Follow TV Tropes


Context Literature / Quiller

Go To

1[[quoteright:350:]]께->''They know they've got to look for the man who stands facing the wrong way in a bus queue to show he doesn't really want a bus, the man who always wants the window open when everyone else wants it shut, the awkward fellow who's going to kill himself one day trying to prove he's bullet-proof. And if they want him for a dirty, rotten, stinking job that he'd normally throw back in their faces, all they've got to do is tell him that everyone else has refused it.''께Quiller is the first-person protagonist of a series of [[SpyFiction espionage novels]] by English-born author Creator/EllestonTrevor, writing under the pen name of Adam Hall. He is a shadow executive (secret agent) for the Bureau, a 'deniable' British intelligence agency reporting directly to the Prime Minister.께In 1966, one of the books, ''The Berlin Memorandum'', was [[TheFilmOfTheBook filmed]] under the title ''The Quiller Memorandum''. Creator/GeorgeSegal starred as Quiller, and the cast also included Creator/AlecGuinness, Creator/MaxVonSydow, Senta Berger and Creator/GeorgeSanders. The screenplay was written by Creator/HaroldPinter.께!!The books include the following tropes:께* AllAPartOfTheJob: Quiller makes clear that he (and by extension the other shadow executives) do their job because they need the excitement. He presents it as a not very sane defect. He's all for helping humanity and his country and doing the right thing, but if Quiller goes too long between assignments he starts to hang around the office waiting (begging) for something and finds himself agreeing to take assignments that he would have otherwise turned down.* TheChessmaster: London Control gets Quiller to volunteer for missions he'd normally refuse by making them appear to be something different.* ColdBloodedTorture: Quiller is on the receiving end on several occasions.* ComicBookTime: Quiller repeatedly says he's "[[FeelingTheirAge getting old]]" in the first novel, written in 1965. His last mission is in "Quiller Balalaika", written in 1996 -- as Quiller was a secret agent during the Second World War this would put him in his seventies.* CunningLinguist: Quiller language skills range from Polish ("It's like stuffing your tongue in a jar of used razor blades.") to Cantonese.* CyanidePill: Quiller refuses to carry one because he뭩 Suffix 9 (Reliable Under Torture). He changes his mind in the later novels after he's been tortured a few times.* DeusExNukina: "The Tango Briefing"* [[DoesntLikeGuns Doesn't Like Guns]]: Quiller always refuses a handgun -- they give him away as a spy, they cause overconfidence, and they're noisy. He has used sniper rifles in a couple of books, but only when there's been no other way to kill a target. All other times Quiller relies on his martial arts skills.* DrinkBasedCharacterization: Quiller prefers Jack Daniels with ice -- strong, and completely lacking in sophistication. A drink that just screams "Stale Beer".* DrivenToSuicide: Shown as a rather disturbing NoodleIncident involving shadow executives who crack up under the strain.* EnemyMine: "Quiller KGB"* FirstPersonSmartass* FunWithForeignLanguages: Played straight in ''The Peking Target''. Quiller has been captured by the Soviets, who force him to make a radio transmission giving a false report to his base. Unknown to the Soviet BigBad, his translator is on Quiller's side. So the BigBad tells what he wants Quiller to say in Russian, the translator tells Quiller what the actual Soviet plan is in English, and Quiller must then transmit that information to his base in a manner that still sounds plausible (if the false information contains the words Seoul or Peking, for instance, the BigBad would be suspicious if he didn't hear those words). Unsurprisingly this chapter is entitled 밠inefield.* GetIntoJailFree: In his final novel, Quiller discovers a witness who has evidence that can bring down a high-ranking boss of TheMafiya has been thrown into TheGulag. He gets himself sent there too (though only by faking the conviction papers) even through [[TheAlcatraz no-one has ever escaped before]]. * TheGhost: Moira, an unseen actress lover of Quiller. Various GirlOfTheWeek types ''are'' shown, but she is the only one Quiller leaves a bequest to in his will (뱑oses for Moira).* GovernmentAgencyOfFiction / CloakAndDagger: The Bureau* TheHandler: Each shadow executive has a director-in-the-field who organises safehouses, communication, transport, identity papers, liaison with government officials -- in short, anything the agent needs for the mission. They have a right to refuse to work with a particular director, given that trust between the two is so important. Quiller's preferred director is Ferris, even though he's slightly creepy (he's rumored to strangle mice).** A brief passage in one book sizes up two other directors, Loman ("brilliant but desperate for personal kudos, talk you into a suicide bid if it'll get him a medal, it wasn't his fault I'd come out of Tunis alive") and Thornton ("totally dependable, pull you out of the gates of hell if he can get there in time, but short on Rusk-think patterns and mission sense....").* HeroInsurance: Averted; Quiller is not allowed to steal or damage private property during the course of a mission, and he's always griping about how his expenses are scrutinised minutely.* IncrediblyObviousBug: Quiller "listening for clicks" whenever he picks up the phone, even though the technology involved in phone tapping is a bit more sophisticated than that, even back in TheSixties.