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WALLACE OF THE SECRET SERVICE

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Full Name: Leonard Wallace
Nationality: British
Organization: British Intelligence
Occupation Spymaster

Creator: Alexander Wilson
Time Span: 1928 - 1940

ABOUT THE SERIES

       Sir Leonard Wallace is the head of the British Secret Service.
       The son of the Earl of Westcliff (possibly on the coast due east of London), Wallace could have lived a life of ease and privilege but that would never have suited his temperament for the man has always, since childhood, felt fulfilled only when providing a needed service to others. For that reason, he joined the Hussars and served in that light cavalry regiment for some years, earning considerable recognition during the Great War and reaching the rank of Major, much of his time spent in India.
       It was after receiving a terrible wound in his left arm during the closing days of that war that he came to the attention of the Secretary of State for Home Affairs, Mansfield Smith-Cummings, known later as "C". Together with his close friend Captain Brien, they had come across evidence of a secret German submarine base on the coast of England. He received permission to use a small select group to take control of the cave facility and in so doing capture five German submarines. For their impressive feat, both Wallace and Brien received promotions.
       Unfortunately, now Colonel Wallace had suffered another wound to the recovering arm and the damage was enough to require amputation. His active military days now over because of it, Wallace was asked if he wanted to serve in the Intelligence Service and he took to that new work like it was meant to be and soon he was promoted to the top position as Chief of the Secret Service. [Major Brien would return to active service but when the War ended, he was offered a job with Wallace and became the man's chief assistant and advisor.]
       Considerable information about Wallace is contained in a synopsis of sorts written by "C" who stated: "Romance and adventure are not dead while there exist men of the type of Sir Leonard Wallace. He proves that fact is stranger than fiction, and into the cold, matter-of-fact atmosphere of the twentieth century brings a flavor of daring enterprise that is reminiscent of more adventurous times. Yet to look at him you would not imagine that there were even the elements of romance and adventure in him, unless he gave you the opportunity of gazing deep into his expressive, steel-grey eyes. He is a slightly-built man of about five feet eight in height with an attractive but by no means handsome face, the curves of which show that he possesses a great sense of humor. He has an easy-going disposition, and rather gives the impression of being a man who loves to loiter his way through life. He has a cool, calculating mind, behind an unruffled exterior, which provides him with the imagination and quick perception that make him so successful in detective work. Perhaps his greatest asset is his unexcitable temperament and perfect self-control. I have known ministers of State exasperated at his nonchalance but, being no respecter of persons, that worries him not at all. I must confess to a sneaking fear that he does not always regard His Majesty's statesmen with the respect they invariably think is their due."
       The adventures we are lucky enough to enjoy all take place after the War during the turbulent era of "peace" that followed. These missions start up almost immediately after the Armistice is signed and continue throughout the next two decades. The troubles that had to be dealt with are wide-spread and varied. Residual anger and mistrust with Germany. Dealing with the new fascism of Italy. Constant turmoil and unrest in the Middle East. Problems galore in an India that demands independence but has major Hindu-Muslim problems to contend with. Japanese expansion in the Far East. And, biggest of all, constant and ever-changing trouble with the Bolsheviks of the Soviet Union who are always wanting to spread their communist ideas everywhere.
       Wallace is very happily married to the beautiful and very intelligent and adventurous Molly, Lady Wallace. They both take enormous pleasure in their one child, Adrian. Wallace lives in London most of the year as work does not allow many times of rest but during the summer he routinely motors to his estate near Lyndhurst in the New Forest. He is described as a slim man of medium height, having a somewhat lazy expression on his attractive, good-humored face that was belied by the keen grey eyes and indomitable jaw.
       Throughout the many years we follow him, Wallace is also blessed to have as his right-hand-man the very capable Bill Brien, described as a tall fair man whose upright carriage and small mustache suggested a soldier which he certainly was during the War. He is said to have twinkling blue eyes which light up with a mystery. The two men are and have been for a long time best friends and each man's wife is close to the other's. Brien is a great sounding board as well as trusted advisor but Brien, for all the closeness, has never forgotten who is the ultimate decider and never challenges his older friend.

       In addition to Brien, Wallace has a large stable of trusted operatives to send out on missions, trusting that each one is smart enough to not need hand holding. Of the many men and women he uses, several have become extremely trusted:

Maddison - a small keen-eyed man, formerly a detective inspector with Scotland Yard before being move to the Secret Service.

Carter - also a former detective with Scotland Yard, said to be a very responsible man.

Captain Hugh Shannon - a relatively new agent right after the War and eager to prove himself. He is extremely well educated and could have taken a position teaching at any university had he not want a bit more excitement.

Cousins - formerly the valet for Hugh Shannon, now an agent himself. 5' tall with the figure of a boy but the face "so wrinkled" he could be easily be 60 years old (he was really mid-40's).

       With capable people to help him, Sir Leonard Wallace in constantly fighting on behalf of the Crown and Country.

