CALDER & BEHRENS

 
Full Name: Daniel Calder and Samuel Behrens
Nationality: British
Organization: Joint Services Standing Intelligence Com
Occupation Agent

Creator: Michael Gilbert
Time Span: 1962 - 1982
ABOUT THE SERIES

       Mr. Calder and Mr. Behrens are agents for Britain's Joint Services Standing Intelligence Committee (JSSIC).
       The formal method of addressing is used above because in the numerous stories about these two gentlemen, that is the way in which they are usually referred. Their full names are Daniel Calder and Samuel Behrens.
       This absolutely incomparable pair of agents were both born in the early 1910's. After each had attended the college of his choice, often taking courses in other countries to further their educations, both joined around the same time MI-6, probably 1935. Their service during WWII are still classified so actual activity is not mentioned but both were well regarded for their work and would have received numerous medals if such were given to people working in the clandestine world..
       After the War ended, both remained agents with MI-6 until the mid 1950's when both were asked to transfer to the JSSIC, a new agency. They were picked because their reputation showed them to be the best there was and the head of the new bureau wanted nothing but the best. The JSSIC had wide latitude as to the missions it would accept and the cases that Mr. Calder and Mr. Behrens were given reflect that, though largely they would hunt down spies which had infiltrated the government institutions or help shore up security measures where feared lax.
       Mr. Behrens was fluent in German, French, Greek, Italian, and Russian. Mr. Calder spoke Greek, Italian, Arabic, Russian, and was especially gifted with Albanian and Hungarian. They were both excellent marksmen and superb drivers and incredibly observant investigators.
       In addition to being the best of friends, they each had a cottage just down the road from each other in Lamperdown, Kent. They share many of the same qualities. Both are very proper and polite to everyone they meet. They both act with amazing humility, neither wanting to stand out or take care even for things he actually did. And both are ruthless hunters of men, quite willing to kill without the least bit of hesitation if they feel it called for.
       As the series progressed, the age of the men increased until at the last of the stories both were near or at retirement age. Throughout it all, though, they remained gentile and unflinchingly lethal.

       All the adventures of Mr. Calder and Mr. Behrens came in the form of short stories, of which there were 23. This pair of exceptional agents got their fictional start in the British magazine Argosy in 1962. [This is a totally different publication for the similarly named American magazine. The British one billed itself as The Short Story Magazine, came out every month from 1926 to 1974. To further complicate things, this Argosy was the second British periodical to use that name, the first one going out of business in 1901.]
       The last six stories were written after Argosy had ceased operations and were instead published in the Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine as were at least three of those already in Argosy.
       The two books mentioned below are compediums of the all the short stories. Another compedium, The Road To Damascus and Other Stories, was published years later in a very limited run but the stories in that group were also in the two books described here.

BOOKS

Number of Books:2
First Appearance:1968
Last Appearance:1982

1 Game Without Rules Game Without Rules
Written by Michael Gilbert
Copyright: 1968

A collection of 11 stories:
A Prince of Abyssinia (Mar 1962)
On Slay Down (Apr 1962)
The Cat Cracker (May 1962)
The Headmaster (Jun 1962)
Trembling’s Tours (Jul 1962)
Prometheus Unbound (Aug 1962)
Cross-Over (Oct 1963)
The Spoilers (Oct 1965)
Heilige Nacht (Jan 1966)
The Road to Damascus (Jun 1966)
“Upon the King...” (Mar 1967)

2 Mr. Calder and Mr. Behrens Mr. Calder and Mr. Behrens
Written by Michael Gilbert
Copyright: 1982

A collection of 12 stories:
The Twilight of the Gods (May 1967)
Emergency Exit (Sep 1968)
One-to-Ten (Jul 1968)
The Peaceful People (Aug 1968)
The Lion and the Virgin (Dec 1971)
The African Tree Beavers (Aug 1971)
Signal Tresham (Jul 1980)
The Mercenaries (Feb 1981)
Early Warning (Oct 1981)
The Killing of Michael Finnegan (Aug 1981)
The Decline and Fall of Mr. Behrens (Jan 1973)
The Last Reunion (Dec 1982)

3 The Murder of Diana Devon and other Mysteries The Murder of Diana Devon and other Mysteries
Written by Michael Gilbert
Copyright: 2009

A collection of 11 previously unpublished stories by the author as well as a poem and two radio teleplays. The two teleplays are Calder and Behrens adventures taken from the BBC Radio series in 1968: Churchill's Men and St. Ethelburga and the Angel of Death.

