Have Trenchcoat—Will Travel and Others



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by E. E. Doc Smith

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This book is not science fiction. The disclaimer is necessary because the late Edward Elmer "Doc" Smith made his literary name in writing science fiction. He was one of the earliest writers of interstellar and intergalactic adventure stories, fondly referred to as "space opera." His Skylark novels began to appear in the science fiction magazines in 1928, followed by his epic Lensman series starting in 1937. Doc's literary estate has now released to Advent the four stories which make up this book; they have never before been published. So far as we know, these are Doc's only stories that are not science fiction or fantasy. Advent usually publishes only non-fiction related to science fiction, such as criticism or bibliography; we are bringing out this book primarily because of its associational interest to Doc Smith's many fans.

The title novel, Have Trenchcoat--Will Travel, is a contemporary "private eye" thriller. Doc called it a "whodunit," but it is really more of a "howdunit." Ace private investigator Matyas "Ty" Nagy knows practically from the start who the villain is; the problem is to figure out just what he did and track him down. Vanessa Vukovich--a beautiful tigress of a woman--hires Ty to find her fugitive husband. She discovers in Ty a tiger to match her own spirit. They quickly fall in love, making it all the more urgent to locate Alex Vukovich so she can divorce him. It soon transpires that Vanessa may already be a widow--but it may be impossible to prove it.

The three shorter stories are "Motorsickle Cop," an adventure story of the Newvadia highway patrol, reflecting Doc's life-long interest in biking; "Nester of the Caramints," a Western set near the end of the frontier days; and "Full-Time Nurse," a light romance which may have been inspired by Doc's own experience with heart-lung surgery.


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