Frank G(ill) Slaughter Richard Match - Essay

Richard Match

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

From "In a Dark Garden" to "The Road to Bithynia," Dr. Slaughter has projected many best-selling historical novels against the background of his profession. [In "East Side General,"] he shows signs of writing the serious modern novel he could and should write about surgeons—and then, in his final chapters, returns to the familiar road of melodrama. However, if you read for sheer entertainment, Dr. Slaughter has lost none of his touch. "East Side General" is as ingenious a story as any he has written, the women as beautiful, the surgeon-hero as brilliant. If anything, the switch to modern dress adds drama to Dr. Slaughter's lucid descriptions of surgical procedures. The "blue baby" operation which climaxes this novel will enlighten many laymen….

This reader, for one, couldn't help wishing that "East Side General" had followed through on its play-by-play description of life in a metropolitan hospital, and turned into a significant study of the role of doctor and nurse in society today. And yet, taken as a medical-adventure novel, with some cogent social comment thrown in for good measure, Dr. Slaughter's latest is the sort of book that pins the reader to the last page.

Richard Match, "The Healers," in The New York Times Book Review (copyright © 1952 by The New York Times Company; reprinted by permission), March 30, 1952, p. 23.