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Full Name: George Barclay
Nationality: British
Organization: None
Occupation Private Investigator

Creator: Ernest Paul
Time Span: 1967 - 1971


George Barclay is a private investigator.

He prefers to call his occupation that of "commercial investigator" but invariably someone will respond with a sneer calling him a private detective and not being too friendly about it. Which is strange considering the number of cases he has solved, saving insurance companies a lot of money and helping authorities in the process.

Barclay is definitely not a spy and has no desire to be one. He is quite happy doing what he is doing and since he does not spend any time bemoaning a lack of clients or having run-ins with his local bank manager, as well as the fact that his secretary seems content enough with working for him and not grousing about back page, we have to conclude that he is successful at his job. Taking into account that most of his work seems to be for insurance companies, we should conclude that as Barclay is a very sharp individual, he charges enough to make it worth his time.

However, though Barclay is not a government operative, he definitely gets into situations where one could mistake him for a secret agent. For one thing, while his home patch is London and he is quite happy there, he does find himself involved in cases which take him to various locales on the Continent, either chasing after or being chased by someone. He even makes it as far south as the lower tip of Africa, quite a ways from the Thames.

Then there are the people he has to go up against. Most notably the Komeski, an international criminal organization with hooks into all sorts of nasty endeavors. This is a team of thieves, blackmailers, and killers that come from all nationalities to work for one group, stealing and extorting and murdering without worrying a bit about borders.

One time he is actually officially hired by his government's intelligence community. Most of the other times it is someone even more powerful asking for his help - wealthy insurance companies.

Barclay remains for the most part on very good relations with the police forces of most countries he visits. He has worked with several a few times over the years, showing he is by no means new to this business. He even has an inspector at Scotland Yard as his best friend and drinking buddy.


Number of Books:6
First Appearance:1967
Last Appearance:1971

1 Jewels In Jeopardy Jewels In Jeopardy
Written by Ernest Paul
Copyright: 1967

The handful of jewelry heights in the London area is causing some headaches for the insurance company who is covering the locations. It hires George Barclay to find and bring to justice the people behind it but those people are using the latest in technology and methods.

2 The Komespi Affair The Komespi Affair
Written by Ernest Paul
Copyright: 1968

A highly valued synthetic diamond has gone missing. Even worse, the formula for making it has disappeared as well. George Barclay is hired to recover both. The case will pit him up against a very ruthless international organization of criminals who call themselves Komespi. The hunt and the fight will take Barclay all over Europe and then down to the Cape of Good Hope.

3 Curtains For Komespi Curtains For Komespi
Written by Ernest Paul
Copyright: 1968

Komespi, The international organization of commercial spies, has grown ever more daring, causing a good deal of trouble all over Europe. No industrial secret is safe once Komespi decides to go after it. A consortium of businessmen hire George Barclay to bring them down. To do so, Barclay must infiltrate the organization and work his way up to the board of directors. His goal is to destroy the group from the inside.

4 The Golden Fleece The Golden Fleece
Written by Ernest Paul
Copyright: 1969

It is very bold of the thieves to hijack a lorry full of gold bullion belonging to the Bank of England. George Barclay thought so when he actually witnessed the heist. The insurers of the transfer hire Barclay to work with the authorities to recover the gold before it can be smuggled out of the country.

5 The Silent Murders The Silent Murders
Written by Ernest Paul
Copyright: 1969

A safe-cracking heist in Hatton Gardens nets the thieves a nice number of diamonds. The thieves are quickly caught but the diamonds remain missing. George Barclay is hired by the insurance company to find them but he comes up empty. A few months later, he buys the latest thriller from a popular author and discovers the plot is the same as the actual robbery. Back on the case, Barclay will find threatening letters, a couple of dead bodies, and a chase from England to the French Riviera.

6 The Reluctant Cloak And Dagger Man The Reluctant Cloak And Dagger Man
Written by Ernest Paul
Copyright: 1971

Opening a letter mistakenly delivered to him, George Barclay unwittingly falls into a case involving the British Secret Service which is hunting for who killed a government scientist who was working on a deadly nerve gas. More urgently, they are looking for his widow who seems to have disappeared, along with the formula. Barclay is volunteered to assist in the inquiries.


This is a very enjoyable mixture of mystery, private detective, and spy fiction. Barclay is definitely a private eye (excuse me, "Commercial Investigator") because he deal with a good amount of hard-boiled matters, although being British, he is far more civilized and restrained than his American counterpart would be.

While most of the time Barclay is working for an insurance company or another and not British Intelligence, a couple of his biggest cases deal with going up against an international criminal organization. Komespi instead of Spectre. Same difference. And then there is the matter of stopping a huge amount of gold leaving the country.

That amounts to spy work without being a real spy. Up to the point when he is actually tapped on the shoulder by the British Secret Service and, Bob's your uncle!

I liked this series. Good, interesting reading from the late 60's.


My Grade: B+


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