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Beyond the pleasures of the Vance intelligence and the Vance prose style--both considerable--the raison d'être of this volume and its price-tag is a trifle exiguous. It contains a short novel and a long short story about ""galactic effectuator' (read ""sleuth"") Miro Hetzel; they look as if they would be happier with company. ""The Dogtown Tourist Agency"" has Hetzel ferreting out a plot to bring modern weaponry to the belligerent but hitherto backward ""Gomaz"" race on the planet of Maz. In the shorter ""Freitzke's Turn"" he tries to track down an unscrupulous physician who has apparently absconded with a client's missing parts (vital ones). It is strategic reticence that is responsible for the wonderfully tonic air of Vance's writing; here as always, he knows just what to leave out to invest the most ordinary conversation or bit of description with tantalizing astringency. Nonetheless there is a lot that might profitably have been left in here in the way of plot. Neither mystery is worth the elegance expended on it, and indeed a few clues in the denouement of ""Freitzke's Turn"" seem unfairly slurred over. Much charm, little body.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1980
Publisher: Underwood/Miller (239 N. 4th St., Columbia, Pa. 17512)