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Callahan's Lady
by Spider Robinson
Ace, copyright 1989, 237pp
Here’s the next Callahan book in my journey to yesteryear. But this isn’t actually about Callahan himself. This is about his wife. She’s a madame. She runs a bordello. Well, it’s not actually about her but about a young woman who is rescued and brought to the bordello.

Maureen is an independent operator on the street. Well, as independent as her pimp allows her to be and therein lay the trouble. Maureen was under the impression that she could control Big Travis. An encounter on the street with a Duchess and her werebeagle were enough to throw Maureen off her stride so that when Big Travis came for an accounting (with a knife!), Maureen was sadly unprepared. Fortunately, the Duchess intervened and convinced Big Travis to leave Maureen in her care. It was a painful convincing for Travis and left Maureen convinced she must be hallucinating. When she woke up later in the most extraordinary whorehouse she’d ever seen (much less heard of) she was sure she didn’t belong. A little while later she really did want to belong but a little while after that the Lady of the house told her she didn’t have the qualifications.

As it turned out, the qualifications that Lady Sally was looking for had little to do with how well Maureen could lay on her back and much more to do with Maureen’s attitude about her profession. Spider Robinson shows off his Heinleinesque leanings quite strongly in this tale. You have to suspend your disbelief to enjoy descriptions of whores happy in their work in a veritable Disneyland of carnality. A happy whorehouse where everyone gets what they want, nobody gets hurt, and the whores have a lovely home with health insurance. And they all have a healthy, happy love of their profession. It really is a lovely image and I don’t mind visiting in a story, either this one or one of Heinlein’s later stories. As with the preceding books, Spider writes for men, not women. But that’s okay; it was still a fun ride, no pun intended.

This book includes a couple other stories beyond Maureen’s introduction to Lady Sally’s house. One is about her efforts to help a man who can’t seem to get enough sex. And the other is a classic one about outsmarting a nasty organized crime boss who thinks he was cheated. The cheater is Maureen’s first love and it will take an organized effort to save the silly man from his own foible. (You know, I also have to wonder about Spider’s choice of Maureen for his heroine’s name. Which Maureen came first, I wonder?)

It was a light, enjoyable read. Spider is a very competent writer and a natural storyteller. ~ Catherine Book

BONUS FOR EVERYONE WHO READ THIS FAR: When I’m done reviewing the whole series, there will be a Trivia Contest and the winner will win my whole Callahan collection. Stay tuned…

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