James Helder
Created by Vict
or Canning (1911 - 1986)

Although long known for his spy novels, Victor Canning has managed to crank out a few memorable privates, such as Rex Carver and Edward Mercer.

JAMES HELDER is another, although "memorable" may not be the word he uses to describe himself, exactly.

In his first appearance, The Satan Sampler (1979), he's not the main character and we're never even told his first name, and in Fall from Grace (1980), where he assume a more major role, he confesses to being "a sort of gray shape living a gray, humdrum life like so many people. So, to escape from all that, I mix in other and more unorthodox people's lives to add a little crude color to my own."

The "more unorthodox" person he's after in Fall from Grace is John Corbin, a man right out of the Patricia Highsmith playbook, a womanizer and blackmailer who worms his way into a cushy job writing a book about the famous gardens of Illaton Manor. It's a sweet set-up: it comes with a cabin, extensive research facilities, and a beautiful coworker Corbin soon sets out to seduce.

Victor Canning wrote over 60 books in his lifetime, mostly espionage and adventure novels, but also children's stories, several historical novels set in Roman and Arthurian Britain, short story collections and a travel book.


Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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