Brown_Eddie4 Brown_Eddie3 Brown_Eddie1 Brown_Eddie2
Full Name: Edmund Brown
Nationality: British
Organization: Board Of Trade
Occupation Agent

Creator: Joyce Porter
Time Span: 1966 - 1971


Eddie Brown is a secret agent for the Bureau of Trade.

Seriously. Well, sort of. Imagine what would happen when a bureau of the British government, feeling left out of the excitement of international intrigue, started up its own intelligence department with the belief that since everyone else was spying, the Board of Trade might as well do so from an industry point of view. With little experience and even less respect from established agencies, it would likely flounder badly initially and get a bad reputation but then get a couple of things right and start building an empire by sticking its finger in all kinds of pies.

That is the premise for the four-book series of the adventures of one of the world's most reluctant and, truth be told, inept secret agents in the history of spy fiction. Written by a mystery writer more known for her series about the fat, loutish British police inspector, Wilfred Dover, this series was a tongue-in-cheek collection of silly escapades ordered by a small fish determined to swim in a big pond.

The agent misfortunate enough to have to take on these assignments is Eddie Brown, a 27-year old teacher at a low-level comprehensive school in a backwoods part of the country. Extremely unhappy with his job and engaged to a woman he had no desire to marry, Brown felt trapped by life. He was truly trapped when he was approached with the 'choice' of working for the department. He demurred. Then he was told he either helped with the case presented him or be black-balled from every teaching institution in the country.

Brown had already had enough trouble getting a job and he was not quite sure why. When he took the Civil Service exam he scored the highest marks ever achieved. He attended Bristol University and graduated with a first class honours degree, again with the highest marks they had ever seen. All his qualifications were top notch, especially with languages. Still, he was rejected for translation jobs from the armed forces, BBC, Foreign Office, and every university he applied to. Nobody wanted him except a fourth-rate school in nowhere.

As mentioned, Brown was, as the series begins, engaged to a young woman but was constantly finding reasons for not having the ceremony. He admitted to himself that he only started dating her because dating a woman named Schwindlingfisch was rather unique. When he was enjoying her pleasures, he felt the least he could do was ask her to marry him so he did. That did not mean, though, that he should actually go through with it. Asking should have been enough.

Such is his life when his talents are needed by his country, or at least the Bureau of Trade. He was quite amused by the fact that the Intelligence section of the Bureau was called the Special Overseas Directorate. He was even more amused to find no one seemed the least bit amused or chagrin that the acronym was S.O.D. Not even Sir Malcolm Drom, the head spymaster.

He was also amused, then concerned to find that his training would take place at a special facility, naming a mental institution. He was told that since security was an issue, having a place that naturally would have iron gates, towers, barbed wire, guards, and monitoring equipment was a godsend. The fact that it meant you could get in but not out had Brown concerned. So did that fact that one of the skills he was taught there was the 17 different ways to commit suicide in a K.G.B. cell.

Brown is chosen for the first mission because he had a fluency in Russian and had a striking resemblance to a defecting Soviet agent. Brown certaily was not out to become an agent. Even when he lives through the mission and continues to work for the SODs, his attitude never improves.


Number of Books:4
First Appearance:1966
Last Appearance:1971

1 Sour Cream With Everything Sour Cream With Everything
Written by Joyce Porter
Copyright: 1966

Hired (read blackmailed) into joining S.O.D., Eddie Brown's assignment was to take the place of a double agent on vacation on the Black Sea while that agent was discussing things back in England.

2 The Chinks In The Curtain The Chinks In The Curtain
Written by Joyce Porter
Copyright: 1967

Barely forgiven for his escapades in the previous chronicle, Eddie Brown is sent to investigate a Russian émigré in Paris. Soon he becomes embroiled in a plot to restore the nobles to the Russian throne.

3 Neither A Candle Nor A Pitchfork Neither A Candle Nor A Pitchfork
Written by Joyce Porter
Copyright: 1970

Blackmailed yet again to take a mission for S.O.D., Eddie Brown is loaned off to the Americans who immediately drop him behind the Iron Curtain and into a Soviet stud farm filled with malcontents and political radicals. Brown's biggest question is why.

4 Only With A Bargepole Only With A Bargepole
Written by Joyce Porter
Copyright: 1971

In Eddie Brown's unique style, he is given the simple job of delivering a package to an agent in Vienna and ends up involved in a kidnapping plot against his boss's own daughter. To stop it he has to take on the Soviet's top agent.


I've heard it said about comedy in movies that the more one tries to be funny, the less likely one is to succeed and that the secret to it is to do funny things in a serious way. In other words, someone who tries to slip on a banana peel comes off a buffoon.

This maxim holds true in misadventures. Trying to be silly results in grimaces and groans. Trying to be serious when crazy is going on around you can, however, be terrific. Such is the case with Joyce Porter's Eddie Brown.

The four crazy escapades that Brown must endure in this series are delightful. No one is over the top. No one is a caricature. No one is trying poke fun at anything. The hilarity just happens.


My Grade: B-


Andy Boot - 5/10/2013 12:16:52 AM

I've read the first two and would love to get my hands on the other two. I also like Dover and the Hon. Constance Morrison, Joyce Porter's other series characters. What's said above about the way these are written holds true for all her work: the characters and their reactions to situations are key, and the fact that it is all so serious is what makes it so damn' funny. Dover really wants to avoid work, and his Segeant really does loathe him; Constance really does believe she's Miss Marple and that she's subtle; and Brown really is bemused and bewildered by the fact that he is the only person who can see how absurd his situation is...

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