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Full Name: John Gaffney and Harry Tipper
Nationality: British
Organization: Special Branch
Occupation Agent

Creator: Graham Ison
Time Span: 1988 - 1989


John Gaffney is a Detective Chief Superintendent with Special Branch.

Harry Tipper is a Detective Chief Inspector with Scotland Yard.

Tipper works for the Metropolitan Police in the first recorded adventure and quite happy there and certainly fully expecting to stay there for the rest of his career. The activity that makes up that case will bring him to the attention of Gaffney and since the two worked so well together in that matter, they parted company on very good terms.

When a short time later the next case came along for Gaffney, he was in a position of sniffing out a probable bad apple in MI-5 and that called for an experienced man who knew London well, could follow a suspect without being spotted, and was smart enough to notice when subtle things happened that might end up meaning something. Moreover, since the suspect was experienced himself, he would be already quite familiar with every such person at Special Branch. It was at that point that Gaffney remembered the highly intelligent and seasoned Tipper and requested to 'borrow' him for a time. Everyone knew, of course, that if the matter was resolved properly, the borrowing would be in name only and Tipper would have a new home.

Gaffney is the older of the two by likely a decade. He is in his mid-forties and "had been in charge of the Special Branch international squad since his promotion some two years previously". He has been divorced for a small amount of time and does not seem to spend any real time considering it.

Tipper does not appear to be married but we learn very little about his life outside of work leaving us to wonder how much of a life he has there. Certainly to have earned his rank he would have had to be dedicated and there can be no doubt following his actions that he does indeed enjoy his work a great deal.


Number of Books:4
First Appearance:1988
Last Appearance:1989

1 The Cold Light Of Dawn The Cold Light Of Dawn
Written by Graham Ison
Copyright: 1988

The investigation by French police into the murder of a young woman spreads into Britain where DCI Tipper and his partner start asking questions. The strange answers they get will find their way into the sphere of Special Branch Superintendent Gaffney as Gaffney & Tipper now need to look deeply into the Diplomatic Service.
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2 Confirm Or Deny Confirm Or Deny
Written by Graham Ison
Copyright: 1989

Certain there is a traitor in MI5, its director looks to outside sources to track him/her down and that means John Gaffney of Special Branch who puts together a small but capable team. The investigation hits a snag when one of the suspects commits suicide. Gaffney & Tipper must determine if it was guilt or murder.
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3 The Home Secretary Will See You Now The Home Secretary Will See You Now
Written by Graham Ison
Copyright: 1989

A former actress is found strangled to death in her bedroom. Since she had some pretty extensive contacts in the government and the political aspects are tremendous, the Home Secretary decides the matter must be looked into by Special Branch. Gaffney & Tipper are each pulled in to learn if it was a simple burglary gone bad or much deeper.
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4 A Damned Serious Business A Damned Serious Business
Written by Graham Ison
Copyright: 1989

A man is found slumped over the wheel of a car late at night. The police suspect intoxication at first but the driver is a diplomat which complicates things and the story he tells authorities makes things far, far worse. The matter will bring Gaffney & Tipper into it and get them sent to Pakistan ahead of a Prime Minister visit and will present them with a murder at the Embassy.
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This terrific series is a wonderful combination of counter-espionage and police procedural. There are no wild shoot-em-ups, no down-and-dirty brawls, no explosions hurling the heroes hither and yon. There is a lot of solid grunt work deliciously told in enough detail to follow along nicely without it dragging on in the least.

Having been written by a man who served many years in Special Branch as well as a lot in the Diplomatic Protection Group so when he speaks (writes) he does so from a position of knowledge and experience. Being an accomplished author as well, when he does the writing, he makes it very interesting and the stories flow beautifully.

I would have liked a tad more about both characters but I still recommend this series a great deal.


My Grade: A-


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