Giff Speer

Created by Don Tracy
Pseudonyms include Barnaby Ross, Roger Fuller

GIFF SPEER is a special agent of sorts for the Military Police, occasionally even going undercover to investigate crimes involving the U.S. Army.

So what’s he doing here?

Well, about halfway through the series by Don Tracy, following events in Pot of Trouble (1971), Giff retires from the military and becomes a Washington, D.C. private eye.

But whether he’s working for Uncle Sam or a private client, the guy does get around, popping up in Connecticut, Louisiana, Arizona, Florida, and Maryland, among other locales.

Skyjacking? Terrorists? Saboteurs? Communist infiltrators? Missing grenades? Giff’s no dummy, but he prefers hands-on problem solving. Fortunately, he’s an impressive hulk who can take care of himself, standing 6’1″ or so, and weighing in at about 220 pounds. We’re also told “his head was covered with close-cropped, Swede-yellow curls with a touch of gray at the sides, the bright thatch startling in contrast to his deeply-tanned skin. He has deep-set blue eyes and a flat nose. His chin is normally set in a stern, resolute manner and has several scars put there… by fists and other implements of combat.”

So… a Travis McGee type (before there was a Travis McGee), but apparently without the philosophical moralizing and sexual healing powers.

Although, of course, Giff is no virgin. He definitely gets his (after all, what 60s-era pulp fiction babe could resist a bronzed Apollo called Giff?)..

Some have slagged the books as “run of the mill,” but others found them quite entertaining, praising them for their authenticity and action.


Don Taylor had a long and varied writing career, starting way back in the 1930s with four hardcover crime novels, and continuing through to 1976 when he passed away (he only published three books that year). Besides the Giff Speer series (which benfitted from Taylor’s own years in the military police) and the mainstream novels, historicals, juveniles and non-fiction he penned under his own name, he wrote numerous film and television tie-ins and novelizations, including Son of Flubber, Burke’s Law and The Fugitive, and a long string of Peyton Place sequels, all as Roger Fuller and some historical fiction as Barnaby Ross. Perhaps his best known works were the mainstream novel The Big Brass Ring (1963), and Criss-Cross (1935), which became the basis for the classic 1949 film noir starring Burt Lancaster.


  • “… even though he doesn’t have an entry in Kevin Burton Smith’s Thrilling Detective website, (Giff) deserves one.
    — Steve Lewis
  • “Tracy gave the Giff Speer novels plenty of vivid and authentic background. Speer himself was a smart, rational investigator who got the job done.”


Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith. Thanks to Steve for the heads-up.

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