Matthews_Freya2 Matthews_Freya1
Full Name: Freya Matthews
Nationality: British
Organization: British Intelligence
Occupation Agent

Creator: John Palmer
Time Span: 1967 - 1968


Freya Matthews is an agent with British Intelligence.

In this two-book series written in the mid-to-late 60's, she is about as independent and liberated as any female might want, especially for that era. She has no qualms about travelling to various parts of Europe, be it Italy or Spain or Greece, on her own or in the company of others.

She was not always an agent. In the first book, she is a marine explorer interested in an ancient shipwreck off the coast of Greece. She had been offered the use of a small yacht belonging to the brother of her former fiancée and she was in the middle of her exploration when life, and her career, took a turn.

The brother in question was Guy Plant, an extremely personable man of early middle age who offered a platonic relationship that she welcomed. As far as she knew, he had little else to do and she needed a ship and it seemed fortuitous.

On Plant's part, the offer of the ship's use was a perfect cover for his real activity, namely a major agent with the British Secret Service working on a case in that region. It was not supposed to turn violent nor had he ever considered using Matthews as anything other than the façade. Things worked out differently than either expected.

In the first book, Matthews could best be described, at least in the beginning, as 'fiercely' independent, to the point that she was often bordering on rude and petulant when anything remotely suggested someone might help her, or worse, that she might need help. And her opinions are took starkly stated for some peoples' liking. Prickly is a good word to describe her.

She mellows out considerably as the story develops and in the second book there is no trace of the hardness, just the self-reliance.

Guy Plant is an important part of the first book but less so in the second as Matthews moves from an ad hoc assistant to a fully functional agent.


Number of Books:2
First Appearance:1967
Last Appearance:1968

1 Above And Below Above And Below
Written by John Palmer
Copyright: 1967

Freya Matthews thought the invitation by Guy Plant of British Intelligence to use his yacht for underwater exploration was a blessing but she soon learned he had his own search in mind and she finds the seas can get very rough above and below the surface.

2 So Much For Gennaro So Much For Gennaro
Written by John Palmer
Copyright: 1968

Her search for a missing British MP took Freya Matthews to Madrid where she seemed to immediately lock horn with a Captain of the police and things get really intense when the bodies start showing up, proving someone has something up to no good.


I was determined when I started the first book to give Freya Matthews the benefit of the doubt even though I had read a review which talked about the big chip she seemed to have on her shoulder. I did not want to prejudge her. By ten pages into the book, I was agreeing fully with the reviewer. Matthews was testy!

I think it was purposefully done by the author, especially as this independent streak places an important role in the adventure and does get Matthews into trouble that must be resolved. As the short series progresses, she mellows out quite a bit but never becomes anything resembling a shrinking violet.

There is some question as to what the author was aiming for in the long run for the series. Matthews is never a damsel-in-distress character nor is she ever a kick-butt action hero. I kept waiting for her to head in either direction but she never does.

The tales are good and the writing is excellent. The characters she meets are very well developed so overall the books are pleasant.


My Grade: B


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