Thursday, January 31, 2013

Nurse in Danger

Willo Davis Roberts, ©1972

The voice coming over the phone was like a deadly purr. “Keep your mouth shut, nursie. Because, if you don’t—you’re dead.” Nurse Denise Morgan hung up the receiver in an agony of trembling. She hadn’t really seen the man who had tried to kill her patient—only his silhouette, as she reeled backward from the blow he’d given her. It was a vicious, hate-filled plot, and Nurse Denise found herself in the middle of it. Only the strength of Dr. Pat Riordan kept her on an even keel … as they waited one dark night to spring the trap.
“There was an outbreak of whistling when Peggy introduced her. Denise had had this happen before; it didn’t shake her composure.”
“Any man who enjoyed looking at a pretty girl shouldn’t want to die.”
“Only a minute or two, that’s all it takes to terrorize a girl.”
Before I even get started on what’s inside this book, I simply must comment on what’s on the outside. This is absolutely one of the worst cover illustrations ever! The black mass on her head that purports to be hair resembles more a dead animal. And is anyone going to be strolling casually down the lane with a half-smirk on his face while a house burns behind him? I am doubly disheartened that this is an Ace title, when that publisher in the 1960s consistently turned out amazing book covers. (See my other blog, Vintage Romance Covers, for proof of this statement.) And now that I’ve got that out of my system, we can move on.
The most interesting aspect about Nurse Denise Morgan is the fact that, when she was away at nursing school, a young man they had taken in six years previously inexplicably shot her parents and four siblings at the dinner table, and was subsequently hanged. Her name is really Denise Davonne, but she changed it after the massacre so that no one would tie her to it. And she lives alone, not in the nurse’s dorm, so she doesn’t have to answer questions from her fellow nurses about her painful past.
She’s working on men’s surgical, lusting after Dr. Patrick Riordan, when Ed Hale is brought in. He’s been run over in the street, an attempted murder, because he is planning to testify in a corruption case against Vince Gurley, the big union boss. Ed is mostly worried about his wife Laura and son, who he fears will be attacked by Vince’s goons while he’s abed. So Denise volunteers to spirit the pair out of town to her family’s farmhouse one night. When Laura and Eddie Junior come to visit Ed in the hospital, Denise disguises Laura as a nurse, pops the boy onto a gurney, and out the back door they go. The plan is a complete success, and no one—not even the police who were supposed to be guarding Laura and Eddie—knows where they are.
Everything is great—Dr. Riordan is even starting to notice her—but then, “there was no way for her to know that within twenty-four hours she would have plunged into a nightmare so terrifying that a peaceful night’s sleep would seem an unattainable goal.” Good thing the author warned us about this, or we might not understand how scary the situation is supposed to be; you’d certainly never guess it from reading about it. One evening shift, Denise enters Big Ed’s room to find the policeman guarding him on the floor, and a thug with a gun standing over Ed. The thug pops Denise across the face, fires blindly at Ed in bed, hitting him in the jaw but not killing him, and vanishes.
When everyone rushes in and turns on the lights, Denise sees all the blood and has a PTSD moment: “The present and the past existed simultaneously in a series of pictures in Denise’s mind, clicking off and on. The kitchen at home, on the farm, spattered with blood. The hospital bed, empty now, stained dark red.” It is rather curious that she had requested a transfer to a surgical floor, where a nurse is necessarily exposed to more blood and guts. But she pulls herself together when Dr. Riordan tells her, “Snap out of it!” She describes her attacker to the cops and they’re out looking for him, but now he’s calling her house. “Keep your mouth shut,” he tells her. “Because if you don’t, nursie, you’re a dead tomato.” A dead tomato? Denise responds to this threat not by laughing her head off but by fainting dead away on the kitchen floor.
She tells Dr. Riordan and the cops about this, too, and then there’s this nosy reporter, Larry Groves, coming around who wants to write a story about Denise and put it on the front page, his dazzling ambition totally blinding him to the fact that doing so places Denise and the Hale family in further danger. When Larry barges into her apartment to demand an interview, Denise is horrified: “He couldn’t write a story about her, he couldn’t!” But instead of saying no, she says she has to ask the hospital supervisor, the shrinking violet. The next day, as Larry pesters her again in the hospital foyer, she lets it slip that the woman wearing the mink coat is the wife of another patient who has tried to kill himself—and this sideline is rather jarring when so much of the book is focused on the Ed Hale—so now Larry wants to write a big story about the patient, who is a well-known businessman in town. The wife is naturally upset at this threat to her privacy, but Denise reassures the woman, “I assure you none of the staff would tell the newspapers anything.” This from the one who tipped Larry Groves off to begin with.
Larry’s no dope, and soon puts it together that Denise is actually the lone survivor of the Davonne massacre, and further realizes that Denise has hidden the Hale family at her old house. So he decides to drive up there himself and interview Mrs. Hale—and the only thing Denise can do to stop him is to drive up there first, since there is no phone at the house, and she asks Pat Riordan to drive her. When they reach the farmhouse, they extinguish all evidence of the family’s week-long stay there in five minutes, and then all four of them hike the half-mile to the old tree house and climb up into it. They can see the lights of Larry’s car, but they’re still waving their flashlight around like idiots—and then to cap it off, Pat decides he’s going to sneak back to the house, Denise in tow, to be sure that Larry leaves after he’s broken into the house and found no one there. But hot on Larry’s trail is Tony Gurley, Vince’s younger brother and the thug who tried to kill Ed in the hospital. Tony is about to murder Larry until Pat steps in with a rusty pitchfork, and a kerosene lamp is knocked to the floor, igniting the farmhouse, as presaged by the terrible cover illustration. Tony is tamed and tied up with his belt, but through it all, Denise is pretty useless. “She didn’t know how she managed to move at all. People died from fear … but she couldn’t die, or Patrick would die, too, and Larry.” Not that she does much at all when she does move, except start the car to distract Tony.
Back in town when everything is all wrapped up, Pat tells Denise, the presumptuous cad, that he’s arranged for the two of them to get a week off, which they will use for a honeymoon, because they’re going to get married that afternoon. Ever-passive Denise responds that she forgot to feed the cat! “She ran out of words. Patrick had said honeymoon…” Denise’s friend Peggy wants to hear all about what happened with Ed Hale’s attacker, but Denise says she’ll tell her all about it next week, because “tonight I’m going to be very busy,” wink, wink.
This book has several large and unpardonable  flaws. Denise is so inert in every other aspect of her life that it’s very difficult to believe she would plan and enact the disappearance of two people she’s never met, and put them up in a house that holds horrific memories for her, that she hasn’t visited since the day she discovered her murdered family there. (Who cleaned up the mess is never revealed.) Even her intended doesn’t bother to ask her to marry him; he just tells her what’s what. Then the tragedy of her murdered family is a very large elephant throughout the book. It doesn’t have to have a tidy explanation—senseless crimes occur every day—but the book never spends any time at all addressing it, except to trot it out of the closet now and then to freak Denise out. (Her intended never even discusses it with her after he learns about it.) I don’t think this is something she could ever come to terms with, but she doesn’t have to; just thinking about how it shapes her life and the accommodations she has to make for it (like getting out of surgery?) make it something other than a grim sideshow that feels exploitative and disrespectful. The writing is not engaging or amusing, and I found Denise largely irritating. Since the only other book by this author (Once a Nurse … But Always a Woman) was pretty good, I’m especially disappointed to find that Nurse in Danger is a big dud.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Visiting Nurse

