JOHNNY FEDORA

 
Full Name: Sean (Johnny) O'Neill Fedora
Nationality: British
Organization: British External Intelligence
Occupation Agent

Creator: Desmond Cory
Time Span: 1951 - 1971
ABOUT THE SERIES

       Johnny Fedora is an agent with the British Secret Service.

       Can you name a series about a spy with a license to kill which first came out in the early 1950's? Okay, can you name two? Although by far the most famous agent to fit that description is James Bond, the spy talked about here is Johnny Fedora, a government assassin who came on the scene two years before Mr. Bond. In addition to preceding him, Fedora even had more books about him written by the original author. It's too bad that he is nowhere as well known.

       Johnny Fedora was the son of a Spanish father and an Irish mother, born in Ireland. When he was still young, probably around the age of ten, his parents, who were Spanish Republicans, were travelling in Spain when they were caught by a group of the rival Filangist party and extreme mayhem took place. Fedora became an orphan with considerable bitterness towards the killers, an attitude that has resulted in numerous deaths in the following years. During that time, he became quite familiar with the I.R.A. and many of its techniques.
       When he was old enough to get away, Fedora made his way to the United States and eventually Chicago where he worked as a pianist in a honky-tonk and made side money working for the gangs in the last days of that era. One particular excursion went sour and Fedora was forced to flee the country with "a few thousand dollars and a reputation".
       He travelled to France where he lived for a couple years until the Germans invaded and he went to England where he volunteered his talents to British Intelligence. The leader of that organization saw considerable but raw potential in Fedora. To hone his skills, he sent him back to America, smoothing out the problems from before, and had him train and work with the FBI for two years, specializing in counter-intelligence.
       With the war fully underway, Fedora was brought back to England and made a member of an elite squad of 12 men who were sent to continental Europe to fight underground the German army. They did it all from infiltration to sabotage but mostly they were assassins. Fedora himself took care of at least twenty deep in enemy territory. At the end of the War, he remained with the team training newcomers in the tricks learned in the several dangerous years.
       Roughly two years later, the head of the newly formed British External Intelligence department learned of Fedore and his accomplishments. He wasn't certain he needed an assassin but he knew he needed an operative with the ability to survive on his own. He picked Fedora from the three of the twelve who had lived through the conflict and Fedora became a British agent.
       It wouldn't be long before the BEI decided they needed a man who could kill and they had one of the best at it.

       At the start of the recorded series, Johnny Fedora is in his mid-to-late 20's but has seen far more action than most twice his age. He appears normally calm and carefree, especially when he plays the piano. Whether it is classical Bach or modern Duke Ellington, Fedora can handle it with ease and with great emotion. The same can be said for his prowess with weapons. Whether it is fists, knives, or guns, he can kill quickly and surely. He becomes highly focused on his assignment, does what is expected with certainty, and then goes off on his own, often raising the hell he would never do while on the job.

Note 1: #12-16 comprise the Feramontov Quintet of stories all possessing the nefarious Soviet spy and nemesis to Johnny Fedora, all taking place in Spain.

Note 2: For more information about the author, Desmond Cory, go to the excellent site www.desmondcory.com.

BOOKS

Number of Books:16
First Appearance:1951
Last Appearance:1971

1 The Nazi Assassins The Nazi Assassins
aka Secret Ministry
Written by Desmond Cory
Copyright: 1951

Even though the Nazis lost WWII, a cadre of die-hards remain undercover in London striking at the British troops through drug addiction. Johnny Fedora's job is to track down the group and eradicate them.

2 The Gestapo File The Gestapo File
aka This Traitor, Death
Written by Desmond Cory
Copyright: 1952

The Nightingale was the codename given the beautiful German spy who disappeared with millions in gold at the end of the war. Johnny Fedora is tasked with tracking her down before she can use this wealth to relaunch the Nazi movement.

3 The Hitler Diamonds The Hitler Diamonds
aka Dead Man Falling
Written by Desmond Cory
Copyright: 1953

Acting on his own, Johnny Fedora helps a gorgeous woman seek a fantastic cache of diamonds Hitler was said to have stashed away but there may be others seeking it and those who don't want it found.

