PAUL HARRIS

 
Full Name: Paul Harris
Nationality: British
Organization: -
Occupation Businessman

Creator: Gavin Black
Time Span: 1960 - 1979
ABOUT THE SERIES

       Paul Harris is a businessman, not a spy.
       He and his older brother were born and raised in the Far East and spent the majority of their lives there. It was their father's business that brought them to that part of the world, a business that stretched from Japan through China south to Malaysia and Singapore.
       During WWII, the young man suffered with his family from Japanese aggression, spending almost two years in a concentration camp after seeing his father die at the hands of the Emperor's soldiers. Many long and difficult months followed filled with constant beatings and deprivations.
       After the war, the two brothers headed south to Singapore where they picked up what was left of their family's import/export business and turned it again into a very profitable enterprise. Though their success was not astronomical, it was nothing to sneeze at and it allowed them to indulge at some non-work related activities.
       While there remained a considerable distrust of the Japanese people, it was the Communist government of China and its spreading influence in Indochina that was the target of the brothers and a substantial sideline in the arms smuggling world.
       Harris is not a spy. Throughout the series of 13 books he maintains his occupation as a businessman first with a nose for intrigue second. However, that nose gets him involved in situations of international portent in every chronicle and that more than qualifies him for inclusion.
       The books about Paul Harris deliver two items to the reader. The first is the suspense and intrigue which is extremely strong and enjoyable. The second is the familiarity with the region that the author possessed having lived in the Far East for all of his yearly years and much of his adult life. The distrust and prejudice held by many in Southeast Asia for both the Japanese and the Chinese is captured brilliantly in numerous adventures. Even better is the love and anger the author has for Japan itself.

Note: in 1963, series author, Gavin Black, wrote a screenplay for the British anthology series Suspense entitled Killer Lie Waiting which aired in April, 1963, which had as one of the main characters a person named "Smiler" Harris. This may or may not be connected to the Paul Harris series.

BOOKS

Number of Books:13
First Appearance:1960
Last Appearance:1979

1 Suddenly At Singapore Suddenly At Singapore
Written by Gavin Black
Copyright: 1960

The sudden, violent death of his brother and partner, Jeff, sends Paul Harris into action as he is determined to learn who was being the murder. Since the two brothers had for some time been involved in smuggling guns to rebels fighting in Malaysia, it seemed a sure bet the cause lay there.

2 Dead Man Calling Dead Man Calling
Written by Gavin Black
Copyright: 1962

While trying to win a vital contract, vying with huge Asian companies, Paul Harris becomes the prime suspect in the murder of the man making the final choice.

3 A Dragon For Christmas A Dragon For Christmas
Written by Gavin Black
Copyright: 1963

Trying to sell a marine engine to China, Paul Harris visits Peking with an added goal of visiting an ex-girlfriend. Then someone plants a corpse in his hotel room.

4 The Eyes Around Me The Eyes Around Me
Written by Gavin Black
Copyright: 1964

Once again Paul Harris is a prime suspect in a death, this time the location is Hong Kong and the victim is a Scottish heiress that Harris is visiting when the deed is done.

5 You Want To Die, Johnny? You Want To Die, Johnny?
Written by Gavin Black
Copyright: 1966

Paul Harris is trying to help an old friend by recovering the man's errant daughter and returning her to Borneo when Chinese insurgents take exception to his presence.

6 A Wind Of Death A Wind Of Death
Written by Gavin Black
Copyright: 1967

The agreement Paul Harris had with the local CIA agent to help out on occasion gets him deep in a jungle he doesn't know fighting a local communist leader.

7 The Cold Jungle The Cold Jungle
Written by Gavin Black
Copyright: 1969

As Paul Harris heads to London to buy a few new ships, an old friend convinces him to consider his small shipyard. When the friend turns up dead, Harris wants to know why.

8 A Time For Pirates A Time For Pirates
Written by Gavin Black
Copyright: 1971

Off the coast of Malaysia, a band of modern-day pirates are harassing trade, some of which belong to Paul Harris. The finding of oil in the region makes stakes become even higher.

9 The Bitter Tea The Bitter Tea
Written by Gavin Black
Copyright: 1972

In a Kuala Lumpur casino, Paul Harris meets a beautiful woman who joins a leading Chinese official who is shot at. Strangely, though, the whole affair is being hushed up.

10 The Golden Cockatrice The Golden Cockatrice
Written by Gavin Black
Copyright: 1974

Paul Harris heads to Macao to find out who is cutting deeply into his shipping trade and soon learns he is in the middle of Russian/Chinese rivalry.

11 Gale Force Gale Force
aka Big Wind For Summer
Written by Gavin Black
Copyright: 1975

An old friend of the family asks Paul Harris for help, prompting him to head to the Isle of Arran in southwestern Scotland where his help seems the last thing the residents want.

12 Killer Moon Killer Moon
aka Moon For Killers
Written by Gavin Black
Copyright: 1976

A noted war-writer asks to lease one of Paul Harris' boats. When he is killed soon after, two separate bands of terrorists try to find how much Harris knows.

13 Night Run From Java Night Run From Java
Written by Gavin Black
Copyright: 1979

Even though his company is in financial trouble, Paul Harris is dead set against letting one of his ships ferry wealthy Chinese out of Java. Nevertheless, he is forced to take part.

MY COMMENTS

       Of all the series involving a non-agent involved in international intrigue, I particularly enjoyed the adventures of Paul Harris. This man is a businessman who wants his businesses to succeed, which often clashes with the other activities he gets involved in, either willingly or not. He is also a die-hard romantic which gets him into considerable trouble, especially where the ladies are concerned.
       Truthfully, arguments could be made that the Paul Harris series are also mystery novels since in most of them there is a murder for which the hero must seek a culprit. As such, they are mighty find reads, too. Still, Paul Harris deserves a spot in the spy genre because the locales, suspects, and motives are usually of an international flavor, giving the reader a taste of Indochina that few other authors can touch.

GRADE

My Grade: B+

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