By Jeanne Judson, ©1957
Also published as A Doctor for the Nurse

Proud, lovely, ardently devoted to the great task of aiding the poor and helpless, Elizabeth Downer knew she had found her calling. But her passionate young heart was torn between two doctors, each arrogantly claiming her as his alone. Dr. Galland was darkly handsome. Sometimes she believed his youth and high spirits hid a deep understanding of human suffering. Dr. Denham, quite but strong, was intensely dedicated to medicine. His burning eyes were like the eyes of a priest. And one of these doctors had a secret—a secret which Elizabeth was forced to face. How this warmly courageous girl forged the life she desired is the theme of this moving and fascinating story.


“You’re not old enough to be a public health nurse and you’re much too pretty. You can’t expect sensible people to take you seriously.”

“All blind dates were either dull or obstreperous. Attractive men could find their own girls.”

“She was delighted to find that among his other and more obvious attractions, he must be a most accomplished, tactful, and spontaneous liar.”

“What fools men were. They pretended to think nothing of dress, but they really saw little else in a girl. Helen of Troy in a dusty uniform, wearing clumsy-looking shoes, wouldn’t attract a second glance from any of them.”

“Link never let anything as prosaic as statistics interfere with his exuberant optimism.”

Elizabeth Downer is a county nurse in Cornwall, PA. She’s working with two doctors: handsome Dr. Kit Galland, who is the nephew of Dr. Purvis, the town’s most senior MD, and is expected to step into his practice when the old man retires; and Dr. Frederic Denham, who has no connections and works tirelessly. But Dr. Denham is also a little creepy; when she first meets him, “She was trying to think what his eyes reminded her of—something disturbing. They were the eyes of a zealot, claiming a sacrifice of self that was beyond ordinary people. Dr. Denham’s eyes were as hard and bright as diamonds.” So right away we understand which of the two Elizabeth hankers for, and it isn’t too much longer before we figure out that he’s not the one who most wants her. (This makes the back cover blurb, above in italics, a complete fiction, one of my personal pet peeves.)

Soon it is revealed that Dr. Denham is to become the new chief of medicine at the local hospital—the very position that Dr. Purvis had been reserving for Dr. Galland. A wealthy foundation has approached the hospital, offering to finance a large new wing, but only on condition that Dr. Denham is made chief. Elizabeth tries to stay neutral in her opinion of Dr. Denham, but soon he’s asked her to dinner and is pressing her to help him in his new role. “You’re going to help me. We’re going to do this together,” he says, eagerly pressing her hand. Then he remembers he has patients waiting and abruptly ends the date, leaving her to get home from the restaurant on her own. After that Dr. Denham seems to pop up and invite himself to lunch a lot. Elizabeth’s friend Peggy warns her: “Whatever you do, don’t go and get yourself engaged to Frederic Denham. You couldn’t call your soul your own, married to a man like that. He’s the kind of man who would want to give you improving books.” Sure enough, he drops by with a “very heavy, much footnoted tome on geriatrics.”

Elizabeth is becoming increasingly disenchanted with Dr. Denham, changing her customary path home so she won’t pass by his office, but he finds her anyway and refuses her refusal of dinner with him. Unfortunately, she lacks the spine to insist. “Being with him was not a relaxation. It was more like a continuation of work,” she thinks—and then he tells her that he is a single man in want of a wife, and goes on to explain his plans for the future at length. “With a little training, a little guidance from me, you can learn to control your impulses,” says the romantic fool. She turns him down, saying she does not love him—and that he has not said the he loves her. “Oh, that—I forgot,” he says, and then kisses her so awkwardly that he is provoked to tell her, “I’ve never approved of the promiscuous familiarities.” He leaves, saying he’ll give her time to think it over, completely missing the fact that Elizabeth has already declined. “She realized that he believed she had refused him because she thought the honor or the responsibility too great.” (Shades of Jane Austen, anyone?) After this, Dr. Denham becomes increasingly irritating, and there’s “something disturbingly proprietary in his indulgent smiles which were more frequent than formerly.”

But she is also working with Dr. Galland on her rounds, and indeed becomes his patient when she falls and breaks her wrist (it’s a Colles fracture, if you’re curious). Dr. Galland is dropping by daily with flowers and mystery stories, while Dr. Denham stops in to lecture her on the virtues of constant study: “It is only by reading the conclusions of many different people that you attain the critical faculty to judge the value of a book for yourself,” he drones. He objects to Dr. Galland’s flowers and mysteries: “It’s high time we let him know that I’m going to marry you,” he says, still not hearing Elizabeth’s constant refusals: “You can’t marry me if I don’t say yes,” she tells him, and thinks, “He couldn’t—could he?”

Then Dr. Denham’s secret is revealed—he is actually very rich and the driving force behind the foundation that bought his own promotion in the hospital. His intention in his new position is to establish new medical techniques: “Cornwall is to be a sort of guinea-pig town,” Peggy tells Elizabeth. “When he has our hospital running as smoothly as a Russian slave labor camp, he’ll go on to some other place and do it all over again, until he’s made the entire country over the way he wants it.” This does not improve him in Elizabeth’s eyes—indeed, it sinks him: “One can’t feel sorry for a multimillionaire.” So now it’s just a matter of convincing him that Elizabeth isn’t going to marry him, and of convincing Dr. Galland that he should, which comes to pass in an enjoyable scene. The sweet ending is almost undone by an unexpected turn from one character on the penultimate page, but it’s a minor glitch.

