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Substitutes, Limited. Substitutes, Limited was created by “Valentine,” the pseudonym of Archibald Thomas Pechey (The Adjusters, Daphne Wrayne), and appeared in five stories in The Blue Magazine in 1921, beginning with “The Case of Cynthia Bannerman” (The Blue Magazine, Feb. 1921).

Substitutes, Limited are Rootless Veterans. They are Gerald Ffolliott Derristoum Wyverton, Tommy O’Brien, and Cyril Montgomery, three upper-class men of the Empire (two English, one Irish) who are recently demobbed and unable to find work, despite being “top-hole” in a wide range of skills. There’s too much competition for jobs, and they just haven’t been able to make the cut. So Wyverton has the idea of banding together and advertising themselves as “Substitutes, Ltd.,” a group which hires out three well-dressed, witty, skilled men as “social substitutes in any capacity whatsoever.” The original intention of Wyverton is to provide (for example) a fourth for bridge when one is missing, and they certainly provide men for social obligations, but their jobs, predictably, venture into crime-solving and adventure territories.

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