BOOKS

Number of Books:9
First Appearance:1928
Last Appearance:1940

1 The Mystery of Tunnel 51 The Mystery of Tunnel 51
Written by Alexander Wilson
Copyright: 1928

In India operative Major Elliott is murdered and secret plans of the Frontier have been stolen. The Viceroy cabled Sir Leonard Wallace for help. Wallace immediately books a flight for he and his assistant, Major Brien, and from the moment he arrives he is at war with Soviet agents.
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2 The Devil's Cocktail The Devil's Cocktail
Written by Alexander Wilson
Copyright: 1928

In Lahore a Muslim college has been infiltrated by Soviet agents whose job it is to sow distrust and unhappiness over British control. Sir Leonard Wallace sends operative Captain Hugh Shannon in to find and stop them.
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3 Wallace of the Secret Service Wallace of the Secret Service
Written by Alexander Wilson
Copyright: 1933

Collection of ten short stories:
Out of the Land of Egypt
Bound in Morocco
Sentiment and Suicide
Russian Hospitality
A Soviet Dinner Party
A Greek Tragedy
Brien Averts a War
East is East
The Poisoned Plane
It Happened in Capri
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4 Get Wallace! Get Wallace!
Written by Alexander Wilson
Copyright: 1934

Leonard Wallace and his wife have returned from holiday to find his office staff in a tizzy due to a number of highly classified documents being offered to the highest bidder by a gang of thieves. Finding how to get them back as well as learning how they got them in the first place is the top priority for he and his men. All his main men have vital roles to play.
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5 His Excellency, Governor Wallace His Excellency, Governor Wallace
Written by Alexander Wilson
Copyright: 1936

In the British colony of Hong Kong there is underway a conspiracy against the Crown so potent that it is both undermining morale and sullying the government's reputation. Sir Leonard Wallace finds that it is so powerful, to combat it he must step out of the shadows and assume control of the island.
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6 Microbes of Power Microbes of Power
Written by Alexander Wilson
Copyright: 1937

Neither Leonard Wallace nor any of his people suspected when they started looking into a series of odd events on the island of Cyprus that they would uncover a horrific plot. The hidden enemy is planning to use germ warfare against the Greek government.
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7 Wallace At Bay Wallace At Bay
Written by Alexander Wilson
Copyright: 1938

On the outskirts of London, a band of anarchist conspirators has been plotting the destruction of all royalty throughout Europe. It has already struck a blow in the killing of King Alexander of Yugoslavia and now it is looking towards that man's son, the new regent. When Leonard Wallace sends his agent, Carter, to join in undercover, the enemy backed by the Soviets changes targets to Wallace's team.
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8 Wallace Intervenes Wallace Intervenes
Written by Alexander Wilson
Copyright: 1939

The British agent sent to learn vital information in Germany, Foster, has fallen deeply in love with a beautiful woman who is also seeing the infamous Marshal von Strom. When the Marshal learns of the relationship, his jealousy causes him to have both arrested and as the date of their execution nears, Leonard Wallace must find a way to save them both.
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9 Chronicles of the Secret Service Chronicles of the Secret Service
Written by Alexander Wilson
Copyright: 1940

Collection of three novellas:
The China Doll
Noughts and Crosses
That Bloody Afghan
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NOVELLAS AND SHORT STORIES

Number of Stories:13
First Appearance:1933
Last Appearance:1940

0 Foreword Foreword
Written by Alexander Wilson
Copyright: 1933

Foreword to the collection in Wallace of the Secret Service - This erudite introduction is to the man, Leonard Wallace, and not to the collection itself. It is "written" by no less an impressive person than the first chief of the real Secret Intelligence Service Mansfield Smith-Cumming, "C".
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1 Out of the Land of Egypt Out of the Land of Egypt
Written by Alexander Wilson
Copyright: 1933

1st of 10 stories collected in Wallace of the Secret Service - The year is 1923. One of Leonard Wallace's agents, Henderson, had been sent to Egypt as that country nears independence to learn about any plots against the British, especially as it might pertain to continued control of the Sudan. Now Henderson has disappeared and Wallace heads to the Middle East to investigate.
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2 Bound in Morocco Bound in Morocco
Written by Alexander Wilson
Copyright: 1933

2nd of 10 stories collected in Wallace of the Secret Service - Wallace is enjoying late summer on his estate when his agent Maddison arrives to tell him the Prince of Emilia, a small Italian principality, has disappeared while visiting in Gibraltar as had another agent, Cousins, who was bodyguarding him.
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3 Sentiment and Suicide Sentiment and Suicide
Written by Alexander Wilson
Copyright: 1933

3rd of 10 stories collected in Wallace of the Secret Service - Was the death of the scientist murder or suicide and if the latter, why? The man had been working on behalf of the War Office for several years creating a nerve gas so horrendous it would make all other nations afraid to go to war. It is up to Leonard Wallace and his men to find the truth and cover the missing formula.
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4 Russian Hospitality Russian Hospitality
Written by Alexander Wilson
Copyright: 1933

4th of 10 stories collected in Wallace of the Secret Service - The Bolsheviks of Soviet Russia have been extremely active in the past several years trying to turn soldiers and sailors against their superiors and into the service of the Soviets. Leonard Wallace and his people have been given permission to track down who the lead agent in England is and to remove him.
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5 A Soviet Dinner Party A Soviet Dinner Party
Written by Alexander Wilson
Copyright: 1933

