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JIMMIE CALVERT

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Full Name: Jimmie Calvert
Nationality: American
Organization: Secret Service
Occupation Agent

Creator: John A. Moroso
Time Span: 1912 - 1913

ABOUT THE SERIES

       Jimmie Calvert is an agent with the American Secret Service.
       At first I had a question as to whether this Secret Service is a euphemism for American Intelligence or actually means the then division of the Treasury Department. I eventually came to the conclusion that it was in fact the latter and Calvert was an agent with that organization. Interestingly, though, is the fact that though he is proud to carry the badge and to work for the Secret Service, he has chosen to keep his employment as secret as possible so that no one in his statra of society knows he is a government operative.
       The first adventure we have of him starts with telling us the nickname he enjoys, "Handsome". Readers will find numerous uses of that name as well as frequent mention of how good looking and dashing he is. In fact, the first page or more of that first story will be devoted to his extremely good looks as well as his background.
       Calvert is likely already in his middle age. We are told there were already "a few light touches of silver to his brown hair" which, of course in Calvert's lucky case "did not take from his youthfulness". He was still in impressive shape for his age, not yet having any paunch despite having been "a good trencher all his mature days" [Note: in WW1 slang, a good trencher was someone who made sure he did not miss any meal calls]. Further, "his shoulders were square and his arms and legs gave hint through his rather nifty Oxford gray walking suit of suppleness and strength".
       As seems fit for someone of Handsome Jimmie Calvert's stature, women "all liked him". This remained the case even after they learned that while the Calvert name "was written all over the history of Maryland" as his family had once been quite well off, the fortune had long since departed leaving Calvert with "nothing but a family tree". It was this lack of actual money in his bank account, coupled with his enthusiastic love of excitement and danger, that made his working for the Secret Service of such enjoyment.
       After Calvert graduated from the University of Virginia likely on a football scholarship where he was a dominating half-back, Calvert needed gainful employment. Trying this and that, all mostly related to sports, he was eventually passed to the State Department. They in turn decided they really had no use for him; "brawn and good nature as exemplified in Handsome Jimmie were inessential". They passed him along to the Secret Service just as the Spanish War started.
       Here is where it gets interesting. The intelligence department did not think, apparently, much of him and so sent him off the Spain to spy for them, fully expecting he would end up in a grave over there. He not only survived, he managed to send out valuable intel and to return to the States a year later a seasoned and more than capable operative. Coming back to the States, he continued to be an operative with that governmental agency, albeit as mentioned on the hush-hush.

NOVELLAS AND SHORT STORIES

Number of Stories:8
First Appearance:1912
Last Appearance:1913

     The author, John Moroso, would prove over the course of 20+ years to be a very prolific short story writer. He would see his tales of mystery and espionage and suspense printed in several of the major magazines of the times like Red Book and Pearson's and the American Boy.

     His first story would appear in 1908 and his second three years later in 1911. After that second few were the months that would go by in which he did not have something in print over the next decade. After that his output would slow but he would still be producing tales until he was in his mid-60's.
     Most of what Moroso wrote were singletons. He would only deal with four series characters in all the writing that I have heard about. Two of these appear in this compendium, Grantham Waldron and Jimmie Calvert and were written in 1912 and 1913, early on in his writing career.
     A third character, Farrington of the Lost Legion, was a man who fell on hard times, apparently, and had to join the French Foreign Legion (aka the Lost Legion). Three stories about him appeared from April-June of 1914 and then he went away for good.
     The fourth character, private detective Jim Tierney, would come along at the same time as Calvert though addressed as 'Bonehead' Tierney. 'Bonehead' was the nickname for Tierney when he was in the police department of a big city, four stories about whom would show up in Red Book Magazine in 1912-1913. Then almost a decade later, Jim Tierney would return in two novels, one of which would be made into two different silent movies. A half decade later, Tierney would start appearing in The American Boy magazine for 15 more adventures.
     Neither of his two spy series characters, Waldron and Calvert, would have such durability.
     Calvert would appear first. He would arrive initially in an eponymous tale and then stick around for another six adventures.
     Five months later, fellow secret agent Grantham Waldron would make his debut and would also have six adventures told over consecutive months. Interestingly, his final mission would have him working alongside Calvert.