This book is delightfully written, full of little gems like, “She rose quickly from the rocking chair, decanting three cats from her lap,” or “Peggy managed to get possession of the cakes and the absence of Mrs. Loftus by a combination of flattery and ruthlessness.” Peripheral characters are well-drawn and amusing, and the story itself is gentle and meandering. Most of the story is about Elizabeth’s patients and how she wrangles them and their problems, and frankly it’s difficult to remember much about the plot after the book is over, but it has a pleasant, sweet touch that lingers. It’s similar to the other Jeanne Judson book I’ve read, City Nurse, even down to the Austen-esque proposals. But that just means you have two delightful books to linger over, lucky you.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

I, Theresa, Registered Nurse

By Diane Frazer
(pseud. Dorothy Fletcher), ©1965
Cover illustration by Harry Bennett

“You see, Greg,” she said soberly, “nobody really knows when my birthday is.” He turned around and looked into her face. “What is this, a gag? Surely your mother knows. She was there after all.” She sat up straight. “Nobody knows when I was born. I’m not really the daughter of Stewart and Alicia Winslow; they adopted me when I was a little girl. It’s rather like a Victorian novel. But it’s fact, no fiction.” “But who … but they must know who …” “No, I was found, it seems, asleep and almost frozen to death in some woods in France, near the Swiss border. The Winslows took me from a home for such war orphans in France. All they know is that I was about four when I came up to the French peasants who discovered me and said, Je suis Thérèse …”


