keene_oliver_bk_witd keene_oliver_bk_dz keene_oliver_bk_ios keene_oliver_bk_dahe keene_oliver_bk_fv keene_oliver_bk_sfts keene_oliver_bk_ia keene_oliver_bk_bd keene_oliver_bk_ke keene_oliver_bk_bfb keene_oliver_bk_d999 keene_oliver_bk_sw
Full Name: Oliver Keene
Nationality: British
Organization: British Intelligence
Occupation Agent

Creator: J. M. Walsh
Time Span: 1937 - 1945


Oliver Keene is an agent with the British Secret Service.

Keene, at the time we first meet him, is a veteran of many years of duty with the British Intelligence, some spent in the early years in the Mediterranean as evidenced by the fact that one of his many languages was Greek. However, by his words to a fellow agent in the first recorded adventure, we learn that he has spent most of the past years, by inference I calculate at least 10, in "Asia" and by further analysis certainly in South-East Asia. I further place the region as most likely India or Burma since he talked of changing his area of operations due to "not much happening" in that section and considering the expansion by Japan in Northern and Central Asia around the time of the adventures, it is unlikely he would use that phrase if he had been stationed anywhere around China.

Keene goes by, at times, the nickname of "O.K." based on his initials. These leads on more than one occasion to brows furrowing in confusion when he states, "I'm O.K.". He does this on purpose, though, because his face is ready to break into a grin after he sees the doubt.

He possesses, according to one young woman, a "tantalizing grin" which he flashed often, usually before breaking into a solid laugh. Keene, despite the many troubles he finds himself in, loves to laugh and he can see the humor in far more things than most people can considering the times he chortles is often after being shot at. It is obvious he enjoys the danger of his profession and savors the times when he has not had to pay dearly for that danger.

More on this interesting agent as I finish more adventures.

For now, there are a couple of interesting passages which describe or comment on Keene:

"He had an irritating habit of dropping into cliches that would have annoyed [any man]."

After slouching back in his chair with "his eyes practically closed", it was stated that "It was a fad of his to assert that one could hear better free from all visual distractions. Others who had tried to emulate him usually found themselves falling asleep."


Number of Books:12
First Appearance:1937
Last Appearance:1945

1 Island of Spies Island of Spies
Written by J. M. Walsh
Copyright: 1937

Jean, a young English woman staying with family on Cyprus, spied several men carrying a coffin in the woods late one night. They did not like being seen. Orde, a man she had recently met saw she was in trouble and wanted to help. Oliver Keene saved both but then needed their help to learn more about secret arms stashing in preparation for revolution.

2 Black Dragon Black Dragon
Written by J. M. Walsh
Copyright: 1938

[plot unknown]

3 Dial 999 Dial 999
Written by J. M. Walsh
Copyright: 1939

By dialing 999 someone alerted the police to go to the flat where the body was found. On several sheets of paper on the dead man's desk was scribbled the request to Dial 999. This results in Oliver Keene being brought in and that will result in his heading to Czechoslovakia to smuggle out some very important information the Gestapo would like stopped.

4 Bullets For Breakfast Bullets For Breakfast
Written by J. M. Walsh
Copyright: 1939

[plot unknown]

5 King's Enemies King's Enemies
Written by J. M. Walsh
Copyright: 1940

Keene is in Prague where a young woman strikes up a conversation with him in a cafe, inviting him to a meeting of the Resistance that evening. Keene is well aware it is likely a trap and finds it is but quite unlike what he was expecting.

6 Secret Weapons Secret Weapons
Written by J. M. Walsh
Copyright: 1940

The capitals of Europe are frantic about finding out what Hitler's true intentions are and to get that vital information means sending into Germany their secret weapons - spies willing to risk it all to learn what can be learned. That include Oliver 'O.K.' Keene who heads from Holland into Germany with no promise of getting out again.

7 Spies From The Skies Spies From The Skies
Written by J. M. Walsh
Copyright: 1941

[plot unknown]

8 Death At His Elbow Death At His Elbow
Written by J. M. Walsh
Copyright: 1941

Oliver Keene is in Istanbul, a city that is set on being neutral even as it hosts an incredibly large number of foreign spies from all over the globe. Keene's job is to find out what the Axis agents are up to but keeping alive is also a full time job.

9 Danger Zone Danger Zone
Written by J. M. Walsh
Copyright: 1942

It is to the Canary Islands that Oliver Keene is sent to look into the problem of Axis spies using the idealic locale to pass messages to waiting submarines on the prowl for Allied convoys. A beautiful woman Keene meets in a bar is pulled into the excitement.

10 Island Alert Island Alert
Written by J. M. Walsh
Copyright: 1943

Oliver Keene and his colleague, Peter Chun, were expecting to get thrown into adventure in the Pacific but instead they land up in the Viti Islands, the epitome of peace. Then the Japanese bombs start landing and Keene and Chun have to find out who the agents helping the Axis are.

11 Face Value Face Value
Written by J. M. Walsh
Copyright: 1944

The city of Rido on the island of Mindanao in the Philippines is a new haven for refugees fleeing the Japanese. It is also a recently booming oil town and the draw of a wide variety of speculators as well as a good number of spies. Oliver Keene is sent there to get an idea of who is what and learns there are many who do not welcome his visit.

12 Whispers In The Dark Whispers In The Dark
Written by J. M. Walsh
Copyright: 1945

There is vital information to be obtained on the island of Celebes in Indonesia and Oliver Keene and Peter Chun are sent there to retrieve it. Unfortunately, the territory is completely held by the Japanese and the two agents are running for their lives the minute they left the submarine that brought them.


I really enjoyed the series. I have not been able to locate all of the dozen adventures but I have most of them and those that I have share one thing - they are a wonderful set of serious adventures with more than a tad of humor tossed in, usually by Oliver Keene himself.

Had these books come out a decade or two later than they did, I firmly believe they would have been snatched up as source material for some very entertaining British spy/mystery series. Alas, they were too early. They could have made good movies, too, but still nothing!


My Grade: B+


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