Saturday, December 29, 2018

World’s Fair Nurse

By Dorothy Daniels, ©1964
Cover illustration by Lou Marchetti

Carol Allison, R.N. hid a dark secret out of her past from her friends at the World’s Fair. But her more immediate problem was Tina, the delicate ballerina at the Fair who had an incurable heart condition. Carol warned her that if she danced, she risked death. Yet Tina refused to quit, and threatened to reveal Carol’s secret if she went to the authorities. Standing by Carol were the two men who loved her. Each man knew that only one would win Carol, yet they both worked to clear her name. But it was Carol alone who had to choose between saving the life of the dancer or her own nursing career.


“I’m Dick Walden. You will address me as Doctor when any patients are around and I’ll give sharp orders to show what a fine medical man I am. Otherwise, I cotton well to Dick.”

“She’s better looking than a spanking new electrocardiograph machine, Jane. And much more fun.”

“I want you back here. Not only because you dress up the scenery so well, but because you’re so capable.”

Nurse Carol Allison finished her RN training, but then decided to continue her studies with a baccalaureate degree in nursing as well. Always a top student, she earned the college’s first perfect store on her final exam—but what does she get for her hard work? A hearty handshake? A job offer? No—it’s a blank piece of paper where her diploma ought to have been, because a shred of a stolen answer key was found under her chair, so she’s accused of cheating, and the school board is launching an investigation, but who knows when that’s going to be finished?

While she’s waiting for her lawyer fiancé Marty to finish working on that important case that keeps him too busy to answer her calls, she takes a job at—you guessed it—the World’s Fair in New York City. There she works alongside Dr. Dick Walden, who from the get-go says way too many creepy things like, “You’re very attractive, know that? I hope it’s Miss Allison,” and, “Not next year. We’ll probably be married by then.” And this is just on the first day they meet.

The problem with a lot of these plots of false accusation is that the alleged crime and the ensuing drama is just completely overdone, and this book is no exception. The hysteria is heightened by the fact that the fair’s prima ballerina (and it’s always spelled like that in the book, in italics), Tina, has a congenital heart condition that no one has diagnosed through many years of arduous training except Carol, and if she tells anyone about it, Tina’s evil manager will expose the cheating allegation and Carol will never work again—Never!!—but if she doesn’t tell, Tina will drop dead on the opening night of “Woodsmen’s Legend.” Oh, what to do, what to do? Well, we’ll spend about 80 pages watching Carol worry, not to mention step seriously outside her scope of practice by administering IV papaverine and oxygen when Tina has a cardiac crisis during practice.

In the meantime, Dr. Dick is putting his alarming moves on, and Carol, who might ace her final but is not smart enough to work out this situation, is also not smart enough to recognize sexual harassment and seems to be going for Dick, even though Marty appears to be a fairly stand-up guy, a novelty in VNRN fiancés. There’s really not much more to tell about the story, and the ending will surprise exactly no one. Everyone is perfunctorily disposed of, some in ways that seem startlingly out of character (Marty being one of them), but let’s not quibble—the sooner everyone is paired off and Carol’s diploma and sterling reputation safely restored, the sooner we can close this profoundly insipid and stupid book—the cover art and title easily being the best things about it.

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