Tuesday, May 10, 2016



Sometimes I forget how much I like Ed McBain's 87th Precinct series.

I was reading along in Let's Hear It for the Deaf Man, and I found myself thinking, "This is a pretty ordinary book." Then I came to the ending. It was a marvelous ending in what is a good (not nearly the best) 87th Precinct book.

Steve Carella and the other detectives in the 87th work on three major cases--a series of cat burglaries, a gruesome crucifixion-like murder, and an upcoming bank robbery.

Carella's long-term adversary the Deaf Man sends photographs giving clues as to when and where the bank robbery will occur. He challenges the squad to keep him from robbing the bank. And he almost pulls it off. That's where one part of the unexpected ending comes in.

Meanwhile, the cat burglar leaves a kitten at the scene of each robbery. He breaks in without jimmying any of the doors or windows. He seems to know when the tenants are on vacation or away.

And the crucifixion-like murder leads the squad to an unusual murderer.

In the midst of all this, Kling begins a love affair, and someone attacks Carella and his wife Teddy.

Ed McBain is my favorite mystery writer. If I remember right, my favorite of the 87th Precinct books was Eight Black Horses. In that book, the Deaf Man becomes an even more dangerous psychopathic killer. And as always, he toys with Carella and the squad, leading them on.

It has been a while since I've read Ed McBain. I was glad to get back to my favorite mystery writer.


George said...

I've always enjoyed the Deaf Man books. McBain must have enjoyed them, too.

Joe Barone said...

George, I read most of these books years ago. Of all the plots and characters, the Deaf Man is the one I still remember most.

Joe Barone said...

A little added thought. When I saw this Deaf Man book, I picked it up to read again just because I had enjoyed them years ago.

Barry Ergang said...

It's been many years since I read this one, and I no longer have a copy. But I always enjoyed the Deaf Man novels in what has to be the greatest police procedural series of them all. It's far from an original comment, but nobody did it better than McBain. (Evan Hunter, that is, for the purists out there. Salvatore Lombino for the ultra-purists.)

Joe Barone said...

Barry, I agree. I think it is the best police procedural ever and a forerunner to a lot of others which appeared later in books, movies, and TV.