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FRANCIS BASCOM IVY

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Full Name: Francis Bascom Ivy
Nationality: American
Organization: American Intelligence
Occupation Agent

Creator: Charles Ventura
Time Span: 1964 - 1966

ABOUT THE SERIES

Frances Bascom "F.B." Ivy is an agent with American Intelligence.

This very attractive redheaded female has been an operative in very good standing by the time we meet her in the first recorded adventure. Exactly which department of the government she is in remains a mystery to me but I can discern that since her employment takes her to a good number of foreign locales, the possibilities are narrowed down. Unless, of course, she worked for one of those "unnamed" agencies or, even better, "unknown" ones. What we do know is that she identifies herself as being a "special investigator" for the American government.

I made note of Ivy's initials above because the chronicler of her five adventures does that often in their telling, switching back and forth between it and her first name. The use of the full name is not uncommon, either.

Ivy is, as indicated, a very competent agent. She is also decidedly a very confident one. In one instance she is about to ask questions in a bar of some people who might turn out to be unsavory and she assures a friend, "I can take care of myself. If anyone gets hurt ... you can be sure it won't be me". Of course, while stating this, "a deadly looking automatic appeared in F. B. Ivy's hand as if by magic". That could help.

We are not told how hold Ivy is but the way older men act towards her, especially when they refer to her as "young lady", I would guess she is still in her mid to late 20s. She is also apparently in fine shape as seen by the reaction of more than one man when she has need of wearing a small bikini. Speaking of that apparel, she carries a blade of some unspecified length in a "pencil-thin cloth scabbard .. sewn into her bikini pants" and she practices "extracting the razor-sharp blade from the scabbard for hours on end under almost every conceivable handicap".

Ivy has a gift of languages, it seems, though exactly how many she knows is uncertain. For an assignment in Greece, she was able to converse with local residents in "fluent Greek". She also is "fairly proficient" in Russian.

NOVELLAS AND SHORT STORIES

Number of Stories:5
First Appearance:1964
Last Appearance:1966

1 Murder Takes a World Cruise Murder Takes a World Cruise
novella
Written by Charles Ventura
Copyright: 1964

Published in Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine, April 1964 and then in Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine (UK) in October of that year. It was reprinted in Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine in October 1978..
Deals with F.B. Ivy taking a lengthy cruise on a liner to follow a gang. That gang membership gets smaller and smaller as the cruise goes on.

2 Murder By Proxy Murder By Proxy
novelette
Written by Charles Ventura
Copyright: 1965

Published in Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine, August 1965.
[plot unknown]

3 Killer's Corridor Killer's Corridor
novelette
Written by Charles Ventura
Copyright: 1965

Published in Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine, December 1965.
"The slaying seemed to have an aura of Arsenic and Old Lace” except that the Madden’s walled acres had a medieval look. But Ivy could take the unexpected in stride."

4 Bier On The Rocks Bier On The Rocks
novelette
Written by Charles Ventura
Copyright: 1966

Published in Man From U.N.C.L.E. Magazine, June 1966. Reprinted in Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine Annual, 1972
The death of an American agent's assistant in the cliffs of a Greek island brings Francis Ivy to that picturesque locale. She will learn of a connection between the gruesome murder, Russian ships in port to load locally mined bauxite, the American satellite facility nearby, and last Nazi gold.

5 Twenty-Four Hours To Live Twenty-Four Hours To Live
novelette
Written by Charles Ventura
Copyright: 1966

Published in Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine, November 1966
[plot unknown]

MY COMMENTS

I believe any agent who has a blade sown into her bikini bottoms is someone to keep an eye on. I mean, dirty old man that I am, a shapely female in a bikini is enough to warrant attention but knowing that a deadly weapon lies ...

Let's change the subject!

I know of only 5 tales about this operative and have found only three of them to read for myself. I would love to read the other two and so I keep looking in the hopes that someone will either make more old copies of Mike Shayne Mystery Magazines available online. Or put out a retrospective of spy stories on the newsstands back in the 60s.

GRADE

My Grade: B

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