Girland_Mark3 Girland_Mark1 Girland_Mark2 Girland_Mark4
Full Name: Mark Girland
Nationality: American
Organization: CIA
Occupation Agent

Creator: James Hadley Chase
Time Span: 1965 - 1969


Mark Girland is an agent for the CIA.

Born of a French woman and an American man, Girland grew up in the South in the U.S. where his father was a very successful judge. Girland commented at one point that he tired of living in an enormous house under the constant watch of a lot of servants so he split as soon as he could.

Moving to Paris, the homeland of his mother, Mark tried to make a living as a writer but found starvation instead. When his father passed away and left him $30,000, that made life easier for two years and then he was back to going hungry.

Shortly thereafter, he was approached by a man named Rossland to work in France for the CIA. Lacking any other prospects and not wanting to leave, he agreed and became an agent under Rossland for the next six years prior to the first chronicled adventure.

Girland stands near 6'3 and is considered by women as both handsome and quite sexy. He is in extremely good physical shape, amazing considering the love he has for drinking and rich food.

Also amazing is the skill he possesses as an agent since he received no formal training in it - just what he learned working for Rossland. He is a more-than-adequate shot with a .45 and can hold his own in a fist fight.

Girland is also, for most of his career as an agent, in the penny-ante price range, willing to settle for next to nothing as payment. When, in the first adventure, he sees a chance to break into the big money even if it means working for a despicable man, he jumps at it, only to see the error of his ways later on.

The adventures that Girland have are enhanced by a strong supporting cast. A Soviet agent named Malik is usually one step ahead of everyone, except Girland. A thoroughly disgusting 'anything for money' gentleman named Radnitz poses a challenge on occasion as well. And his sometime boss, Dorey, is wonderfully uncaring a bit about what happens to the ever-so expendable Girland.


Number of Books:4
First Appearance:1965
Last Appearance:1969

1 This Is For Real This Is For Real
Written by James Hadley Chase
Copyright: 1965

When an American agent who had defected to Russia heads back, everyone wants him and the secrets he brings with him. Girland's boss is killed at the outset and Girland must answer to his boss's boss, Dorey, who is willing to use Girland as a patsy. His orders were to find him and get the microfilm he carried. Getting out alive wasn't mandatory.
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2 You Have Yourself A Deal You Have Yourself A Deal
Written by James Hadley Chase
Copyright: 1966

Terribly down on his luck, Girland agreed to listen to the deal the Dorey had to make even though he had told him to drop dead at the end of the previous book. This time the job was to pretend to be the husband of an amnesiac to be around when memory returned. What he wasn't told was that the Soviets and the Chinese were after her and willing to kill anyone in the way.

3 Have This One On Me Have This One On Me
Written by James Hadley Chase
Copyright: 1967

The offer that Dorey had for Girland, who was again in much need of cash, was to travel to Prague and eliminate another agent. Girland usually didn't go in for that sort of work but he was desperate so the answer was yes. What he didn't know was that he was being set up as a fall guy. If he had known, the price would have been higher.

4 The Whiff Of Money The Whiff Of Money
Written by James Hadley Chase
Copyright: 1969

The job that Dorey comes to Girland with is one that sounds interesting, or at least the $20,000 price tag does. Three blue movies are making the rounds in Paris and Dorey wants them, and any copies, picked up for it seems one of the stars of the films is the daughter of the future President of the U.S. Girland is also to pick her up while he's at it. Unfortunately Malik and others also want to find her and the entertainment.


James Hadley Chase was a man who enjoyed considerable success from the readers and not so much from the critics and it is easy to see why on both counts. Chase's writing style is somewhat simplistic with jumpy pacing and weak dialogue. His characters are, however, quite engaging in that they are seldom black-and-white and the action does keep plodding on, taking the reader right along with it.

So, I would say that while I can understand why he is not so impressive to the critics, I can also say truthfully that I enjoy reading his work. I think you will, too.


My Grade: B-

Your Average Grade:   B


chrisno1 B 2019-06-15

JHC has a peculiar style of writing American heroes in European settings and they all sound English. These 4 adventures make good reading, much the equal of contemporary spy-thriller writers, the men who penned the ''Super-Bonds'' like Diment and Mayo. Good plots, good characters, action, a smattering of sex. Very good. Wish there were more, although I marked it low as they are repetitive.

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