Sibyl Sue Blue is a sergeant in the police, a mother and a widow. (Or is she?) When she cruises bars in disguise to picks up the information she needs, she manages to look decades younger than she really is with wigs and makeup (and by choosing rather dim men). She adroitly refuses advances from men for whom she has no time, but when she is interested she takes the initiative and invites them home. She lives with her astonishingly sunny and understanding teenage daughter Missy, about whom she worries, and she rouges her knees before going out, taking care to always have fresh clothes, stockings and makeup with her, even on a renegade spaceship. She has a longstanding friendship with benefits with Llanr, a green-skinned alien from Centaurus, and she can drive a car better than any man in the city police force.
She’s the creation of Rosel George Brown, and was first published in 1966 in Sibyl Sue Blue (Galactic Sibyl Sue Blue in the 1968 US edition), and is a distant cousin of Modesty Blaise and Lady Penelope from Thunderbirds. Brown must surely have borrowed something of the insouciance of Naomi Mitchison’s Memoirs of a Spacewoman (1962) when she created this fabulous feminist pulp heroine.
Rosel George Brown had a degree in Ancient Greek, and when Sibyl Sue Blue has time, she works on her theory of Thucydides. But this academic interest is a fairly minor part of Sibyl Sue’s life, since she is an absolute all-action hero. In no scene in this excellent pulp thriller is she at a disadvantage due to any man, and when there is an opportunity for action she takes it.
The Centaurian was just getting his needle gun out when Sibyl pulled off one of her shoes and made a nice dent the size of a stiletto heel in his temple.
The plot in this first of two novels about Sibyl Sue Blue is about drug smuggling, alien symbiotes, a kidnap by spaceship and messages coming from a man everyone thought was dead. Kenneth Blue was lost in the first disastrous expedition to the mysterious planet of Radix that Stuart Grant, a dashing playboy millionaire, is going to reproduce with the help of some very shady Centaurians whose motives are highly suspicious. When Sibyl Sue infiltrates the expedition with a bag of paper underwear and her spare make-up, she knows nothing of the extraordinary wonders and terrifying alien dangers she will experience. But that doesn’t matter because this mission is hers.
Brad of The Neglected Books Page, who first drew my attention to Sibyl Sue Blue, sent me his copy of this marvellous novel, to whom I am very thankful.