Branscombe_Geoffrey2 Branscombe_Geoffrey1
Full Name: Geoffrey Branscombe
Nationality: British
Organization: British Intelligence
Occupation Agent

Creator: Hugh Matheson
Time Span: 1959 - 1961


Geoffrey Branscombe is an agent with British Intelligence.

At least he is part-time and that time is a bit more than he would like and considerably more than his wife would agree to. Unfortunately for the two of them, Bruce Denton, the man who finds the assignments that put Branscombe and his wife, Eve, into such dangerous situations has two powerful methods of getting the couple into harm's way. First, he is a charming man with such a winning and forceful personality that saying no is often impossible. Second, he presents to Branscombe such interesting matters of scientific curiousness that the man cannot resist. Denton himself is a hard man to pin down. He says he is the titular head of a small agency called S.O.R.T. which is a minor research group for the government yet he is brought in routinely on very high-profile cases and he jokingly admits he works at large for the Establishment, an nebulous group of very powerful people which has no official mandate but which gets things done nevertheless.

As a paying profession, Branscombe is a scientist and a very good one. The first of the two recorded adventures that Branscombe is involved in comes directly from his discovery of an anti-gravitational force known as the Nullifier. It is through this invention, and the efforts of unknown persons to steal the technology, that Branscombe comes into contact with Denton. When other attempts to uncover the truth prove inadequate, it is Denton that waves the lure of the hunt before the inquisitive man and reels him in.

Branscombe would be the very first person to chuckle at the idea that he is anything other than a quiet, unassuming researcher but his record during WWII lies at odds with that attitude. He claims early on that the rank he achieved during the War was more a case of no one else wanting the leadership role. And as for the DSO that he earned by braving the chance of capture by going behind enemy lines to prove that the Germans were withdrawing was really a case of not believing what Intelligence, a term he find amusing, believed was wrong but the only way of proving it was to go there himself. He says the medal was really a face-saving act by his superiors to cover their mistake.

These self-denigrating admissions do not get backed by his actions in the two adventures recorded, and the insinuation that there were at least a couple more undocumented. Branscombe is intelligent enough to not be foolhardy but he is not a shrinking violet and his athletic prowess first earned in his days at university gives him enough ability to get himself out of the trouble his curious nature brings to him.

His wife, Eve, is no wallflower herself being very intelligent and very determined. She makes a very good partner to Geoffrey though considerably less willingly.

Science plays a huge role in these two dramas and it is important to remember when reading them that at the time they were published, they were often categorized with some good cause as science fiction. And while some of the science mentioned in the books may not have been discovered yet, they are nowhere as far-fetched as seemed six decades ago.


Number of Books:2
First Appearance:1959
Last Appearance:1961

1 The Third Force The Third Force
Written by Hugh Matheson
Copyright: 1959

Having discovered the principle behind the Nullifier, Branscombe discovers that someone is determined to steal the secret from him and he is just a determined to uncover their identity.
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2 The Balance Of Fear The Balance Of Fear
Written by Hugh Matheson
Copyright: 1961

Now a special agent for the government, Branscombe is asked to investigate reports of a something able to fly at triple the speed of sound. As he nears Venice to start, his wife is kidnapped, probably to divert his attention.
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I first listed this character's occupation as Other-Scientist because he is first and foremost that. But the second book clearly lists him as a Special Agent and there is no doubt by the way that Denton approaches his involvement, Denton considers him an asset so I changed it to make him an agent. If someone presented a good enough case, I could be swayed the other way.

These two books have a lot of adventure in them and a good deal of science. They also have more than their share of humor from the mindset of Branscombe who has the good grace to not take anything, himself especially, too seriously. When his wife Eve gets in danger, he tones his amusement down understandably but otherwise he maintains his excellent attitude that too many things are far too somber for their own good.

If you like science in your thrillers, this series is one to have on your list even is the science is a bit dated. It is, IMHO, because of the datedness that they are even more interesting.


My Grade: B-


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