BELLECROIX AND ROATH

 
Full Name: Stephen Bellecroix and Sheila Roath
Nationality: British
Organization: British Secret Service
Occupation Agent

Creator: David Craig
Time Span: 1970 - 1971
ABOUT THE SERIES

       Stephen Bellecroix and Sheila Roath are agents for British Intelligence.       
       The exact department is not mentioned directly but MI-5 is alluded to and the work that these two agents perform would fall into their mandate. The two are not partners per se but are friends and are assigned to the same case.
       Bellecroix is described as a half-caste, both of a white Welsh mother and a black West Indies man, raised in the rough and tumble region of Cardiff called Butetown by some and Tiger Bay by others. where he learned to take care of himself in a fight. His upbringing was definitely a lower class one and his parents still live in the ramshackle house he grew up in. Somehow he managed to break free from that poverty, probably via scholarships, and attend University. He was even able to continue his education in America from which he acquired a different accent from his original one. He attended Berkeley in California before taking part in student protests in the 60s got him sent home.
       Sheila Roath is daughter of a notorious viscount, a man who had served for years in the Foreign Office before deciding he had risen as high as he likely would and saw no reason to continue. He was renown for his wild parties and bohemian ways, which is perhaps where the young Roath learned her independence which she shows without hesitation. Roath likes men, a lot, and she likes to change companions on a fairly regular basis. As the series starts, she is more of a Researcher than a field agent but that changes soon into the first book.
       The two have a relationship with each other that, as per Roath's desire to change on occasion, is best defined as periodic. Roath at one point thought that a permanent basis might be in order until she visited Bellecroix's parental home and realized that their two worlds would never mesh, something Bellecroix knew from the beginning but still hoped might be different.
       A third agent named Hugh Liversidge has an equal role in the first book's adventure, and an equal role in Roath's attention, but only Bellecroix and Roath are in the second.
       An interesting aspect of the Bellecroix and Roath stories is the look behind the curtain at the operations and politics that play such an important part in the proceedings. Who is up at a certain time naturally decides which plan is implemented, regardless sometimes of the merit of any of the plans. And placement of people in the hierarchy of power is as much about the ability to assign blame when things go wrong as it is to reward when things go right. This office politicking is nothing new; it is just very well displayed in this series.

BOOKS

Number of Books:2
First Appearance:1970
Last Appearance:1971

1 Young Men May Die Young Men May Die
Written by David Craig
Copyright: 1970

The murder of a colleague at a health spa in Baden Baden is but the first of several that point Bellecroix and Roath to an international crisis. Each murder seems higher up the food chain than the one before and it is leading quite high up.

2 A Walk At Night A Walk At Night
Written by David Craig
Copyright: 1971

Bellecroix and Roath are again teamed up as they are tasked with smuggling two famous Russian writers out of the Soviet Union, one a popular hack and the other a literary genius, both tired of censorship.

MY COMMENTS

       I first encountered Mr. Craig's work with the well-written but immensely dark series about Roy Rickman in which the entire future of England was bleak and doom prevailed. With some hesitation, I later picked up the first book in the Bellecroix/Roath series. Talk about a change!
       There was the same skill at writing, same ability to present believable, understandable characters, same pacing. It was just totally different attitude. I loved the series and I am very much intrigued with Sheila Roath (well, who wouldn't be?).
       This is a good, fun two-book series.

GRADE

My Grade: B

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