Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Nurse Transplanted

By Teresa Holloway, ©1971

Nurse Karen Carty was upset about her father. Unless the deadly disease he had was overcome, he was doomed. There was hope, of course. Dr. Court Delaney—young, capable, dedicated—had an idea that just might work. Suddenly—out of the blue—Karen and Court realized that there was a sinister plot afoot—one that was more violent, more horrible than any conceived by nature. But then—almost at the last minute—a sacrifice paid off.


“Anybody who can design and sew like you do is wasting her time as a nurse.”

“Oh, come on, Milly. You’re tiny enough to fit into a man’s pocket. Just be sure it’s not Dr Bryson’s.”     
“No corner of America is immune from the scrutiny of alien eyes.”

Nurse Karen Carty lives with her father, who works at the local paint factory—you don’t have to be a close reader to figure out that this guy isn’t just inventing new dining room colors. It’s also pretty easy to tell that the envelope her father gives her to hide is more than just the light bill, particularly when someone tries to snatch her handbag as she leaves the hospital and after her locker is ransacked. Third time’s the charm, though; eventually the house is totally ransacked and the envelope goes missing.  

Also complicating her life, Dad has been admitted to the hospital, and it turns out that he has kidney failure and needs a transplant—hence the book title! Fortunately, Karen’s childhood sweetheart, Court Delaney, is a doctor who specializes in transplants, and coincidentally has just come home to practice medicine, so he’s available to help save Mr. Carty’s life. But his “big brother attitude,” as Karen calls it, is wearing thin. If only nice girls made passes!

Court has a human kidney that’s been transplanted into a chimpanzee, so as to “heal” it from the rigors of the donor process, just waiting for someone to need it, so things are looking up for Mr. Carty. But then Nurse Milly, a good friend of the Cartys, is attacked and badly burned, but she insists that she just “fell” on the wood stove in a clumsy accident and won’t tell who did it. Milly’s biggest concern, actually, seems to be about her beachwear: “Am I going to have such a horrible scar that I won’t ever be able to wear a bikini again?” she pathetically cries to Karen. (Rest assured, readers, that the answer is no.)

Finally the FBI arrives on the scene and the agent spills the beans that Mr. Carty has developed a special paint that is immune to light and heat, which means, apparently, that it has huge benefits to the military. Still Karen hasn’t figured out that the envelope has something to do with this. For a highly intelligent surgical nurse, she can be mighty dumb.

The last twist in the case is that the chimpanzee is found shot dead, so there go Mr. Carty’s chances at a new lease on life. A meeting at the hospital of likely suspects finishes with the guilty party being led away in handcuffs, but there’s still the matter of Mr. Carty’s need for a kidney. The obvious solution finally reached, all that remains is for Karen and Court to arrive at an understanding and smooch us out the back cover.

The ham-handed patriotism is so dated it’s almost cute, but the extensive plot to steal the paint formula is as far-fetched as housing a kidney inside a chimpanzee. The writing is not terrible, but not great either, and in the end I find it hard to come up with any real reason why I should try to persuade you to read this book.

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