Harry Davies, aka the Flying Beetle, is an agent with the British Secret Service.
The period of time we are able to follow Davies is just shy of a decade after the end of the First World War, though we will be able later to read about several of the man's extraordinary exploits during that horrendous conflict. In the mid-to-late 20s, the power of the British Empire is still tremendous but the number of dangers arising to challenge the Crown is growing. While none of the forces which would go to war with the Allies are the foes that Davies will have to confront during his adventures described here, the international nature of Davies's opposition is telling.
The interesting moniker that Davies enjoys comes to him self-made in that for reasons I have quite grasped, he chose to have painted on the side of the planes he flew during WWI the "replica of a flying beetle" and we are told "it was as the Flying Beetle that this grim-faced lad with thirty-four German machines to his credit was known the whole length of the battle-line, from the Swiss frontier to the sea". Note that the number of enemy planes downed was stated fairly early on in his military career.
Harry Davies' service in the Air Corps, holding the rank of Captain, is noteworthy in view of his young age, mentioned several times as being "little more than a boy in years", though of course in the period we first start watching, he is a decade older. He is also referred to as "one of the cleverest agents the British Secret Service possessed" and that his "bored expression and almost weedy frame belied the alert and nimble brain and sterling courage which he possessed".
Davies had not intended to become a famous aviator nor a well respected and even feared government operative. He says, "I was intended for the Diplomatic Service and I can speak German like a native". As was very common, the War changed his life trajectory and he never looked back nor apparently regretted the switch.
Three of the full-length adventure we have available to read concerning the Flying Beetle are actually narrated by a fellow Secret Service operative named Major Beverley. In each, Davies has already been sent to start the investigation or solve the problem and either has gone incommunicado and needs checking-up on or sends word back that assistance was needed. Beverley will quickly become a close friend to the famed aviator as well as showing just how good he is on his own.