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JOHN SOLOMON

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Full Name: John Solomon
Nationality: British
Organization: None
Occupation Spymaster

Creator: Henry Bedford-Jones
Time Span: 1914 - 1935

ABOUT THE SERIES

       John Solomon is a freelance spymaster.
       Freelance because he works for himself, often at the behest of this person or that, this country or that, but always with himself as the chooser of assignments.
       Spymaster because while he will at times get physically involved in a mission, he is more prone to having his subordinates do the 'heavy lifting' while he takes care of the more cerebral aspects of things.
       Solomon's area of expertise is the Middle East and the Eastern side of Africa from the northern side of the Suez Canal to as far south as Mombasa, Kenya, and it is there that he is at home despite being very much still using a Cockney accent. As one man very much in the know puts it early on, "if the Intelligence Department knew as much about this part o' the world as he does, the Foreign Office 'd go crazy."
     While Solomon will move from time to time during the lengthy period of our following his adventures, the first time we meet him is in Port Said, Egypt. To do so, take a taxi to the Rue de Cimetieres, walk into the maze of Arab shops you will find there, past small stores and kiosks selling "everything from Turkish coffee to indecent postcards" and finally coming to "a dingy little store with unwashed windows which bore the sign 'John Solomon, Ship's Stores'".
     The mention of the apparent poor condition of the store is important because the men we follow entering the establishment, one of whom was less than impressed with the decor, were shocked when moving into the inner region of the place. "The room was large, but walls and floor were covered with rugs- Senna Kilims, deep Kazaks, Sumacs, and old Feraghans in a gorgeous riot of colouring. Small smoking-tables stood about, divans lined the walls, and two immense hookahs stood ready for use." The description goes on to detail a beautiful and fascinating look into the eclectic tastes of its owner.
       The first description we have of Solomon himself talks of "a little plump man who wore a tarboosh jauntily cocked over one ear". It tells of "a wisp of grey hair [that] protruded from the edges of the tarboosh" and "a pair of very wide, and very innocent blue eyes, the only salient feature of a featureless face". More telling is another mention of those eyes saying, "they spook large of hidden secrets and unwritten lore" though incongruous on the face of a "fat little man [who] was ridiculous enough."
       Another later description of Solomon says "pudgy would be a better word than the flat and misleading 'fat'" for it indicates someone "filled to a comfortable completeness" and "that he is not too fat to move about but just enough so to be dignified on occasion". Interestingly, a comment on Solomon said that "while his face was cheerful enough, it was as totally devoid of expression as a face can be and still remain a face". It concluded its appraisal by saying Solomon was "a short, little man, not more than five feet six" contentedly smoking a short clay pipe.


     Solomon is the star of this series without a doubt but strangely he is usually not the star of a particular adventure. He is normally the man who is appealed to for help when things have gone wrong or he is the man coming up with the plan and leaving it to a younger, fitter man to carry out the instructions. Whichever the case, he is a vital force somewhere along the line.


Good Lines:
- when interrupted with a question, Solomon chides, "Questions, sir? A man as asks too much gets less'n 'e asks, I says; it ain't in 'uman nature."
- when asked whether somethin was one way or another, he replies, "I don't say nothing whatsoever, which is the secret of success, says I."

BOOKS

Number of Books:25
First Appearance:1914
Last Appearance:1935

     Three of the first four adventures of John Solomon, book-length each, were published in The Argosy. The exception was printed in People's (7 of them) and then after that magazine's name change to People's Favorite Magazine another 4 stories.

     After a singleton in the Boston Globe, 9 of the last 10 were all in Argosy (minus the The). Even though most of these were awarded the cover of the magazine and are listed below in this Book section, they were likely novella or even novelette size.


Note that Steeger Books has done an awesome job of reprinting the entertaining saga of John Solomon.

1 The Gate Of Farewell The Gate Of Farewell
Written by Henry Bedford-Jones
Copyright: 1914

Serialized originally in two consecutive issues of The Argosy (January and February, 1914).
"When importer Allen Tredger learned his long-assumed-dead brother may still be alive in Port Said, it triggered the beginning of a high-seas adventure, taking him on a quest though Africa, Turkey, and Mecca, encountering fanatics and secret societies along the way. And just what connection does John Solomon have with Tredger’s quest? And how does the Cockney’s silver ring tie into the mystery?"

2 John Solomon - Supercargo John Solomon - Supercargo
Written by Henry Bedford-Jones
Copyright: 1914

Published originally in The Argosy (July, 1914).
Frederick Harcourt is a British viscount in desperate need of income. Cyrus Hammer is an experienced American seaman. Harcourt has been hired by a rich archaeologist to head an expedition to East Africa and Hammer is in turn hired to be first mate on the ship transporting the team. John Solomon offers his services as the 'supercargo', or man running all supply duties, for the trip. If Solomon is joining, there has to be something special behind the real motive for the expedition.

3 Solomon's Quest Solomon's Quest
Written by Henry Bedford-Jones
Copyright: 1914

Published originally in People's Magazine (March, 1915).
"A blue bead, marked with an Arabian sign, started it—but, three men dies in two days because of this seemingly harmless ornament. The message it carried aroused a great secret organization and sent the narrator with the girl he loved… and Solomon…. "

4 The Seal Of John Solomon The Seal Of John Solomon
Written by Henry Bedford-Jones
Copyright: 1915

Published originally in The Argosy (June, 1915). Republished in High Adventure #109
"John Solomon returns! In this classic thriller, the mysterious ships chandler encounters a lost race of Crusaders deep in the Sahara."

