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Full Name: Agent Arthur
Nationality: British
Organization: Action Agency
Occupation Agent

Creator: Martin Oliver
Time Span: 1989 - 1997


Agent Arthur is an agent with the Action Agency.

We learn very little about this organization. We are told that it "is a world wide undercover organization dedicated to fighting crime and solving mysteries". Further, "supremely successful, the Agency lives up to its motto, "Search, Solve and Survive", by operating a 'go anywhere, do anything' service".

Arthur (no last name given) is the newest recruit to the Agency. He is also the youngest they have had. While he got the job because he is highly intelligent and fiercely determined, it probably did not hurt that his uncle, Jake Sharpe, a very mysterious man who is rarely seen in person, was the founder of the Agency and the main brains behind the organization.

Arthur is shown to be a teenage boy, likely around 14-15 years of age with reddish-blond hair. Tall and quite lanky, he has a long, narrow face which does not bother trying to hide his emotions.

As his only traveling companion (usually), Arthur has a dog named Sleuth who possesses quite a few similarities to Arthur in that he is not only very smart and totally loyal, he is long and lanky.

     Despite being a teenager who could not legally drive a car or fly a plane all alone, this young fellow is sent to all sorts of places around the world, handling mysterious situations on his own. But being the very intelligent and highly self-sufficient, he obviously can handle these dangerous missions and actually looks forward to the next one. And he is able to provide entertaining puzzles for us to help solve along the way.


Number of Books:5
First Appearance:1989
Last Appearance:1997

     Usborne is "one of the world's leading independent children's book publishers and proud to be a family business". So says the About Us section of their website.

     It was the publisher of the Usborne Puzzle Adventure that came out in the late 80s and early 90s. "25 official titles were made, some of which reprinted in ‘Omnibus’ editions, before entirely new reprints appeared in the 2000s, giving fans another chance to collect these nostalgic icons (even if the original covers are far superior)."

     The variety of topics and characters was impressive. Five of them dealt with this page's character, Agent Arthur.

     Each of these adventures consisted of an exciting storyline designed for 8-13 year old readers interspersed liberally with puzzles of all different sorts meant to challenge the reader to look for clues, analyze codes, solve mazes, and much more.

     When the series neared an end, several more books were planned and advertised but never produced in the group. It is not known if they were actually written but never released or not created in the first place. Two of these non-existent books dealt with Arthur:

          Agent Arthur's Mountain Mission

          Agent Arthur To The Rescue/On The Run

1 Agent Arthur's Jungle Journey Agent Arthur's Jungle Journey
Written by Martin Oliver
Copyright: 1989

Book 8 in the series.
"Agent Arthur's first mission for the Action Agency takes him deep into the tropical jungle. Here he is forced to pit his wits against his enemies and the elements in a desperate bid to succeed and survive."

2 Agent Arthur On The Stormy Seas Agent Arthur On The Stormy Seas
Written by Martin Oliver
Copyright: 1989

Book 9 in the series.
"Agent Arthur investigates a series of disappearing ships in the tropics, rumored to be the work of a notorious pirate."

3 Agent Arthur's Arctic Adventure Agent Arthur's Arctic Adventure
Written by Martin Oliver
Copyright: 1989

Book 12 in the series.
Agent Arthur's third mission for the Action agency takes him to the rough, tough frontier town of Hudlum Bay. Here he discovers an evil plan to take over the world and is forced to head into the freezing arctic wastes to defeat a ruthless enemy."

4 Agent Arthur's Desert Challenge Agent Arthur's Desert Challenge
Written by Martin Oliver
Copyright: 1994

Book 19 in the series.
Agent Arthur heads to the Wild West where he is supposed to meet fellow Agent Andrea. When she get kidnapped, it falls to Arthur to find and rescue her.

5 Agent Arthur's Island Adventure Agent Arthur's Island Adventure
Written by Lesley Sims
Copyright: 1997

Book 24 in the series.
"Agent Arthur is in action once again, hot on the trail of the devious Squid Squad. Captured, imprisoned, blown up and stranded, the odds are stacked against him as Arthur struggles to survive. But will he escape in time to sabotage the Squid Squad's scheme?"


     If I was a 10-year kid again and had a chance to read these stories and work on the variety of puzzlers and posers that they present, I would have loved them. And I would not have given a thought to the dangers and perils that I was facing. Okay, I would not actually be facing them - I'd be safely in my room doing the reading but still ...

     There are some enjoyable puzzles here and decent enough stories. Well done to the writer(s) and to the publishers who came up with a good, entertaining and educational concept.


My Grade: B-


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