Baroness6 Baroness4 Baroness7 Baroness5 Baroness1 Baroness3 Baroness2 Baroness8
Full Name: Penelope St. John-Orsini
Series Name: The Baroness
Codename: The Coin
Nationality: American
Organization: -
Occupation Freelance Agent

Creator: Paul Kenyon
Time Span: 1974 - 1975


The Baroness is a freelance agent for the United States.

Born Penelope Worthington of 'the Philadelphia Worthingtons', the woman who would become one of America's greatest secret agents came into the world as a creature used to comfort and the best of everything. Her father was at the top of Pennsylvanian society and her mother was from the cream of the crop in Boston.

Her upbringing was consistent with her station in life - the best schools, the best company, and the best activities. She became as used to jet setting as she was to breathing. Her only entry outside the genteel pursuits was her strange love of spy fiction, of which she was addicted.

At a young, unspecified age, Penny, as she is known to her friends, married John Stanton Marlowe, a dashing man who held a hush-hush job in the State Department. Upon his sudden death in a plane crash, she learned that he had been a high-ranking member of the American Intelligence group and that many of those who had been to their dinner parties had been in the CIA, NSA, and DIA.

Sometime after becoming a widow, Penelope met and fell in love with the Baron Renaldo St. John-Orsini, a member of the aristocracy from both Italy and England. Together they shared a love of excitement such as skydiving, water-skiing, and, best of all, Grand Prix racing. It was that last activity that would take his life, leaving her once again a widow. This time she was also left quite wealthy.

Wanting to make her life have some meaning and having seen, while married to her first husband, how disorganized the entire Intelligence community was, the Baroness decided that the best agent was one who could work outside the control of the alphabet agencies.

To this end, she found a man who was as discreet as he was respected. John Farnsworth was well thought of by the different groups as well as the President. To him she brought her idea and together they were able to put that plan.

Farnsworth took the role of the 'Key', unknown to everyone except the head of the NSA and the President. To him would be passed the hardest of the jobs, the ones the others couldn't handle. He would, in turn, pass it on to the 'Coin' and her small team of carefully selected operatives.

Operating out of a top-notch modeling agency known as International Models, Inc., the Baroness, known to be the 'Coin' only by Farnsworth, would be the unknown spy the nation would come to rely on.


Number of Books:8
First Appearance:1974
Last Appearance:1975

     In addition to the 8 adventures listed below, there were rumors floating for some years of 3 additional Baroness tales that never got published in English. They did, the legend say, see daylight in French.

     According to the awesomely enjoyable Glorious Trash website (which I recommend wholeheartedly), the rumors are true and that these three did exist, "one by series newcomer Robert Vardeman and two by main series author Donald Moffitt".

     Again going by Joe Kenney, the site's guru, the titles of the two Moffitt unpublished stories were Death Is A Copycat, published in France as Photo-Phobi, and A Black Hole To Die In, French title as yet unknown to me.

     For a wonderfully full description of the Death Is A Copycat, check out Glorious Trash!

1 The Ecstasy Connection The Ecstasy Connection
Written by Paul Kenyon
Copyright: 1974

The obese Chinese named Petronius Sim created a dangerous drug called Big E, aka the ecstasy pill. It is so strong that people will risk anything to get it and will kill or die to keep it. The Baroness must stay alive long enough to stop it.

2 Diamonds Are For Dying Diamonds Are For Dying
Written by Paul Kenyon
Copyright: 1974

Inside the Amazon jungles a former Nazi SS-officer is up to something. The agent sent to find out what has disappeared, or worse yet, joined the other side. Now it is the Baroness' turn to discover both answers.

3 Death Is A Ruby Light Death Is A Ruby Light
Written by Paul Kenyon
Copyright: 1974

A Red Chinese scientist has an extremely dangerous laser death ray that could be used to strike either the US or the USSR. The weapon must be destroyed and the creator eliminated. The Baroness must join with a group from Russia but can each side trust the other enough to get the job done?

4 Hard-Core Murder Hard-Core Murder
Written by Paul Kenyon
Copyright: 1974

Smut master Sully Flick has created a pornographic movie in which the wife of a major Washington official is the main attraction, albeit unwilling. The Baroness is assigned the job of tracking down Flick to get the flick.

5 Operation Doomsday Operation Doomsday
Written by Paul Kenyon
Copyright: 1974

A mutated cold virus left by one of the astronauts on Apollo 12 and deadly to mankind has been brought back by an unmanned lunar flight. The Baroness is tasked with getting it away from the Russians but even the Chinese want it.

6 Flicker Of Doom Flicker Of Doom
Written by Paul Kenyon
Copyright: 1974

The scientist Dr. Otto Funke has a plan to take over the world, using light and the reaction most people have to sudden, strobe-like flashes. Funke had found a way to dramatically increase the effect and hold everyone up for ransom. The Baroness must travel to the Middle East to put his lights out.

7 Sonic Slave Sonic Slave
Written by Paul Kenyon
Copyright: 1974

What could turn a village to jelly, a horrible petroleum accident or the testing of a new weapon? The first few CIA agents sent in to investigate died trying to answer those questions. Now it is the Baroness who has the job of finding the truth.

8 Black Gold Black Gold
Written by Paul Kenyon
Copyright: 1975

They called themselves SPOILER and they were in the oil business. More accurately, they were in the oil destruction business and they had done a very good job of it. The Baroness has to stop SPOILER before the entire Western economy was destroyed.


The plots were good though routine. The characters were interesting and stayed fairly within their scope. The action is very good. I should have liked this series. I didn't.

I might have liked the Baroness if it hadn't been for the sex. It was too often, sometimes coming at the strangest times. It is broke the flow of the story in a way that just didn't work. And, worst of all, it was told in a harsh, almost clinical manner with no attempt at eroticism. It just didn't work.

Another reason for the failure of this series is its obvious play on the Modesty Blaise theme. We have a beautiful, successful woman secretly being a secret agent. But where Modesty is warm and friendly, Penelope is quite cold and authoritative. The rapport that Modesty had with her Willie Garvin is totally lacking in the 'I am the boss' approach that the Baroness had with her team. The most probable reason for the failure is that while the author of Modesty genuinely liked her, there was no such affection by the person or persons who drafted the Baroness stories. That is a pity.


My Grade: C-

Your Average Grade:   A


chadcomics A+ 1/28/2013 7:32:35 PM

This is my all-time favorite spy series! The action (and sex) scenes were detailed and very hot, unlike other sexpionage thrillers at the time. Another thing I like is that the series was serious instead of a spoof or satire. This series has a dedicated cult following up to now (search the internet). If the series made it to 10 titles, I would have given this A++.

baron A 2018-12-01

Just the right mix of violent action and steamy sex for spy novel. It''s refreshing with a heroine who does''nt yearn for meeting Mr Rigtht but enjoys promiscous sex. Her way of takinging out her opponents are brutal and imaginative. Her dry sense of humour even in danger makes her even more fun.

baron A 2018-12-01

Just the right mix of violent action and steamy sex for a spy novel. It''s also refreshing with a heroine who does not yearn for meeting Mr Rigtht but enjoys promiscous sex. Her way of takinging out her opponents are brutal and imaginative. Her dry sense of humour even in danger makes her even more fun.

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