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BERTRAM LYNCH

lynch_bertram_bk_trinidad lynch_bertram_bk_fiji lynch_bertram_mv_mit lynch_bertram_mv_mmidi lynch_bertram_bk_newguinea lynch_bertram_bk_haiti lynch_bertram_mv_tcm
 
Full Name: Bertram Lynch
Nationality: British
Organization: P.C.B.
Occupation Agent

Creator: John W. Vandercook
Time Span: 1933 - 1959

ABOUT THE SERIES

       Bertram Lynch is an agent with the P.C.B.
       That acronym stands for the Permanent Central Board, a part of the League of Nations. Looking up the history of this organization, it got its origin in 1925, eight years before the activities of Lynch in the first recorded adventure. It was originally the International Opium Commission and later the Permanent Central Narcotics Board when its purview was expanded.
       Whether Lynch is a full-time employee of that organization or actually a British Intelligence operative working temporarily for the P.C.B. would be a valid question since we see Lynch involved in more than just anti-opium operations. Another valid question is just how long Lynch would continue working for that group before going back to what was his obvious first employers (i.e., British Intelligence). He was definitely on P.C.B. business on the first assignment we have but honestly states at the beginning of the second that he was involved in "special work" not really P.C.B. related. In the two remaining tales, taking place many years later, the League of Nations no longer existed so neither did the P.C.B. but his authority, especially in British Colonies, remained impressive.
       What is not the least bit in question, though, is the fact that Lynch operates with considerable authority wherever he goes and he does so in the most serene manner. This fits beautifully the manner of man that we are told Lynch is by a man who would meet Lynch on that initial adventure, Professor Deane, and who would be asked to help out in each of the remaining three 'missions'.
       According to Deane, Lynch as simply "the most ordinary man on board [the ship where they first met]". To Deane's opinion, he was "too ordinary". He was "of medium height, average weight, and middle age. His voice is flat and expressionless, and his accent puts him down as middle class". Despite the heat in the tropical area of that adventure, "he wore a gray suit and a gray felt hat". More curious to Deane was that "during ten days of increasing intimacy I had continuously hinted that I was curious to know what he did. I had learned nothing". Further, Deane opined his new friend was "too typical, too un-special. His ordinariness had a hint in it somewhere of overemphasis. As if that obscurity of his was a performance - a deliberate imposture".
     [Note: in an April 3, 2009 Mystery*File review of the Lynch mysteries by David L. Vineyard, Mr. Vineyard recounted a simple event early on in the first adventure dealing with a hat, one that I also found very telling. Standing along the rail of the ship they were on, Deane observed how a gust of sudden wind swept the hat from Lynch's head. "His left hand rose, retrieved the vagrant felt from mid-air, and returned it accurately to its place. One smooth, single gesture and that was all". Deane goes on to say that except for that fluid, low-keyed grab, "not a single muscle of Lynch's body or face had stirred". Deane opined "never before had I seen such absolute self-possession, such faultlessly controlled response to an emergency".]
     Lynch's calmness and his control has an interesting side-effect, at least as his new protegee is concerned, in my opinion. Lynch obviously likes Deane and comes to consider him a friend. He also puts Deane into quite deadly situations with little or no compunction. Giving him the benefit of the doubt, it is likely that Lynch would not have fretted about getting out of the danger himself so perhaps he just assumed Deane would as well.

BOOKS

Number of Books:4
First Appearance:1933
Last Appearance:1959

1 Murder In Trinidad Murder In Trinidad
Written by John W. Vandercook
Copyright: 1933

Bernard Lynch is an agent with the PSB sent to the large island of Trinidad in the year 1932 to look for a way to break up a major opium trade. On the way there he meets Yale Professor Deane who he will pull into chase which will throw both of them against murderers and knife throwers and beautiful women and a mastermind who has no scruples.

2 Murder In Fiji Murder In Fiji
Written by John W. Vandercook
Copyright: 1936

Bertram Lynch wires his old friend and one-time colleague to join him in an excursion on the other side of the world. Reports have flooded in of a series of unexplained murders on the tropical island of Fiji, at the time a valued British Colony, deaths which is threatening the stability of the region despite the non-interest of the local Chief of Police.

