Ben Jolson
Created by Ron Goulart

BEN JOLSON is a rather unique twist on the old master-of-disguise master-detective bit. It seems Ben is a chameleon, a former member of the Galactic Chameleon Corps, able to assume the shape of any lifeform. But that was all in the past. Now all Ben wants to do is run his tidy little ceramics business and take it easy.

Unfortunately, Molly Briggs, of the Briggs Interplanetary Detective Service on the planet Barnum, has other plans for Ben. She wants him to join her agency and work for her. That way she can also keep an eye on him. Seems she's had a crush on the guy for years. Reluctantly, Ben agrees to work part-time for her.

An enjoyable series, full of Goulart's typical bizarro touches--robot attorneys, android dogs with medical degrees, double entendres, puns and entire worlds populated by catmen, toadmen and birdmen. It's actually a bit more toned down than much of Goulart's work.

Supposedly, there's an earlier series of books and short stories dealing with Ben's days in the Corps. Anyone?

Author Goulart is quite well-known for his encyclopediac knowledge of comic books, and old-time pulp magazines, and a long string of sci-fi/P.I. hybrids, featuring such gumshoes as Jake and Hildy Pace, Jim Haley, Max Kearney and even Jake Cardigan, allegedly written by William "T. J. Hambone" Shatner. He's also responsible for "straight" southern California P.I. John Easy.

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