Secret_Mission15 Secret_Mission11 Secret_Mission16 Secret_Mission12 Secret_Mission9 Secret_Mission20 Secret_Mission6 Secret_Mission10 Secret_Mission5 Secret_Mission7 Secret_Mission3 Secret_Mission14 sherman_phil_bk_rc Secret_Mission19 Secret_Mission18 Secret_Mission21 Secret_Mission2 Secret_Mission4 Secret_Mission1 Secret_Mission13 Secret_Mission17 Secret_Mission8
Full Name: Phil Sherman
Series Name: Secret Mission Series
Nationality: American
Organization: -
Occupation Businessman

Creator: Don Smith
Time Span: 1959 - 1978


Phil Sherman is a businessman.

Standing 6'2, Sherman is one of the older men to play secret agent, acknowledging that he is in his late 40's during his first adventure. This is supported by that fact that he served in the military during WWII, probably in the Far East. After he was discharged in 1945, he remained in Asia to start a business. It is likely that he would have been in his mid-20's, he would be at least 47 in 1968.

Sherman is the only member of his family still alive as his parents were killed quite some time ago, probably during WWII. His only sibling, a brother, lost both legs in a POW camp in Korea and spent 2 years in agony afterwards before finally dieing.

Sherman is the sole shareholder of the Trans-Eastern Supply Company, an import-export company specializing in legal trade of computers with the Eastern Bloc nations, especially Czechoslovakia. The original Trans-Eastern Supply Company was created by Sherman in Shanghai upon being discharged from the military and handled trade between the U.S. and China. When, however, Mao and his group wrested control of China from Kai-Shek, most foreign investors were forced out. Sherman lost everything he had and was forced to start over. He chose Europe this time.

At first the requests for assistance seem innocuous and the money was good for helping the CIA in their clandestine operations. As time passes, however, the situation often changes. At times Sherman is in need of money while at other times he is almost roped into helping. Still, his authentic role of an office-equipment distributor provides an excellent cover for his movements all across the world.

Eventually, from adventure #14, "Death Stalk in Spain", Sherman becomes a full-time agent for the CIA, working for a special department headed by Sherman's old 'friend', McCullough.


Number of Books:22
First Appearance:1959
Last Appearance:1978

As the publisher Award Books was finding out in the second half of the 60s, spy adventures were hot. Bond was golden. Helm was selling very well for Fawcett. The Man From U.N.C.L.E. was terrific on television and making good money in the paperback field for Ace. And Award had Nick Carter, Killmaster.

It followed that success with another secret agent series. This one was quite a bit different from the Killmaster and written a whole lot better but you would be hard pressed to guess that by the covers and the blurbs. On the outside this was a kick-butt spy who went everywhere and did everything and watch out those in his way. On the inside, though, there was Phil Sherman, a businessman who just wants to do business though he gets asked over and over for a small favor by his government.

I, of course, have no information about sales so I do not know if it did well for either the published or the author but from the fact that Sherman would continue to do business in one form or another for the next ten years says his stories must have made someone some money. They definitely got my dollar and cents.

It turns out, though, that 1968's release of Peking, later published as Secret Mission: Peking was not the first action that Phil Sherman saw. Nearly a whole decade before, in the adventure novel Red Curtain, Phil Sherman, a businessman working out of Paris but having ties to Indochina, was approached with a great deal that would get him mixed up with the CIA and the KGB and nearly get him killed a couple times over.

This book was written by Duncan Tyler and was apparently the only book released under that name. It was copyrighted, however, by Don Smith. It is interesting to me that though the book was first published in 1959, the copy that I got was a first printing in 1966 by Award. Two years before the first Secret Mission came out.

I know it is the same Phil Sherman because in both Red Curtain and Peking, Sherman mentions having a great dislike for Communists since his younger brother had been captured during the Korean War and had lost both legs and died shortly after getting released. There cannot be that many Phil Sherman's with that kind of history.

Makes me wonder is someone didn't brush off the older novel, put it out in paperback, and then mention to Don Smith, "you know what might be a good idea ..." Or perhaps Smith was the one who said, "hey, why don't I ...".

Either way or neither, I glad the first book, a good read by the way, was published and gladder still that the rest of the series came along later.

0.5 Red Curtain Red Curtain
Written by Duncan Tyler
Copyright: 1959

Phil Sherman was approached to held facilitate the sale of a large amount of platinum from behind the Iron Curtain. Of course, things are never what they seem when dealing the with Soviets and even less so when someone with the beauty of Vera Maudet is involved - beauty and deadliness. No one said no to Vera and lived. Sherman said no.