NOVELLAS AND SHORT STORIES

Number of Stories:26
First Appearance:1962
Last Appearance:1982

       The terrific pair of Daniel Calder and Samuel Behrens first appeared to readers in the pages of the U.K. magazine Argosy in early 1962 and would continue to show up there off and on for just over a decade with the last one appearing in 1973. While many of these adventures would get turned into teleplays for BBC Radio, two of the last three from the Argosy period were either up-to-then unpublished stories turned into teleplays or novelizations of the episodes.
       Just over half a decade would go by before they would again show up in print, this time in the U.S. magazine Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. Again there were a couple that had been aired on radio before being shown in print.
       Two of the ones listed below were never turned into prose but have been published in a collection in their original teleplay format.

1 A Prince of Abyssinia A Prince of Abyssinia
short story

Copyright: Mar 1962

Published in the UK magazine Argosy

2 On Slay Down On Slay Down
short story

Copyright: Apr 1962

Published in the UK magazine Argosy

3 The Cat Cracker The Cat Cracker
short story

Copyright: May 1962

Published in the UK magazine Argosy

4 The Headmaster The Headmaster
short story

Copyright: Jun 1962

Published in the UK magazine Argosy

5 Trembling's Tours Trembling's Tours
short story

Copyright: Jul 1962

Published in the UK magazine Argosy

6 Prometheus Unbound Prometheus Unbound
short story

Copyright: Aug 1962

Published in the UK magazine Argosy

7 Cross-Over Cross-Over
short story

Copyright: Oct 1963

Published in the UK magazine Argosy

8 The Spoilers The Spoilers
short story

Copyright: Oct 1965

Published in the UK magazine Argosy

9 Heilige Nacht Heilige Nacht
short story

Copyright: Jan 1966

Published in the UK magazine Argosy

10 The Road to Damascus The Road to Damascus
short story

Copyright: Jun 1966

Published in the UK magazine Argosy

11 "Upon the King..."
short story

Copyright: Mar 1967

Published in the UK magazine Argosy

12 The Twilight of the Gods The Twilight of the Gods
short story

Copyright: May 1967

Published in the UK magazine Argosy

13 One-to-Ten One-to-Ten
short story

Copyright: Jul 1968

Published in the UK magazine Argosy

14 The Peaceful People The Peaceful People
short story

Copyright: Aug 1968

Published in the UK magazine Argosy

15 Emergency Exit Emergency Exit
short story - aka Mr. Calder Acquires A Dog

Copyright: Sep 1968

Published in the UK magazine Argosy

16 Churchill's Men Churchill's Men
teleplay
Written by Michael Gilbert
Copyright: Dec 1968

Teleplay of the BBC Radio episode.

17 St. Ethelburga and the Angel of Death St. Ethelburga and the Angel of Death
teleplay
Written by Michael Gilbert
Copyright: Jan 1969

Teleplay of the BBC radio episode.

18 The African Tree Beavers The African Tree Beavers
short story

Copyright: Aug 1971

Published in the UK magazine Argosy, likely taken from the BBC radio teleplay.

19 The Lion and the Virgin The Lion and the Virgin
short story

Copyright: Dec 1971

Published in the UK magazine Argosy, likely taken from the BBC radio teleplay.

20 The Decline and Fall of Mr. Behrens The Decline and Fall of Mr. Behrens
short story

Copyright: Jan 1973

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21 Signal Tresham Signal Tresham
short story - aka A Sense of History

Copyright: Jul 1980

Published in the US magazine Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, likely taken from the BBC radio teleplay.

22 The Mercenaries The Mercenaries
short story - aka The Violence Peddlers

Copyright: Feb 1981

Published in the US magazine Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, likely taken from the BBC radio teleplay.

23 The Killing of Michael Finnegan The Killing of Michael Finnegan
short story - aka Dangerous Game

Copyright: Aug 1981

-

24 Early Warning Early Warning
short story

Copyright: Oct 1981

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25 Anything for a Quiet Life Anything for a Quiet Life
short story
Written by Michael Gilbert
Copyright: Sep 1983

Published in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine - plot unknown but concerns Daniel Calder and another series character by Gilbert, Jonas Pickett.

