brains11 Cunningham_Brains8 cunningham_brains2 Cunningham_Brains9 Cunningham_Brains3 Cunningham_Brains13 cunningham_brains_bk_sinister Cunningham_Brains14 Cunningham_Brains10 cunningham_brains1 cunningham_brains12 Cunningham_Brains7 brains6 Cunningham_Brains5
Full Name: Brains Cunningham
Nationality: British
Organization: S-3
Occupation Agent

Creator: E. P. Thorne
Time Span: 1946 - 1966


"Brains" Cunningham is an agent for Department S-3.

This highly influential clandestine service is part of the overall British Intelligence community and has a mandate that seems incredibly broad as Brains gets involved in cases of all sorts, from simple murder to smuggling to secrets stealing to madmen intent on taking over the world. At no time does Brains seem the least surprised or put out no matter where he is sent or what he is asked to do.

Starting near the end of World War II and continuing on well into the 60's, Cunningham, in all his many adventures,  represents the epitome of cool, suave, in-control behavior that is now often the stereotypical British agent. If ever there could be considered a prototype for this image, Brains is the man, complete with the drawing room and the pipe and slippers.

Initially Cunningham is part of Military Intelligence for which he holds the rank of Major in the British Army. It is after the War that his position will become part of S-3.

And as he travels the globe fighting the enemies of the Crown, Brains is constantly accompanied by Pring, his loyal, often lugubrious, batman. While at all times his servant, Pring is also Brains' friend and his assistant. Pring is a very good cook. He is also very good at knives and at sneaking and at street fighting and many other things. Maybe not as good as Brains but still very deadly.

Brains' escapades are often told from the viewpoint of a friend visiting his digs and seeing yet another trinket or oddity in a display case that Brains prominently displays in his drawing room. This case contains some very strange items, not least of which is a shrunken head. Each item has a story behind it and Brains enjoys telling it.


Number of Books:14
First Appearance:1946
Last Appearance:1966

1 The Smile Of Cheng Su The Smile Of Cheng Su
Written by E. P. Thorne
Copyright: 1946

The report of a murdered man at a bar named the Mandarin by Cheng Su seemed like the act of a good citizen but there was more behind Cheng Su than most people knew, or admitted, as Brains Cunningham soon found.

2 Chinese Poker Chinese Poker
Written by E. P. Thorne
Copyright: 1946

"Rounding up an international gang in Cairo, Major Cunningham, secret agent, again finds the lovely Koi San involved."

3 The Face Of Inspector Brett The Face Of Inspector Brett
Written by E. P. Thorne
Copyright: 1947

With the war coming to an end soon, Brains Cunningham is sent to Spain to investigate the odd behavior of an Italian name Ferrari, and to find out why the last agent sent on that mission was killed.

4 Sinister Sanctuary Sinister Sanctuary
Written by E. P. Thorne
Copyright: 1949

The murder of a British agent along India's northern border gets Brains Cunningham recalled from his hunting trip and gives him a chance to do a different kind of hunting; the kind where the hunter is also being hunted.

5 The Shadow Of Dr. Ferrari The Shadow Of Dr. Ferrari
Written by E. P. Thorne
Copyright: 1950

The death of a noted British explorer causes Brains Cunningham to join forces with an agent from the Surete as they go up once again with the dangerous Dr. Ferrari.

6 Justice Is Mine Justice Is Mine
Written by E. P. Thorne
Copyright: 1950

Brains Cunningham is the only man who doesn't believe that the young man named Young was responsible for another man's death but proving it will put him in the middle of a string of very strange crimes.

7 The Moon Dance The Moon Dance
Written by E. P. Thorne
Copyright: 1953

The locale is Haiti and the situation is growing grim as Brains Cunningham must get involved with a voodoo cult known as the Sect Rouge to save the lives of diplomats and himself.

8 Red Bamboo Red Bamboo
Written by E. P. Thorne
Copyright: 1954

It was in Malaya that Brains Cunningham, investigating a mysterious Chinese junk, goes up against the highly secretive Society of the Red Bamboo. The beautiful Madame Koi is an even bigger unknown - friend or horrible foe.

9 Lady With A Gun Lady With A Gun
Written by E. P. Thorne
Copyright: 1955

The message from the Department S-3 agent arrived after he was found dead, saying that he was on to somthing. Knowing it was related to his death, Brains Cunningham is sent to finish the work.

10 Date With The Departed Date With The Departed
Written by E. P. Thorne
Copyright: 1955

Two men with impecable loyalty disappear with classified documents. A constable who learns the truth dies suddenly. That's when Brains Cunningham is brought in.

11 The Bengal Spider Plan The Bengal Spider Plan
Written by E. P. Thorne
Copyright: 1961

Before he was drugged and left to die in India, a reporter had come upon a plan showing a shape that looked like a spider. The disappearance of the plan is what interested Brains enough to track it back to Madame Koi San.

12 The House Of The Fragrant Lotus The House Of The Fragrant Lotus
Written by E. P. Thorne
Copyright: 1962

The big question facing Brains Cunningham was why was the MI-5 agent Markham murdered in while in Burma? Then there was the sudden disappearance of S-3 agent Nielson in Singapore. Was there a connection and, if so, was it the beautiful Koi San?

13 Zero Minus Nine Zero Minus Nine
Written by E. P. Thorne
Copyright: 1964

A letter that could bring about another world war is being used as blackmail for a half million pounds. Brains Cunningham is given the assignment of retrieving it and he has only nine days to do so. Unfortunately, the letter could be anywhere in the world.

14 The Caribbean Affair The Caribbean Affair
Written by E. P. Thorne
Copyright: 1966

The murder of a MI6 agent in Cuba takes Brains Cunningham to that Caribbean nation but soon the case leads him to the Black Republic, a nickname for Haiti, and the luscious dancer, Victoria.


You can't get more "British" or more debonair that Brains, which is why anyone who wants to read good old-fashioned spy adventures, back when the bad guys almost wore signs announcing themselves and woman were either damsels to be saved or Jezebels to be avoided, should give them a try.

If it sounds like I am putting Brains down, I apologize as nothing can be further from the truth. It is just that he is both a prototype and an original. He needs to be enjoyed. He has to be taken with some allowances as he is not only very British, he is even more old school, British Empire kind of agent.


My Grade: B


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