1 Secret Mission: Peking Secret Mission: Peking
aka Peking
Written by Don Smith
Copyright: 1968

Phil Sherman is asked to help by the State Department. It would mean a chance to get back at the Chinese government and make his company a nice profit. He was to help in the sale of the latest computer to Czechoslovakia, knowing it would be repackaged to China for work in a nuclear reseach facility. It was rigged with explosives.

2 Secret Mission: Prague Secret Mission: Prague
aka Prague
Written by Don Smith
Copyright: 1968

Having helped the Agency once already, Phil Sherman was the natural man to approach for help in investigating a new group of gunrunners. While Sherman was to take the role of a seller to war-torn West Africa, the real goal was to find out who was behind the influx of serious weaponry to the Black Panthers and other black militants.

3 Secret Mission: Corsica Secret Mission: Corsica
aka Corsica
Written by Don Smith
Copyright: 1968

When the CIA, working with the drug agencies, became convinced that a noted French farm implement maker was smuggling massive amounts of heroin into the U.S., they need help from Phil Sherman whose investigations took him to the hostile island of Corsica. He learned the secret of the smuggling but then had to get off the island.

4 Secret Mission: Morocco Secret Mission: Morocco
Written by Don Smith
Copyright: 1968

Take a sex-crazed sadistic woman, add in her ultra-rich tycoon lover, a pair of Berber brothers, and the deserts of Morocco, and you have a mixture for Phil Sherman. An agent for the Treasury Department approached Sherman to help in discovering what the millionaire is up to, he reluctantly agrees when the agent is murdered.

5 Secret Mission: Istanbul Secret Mission: Istanbul
Written by Don Smith
Copyright: 1969

To Phil Sherman, the mission sounded too easy. A major KGB chief had defected to Istanbul and he needed someone to sneak into Bulgaria to leave a message for his wife to join him. That was it. But then someone betrays him, a team sent to extract the wife is ambushed, and Sherman is caught as a spy.

6 Secret Mission: Tibet Secret Mission: Tibet
Written by Don Smith
Copyright: 1969

Someone has perfected a ray that is destroying the satellites of both the U.S. and U.S.S.R. The likely suspect was Red China since the attacks probably originated in Tibet or Southern China. The only way to prove it was to bring in special detection equipment. Phil Sherman is asked by a NASA bigwig to be the one to handle the tests.

7 Secret Mission: Cairo Secret Mission: Cairo
Written by Don Smith
Copyright: 1969

A nuclear bomb has been stolen. It belonged to the French and it was apparently stolen by a Frenchman. The question was who wanted it? Was it Egypt or Yemen or someone else? Phil Sherman is hired to get it back. He is confused why he is asked to get involved but his business was heading downward and he can use the money.

8 Secret Mission: North Korea Secret Mission: North Korea
Written by Don Smith
Copyright: 1969

Phil Sherman is to lead a small band of his own dirty dozen to sail a vessel near enough to North Korea to get it confiscated. It is loaded with enough explosives to blow up their main port. Sherman was to set the timer and escape in a fast launch. Naturally, nothing works like it should, starting with a beautiful stowaway with a gun.

9 Secret Mission: Angola Secret Mission: Angola
aka Angola
Written by Don Smith
Copyright: 1969

The fighting in Angola, seeking independence from Portugal, was growing fiercer and fiercer. When his sometimes boss hears he is heading to Lisbon, Phil Sherman is asked to check on the political situation which in turn leads to a mission down south to find and capture a rebel leader before the Soviets and Chinese get their hands on him.

10 Secret Mission: Munich Secret Mission: Munich
Written by Don Smith
Copyright: 1969

The flooding of Europe's economy with bogus greenbacks threatens not only the American economy but all trade throughout the West. Phil Sherman is hired to find out who is behind the counterfeiting and stop them but the task is a tremendous one as the culprits are a new band of old-style Nazis.

11 Secret Mission: Athens Secret Mission: Athens
Written by Don Smith
Copyright: 1971

The CIA totally denounced their agent in Greece when he was found high on LSD in the same room as the wife of a major Greek official, raped and murdered. Phil Sherman's part-time employer didn't like the situation and asked him to help out as someone was clearly trying to disrupt Greek and American relations.

12 Secret Mission: The Kremlin Plot Secret Mission: The Kremlin Plot
Written by Don Smith
Copyright: 1971

Phil Sherman was on a business trip, taking an Aeroflot flight from Riga to Moscow, when a hijacker sought to take control and force the plane to the West. In a short gun battle with a Soviet sky marshal, the hijacker was dead and Sherman was in possession of a pack of cigarettes passed by the dying man.

