Cheyney_Allen2 Cheyney_Allen3 Cheyney_Allen1
Full Name: Allen Cheyney
Nationality: British
Organization: British Intelligence
Occupation Spymaster

Creator: Patrick Cosgrave
Time Span: 1977 - 1984


Allen Cheyney is an agent with British Intelligence.

Many of the people who know him, who work for him or in conjunction with him, might quickly say that he is a spy-master now and they would be correct in their statement. He runs a small-ish department, directing agents as needed and for the past near decade that is largely his job.

But those closest to him, and there are decidedly few of those remaining, know that Allen Cheyney is at heart a field agent and when he bothers to think of himself at all, it is in that capacity that he mostly likes to be placed.

He is no longer a young man. One statement put him in his early 50's while another indicated he was just now reaching the half-century mark. Whichever is the case, he is not as spry as he once was and the daily aches and stiffness come more often than he likes. But give Cheyney a chance to head out into the dark alleys ways of his profession and he can still hold his own.

The preamble to the first book states clearly the sort of man that Cheyney is as it comments that he "had refused all decoration including the V.C. and a knighthood." He was not in his business for the accolades or the glory. He did it because he was good at it and it needed doing.

He is honest enough with himself to admit that he also did it because he enjoyed it. He truly reveled in the excitement and the danger and from the history that is told of the man, he had seen plenty in the three decades he put his life on the line.

As the three-book series commences, Cheyney is seriously considering retiring back to his beloved Scotland where he was often found restoring his family house. He had been behind a desk for some time and he was thinking of a change. Then a visit from old friend brought with it a request for help, a request that opened the door for more trouble and danger than he had faced in quite a while and it was like he was young again.

As Cheyney would show more than his share of detractors, this was not a case of an old dog wanting one more bite at the bone. This was a dog too long kept leashed.


Number of Books:3
First Appearance:1977
Last Appearance:1984

1 Cheyney's Law Cheyney's Law
Written by Patrick Cosgrave
Copyright: 1977

Allen Cheyney receives an appeal for help from an old friend. His son has gone missing and left in his wake a black octagonal badge that had been like a calling card among a group of especially dangerous terrorists.

2 The Three Colonels The Three Colonels
Written by Patrick Cosgrave
Copyright: 1979

When England had been spared in a rash of terrorist attacks across Europe, Allen Cheyney thinks he might know why but as he asks two fellow spy masters to open their files, he is himself being stalked by a terrorist leader.

3 Adventure Of State Adventure Of State
Written by Patrick Cosgrave
Copyright: 1984

An old enemy of Allen Cheyney inside the British government, lying on his death bed, asks to speak with Cheyney. When the man dies before Cheyney can arrive, the spy master is left with the question of what was so urgent and he soon realizes it has something to do with treason.


When you look at the covers of the hardbacks versions of the Allen Cheyney stories, it is very easy to put them into the category of the old British mystery. Though written in the late 70s and early 80s, they give a feel of something Geoffrey Household or John Buchan might have written in the mid 30s.

What makes this noteworthy is the fact that this series was written in the late 70s, a time when spy novels were more action oriented than four decades before.

Still, this series gives the reader a bit of both. There is a lot of atmosphere but also a lot of action. The first book's opening section is a good instance with Cheyney meeting an old friend at his club for a drink and a chat. Very old-boy network, British gentry style. Just a few pages later, Cheyney is fighting for his life against unknown assailants. Very modern style skullduggery.

I liked Cheyney. He's a man who is fifty and approaching retirement age and knows it. He is also a man who knows he is not in the ground yet and will not just quit because he is not as young as he once was.


My Grade: A-


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