This week’s (actually last week’s subject for discussion over at the Deep Ones discussion group over at LibraryThing — I’ve been busy.
Review: “They Bite“, Anthony Boucher, 1943.
Boucher’s story smoothly and efficiently moves from spy story to odd folklore and legend to crime story to human story. That’s entirely in keeping with Boucher. He edited and wrote science fiction and mysteries and also did the first translations into English of Jorge Luis Borges.
We first see our protagonist Hugh Tallant hanging around a U.S. Army air base in the desert of California. It’s pretty clear he’s a spy, checking out the gliders there. He doesn’t seem to be working for any specific foreign power. He’s a freelancer.
Looking through binoculars can be a bit tiring on the eyes. He seems to see a “little and thin and brown as the earth” shape out of the corner of his eye.
An old acquaintance of his, Morgan shows up. He’s a “prospector” like Tallant. He knows Tallant from their days in China and implies he’s willing to spill some unsavory, if unspecified, secrets about Tallant. Blackmail is in the air. Tallant tells him to come back the next day, and they’ll talk about it. Continue reading