MAX VAN DERVEER “Sam, the Secret Weapon.” Novelette. Desiree Fleming #2. First published in The Girl from UNCLE Magazine, October 1967. Reprinted in Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine Annual #3, 1973, as “The Secret Weapon.”

   I don’t know much about the author, Max Van Derveer. He never wrote a novel, but during the 1960s and 70s he wrote well over a hundred shot stories and novelettes for Alfred Hitchcock and Mike Shayne, including several of the lead stories about Shayne in the latter magazine.

   Of a handful of those stories which featured recurring characters, three of them were about a female spy named Desiree Fleming. She’s still relatively new on the job in “Sam, the Secret Weapon,” or so it’s implied. She’s been given the assignment of protecting a nerd scientist, or so she believes, but by the end of the case, she’s learned in most definite fashion how wrong she was.

   The story, while far from exceptional, is a deftly concocted mix of action and introspection. It’s a tale that can easily creep on you as you keep reading. At least it did me.

   The fellow who runs the Spy Guys and Gals website has a profile on the entire series, even though there are only three, and at best all three are only novelettes. I don’t know much about Max Van Derveer. Any assistance would be most welcome.


      The Desiree Fleming series –

“Why Not Bomb Las Vegas?” Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine, April 1967.
“Sam, the Secret Weapon.” The Girl from UNCLE Magazine, October 1967
“The Courier.” The Girl from UNCLE Magazine, December 1967