. He was right. He was also the 4th man killed who had once provided assistance to the Service during WWI against Dr. Adolph Grundt and the German war effort. Now Grundt is back wanted revenge and the Chief brings Desmond Okewood out of retirement to once again go up against the man.
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4 The Crouching Beast The Crouching Beast
Written by Valentine Williams
Copyright: 1928

The year is 1914, just before the Great War was to start. Secretary Olivia Dunbar has come into so highly secret military intelligence that the German government very much want and it sends the crafty and quite notorious Dr. Adolf Grundt, aka Clubfoot, to get it from her.
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5 The Gold Comfit Box The Gold Comfit Box
Written by Valentine Williams
Copyright: 1932

A prequel - The year is 1913. British Secret Service agent Philip Clavering is sent to the scene of a Berlin-to-Paris train crash in which a fellow agent named Forrest was a victim. Forrest had been carrying a gold comfit box which Clavering was ordered to get at all costs. The box was said to contain a list of all British agents in Germany. Clavering soon finds that the box is missing and that he is not the only one seeking it - the ever-capable Dr. Adolf Grundt, aka Clubfoot, wants it as well.
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6 The Spider's Touch The Spider's Touch
Written by Valentine Williams
Copyright: 1936

Jimmy Fane is a young, naive American junior diplomat serving in Eastern Europe in the years leading up to WWII. He has gone missing and his sister, Patricia, suspects Dr. Adolf Grundt to be involved. She convinces a small group of men, recommended by Major Okewood, to go in search of him and they in turn decide this is the chance to finally do away with Clubfoot, now a man without a country having been exiled from Nazi Germany and said to be earning a good living buying and selling secrets of all nations.

7 Courier To Marrakesh Courier To Marrakesh
Written by Valentine Williams
Copyright: 1944

American folk singer Andrea Hallam was travelling alone in Morocco en route a USO show entertaining GI's during the Second World War. She is also on the lookout for an old flame. Her life is forever changed when she is snatched by the Gestapo on the belief that she has a dossier which could prove very damaging to Hitler. Also very much on the search for this same dossier is the aged but still quite deadly Dr. Adolf Grundt, aka Clubfoot.
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NOVELLAS AND SHORT STORIES

Number of Stories:16
First Appearance:1923
Last Appearance:1931

1 The Mystery of the Purple Cabriolet The Mystery of the Purple Cabriolet
short story
Written by Valentine Williams
Copyright: 1923

Published in The Magpie Summer 1923 edition.
[plot unknown]

2 The Ikon of Smolensk The Ikon of Smolensk
short story
Written by Valentine Williams
Copyright: 1923

Published in two parts in The Sketch July 11 and July 18, 1923.
[plot unknown]

3 The Adventure of the Top Flat The Adventure of the Top Flat
short story
Written by Valentine Williams
Copyright: 1923

Published in two parts in The Sketch July 25 and August 1, 1923.
[plot unknown]

4 The Constantinople Courier The Constantinople Courier
short story
Written by Valentine Williams
Copyright: 1923

Published in two parts in The Sketch August 8 and August 1, 1923.
[plot unknown]

5 The House In Pimlico The House In Pimlico
short story
Written by Valentine Williams
Copyright: 1923

Published in two parts in The Sketch August 22 and August 29, 1923.
[plot unknown]

6 The Chamois Leather Packet The Chamois Leather Packet
short story
Written by Valentine Williams
Copyright: 1923

Published in two parts in The Sketch September 5 and September 12, 1923.
[plot unknown]

7 Disaster At The Inn Disaster At The Inn
short story
Written by Valentine Williams
Copyright: 1931

Published in Blue Book Magazine August 1931.
[plot unknown]

8 The Secret Of The Dancer The Secret Of The Dancer
short story
Written by Valentine Williams
Copyright: 1931

Published in Blue Book Magazine September 1931.
[plot unknown]

9 Two Strings To The Bow Two Strings To The Bow
short story
Written by Valentine Williams
Copyright: 1931

Published in Blue Book Magazine October 1931.
[plot unknown]

10 Miss Parritt Disappears Miss Parritt Disappears
short story
Written by Valentine Williams
Copyright: 1931

Published in Blue Book Magazine November 1931.
Taking place before the events of The Gold Comfit Box, it is the Summer of 1913. A Dane named Andresen working for the British Secret Service reporting on German Naval activity at the northern port of Kiel has gone missing. The highly experienced female operative Frances Parritt is sent to discover what happened to him. Now she too has gone missing and Philip Clavering is sent to find her. He finds she is involved with Dr. Adolf Grundt, aka Clubfoot.
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11 The Man In The Hammam The Man In The Hammam
short story
Written by Valentine Williams
Copyright: 1931

Published in Blue Book Magazine December 1931.
[plot unknown]

12 The Riddle Of Asta The Riddle Of Asta
short story
Written by Valentine Williams
Copyright: 1932

Published in Blue Book Magazine January 1932.
[plot unknown]

13 A Night In Agadir A Night In Agadir
short story
Written by Valentine Williams
Copyright: 1932

Published in Blue Book Magazine February 1932.
[plot unknown]

14 In The Shadow Of Sinn Fein In The Shadow Of Sinn Fein
short story
Written by Valentine Williams
Copyright: 1932

Published in Blue Book Magazine March 1932.
[plot unknown]

15 Code K Code K
short story
Written by Valentine Williams
Copyright: 1932

Published in Blue Book Magazine June 1932.
[plot unknown]

16 The Last Throw The Last Throw
short story
Written by Valentine Williams
Copyright: 1932

Published in Blue Book Magazine September 1932.
[plot unknown]
Click here to read the story.

MOVIES

Number of Movies:1
First Appearance:1939
Last Appearance:1939

1 The Crouching Beast The Crouching Beast
Director: Vcitur Hanbury
Writer: L. du Garde Peach
Actors: Wynne Gibson as Gail Dunbar, Richard Bird as Nigel Druce, Fritz Kortner as Ahmed Bey
Released: 1939

"In Constantinople in 1915, Gail Dunbar, an American newspaper reporter, gets entangled in a spy network. Ahmed Bey, the head of the Turkish secret service, is trying to recover the stolen plans of the Dardanelles fortifications. Niger Druce, a British spy, asks Gail to carry out certain orders for him in the event he is killed or captured."

MY COMMENTS

       As extremely dangerous and not a little scary bad guys go in the spy-fi genre, there have been a couple memorable one but not many. Fu Manchu for Nayland Smith. Blofeld for Bond, naturally. For Johnny Fedora there was Feramontov. For Devereaux there was Henry McGee. I'm sure my memory is failing on me for more but there will not be many. Really good bad guys who stick around for a while are rare because heroes are supposed to vanquish bad guys and when they fail to do so, they are, obviously, failures.
       Well, in this case, Dr. Adolf Grundt, aka Clubfoot, is star of the series, making him one of the first bad-guy stars of a spy series ever. He is not the very first, a chap named Sabin is that, but he is in the top 5 and he sort of wins any competition because though he gets defeated a few times and pays dearly for his failures, the man has staying power. We see him active before WWI and active into WWII and quite busy in between. You cannot, they say, keep a good man down. Though he is definitely not, to us, a good man, the same can be said for Clubfoot.

GRADE

My Grade: B

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