black_mask_192006_v1_n3 black_mask_192005_v1_n2
Full Name: Desmond Okewood
Nationality: British
Organization: British Secret Service
Occupation Spymaster

Creator: Valentine Williams
Time Span: 1918 - 1939


Desmond Okewood is an agent with the British Secret Service.

Part-time, perhaps. Or possibly he can be considered on unofficial loan to that Department from his duties with the Royal Army where he holds the rank of Captain. As he puts it rather angrily some time after his 'conversion', "I may have been a Secret Service agent by accident but I'm a soldier by trade. My place is in the fighting-line!"

He is not on the front lines when we first meet up with Okewood as he is occasionally suffering from what he refers to as shell-shock. "You think you are cured, you feel fit and well, and then suddenly the machinery of your mind checks and halts and creaks." It is more likely that he ails from a brain injury considering the fact that he only recently "left hospital convalescent after being wounded on the Somme ('gunshot wound in head and cerebral concussion' the doctors called it)".

The year of our initial time with Okewood is likely late 1916 and Okewood is on medical leave when he learns enough to be worries about his brother, Francis. Interestingly, which Desmond Okewood would on more than one occasion grouse about being with Intelligence instead of fighting, his brother is and has been since the beginning of the War, an actual operative. Francis had failed his induction physical and was left with only one way in is mind to do his part in war effort and that was to join the Secret Service.

It is the search for his missing brother that will get Desmond involved in Intelligence work and as time passes, he will remain with that line of work because he has shown that like his brother, he is good at it.

It is also in that search that Okewood would come upon the man who would be considered for quite a long time his nemesis or archenemy, the evil and quite formidable Dr. Adolf Grundt, also called Clubfoot due to his physical infirmity. While there will be a mission or two that Okewood will be a part of that does not pit him against Clubfoot (that is the normal way he refers to the man), it is without a doubt Dr. Grundt that will cause him more trouble than everything else.

One final comment on why Okewood would continue to work in Intelligence even after he could have returned to active duty. A woman that Okewood respects comments to him, "The Secret Service has its fighting-line, too, though the war correspondents don't write about it. It never gets a mention in dispatches, and Victoria Crosses don't come its way. The newspapers don't publish its casualty list, though you and I know that it's a long one. A man slips quietly away and never comes back, and after a certain lapse of time we just mark him off the books and there's an end of it. But it's a great service; and you've made your mark in it. The Chief wants men like you. You'll have to stay!" He agrees.

Good line from The Fox Prowls, an aged Okewood (not exactly sure which one), now Chief of the British Secret Service, admonishes a young agent, "Don't get married as long as you're in this job. No fellow in this game ought to marry. The wives never understand."


Number of Books:5
First Appearance:1918
Last Appearance:1939


Number of Stories:3
First Appearance:1920
Last Appearance:1921

1 The Mystery of the Missing Finger The Mystery of the Missing Finger
aka The Missing Finger
Written by Valentine Williams
Copyright: 1920

Published in The Black Mask, May 1920 and then in The Grand Magazine, June 1920
[plot unknown]

2 The Mystery of the Brown Leather Suit-Case The Mystery of the Brown Leather Suit-Case
aka The Brown Leather Suit-Case
Written by Valentine Williams
Copyright: 1920

Published in The Black Mask, June 1920 and then in The Grand Magazine, August 1920
[plot unknown]

3 The Medici Pearl The Medici Pearl
Written by Valentine Williams
Copyright: 1921

Published in The Grand Magazine, July 1921
[plot unknown]


The hero of this series, Desmond Okewood, is forever closely linked with his archnemesis, Dr. Adolf Grundt, aka Cluboot. Indeed, he would not have his own listing here normally except there are a couple of adventures that Okewood is connected to which do not directly deal with that evil German spymaster so here we are.

Okewood is resourceful and intrepid and the epitome of a solid and stolid hero-type. He is dependable almost to a fault and will not give up until the problem is resolved. Considering, however, that the author would go on to write several more adventures about Clubfoot than he does about Okewood, it is easy to see who the more interesting fellow is.


My Grade: B


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