1 Jimmie Calvert Jimmie Calvert
Written by John A. Moroso
Copyright: 1912

Published in Pearson's Magazine, May 1912.
Jimmie Calvert's boss at the Secret Service wants to make an example of a rich woman smuggling jewelry into the country. Calvert is sent to follow the Italian doing the actual conveyance down to her in Florida so he can nab them both.
Click here to read the story.

2 The Lost Squab The Lost Squab
Written by John A. Moroso
Copyright: 1912

Published in Pearson's Magazine, June 1912.
Jimmie Calvert's boss at the Secret Service pulls him into a case they would not normally have handled but which a sister bureau needs help in - tracking down the proof of a series of gem smuggling operations run by very rich society women.
Click here to read the story.

3 The Cleopatra Emerald The Cleopatra Emerald
Written by John A. Moroso
Copyright: 1912

Published in Pearson's Magazine, July 1912.
Normally the Secret Service would not have been involved in the theft of a famous emerald in New York City but since it was due to handed over to a foreign government just before the theft, Jimmie Calvert's boss called him in to track down the thieves and the precious gem.
Click here to read the story.

4 Under Chancel Lights Under Chancel Lights
Written by John A. Moroso
Copyright: 1912

Published in Pearson's Magazine, August 1912.
It is suspected by the US government that defense plans for the soon-to-be-opened Panama Canal had been stolen by a notorious Russian spy but not yet sent out of the States. It falls to Jimmie Calvert to track down this operative and get the plans back before they can fall into the hands of those who want to destroy the Canal before it even starts.
Click here to read the story.

5 St. Anthony's Fall St. Anthony's Fall
Written by John A. Moroso
Copyright: 1912

Published in Pearson's Magazine, September 1912.
Maria Antoni, the extremely talented spy who challenged Jimmie Calvert in the previous adventure, is active again after being deported. Now she is suspected of being in the employ of the Japanese as they try to get in control of the island of St. Thomas in the Danish West Indies. Calvert is sent there to again stymie her plans.
Click here to read the story.

6 The Glass Of Madeira The Glass Of Madeira
Written by John A. Moroso
Copyright: 1912

Published in Pearson's Magazine, October 1912.
A collection of the most successful financiers of the US and UK are putting together a diamond trust to better control that trade. Surprisingly, the US government seems in favor of this activity. As part of the new pact, $6.5 million dollars is secretly being transferred to a UK representative. Jimmie Calvert is chosen by the Secret Service chief to go undercover to bodyguard the money until the transfer is complete.
Click here to read the story.

7 The Mignonette Lady The Mignonette Lady
Written by John A. Moroso
Copyright: 1912

Published in Pearson's Magazine, November 1912.
Jimmie Calvert was offered a well-paying job in the private sector and was considering seriously taking it. Then a fascinating message gets delivered to his door, the instructions insisting that he rush immediately to the address of a well-known chemist and inventor who has completed a new formula for a revolutionary explosive, "one that he says will put an end to war or prospects of war with this nation or any nation that owns it". It falls to Calvert to be the one to convey that formula from its creator to the government, all without being stopped by foreign agents determined to get hold of it.
Click here to read the story.

8 The Bouquet In C Minor The Bouquet In C Minor
Written by John A. Moroso
Copyright: 1913

Published in Pearson's Magazine, September 1913.
Edmund Stevenson of the Treasury Department, well respected and trusted, was missing and that was worrisome, especially since he had $200k of the government's money on him at the time. Finding him immediately was deemed vital and a short phone call from their Chief in Washington put both Grantham Waldron and Jimmie Calvert on the assignment.
Click here to read the story.

MY COMMENTS

       It was while researching the author's series about Grantham Waldron that I learned of Handsome Jimmie Calvert; before that I had never heard the name. Before I found the stories, I was certain that since Calvert was a colleague of Waldron and since Waldron's activities clearly qualified him for membership in this compendium, Calvert's would as well.
       The first two adventures, though, made me not so certain for they were more crime than espionage related. Luckily the third was half-and-half so I continued looking. The rest of the storied more than qualified him.
       I enjoyed these terrific looks back in time more than one hundred years ago. 

GRADE

My Grade: B

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