5th of 10 stories collected in Wallace of the Secret Service - The Soviet Union has invited delegates from several nations, Austria, Germany, Turkey, and China, to travel to Moscow to attend a special dinner party. Intrigued and worried, Leonard Wallace decides he too will find a way to attend even though he is very well known to their agents and a wanted man in that country.
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6 A Greek Tragedy A Greek Tragedy
Written by Alexander Wilson
Copyright: 1933

6th of 10 stories collected in Wallace of the Secret Service - In Constantinople Leonard Wallace is saddened to hear that a friend, Sir George, British Minister in Turkey, was gravely ill and not expected to live. The attending physician confides he suspects ground glass to be the cause. Now Wallace has to figure out if it was an assassination and if so, by whom.
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7 Brien Averts A War Brien Averts A War
Written by Alexander Wilson
Copyright: 1933

7th of 10 stories collected in Wallace of the Secret Service - Major Brien was in the right place at the right time as he was concluding one piece of business in Rome and heading to Riviera to meet his wife when he spotted a fired Italian operative now working for Germany but secretly meeting with member of the Italian government. His curiosity would prevent a huge problem but nearly get him killed.
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8 East Is East East Is East
Written by Alexander Wilson
Copyright: 1933

8th of 10 stories collected in Wallace of the Secret Service - As a government Commission travels about India hoping to learn more about possible home rule there and failing miserably to glean the real truth, Leonard Wallace is also joining them but doing his own research which includes going undercover and meeting off the record with powerful figures such as Gandhi.
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9 The Poisoned Plane The Poisoned Plane
Written by Alexander Wilson
Copyright: 1933

9th of 10 stories collected in Wallace of the Secret Service - The King of Afghanistan is worried about holding onto his kingdom and is seeking help to do so. After an apparent failed trip to Moscow where the Soviets did not agree, he is now heading to London for the same. Unfortunately, someone in his party is not wanting him to be successful and Leonard Wallace is asked to find out who is the perpetrator.
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10 It Happened In Capri It Happened In Capri
Written by Alexander Wilson
Copyright: 1933

10th of 10 stories collected in Wallace of the Secret Service - The Spanish thief known as de Correa was renown throughout Europe for his string of bold jewelry heists, none of which produced any evidence against him. The police forces of many countries "sighed" over their desire to nab him but none came close to stopping him. Until he chose to steal secret plans from the British and got Leonard Wallace interested in him for the first time.
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11 The China Doll The China Doll
novella
Written by Alexander Wilson
Copyright: 1940

1st of 3 stories collected in Chronicles of the Secret Service - This story tells of the time that Leonard Wallace was Governor of Hong Kong and must find a way to counter the growing problem with the Japanese as its agents are at work in the island Colony.
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12 Noughts and Crosses Noughts and Crosses
novella
Written by Alexander Wilson
Copyright: 1940

2nd of 3 stories collected in Chronicles of the Secret Service - In London a young couple, bored with everything, are easy prey for a foreigner who befriends them outside a nightclub one evening. They have no idea that the invitation for drinks at the man's home will get them involved with terrorists.
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13 That Bloody Afghan That Bloody Afghan
novella
Written by Alexander Wilson
Copyright: 1940

3rd of 3 stories collected in Chronicles of the Secret Service - Even as War is starting to be waged in Europe, the fight for influence in Afghanistan is heating up as the Soviet Union tries to gain dominance and Wallace's people there must root out the enemy agents at work.
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MY COMMENTS

       Oh my goodness, what a delicious surprise this series was!
       As a spy fan, especially of series, I knew about Leonard Wallace from long ago but had not yet collected them. Then a few years ago, all were re-released in affordable ebook editions so I snatched them up right away. And then still did not read them. Kept 'agonna to, if you know what I mean. Finally I decided I should at least take a quick look so I could jot something done as a First Look. No First Look needed here! Not anymore.
       The writing on this series is delicious. So many books from that period leaned on the dry side; many with excellent prose but still not really excitement-generating. Not so with this series. There is always something happening in these books and if the author wrote any parts that slogged along, he took 'em out before printing. One of my all-time favorite characters from this period has been for years Colonel Granby. He has a rival now.
       Wallace is no stick in the mud. He loves adventure and never turns down a chance to head into the thick of things. Luckily for him his wife understands and reluctantly lets him go with a "be careful" even though she knows he both will be and won't be. He has best friend who is just like him so he either has a traveling companion or someone trustworthy to mind the shop while he is gone. Then he has a small group of dedicated operatives working for him who will trudge through mud and mire without a gripe and who has his back just like he has theirs.
       Did I mention the writing was delicious? Yup, but it warrants repeating. Excellent writing and pacing and characters and plots. And exquisitely researched and presented by a man who walked the walk as they say. The worries that was shared by so many in government back then - German aggression, Italian expansion, Middle East unrest, Hindu-Muslim strife, Japanese empire building, and the Bolsheviks. Each of these get their time in the spotlight and all written so well.
       I highly recommend this series. Great to read, easy to get, and affordable.

GRADE

My Grade: A

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