Hugh North is an agent with G-2, Military Intelligence.
From the first recorded assignment in 1930 where he has the rank of Captain to his final mission as a Colonel in 1968, Hugh North combines a keen analytical mind with a penchant for action. Toss in a dashing quality that is highly attractive to women and you have a hero perfect for four long decades.
The author's love of traveling is clearly shown in the rich detail that abounds in each adventure. The locations for these combination spy and mystery novels are wide and varied, from the frigid ceiling of the world in the Himalayas to the arid and parched land outside Tangier. The capitals of the world and the backwater ports and towns are equally portrayed so well you truly feel there.
As mentioned, the stories are really a combination of espionage and murder mystery, especially the earlier one (pre-WWII) when North was primarily an investigator for the Army's Criminal Investigation Division of G-2. Later this changed as the Second World War chilled into the Cold War and North became an adventuring intelligence officer rather than a police inspector.
Despite the long period of writing (‘30-‘68), the character does not age very much. He is in his early to mid 30’s when the series starts and is in his mid to late 40’s when the last adventure takes place.
North is first and foremost a detective, able to spot clues and contradictions when most people miss them. He is tall and handsome with a face that women find appealing without being overly attractive. He is well liked by his fellow males becoming an easy close confidant to many without trying. These traits make him someone people enjoy talking to and he is a great listener with a superb memory.
As the series changes over time and North becomes more of a man of action than a solver of murder mysteries, his attention to detail remains but his puzzle-solving skills morph to plan making. He still remains, though, an intrepid bloodhound when his dander gets up.
Note: The short stories contained in The Seven Seas Murders were re-released several years later in books entitled Shanghai Sanctuary and The Munition Ship Murders.