150h 07/46 Fire and Ice

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Doc saves a beautiful woman stranded in the Alaskan wilderness. But he soon finds more than he bargained for as a black box and a tall, dark and dead man lead Doc to Manhattan on a thrilling mission to solve a macabre puzzle.


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  1. Gordy Skorseth

    Fire And Ice is not an outstanding Doc but it isn’t a bad one either. The first two-thirds of the book take place in Alaska where Doc rescues a beautiful but very frightened young woman named Patience. Someone is chasing her and trying to kill her but she won’t explain any of this to Doc. The action then moves back to NYC where the mystery is resolved. The mystery is pretty good and also quite plausible. There is not a lot of the slam bang action Doc stories are noted for but it was well enough devised to hold my interest anyway. And sometimes the non-stop confrontations and fights get to be annoying simply because of the sheer volume of them. An interesting character, a tough old coot called Yukon, enters the story early on and remains a vital part of the plot all the way through, in a way, substituting as one of Doc’s aides in the absence of the others. Monk and Ham appear in the last third of the story and are involved in resolving the mystery. All in all, not a great Doc but still well worth checking out.

  2. This is a very interesting book for a few reasons. As Gordy mentions above, it is not a great Doc story, rather one of the war years tales which features a more hardboiled Doc without gadgets or supervillians mysteries. But it is a fairly presented mystery and has some nice moments throughout.

    This tale seems to be part of a set, a twin — if you’ll pardon the punny way of relating it — to the story The Magic Forest (coincidentally collected in the same Omnibus). They have a lot in common. I believe that is because both were written by Bogart and he either intended that or accidentally echoed himself. They are both set in Alaska, both feature characters named after Alaskan features (such as Yukon and Jeauneau), and both feature a wild chase after an elusive mystery which is revealed and wrapped quite suddenly at the end of the book.

    Interestingly, this story, Fire and Ice, is better written than the other (which may imply he got better the longer he wrote), though The Magic Forest has a better hook between the mystery and the title (and more typical of Doc stories). The only real connection to the title Fire and Ice here is perhaps revealed by the opposing personalities of the costars of the story, the fabulously named, yet woefully underplayed beautiful twins Patience and Impatience. These two are worth a series all by themselves. Furthermore, if Dent had written it, you can bet a lost pirate’s treasure that he would have played up the possibilities between a Monk and Ham and two twins confrontation to the max. Here it is barely addressed.

    One last note, this is also one of those rarer tales which has virtually eliminated the aids and has a mainplayer protagonist found in an extra, this time the wily old prospector type, Yukon. The series features these types of tales from time to time, letting an Average Joe have a seat beside Doc in an adventure. I liked the added bonus that Doc already knew the man, in yet another display of Doc’s prodigious memory, from years before just in passing. It was one of the few glimpses of the better known superhuman Doc of earlier stories.

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