Keen_James3 Keen_James1 Keen_James2 Keen_James5 Keen_James4
Full Name: James Keen
Nationality: British
Organization: Cabinet Office
Occupation Spymaster

Creator: Bradshaw Jones
Time Span: 1962 - 1964


James Keen is a spymaster with British Intelligence.

Not many series change horses in midstream but that is what Mr. Jones did with his very interesting and challenging series about James Keen. A man in his 60's when the series begins and already overweight, Keen is a man in considerable power. He works directly for the Cabinet Office with the ability to meet with the Prime Minister as needed.

It is his job to seek out the problems before they get too big. Unfortunately, that usually means they are not yet big enough to make other realize the situation. As a result, Keen must force his will too often, ending up with very few friends and a lot of enemies. Even those that work for him often do so out of fear more than respect or friendship.

Which makes him really the perfect boss for Claude Ravel, a man determined to get the job done no matter what rules must be shattered. As the series progresses, Ravel works more and more with his wife, Monique, a woman as dangerous as she is beautiful.

While Ravel and others are the action end of things, it is Keen who is the brains and who directs events. At least for the first three books. Then he is virtually non-existent in the 4th, and, well, dead in 5th.

Mr. Jones wrote a few more books about the Ravels afterwards, though he had both Claude and Monique move to Interpol and because rule-breaking international policemen. These books are:

The Embers of Hate (1966)

Testament of Evil (1966)

The Deadly Trade (1967)

A Den Of Savage Men (1967)


Number of Books:5
First Appearance:1962
Last Appearance:1964

1 The Hamlet Problem The Hamlet Problem
Written by Bradshaw Jones
Copyright: 1962

James Keen knows the Soviets have a secret plan in place in case of war but he needs Ravel and Mason to sniff out the details.

2 The Crooked Phoenix The Crooked Phoenix
Written by Bradshaw Jones
Copyright: 1963

The action has begun again when James Keen puts his men on the trail of deception that culminates in a kidnapping plot alont the shores of Lake Geneva.

3 Tiger From The Shadows Tiger From The Shadows
Written by Bradshaw Jones
Copyright: 1963

A plot to disrupt the flow of electricity throughout Europe is learned by James Keen and his men but the question is how best to stop a plan no one else believes.

4 Death On A Pale Horse Death On A Pale Horse
Written by Bradshaw Jones
Copyright: 1964

With James Keen out of the Intelligence business, it is up to Ravel and his wife to investigate the disappearance of a British chemist who may have defected with vital biological information.

5 Private Vendetta Private Vendetta
Written by Bradshaw Jones
Copyright: 1964

The assassination of James Keen on the same night an MI-5 official is killed is considered a sad coincidence by all except Ravel.


When I mentioned above that Keen did not have a lot of friends, I meant it and you will see why as you read the stories. Claude and Monique Ravel are refreshingly brutal in their determination to see justice done but Keen is even more brutal than they, which is why they obviously respected him so much. Not many other people could put up with Keen's coldness and his "get the job done at any cost."

This is a good series but it is intense. If anyone has read the other four Ravel stories and think they belong here, let me know.


My Grade: B


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