Colonel Ormiston is an agent with British Intelligence.
In one passage he is described by a British official high up in the governorship of Egypt that the U.K. possessed at the time of these adventures, the early to mid 1930's, as being the "freest of freelances". By this he is indicating not that Ormiston works for whomever he wants but rather that he is free to work on whatever might interest him at the time. The speaker goes on to say that while Ormiston was certainly working in Egypt at the time of the inquiry, "when he goes a-hunting he just simply disappears. Then sooner or later he turns up with the bacon". With considerable regret that man also admits that Ormiston routinely vanishes for a time and his wife also will drop from view and, "until they turn up with their case all complete we can't do anything save sit down with folded hands, wait, and hopr for the best".
Interestingly, in that conversation when the asker mentioned Ormiston working for the British Secret Service, the responder stated, "we call it Intelligence amongst ourselves. And in dealing with outsiders we use - er - even more euphemistic terms".
Ormiston is said to be a master of disguise who is able to blend into just about everywhere. His use of (apparently) face paint and clothing, blended with his mimicry and acting skills and his native understanding of Arabic (and others) all work wonderfully to allow him to move about the people of the Middle East however he feels neccessary.
Note that as of yet, I have not found a first name. From the first moment we are introduced to him, he is Colonel Ormiston, unless he is, of course, in disguise. At times like that, and they are many since he seems to relish adopting any variety of identities,
Ormiston is married to the very impressive Rosalie, at least he will be at the beginning of the second adventure. He meets her in the first one and finds her a remarkably able agent already though she is likely a decade younger than he. In that initial meeting he Ormiston learns that she is known in the area as the "Rose of the Dark though in subsequent references it changes to "Rosalie of the Dark", at least by one opponent very much in fear of her. In another situation it was remarked of her that "wherever she is, there is trouble". She, too, is an operative for the British and together they make a formidable pair, indeed, to a particularly nasty opponent they faced a couple of times, Rosalie is likely the more dangerous of the two for when a henchman vowed to take care of Ormiston, his boss dissented worried about the anger of "the tigress robbed of her mate".
Also working with Ormiston at times, or more accurately with Rosalie, is her brother Terry and the two of them have an origin story that makes for quite interesting reading by itself.
- About the British, an unfriendly Egyptian Arab remarks, "They are an unbelieving and pertinacious race".
- "A lie has a thousand tongues and the number of those who utter it does not make it any the more true."