The Ambulance Made Two Trips
By Murray Leinster
Published by Librivox.org
Read by Phil Chenovert
In some ways, this is a typical early 1960’s science fiction story, but Murray Leinster gives it a spin that makes it his own special take. A gangster is taking over the town by the usual ways although I must say that instead of bribing the cops directly he is more often bribing their wives. Sort of “Take me down coppers and your wives will make you miserable!” Not sure how well that would work on the large scale of a whole police force, but it is an interesting idea. It is a very “Twilight Zone” sort of story, because mixed with the cop vs gangster plot we also have a Psionic power to manipulate probability so that when Big Jake attempts to move in on a dry-cleaning business everything just started going wrong and it is up to Officer Fitzgerald to figure out how to make that work for him before Big Jake can.
The story is improbably to say the least, but a lot of fun to read. It written in the 1970’s it might have been posed as Murphy’s Law in practice, but this is, perhaps more direct as any attempt on the dry-cleaner would go wrong even if the least probable set of circumstances had to be set up to make it happen.
As I said, it’s a fun story and a relatively short one. The pacing is good and there does not seem to be any attempt to pad the length. Well worth your time, I think.
Once again, Phil Chenovert plies his sardonic tone of voice to a story that seems to take well to it. Maybe he goes a bit too far this time, or maybe not. It’s possible I’ve listened to him too many times and the novelty has worn off, but I have to be honest and admit that his style fits the sardonic and cynical attitudes of the classic fictional detective at his job, so it is probably just me. I have to admit that sometimes it’s just my own mood that causes me to react to a reader and generally I like listening to Mister Chenovert. Also on a second listen to one track I did not really detect any appreciable difference between his reading here and in books I enjoyed his reading more of, so I think it is safe to say that if you like his reading in general, you will enjoy this one too and even if you have never listened to one of his recordings, chalk this one up to my being cranky.
So, I think t6his is an interesting twist on an SF detective yarn and Phil Chenovert gives his characteristic color to it as he reads. Go ahead and listen for yourself!