Steve Brady is a contract agent for British Intelligence.
Of course the word contract is an exaggeration since he never signs anything and they never offered one in the first place. And agent would indicate that he was possibly qualified to act on their behalf which he most assuredly was not and did not want to be. Are you crazy? People try to kill you, don't you know?
So he just does the occasional job for them when money gets tight and they ask nice and sometimes they send Linda Manning to do the asking. Now she was a knockout, able to talk any man into anything. And she was an agent, trained and everything and can use a gun and has more than once so she should do the job and leave Brady alone because he didn't need any of it. Except for the money, that he could use.
When the series starts, Brady is a 28-year old out of work and not sure what to do next. It isn't that he is not good at things, it is that the things he is good at really do not make him a living. He is good at antiques and knowing a bargain and knowing quality but he seems to find a good deal when no one wants what he has found, at least until he sells it for next to nothing to pay the electricity.
He had opened an antique shop with a small inheritance from his aunt and ran it for a couple of years but business went sour and he sold it before it was foreclosed on.
Now he is a good looking guy out of work. Standing a tad over 6 feet, he is in pretty good shape being an excellent swimmer and a very good gymnast. He has had some experience with guns in his younger days but that was enough to let him know he didn't much like them.
So he spends a time or two in bars and meets ladies he can't afford to take to dinner and wonders what he is going to do with his life. That is when he is given an offer that sounded just too good to be true. Just courier a simple rare algebra book from London to Amsterdam for a collector. Earn enough to last him a month of two, plus expenses.
This job brings him to the attention of British Intelligence. No department actually mentioned, of course. Better in the long run, you know. Brady didn't know any such thing but that didn't bother them. They liked what they saw in Brady - a man who could be the perfect bait for any number of situations.
Brady was not the least bit interested, thanks all the same. But he did need the money and each job sounded so very easy that he couldn't say no.
There was a gap of four actual years between the publishing of the 1st and 2nd books but after that, the author came out with a new adventure once every year or so for a while. The gap between the 7th and 8th was again four years. Then the author stepped away from Brady and his love/hate relationship with the beautiful Ms. Manning and the last one did not come out for fifteen years. While not quite that long passed in book time, there is a span of several years, making an interesting and compelling twist to the tale.