In 1967 Adam Diment was about to rewrite spy fiction.
There had been many contenders for Ian
Fleming's and James Bond's throne. 'Boysie' Oakes in John Gardner's 'The
Liquidator' (Gardner would take over the Bond franchise) and Doctor Jason Love
in 'Passport To Oblivion' (filmed as 'Where The Spies Are'). Add to the list
John Sanders with Nicholas Pym, the 'James Bond' of Oliver Cromwell's Secret
So, enter Philip McAlpine. Tall, good looking
and a love of fast cars, fast living, pot, sex and all manner of things mod.
Truly a sixties child.
Suddenly his creator, Adam Diment, was the
'big thing'. Both he and his creation were hailed as the true successors to
Fleming and Bond.
'The Dolly Dolly Spy' is told in the first
person and appears to be a slow starter. McAlpine is coerced into working for
British Intelligence department 6(NC/NAC) by the head Rupert Quine who is
nothing like M. Quine is camp and prone to calling people 'luv' but this is
just window dressing for a man who has a nasty, sadistic streak and can resort
to blackmail with a smile on his face.
Recruited McAlpine is sent to work for the
International Charter Inc a company that British Intelligence are interested
in. On the surface the company runs package holidays for tourists to the
Mediterranean island of Dathos. Underneath there is gunrunning and other
clandestine activities going on. As a perk for this McAlpine is well paid and
has the privelege of having his girlfriend, Veronica, live with him.
But the easy living comes to an end when he
has to start earning his money and has to kidnap a former member of the Waffen
SS. The only trouble is that the Americans want him too and McAlpine is not a
subscriber to any 'special relationships'.
What makes 'The Dolly Dolly Spy' stand out
from the crowd is Adam Diment's delivery. His hero says exactly what he thinks
and that goes all the way to make McAlpine real - like you were reading an
There were three more books 'The Great Spy
Race', 'The Bang Bang Birds' and 'Think,Inc' the latter in 1971 after a gap of
three years. But that was the end as Adam Diment just disappeared from the
There was talk of a movie with David Hemmings
but it came to nothing. Though, I do wonder if the McAlpine novels insired
Austin Powers though that character does not compare.
If you liked Bond, then you will like McAlpine.
I wrote this piece a while back for a different blog.