Simon Bognor is an agent with the British Board of Trade.
According to Wikipedia's entry on this organization, it is "a British government body concerned with commerce and industry" which would at first inspection not be something fitting for this compendium, even with the added clause "currently with the Department for International Trade especially since that last part is only true as of 2016 and the adventures we have for Bognor start back in 1973.
However, he does in truth have a place among those who either are spies or have to deal with them consistently because Bognor is the fellow whose shoulder is tapped when something needs investigating which ends up involving cloak and dagger issues.
And considering that a country's trade inescapably will involve import and and export of an impressively broad category of items, the chances for skullduggery are ever present and constantly being taken advantage of. Secret things which should not leave the country are routinely smuggled aboard ships and planes and cars on ferries. Unpleasant items and people who are not wanted in the country get in nevertheless via these same methods, often hidden in containers marked as "farm machinery" or something similarly innocuous. Confidential trade secrets are often not kept so confidential.
And poor Bognor is the man who is forced to leave his comfortable office to go to all manner of unpleasant (to him) places and deal with all manner of un-nice things. It is easy to that why Bognor is particularly pleased about such things.
Then again, "Simon Bognor was not happy with his latest assignment. There was nothing unusual in this since he had never yet been happy with his latest assignment." That is an observation made about him by the narrator in one of the earlier recorded adventures. It might have been more accurate to state he was never happy "with any of his assignments". When it comes to work, it could be said that Bognor was never happy unless he was unhappy.
"It was not the first time that Bognor had wondered what he was doing with his life. He wondered about it daily, sometimes hourly, and invariably he came to the conclusion that he was wasting it. Ever since the interview at Oxford when he had foolishly allowed himself to be deflected from a sensible, routine application for some Civil Service posting into what was laughingly called 'intelligence'; ever since then things had gone wrong. He wasn't cut out for it, and his superiors, realizing this, had not, as they should have done, asked for him to be transferred or even sacked. Instead they had fobbed him off with absurdities in the hope that he would thus stay out of trouble. Alas, it meant no such thing. The more absurd and low-key his assignment, the more trouble he attracted."
Bognor answers to a poor chap named Parkinson in the Special Investigations Department at the Board of Trade and it must be wondered if after a while Bognor got these assignments out of a conviction that he would pull required rabbits out of his hat or because these out-of-the-office missions invariably got his just that: out of the office.
We follow Bognor on a good number of assignments spanning a good number of years. The first one comes when Bognor had already been with the BoT for three years. We learn a bit how Bognor mind works when it is revealed in the second paragraph of the initial adventure that he "had arrived for work early that morning looking forward to lunch at the club, mindful as ever of the idiocy of his job".
For all his frumpy, out-of-shape, largely lazy, and generally unhappy about most things, Bognor does have an interesting love life. Initially he has a love interest named Monica of whom it was said that "he was fond of Monica. She had been his regular girl-friend now for more years than he cared to remember and, as both of them were emotionally lazy but sexually quite keen, the arrangement worked rather well." In the first tale we are told "they both assumed that eventually they would get married, though the subject was never mentioned". After a while it would be talked about and it would take place so whenever Bognor needed someone to listen to his many complaints, she was there. And there were always complaints.