From out of the pages of Operator #5 magazine steps a dramatic hero who pits himself against threats to national security from all origins. Whether it’s a subversive internal threat, or a full-scale invasion from an enemy land, James Christopher stood ready and resolute to defeat it.
They called him Operator #5—undercover agent, man of many identities, patriotic protector of America’s sacred shores. Working for the U. S. Intelligence Service, his job is to root out subversive elements and stand as the first line of defense against foreign invasions from all quarters. Aided by street-smart Tim Donovan and newspaperwoman Diane Elliott, Jimmy Christopher was the James Bond of the 1930s! But can even these resourceful comrades hold the line when the world is filled with ambitious dictators bent on conquering America?
James Christopher did not technically belong to the U. S. Secret Service. He was a top agent for an America’s unnamed counter espionage agency. It was in his blood. His father, John Christopher, retired from the same agency years before. Answerable only to his superior, Z-7, and carrying a letter from the President of the United States identifying him as Operator #5, Jimmy Christopher played for keeps. He carried a rapier sewn into his belt, and in a golden skull hanging from his watch-chain was a reservoir of deadly poison to be taken in the event of capture.
Originally written by master pulpsmith Frederick C. Davis, the Operator #5 series was a clear forerunner of the spy and espionage genre, which exploded in the 1960s when President John F. Kennedy happened remark that he enjoyed reading Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels. The first Bond film, Dr. No, was released in 1962. Soon, America was surrounded by spies. The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Our Man Flint, and Nick Carter, Killmaster were just a few of the most prolific. Jimmy Christopher was on the job a generation before them all, blazing the espionage trail, and keeping America safe from fascism and other wicked isms.
For his fourth mission, Jimmy Christopher battles The Melting Death. Here is how the editors blurbed it in the July, 1934 issue of Operator #5 magazine:
Out of the blue it struck––that dread, mysterious force, dealing death, destruction and misery to millions. America found herself stripped of her strongest defenses as battleships, huge guns, skyscrapers, factories and transportation systems crumbled to dust before the voracious flame. No one could tell where it came from; where it would next strike; no one was safe from its hot, devouring maw. An entire nation stood crippled, paralyzed by panic as Operator #5, alone, fought to save America from the red ruin loosed upon it.
Into this unprecedented crisis plunged Jimmy Christopher. Only one man, but a man who embodied the American spirit—and stands prepared to perish to protect his country.
The Melting Death is read with tightly-wound tension by Milton Bagby.