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NIGHTINGALE SPENCE

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Full Name: Nightingale Spence
Series Name: Codename: Housekeeping
Codename: Housekeeping
Nationality: British
Organization: BII
Occupation Agent

Creator: E. V. Greig
Time Span: 2013 - 2022

ABOUT THE SERIES

Nightingale Spence is an agent with the B.I.I.

That acronym stands for British International Intelligence, an organization devoted to keeping Britain safe in a very unsafe world. The time frame in which Spence is working is the last couple of years of the 21st Century. 2196 is one date mentioned a few times. The agency, and therefore Spence, has to worry not only activities on this planet but also space stations and colonies on Mars.

Spence is described in the blurbs about these adventures as a "socially non-gendered" operative, codenamed Housekeeping, "a unique blend of assassin, medic, alibi merchant, and therapist to some of the most inventively lethal people in the world". Spence points out on several occasions the codename is especially applicable; Spence's purpose in the BII is to "clean up everyone else's mess". In this regard, Spence likes to differentiate what he does with what the normal operatives for the BII does. Spence is not an operative, per se, as far as Spence is concerned. Spence is the one who is on standby during an operation for when things get 'messy' and the plan has hit a snag, which it often does, and it seems reasonable to ask for housekeeping.

Spence expresses a desire in the first recorded adventure to not be given names of those whose messes are needing cleaning. "It's simpler to remain detached", Spence explains. "I wade through bodies for a living. I don't have time to learn their names." When it is pointed out the person being told this was still among the living, Spence points out "no one starts out dead. They all end up there sooner or later". Spence agrees that this is a depressing attitude to take but also observes that it is the truth.

Spence is likely in his mid-30s when first encountered; this age is based on a thought Spence has about a time twenty years before and being one of a pair of teenagers "playing at being socialites and hating every moment. Where have the years taken that boy to - that lanky youth with so many dreams and so little hesitation?" Spence is nowadays largely a loner. In a later adventure while listening to a colleague talk about his hay fever, Spence "supposed they would be unreasonable to inform the fellow of how little they cared".

The work that Spence does and the messes that are require to be cleaned are almost always 'utterly mad' but despite that, "Spence relished every shred of it"; the job was "a foul but vital occupation within a tangled hush of secrets and deceits".

BOOKS

Number of Books:11
First Appearance:2013
Last Appearance:2022

Note: The publisher and/or author has labeled the Nightingale Spence adventures as a "novella serial". I have chosen to place these in the Book section since the length of each is right in the border area between novella and novel.

The "serial" part is particularly important because while each of these adventures are separate, they do make a fuller narrative with each successive one starting where the previous concluded.

As a result, I would strongly recommend reading them in order for the most enjoyment.


1 Project Nightingale Project Nightingale
Written by E. V. Greig
Copyright: 2013

"It is the late 21st Century. Whilst mega corporations and governments fight a less than discreet war for control of the general population, there are others who operate within the traditional boundaries of Intelligence. Walking in the shadows and trading in secrets, these operatives will do whatever is necessary to complete their missions. In the interest of maintaining public ignorance, someone is needed to clean up in their wake. Introducing socially non-gendered British International Intelligence operative Nightingale Spence – aka Housekeeping. Assassin, medic, alibi merchant, and therapist to some of the most inventively lethal people in the world..."
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2 Saint of Cats Saint of Cats
Written by E. V. Greig
Copyright: 2015

"Socially non-gendered BII operative Nightingale Spence's latest undercover mission goes dangerously off book. Disavowed and millions of miles from home, Spence resorts to increasingly desperate measures to evade the unwanted attentions of their captor – GETEC Supervisor Greg Hull. Neither of them can predict the kind of horror that is about to unfold. Whilst the survivors recuperate, the Martian Marine Corps and BII join forces to avenge the atrocity. However, not everyone is playing by the rules..."
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3 Dog Dark Lamps Dog Dark Lamps
Written by E. V. Greig
Copyright: 2016

"Socially non-gendered BII operative Nightingale Spence discovers that the term safe house can be somewhat misleading. Their personal ghosts are out for blood, and tensions between their colleagues aren't helping matters. Then there's the matter of the missing boffin. Meanwhile, GETEC Supervisor Greg Hull has embarked on a whole new chapter in his life. Given his health issues are behind him, surely it makes perfect sense to find someone that he can have a little fun with..."
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4 Captain Mars Captain Mars
Written by E. V. Greig
Copyright: 2016