5 Gentleman Solomon Gentleman Solomon
Written by Henry Bedford-Jones
Copyright: 1914

Published originally in People's Magazine (June, 1915).
"John Solomon, the mysterious ship’s chandler, faces off against both a group of Congo soldiers and a fiendish Belgian plot."

6 Solomon's Carpet Solomon's Carpet
Written by Henry Bedford-Jones
Copyright: 1915

Published originally in People's (October, 1915).
[exact plot unknown] - Read in a sales blurb "this one [is] a crime story (robbery and murder) set in Chicago.

7 Solomon's Submarine Solomon's Submarine
Written by Henry Bedford-Jones
Copyright: 1916

Published originally in People's (February, 1916).
[plot unknown]

8 John Solomon, Argonaut John Solomon, Argonaut
Written by Henry Bedford-Jones
Copyright: 1916

Published originally in People's (August, 1916).
[plot unknown]

9 The Shawl Of Solomon The Shawl Of Solomon
Written by Henry Bedford-Jones
Copyright: 1917

Published originally in People's (January, 1917).
[plot unknown] - sales blurb states "One of the John Solomon adventure novels, this one, set in North Africa, features an Arab plot to overthrow Hussein, the Sherif of Mecca and a "magic" shawl which brings death to the wearer."

10 Pilgrim Solomon Pilgrim Solomon
Written by Henry Bedford-Jones
Copyright: 1917

Published originally in People's (July, 1917). Reprinted in High Adventure #130
According to HA #130: "This time Europeans are involved with the Turks. An American is tasked with heading to Mecca to rescue an American woman, but runs afoul of an Austrian spy who aims to prevent Arabs from taking control of Mecca from the Turks. Solomon is somehow involved, as this will weaken the Turks if successful. At the end, Solomon decides to shut down his shop and move elsewhere, which makes sense as WWI has ended, along with the threat of the Turks in the Middle East."

11 John Solomon, Retired John Solomon, Retired
Written by Henry Bedford-Jones
Copyright: 1917

Published originally in People's Favorite Magazine (December 10, 1917). Reprinted in High Adventure #144
According to HA #144: "Solomon is now operating in Java, and while respected by many, he doesn’t seem to have the same old network of agents as before. But involved he is. He engages an American to assist a woman who has taken over her late brother’s spice plantation. A schemer is after the plantation for unknown reasons, and a Chinese friend of the brother aims to prevent this schemer from succeeding. Will the American succeed, and will we learn what is behind it all? We also get Chinese secret societies and pirates mixed in, as well."

12 Solomon's Son Solomon's Son
Written by Henry Bedford-Jones
Copyright: 1918

Published originally in People's Favorite Magazine (June 25, 1918).
[plot unknown]

13 John Solomon John Solomon
Written by Henry Bedford-Jones
Copyright: 1921

Published originally in People's Favorite Magazine (July, 1921).
[plot unknown]

14 John Solomon, Incognito John Solomon, Incognito
Written by Henry Bedford-Jones
Copyright: 1921

Published originally in People's Favorite Magazine (October 25 to December 10, 1921).
[plot unknown]

15 The Wisdom Of Solomon The Wisdom Of Solomon
Written by Henry Bedford-Jones
Copyright: 1926

Published originally in Boston Globe (September 28, 1926).
[plot unknown]

16 The Mysterious John Solomon The Mysterious John Solomon
Written by Henry Bedford-Jones
Copyright: 1930

Published originally in Argosy (January 25, 1930).
[plot unknown] - According to The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction: "an Invention tale featuring a projector-less movie"

17 John Solomon's Biggest Game John Solomon's Biggest Game
Written by Henry Bedford-Jones
Copyright: 1930

Published originally in Argosy (February 15 to March 22, 1930).
[plot unknown]

18 Gold Of Ishmael Gold Of Ishmael
Written by Henry Bedford-Jones
Copyright: 1931

Published originally in Far East Adventure Stories (February to July, 1931).
[plot unknown]

19 Solomon's Caves Solomon's Caves
Written by Henry Bedford-Jones
Copyright: 1931

Published originally in Argosy (August 15 to September 5, 1931). Probably a novella.
[plot unknown]

20 Solomon Settles Accounts Solomon Settles Accounts
Written by Henry Bedford-Jones
Copyright: 1932

Published originally in Argosy (February 13, 1932). Probably a novelette.
[plot unknown]

21 Solomon In The Catacombs Solomon In The Catacombs
Written by Henry Bedford-Jones
Copyright: 1933

Published originally in Argosy (May 20, 1933). Probably a novelette.
[plot unknown]

22 The Terror of Algiers The Terror of Algiers
Written by Henry Bedford-Jones
Copyright: 1933

Published originally in Argosy (December 2 - 23, 1933). Probably a novella.
[plot unknown]

23 John Solomon of Limehouse John Solomon of Limehouse
Written by Henry Bedford-Jones
Copyright: 1934

Published originally in Argosy (June 9, 1934). Probably a novelette.
[plot unknown]

24 The Case of the Kidnapped Duchess The Case of the Kidnapped Duchess
Written by Henry Bedford-Jones
Copyright: 1935

Published originally in Argosy (January 5, 1935). Probably a novelette.
[plot unknown]

25 The Case of the Deathly Barque The Case of the Deathly Barque
Written by Henry Bedford-Jones
Copyright: 1935

Published originally in Argosy (February 9, 1935). Probably a novelette.
[plot unknown]

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