13 The Marseilles Enforcer The Marseilles Enforcer
Written by Don Smith
Copyright: 1972

The CIA didn't want to be officially involved in the investigation so they turned to their unofficial agent, Phil Sherman, to help track down the source of a large heroin shipment hidden inside several new Renaults. They were certain the man behind it all was a Corsican named Perelli but it was Sherman's job to get the proof.

14 Death Stalk In Spain Death Stalk In Spain
Written by Don Smith
Copyright: 1972

The people seeking to find gold in a cargo ship sunk by the Germans during WWII were being stymied most permanently with bullets. One was a Navy captain working closely with the CIA who didn't take kindly to that treatment. Phil Sherman is sent to help find the people responsible for the killings off the coast of Spain.

15 Haitian Vendetta Haitian Vendetta
Written by Don Smith
Copyright: 1973

Having recently come onboard full time, Phil Sherman is unceremoniously shunned officially by the CIA as they send him into Haiti to investigate the actions of the reputed head of the notorious Tontons Macoutes. The CIA wanted to know if this band of secret police was being backed by the Cubans.

16 Night Of The Assassin Night Of The Assassin
Written by Don Smith
Copyright: 1973

The rumors were strong that the Chinese had smuggled nuclear missiles into their puppet regime in Albania. The CIA wanted to know for sure so they picked Phil Sherman to find out. Unfortunately, it was all a plot to get him in a compromising position and eliminate him.

17 The Libyan Contract The Libyan Contract
Written by Don Smith
Copyright: 1974

The thought of having to protect a wild man like Khaddafi seemed a bit much but that is what Phil Sherman finds he has to do to stop an American hitman from taking out the Libyan leader and starting a major diplomatic situation. Besides saving the leader's life, Sherman must also figure out who paid to have him killed.

18 The Peking Connection The Peking Connection
Written by Don Smith
Copyright: 1975

A leading member of the Chinese government's delegation to the U.N. had a lucrative sideline going as he used diplomatic pouches to smuggle heroin into the U.S. The CIA told Phil Sherman to learn whether it was one man being very capitalistic or a plot by the communist regime to undermine the population.

19 The Dalmatian Tapes The Dalmatian Tapes
Written by Don Smith
Copyright: 1976

The mission for Phil Sherman was simply to plant a bug on a Yugoslavian cabinet minister and monitor a conversation. It all goes bad as the secret police kill the minister and place the blame on Sherman. Fleeing, Sherman is at least gratified to know he had the required tapes - until he finds someone has switched them on him.

20 The Bavarian Connection The Bavarian Connection
Written by Don Smith
Copyright: 1978

Someone wanted the truth behind Nazi thefts to remain hidden. When a young man came to Switzerland to claim a horde of his father's stolen gold, he is found dead. So is an art dealer tracking down the truth behind a painting. And others also die trying to learn the facts. Phil Sherman is then told to do his own investigating.

21 The Strausser Transfer The Strausser Transfer
Written by Don Smith
Copyright: 1978

The kidnapping of an American student in France by the KGB was to coerce her scientist father to come over to their side. Phil Sherman was dispatched to bring her home safely. Another agent, anxious to solve matter his own way, decided to get involved and he had no interest in saving lives.


The same publisher who brought us Nick Carter - Killmaster, Award, brought us Phil Sherman. My, but what a difference!

Phil Sherman is neither bombastic nor overbearing. He is a bit too easy-going when taking pretty hazardous assignments but otherwise he is a thoughtful and careful spy who would like to make it home and who knows well that a mistake or a rash action can keep that from happening.

The writing is quite good and the action quite intelligent, making an enjoyable series you should like a good deal. I certainly did. There were a good deal of Sherman adventures written but I would not have minded a few more.


My Grade: B

Your Average Grade:   A-


GoldenI A+ 4/17/2012 3:57:07 PM

Thank you WHY for reaquainting me with this series! I had totally forgotten about it. That might suggest the yarns were forgetable...not the case. Tongue was firmly in cheek in the first several adventures. Big difference from Nick Carter. These are easy to come by on and cheap.

Gomek B+ 2023-03-19

Kremlin Plot was a breezy read. It took a few pages to get the premise, Phil is a business man who "helps" out, and nothing was overly stupid. I never bought into why he just didn''t leave via the American embassy but I didn''t mind either

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