National (In-)Security: Fifty Notable American Espionage Novels: 1-3.


Aarons, Edward Sidney.  Assignment to Disaster.  New York: Fawcett, 1955.

This novel is the first of more than forty featuring San Durrell, a C.I.A. operative whose assignments take him to all corners of the world.  The most conspicuous gimmick of the series is that every title begins with the word “Assignment.”  Aarons was so prolific that new novels in the series were published regularly for half a decade after his death in 1975.  Indeed, the series remained so popular that after all of Aarons’ own unpublished manuscripts had been seen into print, his son extended the series, producing San Durrell novels under his own name.

San Durrell is a hard-nosed operative who takes great pride in his professionalism.  Although he is sometimes a little world-weary, he enjoys the challenges in the work he does—the extensive travel, the necessary adjustments to new settings and situations, the pursuit and analysis of…

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