[PW] 1950-era novel about a physicist

John Cowan cowan at ccil.org
Sun Jul 21 23:07:04 PDT 2019


On Mon, Jul 22, 2019 at 1:53 AM ADSGarson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com>
wrote:

An enormous number of science fiction stories have scientists as heroes.
>

Although Isaac Asimov is best known for his science fiction, he wrote a
mystery set in a university chemistry department called _A Whiff of Death_,
first published in 1958 as _The Death Dealers_.   A chemistry student
working alone in the lab dies in what is thought to be an accident, but his
professor doesn't believe it could have been.  In addition, there is a
proto-Colombo who is able to make witnesses (and eventually the murderer)
believe that he is a great deal stupider than turns out to be the case.
The story features the post-Depression fears so many had of losing their
jobs through no fault of their own (as is the case today), plus a gentle
expose of the generally lax and dangerous standards of lab work that
prevailed in those days.


John Cowan          http://vrici.lojban.org/~cowan        cowan at ccil.org
At times of peril or dubitation,
Perform swift circular ambulation,
With loud and high-pitched ululation.


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