Pol_Charles1 Pol_Charles5 Pol_Charles4 Pol_Charles6 Pol_Charles3 Pol_Charles2
Full Name: Charles Pol
Nationality: French
Organization: -
Occupation Other - Scoundrel

Creator: Alan Williams
Time Span: 1963 - 1981


Charles Pol is a scoundrel.

There are lots of other terms that might be used to describe this man, words such as master manipulator, schemer, double-crosser, agent-provocateur, thief, double-agent, and such. Scoundrel seems to fit the best.

What makes a scoundrel like Pol belong in a compendium of spies is that fact that in most of his shady double-dealings and nefarious plots and machinations, there is usually an international element that demands his inclusion.

One very interesting aspect to Monsieur Pol is that while he is usually the key mover behind six very different escapades, he is not the main character in any of them except perhaps one. The poor people who have the misfortune of being the involuntary puppets controlled at times by Pol, nudged at other times, or shoved unwillingly and unknowingly at others by Pol are usually reporters. That is not to say that they are all babes-in-the-woods being victimized by Pol for they are not.

Ingleby in the first book likes to party a bit too much which can lead to a severe lapse in judgment.

Wilde in the second adventure goes from being a man who does not mind a sip now and then to being one who would not mind a piece of a multi-million dollar government heist.

Two others, Cayle in book three and Hawn in book five, just want a good story but they will be enticed to do things they might not otherwise do by Pol offering them just what they want.

And Rawcliff, not a reporter but a wine merchant in the sixth book desperately in need of cash, is eager to join an endeavor that might get him out of financial ruin assuming it does not get him permanently dead.

Only in the fourth book is Pol brought upfront to run things but whether he is in the shadows or standing in the bright light, Pol has a way of convincing others to do things not normally dreamt of by them.

And to look at M. Pol is to see a man that is about the last thing one would consider such a major force. As he is described in one book, this very short and very, very fat man is a character plucked out of a farce. "It would have required someone with special insight ... to perceive that, behind his grotesque exterior, Charles Pol was a man to be taken seriously."

According to Pol, he started out as an anarchist fighting in the Spanish Civil War but his side lost, he decided the next place to use his talents was in the beginning stages of WWII where he found that he hated the Germans and hated the Communists and had little good to say about the Free French.

Nevertheless, he worked to bring about the end of the Nazis and was captured. During interrogation he claims the Gestapo castrated him which meant he ended the war as a eunuch instead of a war hero. Since then his every effort has been on behalf of himself.

Whether it is a plan to steal millions of dollars from a Vietnam courier or to help the notorious Kim Philby defect back to the British or to assassinate the Shah of Iran at the behest of the Shah himself, Pol's actions are varied and intriguing.

And at all times he remains very much a scoundrel.


Number of Books:6
First Appearance:1963
Last Appearance:1981

1 Barbouze Barbouze
aka The False Beards
Written by Alan Williams
Copyright: 1963

Neil Ingleby is a journalist who heads to North Africa to take a quiet vacation but soon finds himself up to his neck in intrigue as he becomes unwittingly involved with French undercover spies, not the least of whom is Charles Pol.

2 The Tale Of The Lazy Dog The Tale Of The Lazy Dog
Written by Alan Williams
Copyright: 1970

Irish Reporter Murray Wilde is in the Indochina area during the height of the fighting there when he becomes a major player in a scheme to hijack a shipment by the U.S. government of an incredible fortune in currency. Another player, though what part he is playing, is the unsavory Charles Pol.

3 Gentleman Traitor Gentleman Traitor
Written by Alan Williams
Copyright: 1975

As reporter Barry Cayle tries to track down the infamous fourth Cambridge spy traitor, Kim Philby decides he wants out. Since he knows too much about both sides, that is likely to mean his death sentence but Philby is nothing if not a seasoned survivor. And there is Charles Pol to consider.

4 A Bullet For The Shah A Bullet For The Shah
aka Shah-Mak
Written by Alan Williams
Copyright: 1976

Charles Pol had known some devious plots in his day, many of his own making. This one, though, surprises even him. He is being asked to put together a team to assassinate one of the world's most protected leaders, the Shah of Iran. The surprise was that the man paying for the hit was the Shah himself.

5 Dead Secret Dead Secret
Written by Alan Williams
Copyright: 1980

Decades after the end of WWII, reporter Tom Hawn is presented with an interesting question - how did the Nazis with no oil deposits and supply lines constantly hampered able to keep going as long as they did? Could they have been helped by oil companies more interested in profits than patriotrism?

6 Holy Of Holies Holy Of Holies
Written by Alan Williams
Copyright: 1981

Charles Rawcliff was failing as a wine merchant, near losing everything. That is when Charles Pol offers him a chance for enough money to settle all problems. All he has to do is join other former pilots flying some C-130's filled with unknown cargo to an unspecified place. Nothing is ever simple, though.


No one is going to like Charles Pol. He can be fascinating and captivating and fun to talk with or read about but he is never going to be someone that people liked. Greasey is a term used frequently for him and it is correct both figuratively and literally.

But he is a hoot to read and when the adventures in which he plays a part are scripted by a talent such as the terrific writer Alan Williams, his adventures almost become must-reads. Mr. Williams is that good of a storyteller.

Characters get included in this collection because they are either spies or involved in international intrigue. It is for the latter reason that Pol is in here and for that reason he decidedly fits. He deals with spies on a routine basis. He gets mixed up with governments and their shady dealings as a matter of habit. And he is a conniver. If he had been in charge of an intelligence agency, he would have been one of those Machievellian manipulators that spy-fi fans love to hate. And would have been great at it.

He is not an official spy-master, though. Unofficially, he is the next best thing. A scoundrel.


My Grade: A


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