Melrose_Giancarlo1 Melrose_Giancarlo2 Melrose_Giancarlo4 Melrose_Giancarlo3
Full Name: Giancarlo Melrose
Nationality: American
Organization: CIA
Occupation Agent

Creator: James Scott
Time Span: 1964 - 1967


Giancarlo Melrose is an agent for the CIA.

Born to an Italian woman and an American father, Giancarlo was a young child living with his parents in Genoa when, during the early days of WWII, his parents died in an air attack. He was taken in by his maternal grandmother but money was non-existent and life was harsh for this pre-teen boy. He learned to survive in the tough war-torn streets even after his grandmother died and he became a war orphan.

In the immediate years after the War, a wealthy American couple named Melrose, unable to have a child of their own, traveled to Italy and picked him from the orphanage. Suddenly the young man went from abject poverty to the best of everything, including ivy-league schools and the chance for an executive white-collar profession.

For reasons not adequately discussed, Melrose chose to not enter the expected workforce but instead returned to the land of his birth as an agent for the CIA. The identity of the agency is not revealed until the third book. In the first, no name is given at all and in the second it is just stated that his boss worked for the American Counter-Intelligence.

As an agent, Melrose uses as his cover the role of photographer for the International Educational Council, a bureau dedicated to eliminating illiteracy around the world. This organization was a legitimate charity employing several hundred people around the world but it was also a front for the agency for which Melrose worked. His immediate boss in Rome both for the IEC and the ACI is a man named Harrigan, a man who has considerable respect for Melrose even as he realizes that the young man still has the impetuousness of youth to contend with.

Giancarlo Melrose is a tall, lithe, very handsome man in his late twenties, comfortable in high society and in the dark alleyways of his youth. He is good with a gun though he does not like using them, an expert with a knife which he carries at all times, and deadly with karate first learned in college from a Japanese classmate.


Number of Books:4
First Appearance:1964
Last Appearance:1967

1 A Festival Of Spies A Festival Of Spies
Written by James Scott
Copyright: 1964

In Venice is a man whose business is causing trouble on a global scale and he is preparing a new endeavour. It is up to Giancarlo Melrose to stop him but finding him will be a challenge, he has three days in which to do it, and his only clue is a corpse.

2 Unfriendly Relations Unfriendly Relations
Written by James Scott
Copyright: 1965

On the trail of a smuggling ring that specialized in rare archaelogical artifacts, Giancarlo Melrose feels that there is far more behind the thefts and the murders he uncovers than just a lust of money and it may involve the Iron Curtain.

3 The Death Dealer The Death Dealer
Written by James Scott
Copyright: 1965

Giancarlo Melrose was only looking for the lovely lady he had met the night before but he stumbles onto a plan involving nuclear weaponry and he becomes the target of several attacks on his life. Angered, he decides to go on the attack himself.

4 The Manhunter The Manhunter
Written by James Scott
Copyright: 1967

Though he had been ordered by his bosses to stay out of it, Giancarlo Melrose decided to disobey and to go after a man who had started his own private war. Stopping the man, though, meant going against his employers and two different women who had reasons to love him and want him dead.


The four tales of Giancarlo Melrose are standard action fare with a very likeable hero, dastardly villians easy to dislike, beautiful women of mixed virtue, and the beautiful countryside of Italy. The books are all quite short, less than 200 pages each, which was common for the 60's, making them extremely fast reads. There is frugality in descriptions but still enough to let you see the scene. Dialogue is also kept surprisingly and pleasantly limited. Melrose is a man of action, not of talk, and the books reflect this.

Had I known of the series back in the day, I would not have awaited eagerly the next adventure but I would certainly have picked it up when it came out. And I would have enjoyed the action then as I do now.


My Grade: B-


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