“One of his companions had sworn to betray him. But how and when.”
The last Pulp Friday for 2011 features the work of Simon Harvester, a British pulp writer best known for the character of Dorian Silk. Silk was a globe trotting Brtish spy with an unlimited ability to speak languages and understand local customs and a fairly obvious attempt by the author to cash in on the James Bond craze of the sixties and early seventies.
Harvester also wrote pulp fiction featuring other characters, most set in Asia, of which the two books in this post are both examples.
Published in 1969, The Chinese Hammer concerns another spy, Heron Murmer. A British forey into the space race results in a missing rocket, pilot and tape with valuable data. Murmer is sent to the Himalayas to retrive it only to discover that there is a traitor amongst the colourful group assembled for the mission. Is it the half caset reporter? Maybe the native guide, Jimmy?
Dragon Road, features Harvester’s other creation, Malcolm Kent, a former British soldier, now engineer, who makes a habit of getting tangled up in international intrigue in the Far East.
How many modern day spy books do you see with an engineer as the main character?
All of Harvester’s books appear to have been published by McFaden Bartell Books in the US. For those who are interested, there’s a great run down of Harvester’s work on site Spy Guys and Gals.
The back blurb of Dragon Road sums up the feel of Harvester’s work nicely:
“Who was the seductive Chinese woman who watched him so intently?
Beneath half-closed lids, she observed his every move. Kenton, trying desperately to get across the border into Burma after exposing a Communist cell, knew his fate might lie in her graceful hands.
Was she a Communist tool, sent to lure him into China-and certain death? Or the mistress of a wealthy planter, as rumour had it? Or just a lonely woman attracted by his masculinity?
Kenton had to endure four days of unbearable tension, shattering suspicion, and attempted murder before the showdown finally came- and he learned who the real enemy was… “