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Full Name: Dennis Tyler
Nationality: American
Organization: CPI
Occupation Agent

Creator: Diplomat
Time Span: 1930 - 1935


Dennis Tyler is the Chief of the CPI.

That is the acronym used for the Bureau of Current Political Intelligence. This is a division of the State Department. Its description in one of the recorded adventures of its leader tells not only a great deal about the bureau but also, by extension, about its leader:

"The C.P.I. had been the bane and blessing of three Administrations. Its work was neither obviously necessary nor easily dispensable. Its dozen members formed a close-knot group in State Department politics and bureaucratic intrigues and were to be found mainly at the messier end of the earth, getting at the heart of a revolution in the banana belt, heading off arms shipments in Mongolia and Sonora, watching the slow and terrible chess-moves of the great battle of gold and steel and wheat in Eastern Europe, or plunging into the heart of Central Asia on 'scientific expeditions' which caused head-scratching and heart-searching in a half dozen world capitals.

"Sometimes the C.P.I. was in favor, sometimes in disgrace... Most of the time, however, the Bureau and its Chief were regarded as a sort of necessary evil. Dennis Tyler was generally lucky and, what was more important, officials who tried to get rid of his services were apt to be unfortunate."

About Tyler, it was said often and in different ways that he was "a young diplomat whose hopes of promotion lay in the quarrels of the nations and the squabbles of his superiors". That does not paint a particularly nice image of the man, though it is usually true. What was not said in such statements was that when his services were in need, his ability to pull off the required miracle was highly impressive. Since he did work in an incredibly unorthodox manner, though, the Establishment invariably resented his intrusion, at least up until their rears were in the fire and needed extracting at which point it was 'hail and well done'.

There are frequent references to Tyler being a 'young man'. This is certainly a matter of relative age because, while there is no stated year in which any of the adventures take place, they were definitely over a decade after the end of WWI. There are numerous referrals back to people that Tyler met as a young officer during the Great War, sometimes being assigned as a liaison. Guessing that Tyler would have been at least 25 around then, he is at least 35 when the first of recorded adventures occur.

Tyler is happily married to Cynthia who indulges his several instances of sudden trips abroad with interesting aplomb - she is not shown to be surprised or upset at his skedaddling but does, according to him, treat him fondly upon his return. Since numerous times someone refers to him as a 'red-haired dandy', it would be curious to know if his sartorial style is really worthy of being commented on and, if so, is it he that choses his dress or his wife.

Tyler's membership in this collection comes because each of his several missions invariably throw him up against agents of one sort or another of foreign governments. He especially has to deal more than a few times with Bolshevik intrusions, sometimes they are quite real and dangerous and sometimes they are merely perceived and feared dangerous. Often there is the need to investigate a murder with political ramifications.

Regardless of whether it is finding out who killed the odd diplomat or courier here or there or who absconded with what secret document, from Tyler's reaction to such events, it is clear that solving these matters is what that man lives for. The stranger the problem, the stickier the wicket, the more Tyler is in his element.


Number of Books:7
First Appearance:1930
Last Appearance:1935

1 Murder in the Embassy Murder in the Embassy
Written by Diplomat
Copyright: 1930

Dennis Tyler of the CPI loves solving a good mystery but when the pressure gets as high as it does in this case, the fun wanes. Visiting Prince Hojo is murdered in his own Embassy and the suspects include those of his own people normally asked to investigate. Tyler gets the call.

2 Murder in the State Department Murder in the State Department
Written by Diplomat
Copyright: 1930

Harrison Howard was a star which had risen high in the State Department and was heading higher. Then a guard found his body in his office with a steel filing spike shoved through his hand over his chest and into his heart. Not to mention a top-secret document. The main suspect has an alibi so who else would want him dead? That is when Dennis Tyler is asked to do his magic.

3 Scandal in the Chancery Scandal in the Chancery
Written by Diplomat
Copyright: 1931

An American diplomat heading to Monte Carlo is not unusual. When that person is eloping with a chorus girl and the entire Franco-American Friendship Fund is missing, well, that is news and scandal and the reason for calling in Dennis Tyler.

4 The Corpse on the White House Lawn The Corpse on the White House Lawn

Copyright: 1932

Dennis Tyler is not thrilled to be called to the White House for some publicity exercise. He is, however, a bit intrigued when, chasing an errant medicine ball, he finds in the bushes the murdered body of a Mexican diplomat. He helps dispose of the body in the Potomac to protect the President and then goes on the hunt for the killer. This will put him on the trail of an invention, an airplane catapult and retrieval system that could make aircraft carriers obsolete.

5 Death in the Senate Death in the Senate

Copyright: 1933

"Sprightly Dennis Tyler again pierces the mask of official Washington, explains two catastrophes, prevents a third."

6 Slow Death at Geneva Slow Death at Geneva

Copyright: 1934

Dennis Tyler has his work cut out for him in Switzerland. He has to attend an important Conference, spending time with a wide assortment of fellow diplomat and dignitaries, all while keeping track of a murdered man's body, keep news of the killing out of the press as long as he can, and, yes, finding who was the murderer.

7 The Brain Trust Murder The Brain Trust Murder

Copyright: 1935

The gala taking place on R Street in Washington, DC, was a major event with scores of important people attending, all to honor Prof Morehead of the prestigious Brain Trust. Then Morehead's decapitated body is found in another room and his assistant looks like the killer. It falls to Dennis Tyler to sort things out but the list of influential people with a motive is daunting.


These adventures were, IMHO, essentially mysteries although there are a couple of instances where no one was killed. They were also most certainly opportunities for the author, calling himself 'Diplomat', to poke great and frequent fun at every level of establishment. Invariably the Old Guard was decidedly old and decidedly on guard. Tyler was the author's way of tweaking the noses of the blue bloods that had allowed the various nations to march doggedly into war and who were, it seemed, just as determined to do it again. Pomposity and arrogance mingled quite well with illogical actions and petty squabbles.

The books are not totally satires but there are tons of satirical forays and they can be both a hoot to read about and a bit embarrassing to realize that though they were undoubtedly exaggerated for poetic purposes, they probably did happen as often as the author would have us believe.


My Grade: B+


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