Much of the Reliable Man’s background is unexplored, yet on occasion, the stories will reveal a nugget of information about his background. Sometimes self contradictory from story to story, the history of his early years is revealed in the pages of each thriller. Bill Jedburgh’s dossier has been compiled from passages taken from the first eight novels in the series.

“I have a document here from a Superintendent Callum Forrester that says you are an excellent shot with the Glock 17.”

Born in 1960, to parents Major James Jedburgh, Coldstream Guards and mother Cynthia, William Marmaduke St. John Jedburgh (known as Bill) comes from an old military family. He grew up in Germany until the age of 11 when he was sent off to boarding school in England.

“I scraped through my O Levels because stripping an SLR seemed much more interesting than photosynthesis and algebra.”

After school Jedburgh joined the British Army as a Second Lieutenant but after an unfortunate incident in Northern Ireland he was asked to resign his commission.

Scrimple said: “You were in the Army once, weren’t you, Bill?”
“Intelligence Corps, didn’t last very long. Bad fit. I did
it to spite my father who wanted me to join his regiment, the Coldstream Guards.”

“What did your Dad say about you joining the Royal Hong Kong Police?”

“He wasn’t impressed. Told me there was no honour in being a policeman. ‘Every man thinks meanly of himself for not having been a soldier‘, he used to say, to make his point.”

“What did you say to that?”

“I was a cocky lad in those days. ‘A soldier’s time is passed in distress and danger, or in idleness and corruption’ is what I told the old man. He went red in the face and slammed the door to his study.”

Joining the RHKP as a Probationary Inspector he completed the nine month course at the Police Training School and became a Sub-Unit Commander. After a brief stint running a Vice Squad, he passed selection for SDU ‘The Flying Tigers’ once his skills with a sniper rifle and other weapons were recognised.

“Inspector Jedburgh has a good grasp of Cantonese and gets on well with his junior officers although at times he is unorthodox and does not obey or seem to know the regulations of the Police General Orders manual.” 

For his last tour of duty he transferred into the VIP Protection Team which was attached to Special Branch where he guarded Heads of State, Foreign Ministers and the last Governor of Hong Kong. It was here that he learnt to love the simple Austrian perfection of the 9 mm Glock semi-automatic pistol.

Sir Bernard read from the extract of my P-file: “Jedburgh showed that he could handle administration but proved less than enthusiastic about the more routine aspects of police work. In his last year in the Force he appeared to lose interest in his job.”   

The Chinese tycoon paused and gave me the hard stare that must have sent his employees running for cover. “What happened, Jedburgh? Why did you lose interest?”

I gave him a smile. “I won’t bore you with the details but sometimes in life we realise it is time to move on and find new challenges.”

But by this time Jedburgh was getting bored of being a copper and the regimented life of a civil servant. Other expatriates, in other jobs, whether traders, bankers or lawyers were all making more money. Encouraged by his dubious acquaintance, the multi-millionaire Harry Bolt, he resigned from the Force and started a new freelance career as the secretive assassin who would come to be known as The Reliable Man.

When Bolt had enough of me moaning perpetually about being broke he asked me, hypothetically, if I would kill someone for money. I knew the answer. Definitely, if there was a lot of money on offer and I was certain to get away with it.

“How could you be certain to get away with it?” he asked.

“You have to know what you are doing,” I had said, listing the points that came to mind. Never let yourself be identified or linked to the crime. Don’t use an obvious or traceable murder weapon. Don’t leave forensic evidence that can be built up into a picture of the murderer. Don’t have personal contact with anybody connected to the job. Work alone at all times. Don’t be specific with clients about time, location or any details of the job. Distance yourself as much as possible from the scene of the crime. If possible, prevent any investigation in the first place by making it look like suicide.”

“So why don’t we test your theory,” he said with a smile on his face, “with a little practical exercise?”

But working for himself was never going to be as simple as it sounded. Eventually he comes to the attention of Singapore’s Security & Intelligence Division and its cunning and manipulative Director, Brigadier Wee. Soon Jedburgh finds himself doing jobs that are more political in nature. As much as he resists being pulled into the Brigadier’s orbit, Jedburgh understands that it can be useful to have such a powerful organization watching over him, protecting his back.

“Relationships are everything in Asia,” the Brigadier said firmly. “It is the reason we have had such a long and mutually beneficial involvement with you for example.”

I shrugged. “As long as we are all making money, it doesn’t make any difference to me, one way or the other.”

In fact it did sometimes but that was neither here nor there.  

