enhanced] DD-B

Book Note: Edward E. Smith, Have Trenchcoat--Will Travel and others (#5)

I read this book about 30-May-2017. I've read this book before. The book is copyright 2001. This note was last modified Wednesday, 31-May-2017 15:24:46 PDT.

This note contains spoilers for the book.


The count is not accurate; I'm not at all reliable about logging rereads of the works that I reread at the drop of a hat.

In this early-60s yet still rather noir detective novel, Ty and Babe agree that "Dolly" (Dorothy) can "go to the wars" with them when she's trained enough as a fighter. Even before that, they actually listen to her ideas (not just her knowledge), and they argue with her as if she's worth arguing with. She's officially in charge of the company after she invests in it, but quite late in the book it does say that at bottom everybody knows that Ty is still running the agency (he started it, and he was an intelligence agent in the war, so he's probably the best qualified to run it, really).

So, this is (among other things) an example of that male feminism that does, at least, manage to take the females seriously even in male roles. Dolly does get good enough to go to the wars with them; in her final exam (where she only has to not be out-killed 2:1) she actually fights Ty to an even draw (neither kills the other; and the exam gets called off when they both get so focused (and killer instinct takes over) that they're actually a danger to each other). And Ty, far from saying he wasn't fighting as hard as he could, says afterwards that he thinks it's probably the best he's ever fought.

Still, much later, in a meeting at the German restaurant they sneak off to, Dolly and Ty are conferring with Roger Stone and his wife—and it says here the men talked business while the women appreciated the fine service. Roger Stone's wife is a retired detective and not involved in the case, but Dolly is the head of the agency and actively working on the case. Ty points out a couple of places that it was actually Dolly's ideas that broke various parts of the case for them.

Sneaking off to that German restaurant for secure conferences is not well done. While being very careful about possibly tapped phones, they travel in a chaufered Cadillac. Now, as I undersand it, the odds of a livery service driver in New York in the 60s knowing mobsters was really high. And Lieutenant Stone was the obvious person for Ty to contact on the police there. So far as we know, nobody knew Ty's cover identity, so they wouldn't be watching his hotel, but that limo picked up Stone at home on multiple occasions. Doesn't seem smart.

Babe is described both as French, and as a former FBI man. This seems highly unlikely. Also, nothing is said about formal training in accounting or law (needed for the FBI, right?). And his age plus his time in Intelligence make it just not work out. Copy-editor should have queried this! (Yeah, I know, published posthumously.)



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David Dyer-Bennet