Vernay and Zeno Zenobius of The Anthropol Detective Agency

Created by Louis Trimble

Louis Trimble was a prolific pulp fiction writer, pounding out westerns, mysteries and even the occasional sci-fi story. He created such private eyes as Bert Norden, Peter Cory and Tom Blane. But one of his more interesting creations was the intriguingly-titled THE ANTHROPOL DETECTIVE AGENCY, whose turf seems to be outer space. The Agency appeared in two apparently minor but entertaining short B-novels, both originally published as Ace Doubles.

The first, Anthropol (1968), centres on VERNAY, a troubleshooter for the agency, who’s dispatched on a secret mission by “The Chief” to the extremely hostile planet of Ujvila to quell a possible interplanetary uprising.

The follow-up, The Noblest Experiment in the Galaxy (1970), adds a slight splash of parody and Goulartesque humour, and finds ZENO ZENOBIUS, the head computer whiz for Intra-Galactic Investigations, Inc., apparently a subsidiary of Anthropol, traveling to a strange planet for some reason modeled after a small village in Victorian England, an almost steampunk version that somehow also features hovercrafts, electricity, and computers. There are some groan-worthy call-outs along the way (Zeno’s boss is Sam Marlowe, aka “The Big Eye,” a passing reference to the planet Hammett, etc.), but Zeno stays dedicated to his mission: stop a galactic coup.

I haven’t read either of these, but neither seems to be particularly highly regarded among science fiction afficiandos. Still, for those craving some lightweight sci-fi adventure, I think they might just do the trick.


Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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