Ed McBain knows how to keep a story going.
In Killer’s Wedge a deranged woman takes the 87th precinct squad hostage. She invades the squad room and holds several (including the Lieutenant) at bay. Then she waits for Steve Carella to return so she can kill him.
Carella is off solving a locked room mystery. A wealthy man committed suicide in a locked windowless room.
Carella is looking forward to the coming evening. He and Teddy plan to go to dinner. They are celebrating her news. She is going to have their first child.
Meanwhile the hostage taker shoots one cop and pistol-whips another.
Every attempt by the squad to notify someone what is happening seems to fail.
The woman holds suspects brought into the squad room hostage too. She finally ends up holding Teddy hostage when Teddy comes to the squad room to meet Steve so they can go to dinner.
There is so much irony in life. Terrible things involving Steve Carella happen without his knowing they are happening. Fate and a deranged woman are about to rise up against him. And that happens on one of his most happy days.
So, how does it all work out? By the time Steve returns, things appear back to normal. At first glance, nothing seems to be wrong in the squad.
From there, I think I’ll leave the rest for the reader to find out.
Again, I so love to read Ed McBain. For one thing, his early books are short. This one is 175 quick reading pages. I always liked those kinds of books. I was sad when paperback books became so expensive that publishers thought they had to produce longer, weightier tomes.
So after reading a very long book (The Cuckoo’s Calling), I dropped back to an early Ed McBain. He continues to be my favorite author.
A NOTABLE QUOTATION FROM Killer’s Wedge—
So the door had been locked.
So it’s suicide.
Or maybe it isn’t.
What do we do now? Send a wire off to John Dickson Carr?