26 The Last Reunion The Last Reunion
short story

Copyright: Dec 1982

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RADIO

Number of Episodes:20
First Appearance:1968
Last Appearance:1969
Network:BBC Radio

REGULAR CAST
Peter HowellSamuel Behrens [ 1 ]
Stephen MurrayDaniel Calder [ 1 ]
Carleton HobbsFortescue [ 1 ]

       Starting on October 28th of 1968 and running twice a week (Monday and Thursday) at 8:15 for the next 10 weeks, BBC Radio gave 20 half-hour-long episodes of Calder and Behrens. There were 16 adventures in all with 4 of them needing to be split into two-parters.
       Many of these adventures were teleplays taken from earlier published short stories (see Novellas). Two, however, (Churchill's Men and St. Ethelburga and the Angel of Death) were apparently originals and never turned into prose. Two others (Double, Double ... and Ahmed and Ego) are likely renamed adventures of previously published stories.

1 Mr. Calder Acquires A Dog
Episode 1-01, first aired 10/28/1968

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2 The Peaceful People
Episode 1-02, first aired 10/31/1968

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3 The Spoilers, Part 1
Episode 1-03, first aired 11/04/1968

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4 The Spoilers, Part 2
Episode 1-04, first aired 11/07/1968

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5 The Road To Damascus
Episode 1-05, first aired 11/11/1968

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6 The Cat Cracker
Episode 1-06, first aired 11/14/1968

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7 Double, Double ..., Part 1
Episode 1-07, first aired 11/18/1968

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8 Double, Double ..., Part 2
Episode 1-08, first aired 11/21/1968

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9 One-to-Ten
Episode 1-09, first aired 11/25/1968

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10 The African Tree Beavers
Episode 1-10, first aired 11/28/1968

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11 Cross-Over, Part 1
Episode 1-11, first aired 12/02/1968

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12 Cross-Over, Part 2
Episode 1-12, first aired 12/05/1968

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13 The Lion and the Virgin
Episode 1-13, first aired 12/09/1968

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14 Ahmed and Ego
Episode 1-14, first aired 12/12/1968

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15 The Mercenaries
Episode 1-15, first aired 12/16/1968

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16 Churchill's Men
Episode 1-16, first aired 12/19/1968

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17 Heilige Nacht, Part 1
Episode 1-17, first aired 12/23/1968

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18 Heilige Nacht, Part 2
Episode 1-18, first aired 12/26/1968

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19 Signal Tresham
Episode 1-19, first aired 12/30/1968

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20 St. Ethelburga and the Angel of Death
Episode 1-20, first aired 01/02/1969

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MY COMMENTS

       I have read online, though I cannot find the citation, that the famed New York Times book critic, Anthony Boucher wrote of the first collection that it was second best set of stories about spies he had ever read. He was later said to have revised his opinion upwards.
       I am in no way close to that esteemed reviewer's ability or knowledge but I am right there with him in agreement. These two gentleman are fantastic to read about. Urbane, civilized though deadly, highly intelligent, largely unflappable, and just good people.
       If you read these stories and don't enjoy them, I'd wonder what part of spy-fi you really were looking for.

GRADE

My Grade: A+

Your Average Grade:   A+

YOUR OPINIONS
raven4 A+ 5/24/2012 4:34:40 AM

Mr Calder and Mr Behrens are the quintessential examples of the English gentleman spy. Impeccable manners, extremely polite, classically educated,and as dangerous as a bag of black mambas. Their adventures are written in low-key, pellucid prose which leads you through an English landscape as lovely and as dangerous as Midsomer County. Enjoy!


Hayford Peirce A+ 11/13/2014 4:56:22 PM

The greatest spy short stories ever written. Period. As for Boucher's comment, look at the Citizendium article I wrote about Mr. Calder and Mr. Behens. Hmm, I just looked at it again and I did NOT footnote the two references. I will do so in the near future....


DHolloway A+ 2016-08-22

Great stories about two old school "killing gentleman". These are some of the very best. Highly recommended.


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