4 Trieste Trieste
aka Intrigue
Written by Desmond Cory
Copyright: 1954

Both British and Italian agents were seeking a Bulgarian spy who was trying to turn Trieste over to the Communists and pleased when they finally caught him but Johnny Fedora believes they have the wrong man.

5 Dead Men Alive Dead Men Alive
aka Height Of Day
Written by Desmond Cory
Copyright: 1955

To locate a dead man who was said to still live in the most deadly portion of the Congo, Johnny Fedora must join a safari pretending to be a Nazi which makes as many enemies as it does friends.

6 High Requiem High Requiem
Written by Desmond Cory
Copyright: 1956

On a British base in the African desert where the government was performing nuclear tests, a saboteur was active, delaying the test and causing the deaths of two men so far. Johnny Fedora's only chance of stopping him is to set himself as bait.

7 The Swastika Hunt The Swastika Hunt
aka Johnny Goes North
Written by Desmond Cory
Copyright: 1956

The most despicable of all the agents who worked both sides in WWII was Gunnar Holmgren who died a very wealthy man at the end of the war. Johnny Fedora and the man's widow are sent to recover his riches.

8 Mountainhead Mountainhead
aka Johnny Goes East
Written by Desmond Cory
Copyright: 1958

A plane crash in the Himalayan Mountains surprisingly had survivors which must be rescued by Johnny Fedora before they freeze to death, are taken by the Communists, die at the hands of bandits, or kill each other in desperation.

9 Johnny Goes West Johnny Goes West
Written by Desmond Cory
Copyright: 1959

No one seemed to mind that Robert West was dead in the jungles of Venezuela, not his wife, mistress, or partner. The British government cared, however, and Johnny Fedora was sent there to find out how he died and what he left behind.

10 Johnny Goes South Johnny Goes South
aka Overload
Written by Desmond Cory
Copyright: 1959

The ruling junta of a South American nation is concerned that radical members of its government are eliminating the opposition party, bringing international condemnation. To shore up their image, they seek Johnny Fedora to help in keeping the other side alive.

11 The Head The Head
Written by Desmond Cory
Copyright: 1960

Fedora has travelled to Spain where he encounters a group determined to move a statue of a sculptor to the top of a mountain. Loving a challenge, Fedora decides to help but soon realizes that the mountain was far deadlier than many of the enemies he had encountered.

12 Undertow Undertow
Written by Desmond Cory
Copyright: 1962

A sunken submarine is the quarry for both British and Soviet spies who rush to find the ill-fated vessel and obtain from somewhere inside it documents that could change the balance of power in the world.

13 Shockwave Shockwave
aka Hammerhead
Written by Desmond Cory
Copyright: 1963

Finding out about Operation Hammerhead, a plot by Feramontov, didn't mean anyone would believe him. Neither the British, Americans, or Spanish intelligence agencies gave it any credence, leaving Johnny Fedora with the job of stopping it by himself.

14 Feramontov Feramontov
Written by Desmond Cory
Copyright: 1966

Along the beautiful beaches and night spots of sunny Spain, the small and ugly Soviet agent known as Feramontov is going about the elimination of British agents, a task that Johnny Fedora does not take kindly to.

15 Timelock Timelock
Written by Desmond Cory
Copyright: 1967

Waking up in a Spanish hospital, Johnny Fedora is stunned to find there is three weeks of his live missing from his memory, as well as the significance of something called Cell 11. Somehow his arch-enemy, Feramontov, is behind the trouble.

16 Sunburst Sunburst
Written by Desmond Cory
Copyright: 1971

A fiendish weapon, invented by the Americans but stolen and finished by the Soviets, is ready to be unleashed in the south of Spain, resulting in untold deaths unless Johnny Fedora can stop Feramontov's despicable plans.

MY COMMENTS

       A quote by a critic for the L.A. Times commented about an early Fedora adventure that Fedora was 'a much more violent, sexy, and lucky agent than James Bond.' The first and third are certainly true (I'm a poor judge for the second). While the Bond series had every bit as much action as the Fedora adventures, the latter is prone to shoot first and ask maybe.
       I enjoyed the Fedora stories for much the same reason as I liked the Bond ones - there is action, adventure, beautiful women, and a feeling that the good guys will win at the end. If you're looking for action espionage tales, you can't go wrong with Johnny Fedora.

GRADE

My Grade: A-

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