Danning_David8 Danning_David5 Danning_David3 Danning_David2 Danning_David6 Danning_David7 Danning_David1 Danning_David4
Full Name: David Danning
Nationality: American
Organization: Military Intelligence
Occupation Other - Lawyer

Creator: Don Von Elsner
Time Span: 1961 - 1968


David Danning is a lawyer.

He is a very successful lawyer who, with his son, make up the partner of Danning and Danning, along with numerous associates and paralegals. His success, though, comes more from solving problems outside the courtroom than any legalese inside it as Danning's largest claim to fame is the ability to unravel strange and intriguing mysteries and get to the bottom of things fairly quickly.

The lawyer/sleuth, now probably in his mid 50's, is an impressive man even beyond his accomplishments as he stands 6'4" tall weighing 200 lbs, none of that fat. An expert in judo and jujitsu, he lives such an active lifestyle that he does not have time to get soft. When he can be prodded and cajoled by his secretary to take a job, he throws himself into it and goes where the evidence takes him, no matter how dangerous the locale.

Danning is still often addressed by his military rank of Colonel, a position he earned while fighting in World War II in the OSS. It is that success, followed by the reputation as a trouble-shooter that eventually brings him back to the attention of the Pentagon and moves him from handling mysteries and cons to handling cloak and dagger assignments. He does not stop being a lawyer but he does accept work from Military Intelligence, jobs which take him to the Far East and up against Communist China as well as the Soviets and the Vietnamese.

When he is not solving strange cases and barely staying alive, Danning enjoys women, golf, and most of all, bridge. He is an expert at all three but a master at cards. With his strong rugged good looks and friendly manner, though, he should also be considered a master with women, though official points are not recorded for those accomplishments.

The character of David Danning joins a small group of private investigator-style action/mystery series which started out as such in the late 50's and early 60's and then changed the flavor of the missions to become spy adventures in the mid to late 60's. Though Colonel Danning's exploits during the War are sometimes alluded to in the first few cases, the author does not make much of the past until the later stories.


Number of Books:8
First Appearance:1961
Last Appearance:1968

1 Those Who Prey Together Slay Together Those Who Prey Together Slay Together
Written by Don Von Elsner
Copyright: 1961

[PI] The CEO of one of America's largest corportations is used to getting his way, not getting threats on his life. When he becomes worried about his safety, he calls in a noted trouble-shooter, David Danning, to make the problem go away.

2 Just Not Making Mayhem Like They Used To Just Not Making Mayhem Like They Used To
Written by Don Von Elsner
Copyright: 1961

[PI] David Danning is hired by a successful insurance company to discover why a series of policyholders have taken their own lives, a number far larger that statistics would explain. What he comes up with is a con game with a particularly nasty way of making the marks kill themselves.

3 Don't Just Stand There, Do Someone Don't Just Stand There, Do Someone
Written by Don Von Elsner
Copyright: 1962

[PI] David Danning found the body pf the millionaire and immediately found himself up to his neck in trouble. The case involved a woman who knew she would soon be widowed and a blackmailer who would have preferred his victim dead. Strange, even for Hollywood.

4 You Can't Do Business With Murder You Can't Do Business With Murder
Written by Don Von Elsner
Copyright: 1962

[PI] The beautiful Sue Gratham was an expert in the paranormal but when she disappeared during a stormy night while investigating a haunted house, David Danning was sure there something far more normal going on, including murder, and he was determined to figure it out.

5 Who Says A Corpse Has To Be Dull Who Says A Corpse Has To Be Dull
Written by Don Von Elsner
Copyright: 1963

[PI] Responding to the request from an old friend, now a police captain, David Danning investigates the death of one wealthy country club member and the disappearance of an ex-D.A., a young girl, and a doctor. All evidence points to a beautiful and possibly deadly woman but Danning has his doubts.

6 Pour A Swindle Through A Loophole Pour A Swindle Through A Loophole
Written by Don Von Elsner
Copyright: 1964

[PI] David and his son Bob have a case that has them both highly motivated. If they cannot come up with evidence, a murderer will not only walk out of court a free man, he will bet $100,000 for his troubles.

7 Countdown For A Spy Countdown For A Spy
Written by Don Von Elsner
Copyright: 1966

[SPY] While in Hawaii on a vacation after many weeks working in the Far East, David Danning is first asked to help find a missing husband then asked to help stop Chinese spies from setting up a terrible weapon in the cave beneath the islands while Russian spies are making it hot for everyone.

8 A Bullet For Your Dreams A Bullet For Your Dreams
Written by Don Von Elsner
Copyright: 1968

[SPY] The head of Far East Counterespionage at the Pentagon knew the only man he wanted to help stop the Communist Chinese from delivering a nuclear weapon to Vietnam was David Danning but the lead Chinese agent, Ho Doc Dang, was determined that Danning would die first.


David Danning is two things more than he is a spy; he is a lawyer who operates as a trouble-shooter and he is a bridge player who loves the game as much as he loves trouble. That said, he also sometimes works as a spy, especially in counter-espionage and even more so when it is corporate rather than political. But he is very much fun to follow and though he at times likes to come off as a 60's version of hard-boiled, he can be endearing.

The decade that gave us Danning certainly explains a lot of why these books are like they are in that the days of frequent flying (jet-setting it was called) was now common and morals were a lot looser than in the previous ten years and fast action and adventure filled the big and small screens, replacing dark and scary back alleys and foggy streets.

Do not pick up a book about Danning expecting heavy prose and serious fare but do pick one up if you want a good "romp" because the author obviously had fun writing them and the reader will have the same.


My Grade: B-


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