BEN LAZENBY

 
Full Name: Ben Lazenby
Nationality: British
Organization: British Consulate
Occupation Other - Cultural Attache

Creator: James Melville
Time Span: 1994 - 1995
ABOUT THE SERIES

       Ben Lazenby is a British Cultural Attache.
       Considering the great number of espionage novels which had the embassy position filled by KGB, MI-6, or CIA agents, depending of course on the country, it is refreshing to have a spy series in which the Cultural Attache is not really a spy. Naturally there are occasions when the opposition do not believe that Lazenby is not a spy. And there are occasions when his own side ask of him a bit more than an attache would do in the normal execution of his duties.
       Nevertheless, Lazenby would be the first, and the second and third, to tell you he is not a spy. He has no desire to be a spy. He has never aspired to be one and would prefer is no one considered it. Lazenby is in the diplomatic corps, likes it, wants to stay in it, and has no aspirations to anything else. Often, unfortunately for Lazenby, one's non-wishes come true despite doing everything one can to stop them.
       As the two-book series begins, Lazenby is a happy member of the Foreign Office getting ready for a posting to Hungary. Thirty-eight years old and recently divorced, fairly amicably, he is looking forward to a total change of scenery. He is by no means a lay-about or a shirker but neither would anyone consider him filled with tremendous ambition. A good job with a good home and good food and the occasional company of a good woman are all he is after and being a diplomat, especially a low-level one, gives him that.
       Another reason why Lazenby would not want to be considered a spy is that he has no training in it and no desire to get any. Still, some training might have been useful as he is put into situations where knowing a bit of tradecraft would be a good thing. Whether it is behind the Iron Curtain as in the first book or behind the Bamboo one in the second, Lazenby is a non-spy spy.

BOOKS

Number of Books:2
First Appearance:1994
Last Appearance:1995

1 Diplomatic Baggage Diplomatic Baggage
Written by James Melville
Copyright: 1994

Lazenby is given the simple job of escorting two truckloads of British art from Budapest to Bucharest. Then one goes missing even as a journalist tries to use the transfer to smuggle a tape out of Romania. The KGB is convinced Lazenby is involved.

2 The Reluctant Spy The Reluctant Spy
Written by James Melville
Copyright: 1995

Sent to Indonesia, Lazenby is instructed to somehow penetrate a top secret research facility to determine what a rumored breakthrough in microbiology entails.

MY COMMENTS

       Written by an acclaimed author far more known for his series of police novels about a Japanese detective, this series reads far more like a mystery one than a spy one. But there are times when that can be fun and this is definitely one. Do not start this book if you expect car chases and gun battles and femme fatales and a thrill-a-minute. Do start it if you want a nice easy change of pace in which the protagonist is a competent worker who gets put into situations he would rather not be in.
       The fact that the author is such a good one is what makes these books so enjoyable. That and the fact that Ben Lazenby is such a nice guy who would just as well rather not stick his neck out for anything, if you don't mind. That why he gets more than a little disturbed when he realizes that it is out there waiting to be chopped. He is not happy about it at all.

GRADE

My Grade: B

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