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FURNESS & MARKOWITZ

espionage_mag_198604 espionage_mag_198606
 
Full Name: Furness & Markowitz
Nationality: American
Organization: CIA
Occupation Agent

Creator: J. F. Peirce
Time Span: 1986 - 1986

ABOUT THE SERIES

       Furness and Markowitz are agents with the CIA.
       No first names are mentioned here because none are given in the two short adventures we have of the pair. For the most part in both short recounts, they are talking to each other and names are not needed. Certainly we the readers do not have problems telling them apart.
       Furness is the senior spy in this pair of operatives stationed in the embassy in Moscow in the closing days of the Cold War. Furness is obviously Markowitz's boss with his having a normal office in the building and Markowitz having to make due with "a converted broom closet in the embassy's basement".
       Interestingly, we are told straight out that Furness was the "embassy's CIA person" while Markowitz was just identified as being "a spy" which is odd because clearly Furness is the boss and gives the orders.
       Furness has a pencil-line moustache which he is fond of, stroking it often while talking. He is very much a clothes horse and is invariably dressed in style and taste, though sometimes he would look more like a British diplomat and other times "it was [Furness's] month to look French". In the official roster, Furness is 'listed as an agricultural attache', though we are told that "he couldn't tell a field of alfalfa from a field of golden rod - even in hayfever season" or "a field of beets from a field of Russian thistle".
       Markowitz is listed as that of a "third-assistant secretary" in that roster. His parents emigrated from Russia before the Revolution, which is why he spoke that language like a native, even though he had grown up in the Bronx. It is Markowitz who seems to be more often sent out into the field, likely because he could blend in better.


Good line:
"Markowitz had trouble following the CIA man's logic, but then he usually did."

NOVELLAS AND SHORT STORIES

Number of Stories:2
First Appearance:1986
Last Appearance:1986

       In December 1984, the newsstands of America saw a new member to their ranks of digests to reside alongside such notables as the mystery magazines of Ellery Queen, Mike Shayne, Alfred Hitchcock, The Saint, and others. It was the creation of two twin sisters of famed publisher Bob Guccione of Penthouse fame, Jackie Lewis and Jeri Winston.
       It would last 14 issues published every two months and would be consist of new fiction and interesting articles dealing with the gritty worlds of spies and assassins before poor sales would bring its demise.
       In two of those issues were very, very short stories with spoof-like titles and moderately interesting, albeit non-spoof-like tales of two CIA agents working out of the embassy in Moscow, the two fellows described on this page. To the best of my knowledge, these two fellows would have no more stories told of them elsewhere.


       The website The Luminist League's Archives Periodicals was the location where these two issues could be obtained.

1 Smiley's Faces Smiley's Faces
Written by J. F. Peirce
Copyright: 1986

Published in Espionage Magazine, April 1986.
Furness thinks Karl Karsh (aka Smiley) could be feeding the KGB information and asks Markowitz to decode what looks like PacMan type symbols.

2 The Spy Who Came In With A Cold The Spy Who Came In With A Cold
Written by J. F. Peirce
Copyright: 1986

Published in Espionage Magazine, June 1986.
Markowitz appears to have gotten a cold and hopes Furness gets it too. Furness sends Markowitz to get information about a possible coup.

MY COMMENTS

     Going by the titles of these two very short stories, it would be easy to think the reader was in for a satire or a spoof but neither seems the case to me, though they do near the latter a bit.
     These are just two simple, mildly amusing and ultimately harmless tales. The first was more entertaining to me than the second but neither was really memorable. Still they did provide nice filler in the magazine.
     I've gone a quick look through the list of other short stories that the author crafted but could not find any other title that would make me think these two characters appear anywhere else. It would seem this is the only appearances.

GRADE

My Grade: C+

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