SPY & CRIME THRILLERS BY KENNETH BENTON
“Of those [ex-MI6 novelists] that neatly bridged the gap between fact and fiction in the British intelligence community, among the most elegant was Kenneth Benton.”
– Nigel West, ‘Fiction, Faction and Intelligence‘, Intelligence and National Security
"Interesting face, he thought, a bit rugged looking, with that broken nose, but the voice was easy and quiet, with a touch of Scottish in it, perhaps. The List had shown him as having been the top cop in Bangasa, but he looked pretty young still. Anyway, he decided, being discreet would be part of his job." - a diplomat describes Craig in Sole Agent
PETER CRAIG Quotes
"When a man thinks he’s killed somebody, he usually panics. If a really cold-blooded murderer exists, I’ve never met one."
ABOUT PETER CRAIG
Peter Craig is a police advisor with the British Commonwealth Office. He served as Police Commissioner of the (fictional) West African country of Bangasa until independence in the late 1960s.
His expertise in security and counterinsurgency, much in demand around the dangerous Cold War world of the 1970s, takes him around the world, from Rome (Spy in Chancery) and Lisbon (Sole Agent) to Brazil (Twenty-fourth Level), Peru (Shadow of the Jaguar) and the Middle East (The Midas Touch).
Craig’s world is one of endless travel for lectures and briefings, guest receptions, formal dress, gin & tonic at sundown – the trappings of British colonial sophistication in otherwise hostile climates at the twilight of the Empire. But his reputation as a tough – and, vitally, discreet – troubleshooter precedes him: when his diplomat colleagues need a problem solved, they call Craig. And Craig (who misses the rough and tumble of policing more than he lets on) is usually happy to oblige.
Craig has a policeman's disdain for the cloak-and-dagger world of espionage, but frequently finds that spycraft is essential for survival. Like many of Kenneth Benton's own generation of agents, he's a gifted amateur, living on his wits; as competent making small-talk with Embassy guests as he is infiltrating a safehouse, and with a range of tactics for escaping from either situation.
In Benton's words, “This was a character drawn from real-life, which is to say that police advisors like Craig really exist and I worked with them myself. For the hero of a thriller, this is a tremendous advantage, as he can be sent on assignment to Embassies in any part of the world.”
The Craig thriller novels were inspired by a mixture of real-life experience in MI6/SIS, extensive travel and a lively imagination.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kenneth Benton was born in Wolverhampton, England, in 1909. From 1941 to 1944 he served the Secret Intelligence Service in Madrid as head of counter espionage, identifying and tracking German spies passing through Spain on their way to the USA and UK.
He was the only person in Spain or Portugal licensed to read the secret German messages transmitted from Bletchley Park through the breaking of the Enigma Codes. His wife Peggie played an important role in the recruitment and running of the many agents required to carry out this task. Kenneth continued to serve MI6, in Rome, Spain, Peru and Brazil, retiring in 1968. Benton then applied his mastery of many European languages and knowledge of exotic places to develop a second career as a thriller writer, leading to a spell as chairman of the Crime Writers’ Association. He died in Chichester in 1999.