* IncrediblyObviousTail: Played straight in "The Quiller Memorandum", as those following Quiller are trying to pressure him into making a mistake -- and "Quiller's Run", where he's being boxed in until a hitman catches up with him. Averted in most cases; though Quiller is good at picking up the subtle clues that show he's being followed, he does make the occasional mistake.* IWorkAlone: Quiller refuses to work with "shields" (bodyguards) or other shadow executives because he doesn't want to let his guard down by depending on someone else.* JustBetweenYouAndMe: Subverted in 밫he Berlin Memorandum as the BigBad뭩 plan is bogus -- he뭩 hoping Quiller will contact his headquarters in an attempt to stop it, [[NiceJobGuidingUsHero giving away its location]].* LiteraryAgentHypothesis: A short forward in one of the novels says that they are 'fictionalised' stories of an actual agent, who will be called "Quiller" to protect his identity.* MadLibThrillerTitle: "The Warsaw Briefing", "The Scorpion Signal" etc. This changed with "Northlight", after which every novel was titled "Quiller (name)".* MedicationTampering: In ''The Striker Portfolio'', West German fighter planes are crashing at a suspicious rate. When Quiller finds the saboteur, [[spoiler:he turns out to be the psychiatrist who's been giving the pilots sedatives to cope with stress. One of the pills in each tube is an increased dosage that knocks out the pilot so they crash. Quiller is incredulous that it's something so simple.]]* MysteriousPast: The only thing we know about Quiller's past is that he's ConvenientlyAnOrphan and his [[BoardingSchoolOfHorrors schooldays were not pleasant]].* NaziHunter: In ''Berlin Memorandum''.* NoodleIncident: Offhand references are made to missions Quiller has taken part in, but which are not covered in the novels.* NoSuchAgency: The Bureau, an organization directly responsible to the Prime Minister of Britain, with "powers that would be called into question in the House of Commons should its existence be revealed".* NotMyDriver: Happens in "Quiller's Run". Even though he escapes, Quiller is furious that he walked into so obvious a trap.* OneRiotOneRanger: Lampshaded in ''Quiller's Run'', when he asks why a paramilitary team isn't sent to take down a powerful ArmsDealer.* OvertOperative: Averted. "Quiller" is just a CodeName, and he always uses a cover name on a mission, which is used even in messages to MissionControl.* RegularCaller: Quiller usually starts a novel being coaxed or conned into taking a mission by various directors of the Bureau. This is perfectly acceptable to him, as all shadow executives are {{Blood Knight}}s and their superiors are expected to be {{Manipulative Bastard}}s.* ResignationsNotAccepted: Averted. In "Quiller's Run", Quiller resigns after his own people try to blow him up during the course of a mission (all Bureau operatives are regarded as expendable). Rather than trying to force him to return, [[spoiler:the Bureau simply give him a mission under the disguise of a private contract.]]* RussianRoulette: In ''Quiller Balalaika'' a [[TheMafiya Russian Mafiya]] boss forces Quiller to play this game (after he's already witnessed [[BadBoss one of his mooks get killed]] this way) with one bullet and six spins of the chamber. The boss is stunned when Quiller actually survives. [[YouSaidYouWouldLetThemGo So he orders his men to take Quiller out to the forest and shoot him properly.]]* SpyFiction: Of the Stale Beer kind.* SpySpeak: Speechcode.* TheSpymaster: Croder, Chief of Signals.* UndersideRide: Quiller is advised not to do this when escaping from TheGulag, as the last person who tried froze to death. In an earlier book, he tries to follow someone by ducking into the wheel well of their passenger aircraft, passes out from lack of oxygen and wakes up just in time to stop himself falling to his death as the undercarriage is lowered.* UnspokenPlanGuarantee: Played straight -- Bureau agents are never told what the mission is about, the idea being that the agent should not get distracted by any larger political implications.께!!The Quiller Memorandum (1966) includes the following tropes:께* CharacterTics: Oktober cracks his knuckles.* DisownedAdaptation: Despite the movie getting critical acclaim, Creator/EllestonTrevor was not happy with the {{Chickification}} of Elsa. He wasn't happy about the TV series either.* EvilSoundsDeep: Oktober, since he's played by the Swedish Creator/ChristoperLee , Creator/MaxVonSydow this is a given.* ExternalCombustion: A motion sensitive bomb is attached to Quiller's car.* HandbagOfHurt: Quiller is bumped by a man with a suitcase, it later becomes apparent that the suitcase was a disguised syringe used to tranq him.* HeroesWantRedheads: Quiller wants Inge.* HotTeacher: Inge is rather easy on the eye.* InstantSedation: Averted. It takes enough time to take affect that Quiller is able to drive for sometime before becoming groggy, then paralytic and finally unconcious.* LimitedWardrobe: Even after being dumped in a river Quiller continues to wear the same grey suit, only changing his clothes at the very end.* ObsessedWithFood: Every scene featuring Pol either has him eating food or talking about it.* StiffUpperLip: The two bosses in London have utter indifference to the operation in Berlin, talking about it with as much enthusiasm as they talk about lunch.* TruthSerums: Under the influence of one Quiller lets slip a few crumbs of information.* TheUnreveal: Inge; was she lucky that Phoenix let her go or was she lucky to escape capture by the Bureau? 께----


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: