147g 01/48 I Died Yesterday

Chuck Welch
January 18, 2008 - 1948 / Bantam 145-156 / larkin / novel / pulp / rosmond / swenson

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The corpse of a young man in a beauty parlor, an ice pick, a camera, plants, chemistry, and Doc’s meddlesome cousin Pat Savage all add up to a frightening plot — and an all-out mission to rescue the Man of Bronze!

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  1. Bryan Bullock says:

    A story told by Pat! It’s tough for her not to sound a little superior in some of it, but overall, it’s a pretty good one. She gets dragged into the adventure before Doc does, and he spends a lot of time and effort trying to keep her out of it, rather arrogantly I think, since she starts it all, and actually figures some of it out. There are some characters here who would be wise to keep their mouths shut more than they do.

  2. Thomas Fortenberry says:

    Pat — and her gun — return!

    I agree with Bryan, this is a pretty good story on its own. I think of the five first person experiments collected here in this omnibus, this one is the best.

    It also is a renaissance of sorts because it returns to the older style of gadgets and a fast pace, with at least an attempt at a scientific plot.

    When you add in the fact that this is the only story in the series told by Pat Savage, it becomes extremely noteworthy and important to the canon. Farmer covers most of the salient points of this story in Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life, but I want to urge those who liek to study Doc to reread this one. Pat makes some interesting comments and adds a lot to the psychology behind the Savage family. Also, there are some fascinating things here that I just kind of skipped before, such as that Pat has been collecting Doc’s old, now largely unused gadgets to make a kind of gadgets museum. That is awesome. Of course, she is also, without Doc knowing it, secretly using them and carrying them in her own clothes. There is a great scene where she vows never to wear thermite-soaked clothing again.

    This tale is basically a hardboiled detective story, but starring Pat. In this way it does follow the lead of the oter two female detective tales in this anthology. But it is a definite Doc adventure, though I admit I was irked by the title and its lack of usualy cool connection to the storyline. Dent was always good with wordgames and eerie, intriguing, or rivetting titles. This is none of those things.

    The heart of this story is that it answers a lot of the Pat questions from over the years, because this is basically a “What if Pat was Doc?” story. She is the lead character, she starts the action, digs into the mystery, and helps fully unravel the story, with Doc participating off-camera a lot largely to try and stop, block, or protect her. Pat also has sidekicks. She uses Monk throughout (he is the only aid available) which goes back to that old question, did Monk and Pat ever connect? They are best of friends, for sure, and when Ham got back from his fishing trip (a yarn in itself) he probably suffered a ministroke when he heard what he missed. Plus Pat has her own ace partner, Colfax, a lady who helps run her beauty parlor. She uses cars, gadgets, guns, and constantly returns to her beauty parlor-cum-headquaretrs to restock gadgets, regroup and reevaluate, and take shelter. This book operates just as if Pat is her own detective agency, complete with the Doc aids and arsenal.

    A pretty entertaining romp, especially for the Pat fans. There are a whole lot of notes I took — which I won’t clog up the DS.org here with — but there are some snapy one liners, great scenes, and important insights to be found in this book.

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