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Full Name: Ray Felton
Nationality: British
Organization: None
Occupation Private Investigator

Creator: John Marsh
Time Span: 1957 - 1960


Ray Felton is a private investigator.

He was one for many years, creating a reputation for himself as someone immensely truthworthy and capable and while he did the odd divorce case on occasion, with standard distaste, he was particularly at home ferretting out criminals and while it made him popular with large corporations who wanted to reduce loss, it also made him very popular with the police because he was smart enough to share the credit.

If you had asked him, he would likely have admitted he was as content as he could want. He had a successful practice with work that was interesting and challenging. He was married to a wonderful woman named Jane who adored him almost as much as he did her. Their finances were set, possibly due to some inheritance of her but that is not confirmed. Certainly she was extremely good with handling money and their bank balance made them very popular with the local bank manager.

Then after a particularly romantic balmy evening after a rain, driving home in the glow of a good meal and, he admitted later to himself, good whiskey, a bend in the road brought the car to a patch of wet road, a very quick spin and a tree that did not give way. Jane was dead. Felton wished he was.

There were no charges brought because the amount consumed was not enough to warrant it but that did not mean Felton did not blame himself totally and for the next couple of years, he avoided his home, his country getaway, and his office. He might have kept doing so if he had not come upon a woman in trouble and his old habits kicked in.

Once he was back in action, he decided to stay there. He could never bring Jane back and he could never pay enough for having lost her but it was something to do and he was good at it.


Number of Books:4
First Appearance:1957
Last Appearance:1960

1 Murderer's Maze Murderer's Maze
Written by John Marsh
Copyright: 1957

Ray Felton did not want to go back to work but he could not let a woman be set upon by two guys and when he heard why she was attacked, he was determined to see it through. How often is a man given a chance to bring down a crime kingpin and former traitor.

2 Operation Snatch Operation Snatch
Written by John Marsh
Copyright: 1958

Ray Felton is back at work finally and making a new life for himself. That is when an old friend and member of British Intelligence comes calling with a request that he help bring down some nasty enemies to the state, Iron Curtain foes who want to destroy NATO.

3 City Of Fear City Of Fear
Written by John Marsh
Copyright: 1958

When crime in London gets so bad it looks like the government might have to set up a police state, Ray Felton is asked by the powers that be to perform a very odd job - create a rival gang to take on the underworld powerhouse.

4 Small And Deadly Small And Deadly
Written by John Marsh
Copyright: 1960

While on vacation in the Highlands, Ray Felton comes to the aid of a blonde with a problem and trying to help her, he ends up at a house in a deserted moor. There he comes up against "a weird gang chief whose stunted body and twisted mond have involved Britain in a ticklish international situation with inflammatory possibilities".


I was in Dallas with my wife as she attended an Iris conference (gorgeous flowers and her passion). I had heard of Larry McMurtry's bookstores in "nearby" Archer City and even though I knew he had sold off 3/4 of his inventory, the remainder was supposedly worth it. I had the day to myself so I hit the road. In Texas, nearby in this case meant 2.5 hours away. 150 miles of very flat, very brown terrain. I loved it. Not at all like my tree-lined North Carolina area.

So I get there and the extremely friendly young woman welcomed me and showed me a small section of books. I was polite but quite underwhelmed. Then she said there were a bunch more in the back and I was free to wander. I did and I was stunned. Most of the books dealt with non-fiction and not that many fell into my passion of spy novels but I discovered John Marsh's Ray Felton and that was worth the 5 hours of driving. That and the few other books I got because I just had to have them. And the memory I have of a terrific visit. I thank that young woman again and very much thank Mr. McMurtry.

The Ray Felton series is definitely a hard-boiled detective series and it does not try to be anything else, nor should it. But all of the four cases that are recorded takes him up against traitors, international intrigue, and lots of enemy agents and saboteurs. He definitely fits in this collection and he is a fun read.


My Grade: B+


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