3 Murder In Haiti Murder In Haiti
Written by John W. Vandercook
Copyright: 1956

Once again, many years since their last case together, Bertram Lynch is joined on an adventure with his old friend, Professor Deane. This time the pair are on a very fancy yacht belonging to a global financial powerhouse (and possible arms dealer) named Viggo Sand. They are ostensibly helping in the search for pirate stolen treasure. The treasure is for real and the stolen part accurate but the guilt resides on the Nazis before and during WWII.

4 Murder In New Guinea Murder In New Guinea
Written by John W. Vandercook
Copyright: 1959

A few years after their previous get-together, Bertram Lynch and his pal, Deane, are invited across the Equator again, this time to the large island of New Guinea, asked by the British Governor there to help locate four explorers who vanished in the Murray Mountain Range. Finding them in that remote area will be difficult. Learning what they were doing, whether it was to find gold in those hills or mounting a coup, that will prove deadly to pair.

MOVIES

Number of Movies:3
First Appearance:1934
Last Appearance:1945

     One of the four books dealing with Bertram Lynch made it to celluloid but it, the first in the series, did so three times!

     The first was a fairly decent treatment of the book with the main character in the book being the main character in the movie.
     The second, however, was way different in that the plot of the movie was based on the book but the main character was not Lynch but instead Mr. Moto, himself a character in his own series, albeit quite a bit different in the Mr. Moto movies than in the Mr. Moto books. This movie was said to be really a remake of the first movie, not the book.
     The third, according to IMDB, was a remake of the second movie more than treatment of the book with the main character having little similarity to Lynch.

1 Murder In Trinidad Murder In Trinidad
Director: Louis King
Writer: Seton I. Miller
Actors: Nigel Bruce as Bertram Lynch, Heather Angel as Joan Cassell, Victor Jory as Howard Sutter, Murray Kinnell as Colonel Cassell, J. Carrol Naish as Duval
Released: 1934

"A seemingly slow-witted detective arrives in the Colony to take over the investigation of stolen Brazilian diamonds and is tangled in series of murders with a dagger, that has on its handle a snake and crescent insignia, as the weapon." - IMDB
Note: based on the book Murder In Trinidad.

2 Mr. Moto In Danger Island Mr. Moto In Danger Island
Also known as Danger Island
Director: Herbert I. Leeds
Writers: Peter Milne, John Reinhardt, George Bricker, John W. Vandercook, John P. Marquand
Actors: Peter Lorre as Mr. Moto, Jean Hersholt as Sutter, Amanda Duff as Joan Castle, Warren Hymer as Twister McGurk, Richard Lane as Commissioner Gordon
Released: 1939

"The U.S. government asks Mr. Moto to go to Puerto Rico to investigate diamond smuggling after an earlier investigator is murdered." - IMDB
Note: though in the Mr. Moto movie series, this was based on the book Murder In Trinidad.

3 The Caribbean Mystery The Caribbean Mystery
Director: Robert D. Webb
Writers: Jack Andrews, Leonard Praskins, Scott Darling, John W. Vandercook
Actors: James Dunn as Mr. Smith, Sheila Ryan as Mrs. Jean Gilbert, Edward Ryan as Gerald McCracken, Jackie Paley as Linda Lane
Released: 1945

"Mr. Smith, a Brooklyn police detective, arrives on a Caribbean island chasing a murderer ... and wades his way through quicksand, swamps, alligators, corpses, clues, unusual suspects and a frisky femme-fatale before nabbing the killer he was chasing." - IMDB
Note: based on the book Murder In Trinidad.

MY COMMENTS

     This very enjoyable series from half way-way-way back when and half just way-way back is a delightful mixture of spy adventures with good old-fashioned mystery, with a spark or two of romance because as was common back then, the hero, in this case the hero's sidekick, often falls in love with the damsel who will need saving.
     Lynch's penchant for getting poor Deane in a sticky situation is fun, especially after the first book and you are not only not surprised by it but kinda expecting it. Really makes it all the better, in my opinion, except for Deane, of course.

GRADE

My Grade: B

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