Thursday, August 1, 2013


Reading Ed McBain’s 87th Precinct Novel Lady Killer was like watching an ordinary episode of a favorite TV show.

Someone sends the 87th Precinct an anonymous note. The writer promises to kill “The Lady” at 8 p.m. that evening.

For a while, the precinct members flounder around trying to identify the writer. A part of the floundering works when they locate the boy who brought the note. That leads to an ID drawing of the Lady Killer.

The lead character red-headed Cotton Hawes comes close to catching the Lady Killer at least twice, but fails. Finally, Carella and Hawes catch on to the clues, and that makes for an action-filled ending.

According to McBain’s Introduction to this novel, he wrote it in nine days--180 pages at 20 pages a day. He wanted to use the rest of the time for a vacation.

As I said, to me this was an ordinary episode in my favorite police procedural series.

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