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Full Name: Yorke Norroy
Nationality: American
Organization: State Department
Occupation Agent

Creator: George Bronson-Howard
Time Span: 1905 - 1922


       Yorke Norroy is an agent of the State Department.
       In the time in which he worked, namely the turn of the 20th century, he was referred to as a "diplomatic agent" employed by the Department of State. The term spy was not used, you see, in polite company for it gave a rather negative cast to the profession and Norroy was above all that. By this I mean he was above giving a bad impression. He most certainly was not above doing whatever it took to get the job done, negative or otherwise. He just would rather not look like he was anything but a polite member of the gentry.
       In the opening pages of the first recorded adventure, very astute and important descriptions of Norroy are given which sum up very well the type of man that he presented as well as the style of writing all the adventures would employ:

       "Seen from [a] distance, there was nothing particularly striking about him. Looking at him more closely, such an impression would be cast aside. There was something impressive in the way he held himself; and his indefinitely colored eyes had in them a certain commanding, almost supercilious look which stamped him as a man who did things.
       "His hair was cut very close to the scalp, showing a pair of small, very perked-up ears, which seemed to have almost human alertness in the way they apparently stood to attention. He was of medium height, neither tall nor short, although his excessive slenderness inclined to the first impression. His hands and feet were very small-almost womanish, in fact. His clothes were just a little too much the mode of the day, and one indefinably regretted that a man of his intelligence should spend the thought necessary for such ultra-fashionable attire. They had evidently been cut not a week before, for they embodied a new wrinkle in evening clothes which had originated at the period.
       "The objection which most people found in Norroy was that he was just a bit too sphinxlike in his facial expression, and that he had mastered the art of saying less in more words, when he chose, than any man in the circles in which he moved. It seemed to be Norroy's principal aim in life to persuade people that he was simply an idle butterfly of fashion, without any more brains than the modicum usually portioned out to men who make the pursuit of the fashions and the ways of the ultra-mundane their sole object of living.
       "When in Washington, New York, London, Paris, or any other city where the society folk of America sojourned, he was of them, one of them, and nothing more. Yet everyone knew that much of Norroy's time was spent in other places; where, he would not tell, but every now and then he disappeared, and questions were unavailing, for none knew or could learn of his whereabouts."

       Norroy's age is not specifically mentioned but he is likely in his late 20s going by the history that is alluded to and the fact that he fits in so well with those of that age in his adventures. Furthermore, his boss, the Secretary of State, treats him, while very respectfully, as someone quite a bit younger. There is no disrepect, though, in the boss's attitude for he has already learned before the first book how well Norroy can perform and how determined Norroy is in getting results.
       For his own part, Norroy admits to himself that he does much of what he does not only because it is important to the country he loves but because he really enjoys his work. He is obviously quite gifted at it and while he knows there is always a chance of failure, the concept of his actually letting it happen never really takes hold in his head. He just will not allow it.

       Norroy is not officially a part of the government bureaucracy. He is an independent agent and he can and apparently does do work for others but he is largely at the beckon of the Secretary and drops everything when so called. His patriotism notwithstanding, though, Norroy is not above concerns of money. Though he gives the appearance of a wealthy "dandy" he decidedly worries about getting paid and pays attention to things like expenses. It obviously takes a lot of money to look like one does not need to worry about money.


Number of Books:4
First Appearance:1907
Last Appearance:1922

1 Norroy, Diplomatic Agent Norroy, Diplomatic Agent
Written by George Bronson-Howard
Copyright: 1907

A collection of 7 adventures some of which were originally serialized in magazines:
How Norroy Created a New Republic
A Tilt with the Muscovite
The Isle of St. Anthony
The Eagles Eyrie
A Yankee Knight-Errant
The Honor of the Ambassador
The Friend of the Chief Executive
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2 Slaves of the Lamp Slaves of the Lamp
Written by George Bronson-Howard
Copyright: 1917

Full title was "Slaves of the Lamp; being the adventures of Yorke Norroy in his quest of the four jade plates".
Consists of five adventures originally serialized in magazines:
The Green Plates
The Green Hour
The Greenhorn
The Green Finch
Behind the Green Lamps
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3 The Black Book The Black Book
Written by George Bronson-Howard
Copyright: 1920

Full title is "The Black Book: Being the Full Account of How the Book of the Betrayers Came Into the Hands of Yorke Norroy, Secret Agent of the Department of State".
Consists of five adventures possibly originally serialized in magazines:
The Book of the Betrayers
An Enemy to the Emperor
The Bureau of Missing Articles
His Country or His Life
A Leaf from the Kaiser's Book
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4 The Devil's Chaplain The Devil's Chaplain
Written by George Bronson-Howard
Copyright: 1922

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Number of Stories:30
First Appearance:1905
Last Appearance:1918


Number of Movies:2
First Appearance:1917
Last Appearance:1922

1 Perils of the Secret Service Perils of the Secret Service
Directors: Jack Wells, Hal Mohr
Actor: Kingsley Benedict as Yorke Norroy
Released: 1917

According to IMDB: A nine-episode series of two-reel adventure stories:
The Last Cigarette
The Clash of Steel
The Dreaded Tube
The Crimson Blade
The Man in the Trunk
The Signet Ring
The International Spy
The Master Spy
The Mysterious Iron Ring
These were all silent films.

2 The Further Adventures Of Yorke Norroy The Further Adventures Of Yorke Norroy
Also known as aka One of Three
Director: Duke Worne
Writer: George Bronson-Howard
Actor: Roy Stewart as Yorke Norroy
Released: 1922

Plot unknown - A silent film lasting apparently 57 minutes.

3 The Man From Headquarters The Man From Headquarters
Director: Duke Worne
Writer: George Bronson-Howard
Actors: Cornelius Keefe as Yorke Norroy, Edith Roberts as Countess Jalna
Released: 1928

Yorke Norroy is given to safeguard half of a map showing the location of a cache of gold. Heading to Washington, he is attacked by minions of Countess Jalna of Albania, head of a criminal organization. When they fail, she decides to use her charms instead but ends up falling for the hero.
A silent film


       There are many incredibly gifted writers creating jewels in the spy-fi genre about times many decades removed from their creation. Alan Furst is a particularly noteworthy member of that group and he can put you in the midst of the times so well you become a tad disoriented when you pull back from the book to the present.
       However, there is nothing so realistic and authentic as reading a book written in the time it is set, written as a contemporary piece, and then read many years later. In the case of Yorke Norroy, that would be over a century ago. When you read these books you are experiencing it as the author intended, warts and all.
       This is very important to remember when you enter Norroy's world. None of us are perfect in this day and age and many of our beliefs and attitudes will be considered dated and, who knows, even wrong by the mores of people in 2217 even though for us today they are the way things should be. That is decidedly the case with the Norroy stories read by us now.
       The attitude of the rich and mighty towards the common (the great unwashed) is not so great these days but it was incredibly worse back then. Opinions and beliefs about money and sex and lifestyles are presented by a man of his generation told to people of his generation but now read by people of ours. It is a huge case of culture shock at different times.
       And yet it shows that for the most part people have not changed a whole lot, either.


My Grade: B


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