sarel_richard_bk_tmwcb sarel_richard_bk_tdtm sarel_richard_bk_tcct
Full Name: Richard Sarel
Nationality: Canadian
Organization: N.A.T.O.
Occupation Agent

Creator: John Bryan
Time Span: 1957 - 1958


Richard Sarel is an agent with N.A.T.O.

When we first meet him, he isn't but he will become one not long after our meeting him. At the time of our initial contact, he is over in England sort of on business and sort of doing a favor for an old friend, one that will be him involved in solving some shady goings-on and will open the door to his rejoining the cloak and dagger world.

We learn from his remembering that he had been a colonel in the Canadian Army during WWII. For a while he had served in the Intelligence division but from his comments he had wished for a more active role in the fighting so was eventually able to transfer back to the Canadian Armored Corps. Over a half decade later when we catch up with him, his calling card still references the CAC though his time with them had long ago ended. His Intelligence connections will be reestablished and in the second and third adventures we have, he is in that field working for N.A.T.O.

In addition to the excitement of poking his nose into places most likely to get it punched, Sarel is a huge fan of fast, sleek automobiles and when he drives, whether it is taking part in competitive auto racing or just getting from Point A to anywhere else, he does not miss the opportunity to push the pedal down and trust in his abilities and his reflexes.

The adventures of Sarel take place in the latter half of the 1950's, not quite a decade after N.A.T.O. was founded. It is a notable observation by Sarel that while the men and women who work at N.A.T.O. are all dedicated to that organization's aims and objectives, it is important to remember that N.A.T.O. is not a country.

Interesting comments noted:

"A lot of folks who haven't too many morals have the highest principles. Whereas those with the stiffest morals may have no principles at all behind 'em."

"They were expendable ... and they were spent."


Number of Books:3
First Appearance:1957
Last Appearance:1958

1 The Difference To Me The Difference To Me
Written by John Bryan
Copyright: 1957

Looking into a possible sale of a very rare book for a friend, Richard Sarel comes into contact with a rich divorcee whose "reputation was a fast as the cars she once drove" but who had earned one of England's highest medals. But there was also the matter of Special Branch's interest in her family and a problem that N.A.T.O. would like him to look into that was connected.

2 The Contessa Came Too The Contessa Came Too
Written by John Bryan
Copyright: 1957

Richard Sarel was recovering from a nasty cold when he is pressured by an old friend to help investigate missing arms from the Iron Curtain that disappeared in Italy and may have ended up in North Africa. This will bring him into contact with Linda, "the sec-singer who looked more naked dressed than most women do nude", the heiress Gina who "liked men", and the mysterious Contessa, deadly because "her servants killed at her word".

3 The Man Who Came Back The Man Who Came Back
Written by John Bryan
Copyright: 1958

It was not in his wishes to be thrown into the middle of things but Richard Sarel lands there anyways and has to deal with a left-wing British M.P. who had fled to the Soviet Union several years ago but who now wants to return. Unfortunately, The British government does not want him to come back, a group of Poles do not want him to keep breathing, and his abandoned wife just wants a divorce. Not a happy comeback in the making.


These books are pretty darn interesting for a couple of reasons.

First, the plots are quite good, the characters are all varied and entertaining, and the observations that come from the main character are keen and subtle and well worth going back over a couple of times. The stories are more mystery and detective than spycraft but the combination of all into one is very well done.

Second, the protagonist is a gentleman with all the manners one might expect but also with a definite appreciation of the opposite sex. He does not chase after every skirt like a hound but he does not turn away from a chance to spend time with and flirt appropriately. This is notable because the books were written in the second half of the 1950's. And they were written by a 40-year-old woman.

I think I would have loved to have known her and to see what prompted her to try her hand at spy fiction.


My Grade: B+


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