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It's a British 50/60s scifi short story where this rich marketing guy meets this rich gal who gets much richer with inheritance $$$, then dumps him when she gets access to futuristic tech.

What's the story called and did the author guy write anything else worth reading? I recall it fairly well but googling it up is always very hard for some reason.

  • 2
    Ah yes. "P" brand coffee, where P stands for perfect. I've got this story in a year's best anthology sitting on my desk at home. If user14111 hasn't answered already by then I'll look it up. – DavidW Nov 15 at 6:10
  • @DavidW Who, me? I'm the slowest gun in the West. John Rennie has already nailed it. And I'm sure this is a dupe. I'll look up the previous answer. – user14111 Nov 15 at 6:34
  • Yep, this is the third time this story has been identified. scifi.stackexchange.com/… – user14111 Nov 15 at 6:36
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    But apparently neither of the previous answers was accepted, so this is not an "official" duplicate. – user14111 Nov 15 at 6:38
  • @user14111 duplicate? reminds me of alt.rec.sf.written, where Replay by Grimwood was their most solicited story identification. In my defense, I kinda remembered the title, but googling it without the quotes gave all sorts of unrelated stuff. – Italian Philosophers 4 Monica Nov 15 at 23:23
13

A Full Member of the Club by Bob Shaw. I read it in The Best of British SF 2.

The chap is Connor and the lady Angela. Angela has just inherited a fortune. The story starts with Connor wondering why they are splitting up:

Connor stared nostalgically at the miniature landscape of flesh, the territory from which he was being evicted, and reviewed the situation. The death of an uncle had made Angela rich, very rich, but he was unable to accept that as sufficient reason for her change in attitude. His own business interests brought him more than two hundred thousand a year, so she knew he wasn’t a fortune hunter.

The lighter you mentioned is dropped into a swimming pool but still works:

Angela sat up, took a cigarette from a pack on the low table, opened her purse, and brought out the gold cigarette lighter. It slipped from her fingers, whirred across the tiles, and went into the shallow end of the pool. With a little cry of concern, she reached down into the water and retrieved the lighter, wetting her face and tawny hair in the process. She clicked the dripping lighter once, and it lit. Angela gave Connor a strangely wary glance, dropped the lighter back into her purse, and stood up.

The coffee is P-brand coffee:

When the call had ended, Connor brewed some P-brand coffee, using the supply he kept locked in the drinks cabinet. The Perfection of it soothed from his mind the last lingering traces of remorse.

It turns out that:

The P-brand products are alien technology being illegally imported by alien criminals. Connor becomes the agent for the alien crooks and becoms immensely wealthy as a result.

  • 1
    That's the one. ;) I have the DAW 1975 Annual World's Best SF anthology in my "in progress" pile. (Actually I have 1973 through 1979, which is why I needed to look.) – DavidW Nov 15 at 6:37

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