Johnny Fedora is an agent with the British Secret Service.
Can you name a series about a spy with a license to kill which first came out in the early 1950's? Okay, can you name two? Although by far the most famous agent to fit that description is James Bond, the spy talked about here is Johnny Fedora, a government assassin who came on the scene two years before
Mr. Bond. In addition to preceding him, Fedora even had more books about him written by the original author. It's too bad that he is nowhere as well known.
Johnny Fedora was the son of a Spanish father and an Irish mother, born in Ireland. When he was still young, probably around the age of ten, his parents, who were Spanish Republicans, were travelling in Spain when they were caught by a group of the rival Filangist party and extreme mayhem took place. Fedora became an orphan with considerable bitterness towards the killers, an attitude that has resulted in numerous deaths in the following years. During that time, he became quite familiar with the I.R.A. and many of its techniques.
When he was old enough to get away, Fedora made his way to the United States and eventually Chicago where he worked as a pianist in a honky-tonk and made side money working for the gangs in the last days of that era. One particular excursion went sour and Fedora was forced to flee the country with "a few thousand dollars and a reputation".
He travelled to France where he lived for a couple years until the Germans invaded and he went to England where he volunteered his talents to British Intelligence. The leader of that organization saw considerable but raw potential in Fedora. To hone his skills, he sent him back to America, smoothing out the problems from before, and had him train and work with the FBI for two years, specializing in counter-intelligence.
With the war fully underway, Fedora was brought back to England and made a member of an elite squad of 12 men who were sent to continental Europe to fight underground the German army. They did it all from infiltration to sabotage but mostly they were assassins. Fedora himself took care of at least twenty deep in enemy territory. At the end of the War, he remained with the team training newcomers in the tricks learned in the several dangerous years.
Roughly two years later, the head of the newly formed British External Intelligence department learned of Fedore and his accomplishments. He wasn't certain he needed an assassin but he knew he needed an operative with the ability to survive on his own. He picked Fedora from the three of the twelve who had lived through the conflict and Fedora became a British agent.
It wouldn't be long before the BEI decided they needed a man who could kill and they had one of the best at it.
At the start of the recorded series, Johnny Fedora is in his mid-to-late 20's but has seen far more action than most twice his age. He appears normally calm and carefree, especially when he plays the piano. Whether it is classical Bach or modern Duke Ellington, Fedora can handle it with ease and with great emotion. The same can be said for his prowess with weapons. Whether it is fists, knives, or guns, he can kill quickly and surely. He becomes highly focused on his assignment, does what is expected with certainty, and then goes off on his own, often raising the hell he would never do while on the job.
Note 1: #12-16 comprise the Feramontov Quintet of stories all possessing the nefarious Soviet spy and nemesis to Johnny Fedora, all taking place in Spain.
Note 2: For more information about the author, Desmond Cory, go to the excellent site www.desmondcory.com