“She was a nurse but she was also a girl. And being a girl she had, more or less naturally, asked for and received all pertinent information about the male members of the staff of Goodswill Hospital.”
“We don’t look very tempting in those uniforms, do we?”
With a name like Theresa Winslow, you can probably already guess that our heroine comes from the proper side of Central Park—Park Avenue, in fact. She became a nurse “not out of need for earning a living,” but I’m sorry to tell you we never really learn what inspires Tessa to be the superb nurse that she is. She’s dating Greg Halsey “—that was the Halseys—” who is a Southampton neighbor of hers, but she finds him frivolous. Rather, she has the hots for Dr. Thomas Blair, who, for some strange reason, treats her with “a marked reserve” though he jokes around with the other nurses. Hmmmm.
One of her patients, as we enter the book, is Franz Grauer, a withdrawn, elderly Hungarian man with no visitors, chronic stomach pain, and a number tattooed on his arm. She is strangely intrigued by him, and visits him in her off-duty hours. He mentions that his daughter Susanna (and I must mention my delight at finding a character with my name; it doesn’t happen often!) died at the age of five in Europe during the war. She then tells him her own story: She was found in France, wandering in the woods alone, when she was about four. All she could tell of her identity was, “Je suis Thérèse,” though she also spoke a smattering of both German and Spanish. She was adopted by the Winslows after the war but has always wondered about her origins.
(She’s told Greg this story, and his reaction, after appraising her “fair and milky skin,” her hazel eyes and reddish gold hair, is that she “had just the coloring and texture once would expect in a child of pure English-Scotch-Irish background. […] It was simply not possible that she could have come from some middle-European background where, as everyone knew, all kinds of influences tend to mar the pure beauty which—Greg Halsey thought sincerely, could only be found in Anglo-Saxons. There was not the slightest hint of anything else.” This is a turning point in their relationship; she tells him he is ridiculous and stops seeing him.)
She is fascinated by Mr. Grauer: “From the very first minute that she had seen Mr. Grauer, she had the strange sensation of having seen him before. The odd feeling that he was no stranger to her but someone she had known, someone who had been very close to her. Someone she mustn’t lose again.” But her interest develops into an obsession. She loses her head and asks Tom Blair, on their first date, to keep Mr. Grauer in the hospital even though all tests on him have come back negative; Tom feels that the problem is either psychosomatic or that Mr. Grauer is a malingerer. He responds by chewing her out, reminding her of the shortage of beds for truly sick patients, and adds, “I see your kind every day, Junior Leaguers coyly doing volunteer hospital work and feeling just marvelous about it. Well, I don’t happen to think that a hospital should be a playground for spoiled and satiated society girls.” Ouch!
Undeterred, however, her lapse in moral judgment continues, and she is caught in Mr. Larsen’s office attempting to obtain Mr. Grauer’s wallet—all patients’ valuables are kept in a locked cabinet there—where he keeps a photograph of his daughter, which he has refused to allow her to see. She’s so far gone that she is “jolted” that Tom has not asked her out again after their initial date, apparently not recalling how disastrous it was or his disgust with her deteriorating personal and work ethic(s).
After Mr. Grauer has left the hospital without saying goodbye, she tracks him down at a shabby West Side address. She presses him to reveal his own history, and he tells her that he and his wife had fled Hungary with their daughter for occupied France—spoken only French to Susanna to help conceal their suspicious origins, and called her Thérèse as an alias—and that as they attempted to cross into Switzerland they were found by Nazis, though Susanna/Thérèse was able to hide and thus avoided capture. Our heroine is overjoyed, sweeping up her new father and depositing him at a better (East 63rd Street) apartment and learning to cook Hungarian entrees for him. They invite Tom to dinner and he is again warming to Tessa, though he is concerned about a future with her. “She had everything—position, family, money. How could you take care of a girl like that? What could you give her, in the early, lean years of doctoring?”
