FRIDAY’S FORGOTTEN BOOKS #621: WOMAN OF CAIRO/DEAR, DEADLY BELOVED By John Flagg

I first read these John Flagg (aka, John Rex Gearon) spy novels in the 1960s. At the time, I would read any book published by Gold Medal which featured original paperbacks by John D. MacDonald, Lionel White, Sax Rohmer, Charles WilliamsRichard S. Prather, and Marijane Meaker (under the pseudonym of “Vin Packer”).

I liked the John Flagg books, featuring soldier-of-fortune Hart Muldoon, because Flagg created exotic locales for his spy. In Woman of Cairo the dangerous alleys of Egypt, in Dear, Deadly Beloved Flagg plunges Muldoon into the corruption of the vacation isle of Venzola where the Rich play cruel games for mountains of cash.

According to Nicolas Litchfield’s insightful Introduction, John Flagg’s The Persian Cat (1950) was the first book Gold Medal published. He went on to publish three more Hart Muldoon spy novels, all with Gold Medal. If you’re looking for fast-paced espionage novels with beautiful women, deadly killers, and treachery on every page, Woman of Cairo/Dear, Deadly Beloved will tangle you up in their sinister plots. GRADE: B (for both books)

THE HART MULDOON SERIES:

Woman of Cairo (1953)

Dear, Deadly Beloved (1954)

Murder in Monaco (1957)

Death’s Lovely Mask (1958)

The Paradise Gun (1961)

7 thoughts on “FRIDAY’S FORGOTTEN BOOKS #621: WOMAN OF CAIRO/DEAR, DEADLY BELOVED By John Flagg

  1. Jeff Meyerson

    The one I had was DEATH’S LOVELY MASK, but I never read it. Sounds like a fun series. I didn’t realize at the time what it was, just bought it for the Gold Medal.

    Reply
    1. george Post author

      Jeff, same here. Any book with a Gold Medal logo on it, I bought immediately! Bill Crider and I used to debate who had more Gold Medals. I suspect Bill had more Gold Medals than I did (after all he had TWO storage lockers full of books!).

      Reply
  2. Michael Padgett

    I read “The Persian Cat” when it was reprinted as one of the early Black Gat books several years ago, but don’t remember a thing about it and haven’t read any of his others. I’d never heard of Flagg at the time and was probably more interested in checking out the Black Gat line than I was in that particular book.

    Reply
  3. Rick Robinson

    At the time I was reading SF, and had no idea Gold Medal existed. Nor did I care about spy fiction like this. Late in the decade I did read Ian Fleming’s James Bond books, but that was all, besides Agatha Christie, in the mystery field, but that was already the 1970s. I don’t think I even saw a Gold Medal paperback until Seattle Bouchercon.

    Reply
    1. Michael Padgett

      Same here, Rick. I was aware of Fawcett as a publisher, but didn’t become aware of the Gold Medal mystique until much later. I was still reading SF in the 60s, but it was being slowly phased out and replaced by mysteries. The publication of Le Carre’s “The Spy Who Came in From the Cold” in the sixties did start me on a spy novel binge that lasted 20 years. Two writers I did love, John D. MacDonald and Donald Hamilton, were published by Fawcett, but I don’t know, and wouldn’t have cared at the time, whether they were Gold Medal books.

      Reply
      1. george Post author

        Michael & Rick: I read a goodly number of Gold Medals but when I joined DAPA-EM and learned more about the type of books they published, I hit a lot of number used bookstores and loaded up. I came to regard Gold Medal as a Brand Name indicating quality…just like the flour!

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