“This is where you come in,” Wee went on. “The deal has not been finalised; the contract has not been signed yet. Nothing must happen to the President of the Philippines in the next six weeks.”

And occasionally he works because it is a favour for a friend or he is swayed into action by a damsel in distress. Above all – despite lacking any sense of conscience or remorse – Jedburgh values loyalty to his friends and always pays his debts.

It rang eight times before a familiar voice answered.

“Bill, it’s Scrimple. How’ve you been? McAlistair gave me your number.”

“I’m not bad. What’s up?”
“We’re up shit creek without a paddle,” Scrimple said.

“What else is new?” Jedburgh replied with a low chuckle.

“Ha-ha, very funny.”
“You’re in Cambridge, aren’t you?” Jedburgh said.
“Yeah, my mate got shot by this Chinese chick, the one who was in Hong Kong last year. And the spook woman that was after us in Hong Kong, she’s also turned up.”

“Okay,” said Jedburgh cautiously. “It all sounds a bit complicated but let’s focus on your immediate situation.”

“I need to get out of here and hide up somewhere.”

“No problem,” Jedburgh said.

And even if he’s got other stuff planned, when you are the Reliable Man, you can’t turn down paid work just because you want to go on holiday.

Larry Lim, whose boss ran the Singapore Intelligence complex, called me and said: “We’ve got a little job for you.”

I had just bought myself a new condominium and was still arranging the furniture and deciding what painting should hang on which wall. My reply was terse: “No bloody way. It’s Christmas and I’m on holiday.”

“Technically it’s not Christmas for another seven days,” he said.

“The answer is still no. I’m flying off tomorrow to spend Christmas with some mates in their ski chalet in Bavaria.”

“We know that. So we’ve booked SQ first class to Munich for you as a Christmas present, with a little side trip to Helsinki. It should only take three days at the most.”
 “What’s the job?” I asked.

 “The Brigadier wants you to pop over to Finland and eliminate a man called Veli Nuorgam.”

 “What’s he done wrong?”
 “Nothing really,” Larry admitted.
 “So why do I have to go and kill him?”

 “I have no idea,” Larry answered.
 “Need to know?”
 “It’s as much as I know and as much as you need,” he
said unhelpfully. “It doesn’t really matter, does it? If the Brigadier thinks that the man might be a threat to the stability and safety of Singapore, then you should go and do the job.”

 “Just like that?” I asked.

 “Just like you’ve always done.”

1980 – Bill Jedburgh joins the British Army as a 2nd Lieutenant, posted to the Intelligence Corps.

1982 – Jedburgh joins the Royal Hong Kong Police (RHKP) as an Inspector, serves in Uniform Branch and Vice.

1985 – Jedburgh starts his second tour in the RHKP, joins the Special Duties Unit (SDU). 

1987 – Jedburgh’s third tour in the RHKP, serves in SDU and VIP Protection (G4). 

1990 – Jedburgh leaves the RHKP and begins his new career as a professional assassin.

1991 – Reliable in Bangkok.

1992 – Jedburgh moves to live in Singapore.

1993 – Reliable in Jakarta.

1994 – Reliable in Zurich. Jedburgh buys a beach house in Thailand.

1995 – Reliable in Hong Kong, Reliable in Danang.

1996 – Reliable in New York.

1997 – Reliable in London.

1998 – Jedburgh appears in Dragon Breath (Inspector Scrimple book).

1999 – Reliable in Shanghai, Reliable in Kuala Lumpur.

2001 – Reliable in San Francisco (Coming soon)

2002 – Jedburgh builds a house in Puerto Galera, Philippines.

2003 – Jedburgh appears in Triple Witching (Dominic Tweddle book – Coming Soon).

2004 – Reliable in Bohol .

2005 – The Oldest Sins (Asian Sins Series).

2007 – Reliable in Manila.

2008 – Reliable in Lapland.

2009 – Reliable in Shenzhen. Negative Buoyancy (Asian Sins Series).

2010 – Sins of our Sisters (Asian Sins Series).

2011 – Reliable in Lahore. (Coming soon)

2012 – Jedburgh appears in Perfect Killer (Inspector Scrimple book).

2013 – Sins of our Elders (Asian Sins Series).

2014 – Jedburgh appears in Fatal Actions (Inspector Scrimple book).

2016 – Jedburgh appears in Random Outcome (Inspector Scrimple book).

2017 – Jedburgh appears in Yellow Hammer (Inspector Scrimple book).

2019 – White Bishop (Staunton book). Sins of our Bankers (Asian Sins Series). Burn Control (Inspector Scrimple book – Coming soon).

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