Now comes the philosophical debate over who owns Tessa. The characters’ attitudes suggest that she is a piece of property in a battle between the Winslows and her birth parents. Mr. Grauer asks her what she would do if she were to find her birth parents, and she says, “I would go to them. Go where I belonged.” He answers, “And give up all you have?” as if, somehow, her two sets of parents are an either-or choice. Mr. Winslow fears “that there might be anyone who had a right to Tessa—a stronger right than he and his wife.” The Winslows “have acquired a right” to Tessa by adopting her, but “a [birth] father’s right is stronger.”
If her parents have a right to own Tessa, her future husband, once found, apparently not only supersedes but also obliterates all prior comers. “I just found her and now soon someone will come and take her away again,” says Mr. Grauer, referring to this husband. Tessa’s mother, concerned that birth parents could take her place, is hoping for a marriage between Greg and Tessa, seeing this “as a final break between Tessa and her past.” Tom tells Mr. Grauer that “someone would claim Tessa one of these days. In that case she would be with neither you nor the Winslows.”
To protect his so-called rights, Mr. Grauer is thinking about going back to Hungary and taking Tessa with him. When Tom disagrees with this plan, Mr. Grauer asks, “Do you not think I have a right to ask my daughter to come with me? Do you not think I have a right to some happiness after all I went through?” Curiously, Tessa’s rights, and her opinion on the matter, are not considered for one minute. His plan to move overseas with Tessa is his decision; Tessa has no say in the matter, and it is simply assumed that she must go with him.
Suspicious that Mr. Grauer is not really Tessa’s birth father, Tom—who is interested in making his own bid for Tessa—asks a friend to look into Mr. Grauer’s past, saying that there is a “legacy” at stake, “and I want to make sure he’s entitled to it.” When the results from this investigation are in, he goes to see Mr. Grauer, who circumvents what he can see is coming by asking if Tom has come to ask for Tessa’s hand in marriage. Tom protests that “I haven’t said a single romantic thing to Tessa.” Again, what does Tessa’s opinion matter? “When I was young, the girl was the last to know,” Mr. Grauer answers. “The most important thing was to ask the father.” So Tom immediately asks for Tessa. Mr. Grauer, interestingly, refuses—then says that he’s not Tessa’s father, and he knows that Tom is aware of this, but how did Tom find out? “She is an altogether different racial type,” he answers—bringing us back to poor jilted Greg’s response.
But there are other bits of evidence, and Mr. Grauer admits all. Tom realizes that if he tells Tessa the truth about Mr. Grauer, she will most likely reject him—so he will lose Tessa either way. But then Mr. Grauer offers his olive branch: If Tessa decides to marry Tom, Mr. Grauer does not have to be dethroned as the birth father. “One loses a daughter, but one gains a son. Shall we drink to that, Dr. Blair?” It’s a done deal, and Tessa is bought and sold over glasses of Hungarian wine.
But then the Winslows return from Europe, and Dad has a final trick up his sleeve. While abroad, he’d done some research of his own and found an elderly curate in France who remembered the day Tessa and her birth parents came to town. The parents were shot trying to escape, he’d discovered, but the little girl, who had told the curate, “Je m’appelle Thérèse,” had not been found. But all interested parties win in the end: The last chapter has Tessa going to visit the graveyard in Mornex, southeast of Geneva, with her new husband (guess who that is?). Despite getting married, she hasn’t written off Mr. Grauer, though he’s found a Hungarian lady friend and “maybe her job was about done” with him.
The book has a very pretty ending, and it certainly raises a lot of interesting topics: identity, what it means to be a parent, relationships and the rights that come with them. The book doesn’t actually resolve the issues about who owns Tessa, unless we award her to her husband, so all that philosophical wrangling for her seems like a waste of time. The writing in the book is not particularly special, but the author has built a unique storyline, which I really appreciate after 178 VNRNs that seem to share the same three or five plots, and if you like to ponder the issues, this book is worth reading.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2012 VNRN Awards