"Things have gotten horribly complicated for socially non-gendered BII operative Nightingale Spence. On the far side of the Atlantic, GETEC Supervisor Greg Hull is either losing his mind or finding it. His reluctant colleague Kellie Rosa finds herself caught in the middle either way. Elsewhere, after one too many heroic actions, by the book Martian Marine Corps Captain Susan Kennedy struggles to convince the media that she isn't a superhero. Suddenly, everyone wants to put her in the spotlight..."
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5 Inherited Stealth Inherited Stealth
Written by E. V. Greig
Copyright: 2017

"The last thing that socially non-gendered BII operative Nightingale Spence needs is any more pressure. With two psychopathic children already in tow and a high-risk twin pregnancy to endure, crossing swords with a secret high society of assassins really shouldn't be on their to do list. Meanwhile, Irish investigative journalist Sarah Marie Tresweld has uncovered the kind of story that defines a career. For once, GETEC Supervisor Greg Hull is too busy to concentrate on covering up for his employers..."
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6 Politics Of C.A.K.E Politics Of C.A.K.E
Written by E. V. Greig
Copyright: 2017

"Socially non-gendered BII operative Nightingale Spence struggles to balance their hard won maternity leave with the vagaries of spycraft. Meanwhile, GETEC is finally under official investigation for its policies, and Greg Hull has seized the opportunity to reinvent himself. The actions of a sociopathic bodyjacker lead to a tenuous alliance between ANI and the combined branches of British Intelligence. Whether or not it will withstand the pressure of old ghosts is another matter entirely…"
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7 Dance Towards The Cloud Dance Towards The Cloud
Written by E. V. Greig
Copyright: 2018

"It's business as unusual for socially non-gendered BII operative Nightingale Spence. A joint mission between BIINT, ANI, and the Martian Marine Corps sees everyone involved facing tough choices – some more responsibly than others. Meanwhile, back in soggiest Bournemouth, with old ghosts out for revenge and temptation nagging him at every turn, Craig Campbell discovers that the life of a retired spy turned parent is no less hazardous than fieldwork..."
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8 Too Many Fish Too Many Fish
Written by E. V. Greig
Copyright: 2018

"Socially non-gendered BII operative Nightingale Spence begins moving on with their life, albeit reluctantly. Meanwhile, a horrific biological attack takes place in Miami. With the population of the city decimated, some of the survivors make easy targets for those with predatory inclinations.
Then there's the unfortunate matter of the neo-pagan murder cult..."
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9 The Spy Who Borrowed My Identity The Spy Who Borrowed My Identity
Written by E. V. Greig
Copyright: 2019

"Socially non-gendered BII operative Nightingale Spence is stuck working alongside their nemesis. In Miami, ANI Agent Greg Hull faces up to the aftermath of past decisions, and Martian Marine Corps Captain Susan Kennedy finds unexpected cause to brush up on her diplomacy.
Meanwhile, Craig Campbell is seeking redemption. Admittedly, mending fences with a certain canary might be a good bit simpler if he could avoid adding to the existing sources of stress…"
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10 Live, Die, Kill Live, Die, Kill
Written by E. V. Greig
Copyright: 2020

"Socially non-gendered BII operative Nightingale Spence struggles to believe that a man can change his ways. The man in question, Craig Campbell, is determined not to disappoint, but has his past finished haunting either of them yet?
Meanwhile, ANI Agent Greg Hull is playing by the rules a little too efficiently for Captain Mars' liking..."
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11 All The Other Spies All The Other Spies
Written by E. V. Greig
Copyright: 2022

"Socially non-gendered BII operative Nightingale Spence is turning forty-one. Their nearest and dearest are determined to make up for having missed their milestone fortieth birthday last year. There might even be a second chance for love in the air. Everything would be perfect, if only villainy would take a day off for once..."
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MY COMMENTS

I think after having read a fair amount of this series, I had decided I wished I could meet and hang out with Nightingale Spence for a while or, better yet, hang back and watch Spence deal with other people. Spence seems to have mastered the knack of being friendly-ish towards others.

Spence's being a socially non-gendered individual proved to be new enough to me to be very interesting to read about. I did have, and still do, trouble with the appropriating of they/their to avoid he/his and she/hers. My poor brain struggles with understanding statements like "they needed to [do something]"; was this Spence who needed it or was there someone else as well? Luckily for me, and thankfully for the skill of the author, these times are not that frequent.

Another interesting and enjoyable aspect of Spence's world is the whole cyberpunk-ness. Not sure I could handle a constant diet of it but for a change of pace, it be cool!

GRADE

My Grade: B+

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SpyGuysAndGals is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, and links with the Buy from Amazon button are affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.