John Ranger is an agent with MI-6.
That is technically correct, as is:
John Ranger is a music teacher.
The latter definitely does not sound like it belongs in this collection but because of circumstances far beyond his ability to control, Ranger moves from that prosaic occupation to the exciting and not-as-safe world of the former.
It starts with a return of an old love of nearly ten years and almost wife. She had nothing to say because when Ranger came home to his cottage, which she had never visited before, from a early morning walk, she was there. And dead.
Then the police show, prompted by an anonymous call. They are curious about the slain woman, victim of a throat slashing, in the kitchen. Ranger had no answers. They were also quite interested in the dead man in the back yard. Ranger had not seen him yet so again, no answers.
That got him a night in jail to think up better responses. And then the man from the government came and led Ranger away to a meeting his a higher-up who offered Ranger a chance to work for MI-6 as opposed to sitting in a jail cell.
Prior to that very fateful day, Ranger had been a music teacher. He enjoyed it well enough although many of his teenage pupils had been unruly, unpleasant, or worse yet, untalented, but by and large it was the line of work he chose and would have liked to continue.
Ranger is in his early 40s when we first meet him. He has thinning hair and is hardly the picture of physical fitness but he does exercise and is not a total wreck. He is living alone in a cottage in Dorset to get away from the city and the memories of the decade he lived and loved with Madeleine before she suddenly said she had an offer of a job in Sydney and was taking it and he needn't bother packing to go with her. A year had passed since her departure and the pain still lingered.
And then she shows up dead and his life is forever changed.