As the new year breaks open before us, it is time once again to trot out the third annual Vintage Nurse Romance Novel Awards—and also, perhaps, to ponder the question, Don’t I have anything better to do right now? In the event that your answer is no, I shall inform you of the rules of the contest: Winners are chosen from the VNRNs I have read this year, which for you statistics geeks is 50 different books by 34 different authors. The Best Authors category is cumulative, including all the VNRNs reviewed for this blog, but only authors with more than one review are included; the One-Hit Wonders category is reserved for the best of this group.

1.       City Doctor, by Thomas Stone (pseudonym of Florence Stonebraker)
2.       He Married a Doctor, by Faith Baldwin
3.       Walk out of Darkness, by Arlene Karson
4.       Winged Victory for Nurse Kerry, by Patricia Libby
5.       A Nurse Comes Home, by Ethel Hamill (pseudonym of Jean Francis Web III)

1.       Nurse Jean’s Strange Case, by Arlene Hale
2.       Nurse on Nightmare Island, by Lois Eby
3.       Roxanne, Company Nurse, by Zillah Macdonald and Josie Johnson
4.       Psychiatric Nurse, by Mary Mann Fletcher

1.       Date with Danger?, cover illustration by Harry Bennett
2.       West Coast Nurse, cover illustration by Bill Johnson
3.       Dude Ranch Nurse
4.       Mystery Nurse
5.       Palm Beach Nurse

1.       “I meant to get down to Dr. Carson’s shindig yesterday, but we had an unexpected polio case brought in, and I was all day on the telephone locating another iron lung.” A Nurse Comes Home, by Ethel Hamill (pseudonym of Jean Francis Webb III)
2.       “Every attractive woman should take time out for love now and again. It keeps you young, helps the circulation, and it’s very broadening. Don’t you want to be broadened?” City Doctor, by Thomas Stone (pseudonym of Florence Stonebraker
3.       “The woman in her transcended the physician momentarily, as Serenity thought to herself, ‘She does something to that hair.’ ” His Wife, the Doctor, by Joseph McCord
4.       “Why don’t you marry the girl and get her out of your life?” Love Comes to Dr. Starr, by William Johnston
5.        “You look swell in that orange slacks suit, Diane.” Mystery Nurse, by Diana Douglas (pseudonym of Richard Wilkes-Hunter)
6.       “You mean you don’t know how to do brain surgery? What kind of a doctor are you, then?” The Nurse and the Pirate, by Peggy Gaddis
7.       “Miss Shannon is holding her own: Her temperature is normal, her blood pressure is normal, her appetite is normal, she wanted champagne for breakfast. We think she will live.” Nurse Kitty’s Secret, by Fern Shepard (pseudonym of Florence Stonebraker)
8.       “You’ll still have coffee with me, won’t you? I hope you’re not afraid of me. My doctor wouldn’t have given me a pass if he thought I’d go berserk, you know.” Psychiatric Nurse, by Mary Mann Fletcher
9.       “Marrying Sherri won’t mean a life sentence, honey. Her marriages never last very long.” Nurse Kitty’s Secret, by Fern Shepard (pseudonym of Florence Stonebraker)
10.     “See that he marries you—and no more foolishness about running around with a street gang!” Ivy Anders, Night Nurse, by Helen B. Castle

1.       “Ann Shares a Fateful Moment with ‘B.M.’ ” Nurse Todd’s Strange Summer, by Zillah K. Macdonald and Vivian J. Ahl

1.    Faith Baldwin (3.9 average, based on 3 reviews)
3.    Marguerite Mooers Marshall (3.7 average, based on 2 reviews)
3.    Patricia Libby (3.7 average, based on 2 reviews)
4.    Ethel Hamill (3.6 average, based on 3 reviews)
5.    Helen B. Castle (3.3 average, based on 2 reviews)

ONE-HIT WONDERS: Best VNRNs by authors with only one review
1.       “K”, by Mary Roberts Rinehart
2.       A Challenge for Nurse Melanie, by Isabel Moore
3.       Surgical Call, by Margaret Sangster
4.       City Nurse, by Jeanne Judson
5.       Nurse Pro Tem, by Glenna Finley
6.       Walk out of Darkness, by Arlene Karson
7.       Nurse at the Fair, by Dorothy Cole