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CAM GORDON

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Full Name: Cam Gordon
Nationality: British
Organization: British Intelligence
Occupation Private Investigator

Creator: Bill Knox
Time Span: 1965 - 1986

ABOUT THE SERIES

Cameron Niven 'Cam' Gordon is a British private investigator.

He runs his own small detective agency named Gordon Investigations Agency (GIA), based out of Glasgow. It was just a two-person operation but it turned a nice profit and it had a stellar reputation.

The reason for Gordon's membership in this compendium is somewhat explained by the fact that the GIA has its office down the hall from a lawyer with the bizarre last name of Deathstone, a man who had a direct line to "an obscure British government department" decidedly a part of that country's intelligence community. It was Deathstone who convinced Gordon to set up the office near his and it was he who made sure that Gordon's high security clearance was still in effect. Needless to say, when Deathstone - or someone from that department - had need of a qualified investigator who was outside normal channels, Gordon was the man that got the call.

It is important to mention here that Gordon obviously appreciated the business but "a summons into Mr. Deathstone's office was generally the prelude to a particularly awkward job of work".

Gordon is said to be "nudging thirty years old", which is interesting because he has already been in the British Army, serving for a short time as a junior artillery officer for a while, and then after getting out was a policeman for a time, likely putting in a couple of years as a detective. It is for that reason that I think the "nudging" might be from the far side.

He is described as being 5'10" with a stockily build, Scottish by birth, with dark hair and the kind of face more likely to be called rugged than handsome.

NOVELLAS AND SHORT STORIES

Number of Stories:4
First Appearance:1965
Last Appearance:1986

Edgar Wallace Mystery Magazine (EWMM) was a short-lived periodical sitting on newsstands next to others like The Saint Mystery Magazine and Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine and, of course, the master of them all, Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine.

It may not have lasted more than a couple of years but it did put out some great stories by terrific authors, one of which was the already quite experienced Bill Knox.

From my limited ability to peruse only about half of the issues that Knox had a story in, I would say that he likely had just one repeat protagonist, the Cam Gordon we enjoy here.

The first story listed below is almost certainly the first story to have Gordon in it. It came out in 1965. Over the next year and a half the author had five other stories published in that magazine. Two were definitely not Gordon tales and three may or may not have been.

The next one that I know had Gordon in it, The Money Man, had a editorial blurb that identified Gordon as a "fan favorite". Whether that meant the first story was particularly enjoyed or that of the 3 stories just mentioned had him in it - I do not know.

The very next story that philsp.com (a fantastic source of info for magazine stories of all types) says Bill Knox published in a periodical was also a Gordon story. That was also the last thing EWMM printed by Knox.

Twenty years later, Espionage Magazine reprinted the first Gordon story and then published a 'new' Gordon tale (as far I can see). It was likely one he had planned for EWMM to release that was either rejected or EWMM went out of business too soon.

A great resource called The Crime Fighters by W.O.G. Lofts and Derek Adley briefly mentions Cam Gordon and it states that the character "appeared in a number of short stories in Edgar Wallace’s Mystery Magazine, including 'The Money Man', 'The Mountain' and 'The Man Who Died Twice'." Two of those are shown below; the middle one I have found no trace of whatsoever but I figure they know more than me so ...


1 The Suspect Soldier The Suspect Soldier
Written by Bill Knox
Copyright: 1965

Printed in Edgar Wallace Mystery Magazine (UK - May 1965), then in Espionage Magazine (Feb. 1985).
Cam Gordon is asked to head to Edinburgh to meet with the Army's Special Investigation Branch. They need him to investigate an old friend and fellow soldier of his who is suspected of being a traitor who leaked vital intel on a new gun site to the folks behind the Iron Curtain.

2 The Money Man The Money Man
Written by Bill Knox
Copyright: 1967

Printed in Edgar Wallace Mystery Magazine (UK - Feb 1967).
Mr. Deathstone has a new case for Cam Gordon. A few days prior, a French diplomat came to Scotland "to join a private house-party in Ayrshire". Two days later, a safe in the house was burgled and its contents stolen. This included "a number of papers which would have best been left in France". The task for Gordon was to retrieve the stolen papers, a task made more difficult because the thief was already found - dead. The only clue for Gordon was the dead thief always used the same fence. Unfortunately, who that fence was remains a mystery - just that he was known as The Money Man.

3 The Man Who Died Twice The Man Who Died Twice
Written by Bill Knox
Copyright: 1967

Printed in Edgar Wallace Mystery Magazine (UK - Jun. 1967).
Cam Gordon is in the French town of Vitry-Le-Francois on another case for Mr. Deathstone. This assignment was to track down a dead man. It seems that the lead researcher for a new explosive used in a revolutionary anti-tank missile had died in a fiery car crash, burned beyond recognition. Only his signet ring and wristwatch survived to identify him. Weeks later, though, one of his former colleagues was certain he had spotted the dead man in France. Gordon was to investigate.

4 Black Light Black Light
Written by Bill Knox
Copyright: 1986

Printed in Espionage Magazine (Dec. 1986).
The Scottish lawyer Deathstone asked Cam Gordon to look into the drowning death of a man named Bishop. That man had been a freelance magazine writer at the time of his death but was a former Naval Intelligence expert. Just prior to his drowning, Bishop had reported spotting something strange and "big" along the coast and was heading to investigate. Now Gordon is being asked to take over and find not only why Bishop died but also what it was that made Bishop so concerned.

MY COMMENTS

The whole history of Cam Gordon is, as you can tell from my comments in the Novella section, a bit of a mystery and while I adore mystery books and movies and television shows, I want a solution and so far there is none with Gordon's publishing history.

What there is with these tales, of course, is a good deal of fun because the author was one excellent storyteller who created really enjoyable characters and then threw them into tight spots and told them to swim their way out, which they do to the enjoyment of readers such as us.

GRADE

My Grade: B

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