MARK FARROW

 
Full Name: Marcus Farrow
Nationality: British
Organization: MI-6
Occupation Agent

Creator: Angus Ross
Time Span: 1970 - 1992
ABOUT THE SERIES

       Marcus Farrow is an agent for MI-6.
       Prior to becoming an agent, indeed prior to the first book in the series, Farrow was "in advertising" in that he worked for a company who monitored the advertising their clients did. He would travel around his region, mainly Manchester and Leeds, clipping ads from various newspapers and compiling reports. It was rather mundane and unexciting work for a man who had once been a Royal Navy Commando but it paid the bills. His personal lifestyle was simple; he lived in a caravan (small trailer to us Americans) a hundred yards from his favorite pub. He has a sister with whom he is quite close, a sister with the odd name of Psyche just as his full name is Marcus Aurelius.
       In the first book in the series, he witnessed a young woman being killed as a pedestrian hit by a car while fleeing a bar in Manchester. At the inquest he heard her reputation sullied by several witnesses and didn't believe it. When he was asked by a grieving father to speak up, he chose to do considerably more. It was this more that brought him to the attention of MI-6 who were into the perpetrators for different reasons.
       Once he became an agent his old training comes back but he is by no means the prototypical agent and he works with others more experienced. Soon, though, he does learn what he needs to and becomes one of the key agents the bureau has.
       He never loses his cockiness. He never stops liking the odd pint or the occasional whiskey. He doesn't stop needing a bit more money to live on. He stays himself, only more so.

BOOKS

Number of Books:19
First Appearance:1970
Last Appearance:1992


       Twenty-two years is a heckuva good run for an author and a character and with 19 books, that is nearly one per year, each darned enjoyable.
       It might be 20 books as the terrific authority Al Hubin lists Doom Indigo as the third from last in the series, coming out in 1989. I have not confirmed that and the cheapest copy is a bit too much for me at this time but if Mr. Hubin says it is, it usually is.

1 The Manchester Thing The Manchester Thing
aka The Manchester Connection
Written by Angus Ross
Copyright: 1970

When he sees a young woman killed in the rainy streets of Manchester, he was told by the police she was a junkie and a troublemaker. Her parents told a different story. Intrigued, he looked into the matter and found himself up to his neck in intrigue, having to flee across the moors to stay alive.

2 The Huddersfield Job The Huddersfield Job
Written by Angus Ross
Copyright: 1971

The radar facility in the North Yorkshire moors has a sabotaeur bringing it down and putting the country in danger. Mark Farrow and two others are sent to stop the damage and eliminate the doer.

3 The London Assignment The London Assignment
Written by Angus Ross
Copyright: 1972

The death of a colleague brings Mark Farrow to London to find out who is the traitor in the Section. The more he looks, the higher he goes.

4 The Amsterdam Diversion The Amsterdam Diversion
Written by Angus Ross
Copyright: 1974

Mark Farrow and McGowan are ordered to accompany a scientist specializing in new energy sources as he goes to Amsterdam to consult with a colleague. He promptly disappears.

5 The Bradford Business The Bradford Business
Written by Angus Ross
Copyright: 1974

The smuggling of guns and drugs into Britain has reached an alarming rate. Seeking to stem one avenue, Mark Farrow and his boss head north to Bradford (west of Leeds).

6 The Dunfermline Affair The Dunfermline Affair
Written by Angus Ross
Copyright: 1975

A canister emitting a strange recurring signal is found along the coast, resulting in the abrupt cancellation of a large NATO exercise. Mark Farrow is sent to find out where the canister came from.

7 The Leeds Fiasco The Leeds Fiasco
Written by Angus Ross
Copyright: 1975

Only five scientists at a research facility in Leeds know the secret to a revolutionary new manufactoring process but suddenly both the Japanese and the Germans are in the know. Is there one leak or two?

8 The Edinburgh Exercise The Edinburgh Exercise
Written by Angus Ross
Copyright: 1975

Mark Farrow and his boss head north to Scotland to investigate a group of extremists in the Scottish Nationalist Party who might also be Soviet agents.

9 The Aberdeen Conundrum The Aberdeen Conundrum
Written by Angus Ross
Copyright: 1977

A North Sea oil rig is subjected to far more bizarre accidents than would seem right. Mark Farrow is sent to investigate and finds that both Arab terrorists and the IRA are out to destroy it.

10 The Ampurias Exchange The Ampurias Exchange
Written by Angus Ross
Copyright: 1977

Several British agents are being held by Basque separatists demanding the release of one of their own. Mark Farrow must free his people without giving up theirs.

11 The Burgos Contract The Burgos Contract
Written by Angus Ross
Copyright: 1979

Mark Farrow is given the kind of assignment he hates the most - eliminating an enemy agent. This case is even more difficult because the target is a woman. Still, she did blow up his trailer.

12 The Congleton Lark The Congleton Lark
Written by Angus Ross
Copyright: 1979

The murder by cyanide poisoning of an inspector of the Belgian Special Branch at an airport in the U.K. results in Mark Farrow being sent to investigate.

13 The Hamburg Switch The Hamburg Switch
Written by Angus Ross
Copyright: 1980

With his senior partner out of commission, Mark Farrow must rely on someone he's never worked with as they travel to East Berlin to help a computer expert come over.

14 The Menwith Tangle The Menwith Tangle
Written by Angus Ross
Copyright: 1982

The strategic radio installation at Menwith Tangle is possibly the site of some serious espionage. Mark Farrow and McGowan tackle the case with their customary brutal style, ruffling feathers from different agencies.

15 The Darlington Jaunt The Darlington Jaunt
Written by Angus Ross
Copyright: 1983

Investigating into an arms deal that might be a bit too shady proves dangerous for Mark Farrow when bodies start to pile up and double crossing because the order of the day.

16 The Luxembourg Run The Luxembourg Run
Written by Angus Ross
Copyright: 1985

The task of escorting a defecting computer expert to England should have been simple since the person was already in Luxembourg. But the expert was a woman who wouldn't leave without her little girl and those working with Mark Farrow keep getting killed.

17 The Tyneside Ultimatum The Tyneside Ultimatum
Written by Angus Ross
Copyright: 1988

The CIA needed help and they sent the one man Mark Farrow disliked the most to ask for it. Farrow is asked to step in on an attempt to get a Iron Curtain laser expert to defect.

18 The Leipzig Manuscript The Leipzig Manuscript
Written by Angus Ross
Copyright: 1990

A retired double-agent, living in Leipzig, East Germany, is reported to be working on his memoirs, a tell-all which contains information the Section can't afford to have released.

19 The Last One The Last One
Written by Angus Ross
Copyright: 1992

It is time, Mark Farrow realizes, to end his career. One last job is given him and his partner, Charlie McGowan, and that is to rescue Jock McKenzie who is being held by the Russians in East Berlin. Farrow would have refused the job except McKenzie saved his life, twice, and that is a debt of honor that must be paid.

MY COMMENTS

       When you combine honest British tendency towards underplaying events with a fast paced story, you get an fascinating reading experience. The activity comes at you quickly and often without warning, so reading every word is quite important.
       As for the character, Farrow is not belligerent, he just sees no reason not to pounce if pouncing is needed. He loves the women but is not a slob about it. He spends money too freely and is always after more but there is truly little avarice in him. A fun contradiction.
       I think Mark Farrow should be required reading for any fan of spy fiction. And I don't think they'd mind.

GRADE

My Grade: A-

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