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Fiddlers: A Novel Of the 87th Precinct Hardcover – Sep 6 2005


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Harcourt, Inc.; 1 edition (Sept. 6 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0151012164
  • ISBN-13: 978-0151012169
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 15.5 x 2.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 499 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,441,829 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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Amazon.com: 40 reviews
28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
God speed, Salvatore! Sept. 7 2005
By Dave Schwinghammer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Sadly, Salvatore Lombino, alias Evan Hunter, alias Ed McBain has gone to his just rewards.

No other writer has been as consistently good for as long as McBain, who started this series in 1956. Admittedly, I did not like the 87th Precinct novels at first, but I became hooked when I bought a three-for-one anthology at a booksale. Police procedurals stress plot over characterization and it took me that long to get to know Steve Carella, Meyer Meyer, Cotton Hawes, Burt Kling and the rest.

McBain is a master at weaving together subplots, and FIDDLERS is no different. The detectives of the 87th are on the trail of a serial killer who seems to be targeting senior citizens: a blind violinist, a cosmetics sales rep, a college professor, a priest, and an old woman out walking her dog. We also get a brief look at Carella's personal life as his thirteen-year-old Twins are growing up. There's also some social commentary as Burt Kling deals with his bi-racial relationship. The novel ends with a hook, pointing toward the next in the series: Fat Ollie's love affair with Patricia Gomez seems headed for trouble as he turns to Andy Parker, of all people, for advice.

I have a feeling McBain was working right down to the end, as he often completed two novels a year, as McBain and his alter ego Evan Hunter. But if there are no further Precinct novels, I plan to start all over with COP HATER and THE MUGGER if I can find them. Although McBain always kept some 50s elements in his newer work, it'll be fun to compare the early work with his modern stuff.

God speed, Salvatore!
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Fiddlers is pure gold Aug. 30 2005
By Bruce Trinque - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Fiddlers is the latest (and, given the recent death of author Ed McBain, presumably the last) of the remarkable series of "87th Precinct" police procedural novels -- more than fifty books published over a period of fifty years. The usual cast of detective characters is here: Steve Carella, Meyer Meyer, Kling, Brown, Parker and even Fat Ollie Weeks. And as has been the focus of the last several 87th Precinct novels, the story is as much about their personal lives as about the crimes they investigate. There is a serial killer on the loose, but a serial killer murdering at a furious pace -- a new victim every few days, two bullets fired into the face. But what connects the victims? A blind violinist, a cosmetic sales rep, a college professor, a retired priest ... "Fiddlers" in the end is about relationships. Beginning relationships, ending relationships, relationships too fleeting to have a proper beginning or ending, destructive relationships, redemptive relationship.

If this is indeed the final 87th Precinct novel, then it was a fine note on which to end the symphony.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Five Star Finale Oct. 16 2006
By Kevin Killian - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Though it had to be, what a shame to end the series on such a downbeat note, with Steve Carella's little April, once the apple of his eye, turning into a gang girl, and her opposite number, the boy twin, becoming a snitch, a rat, of the worst description, telling on April as soon as it's convenient. Those twins once were the highwater mark of cute kids in the detective novel, now they're just like slimy movie kids. Their mother seems incapable of keeping up with the changes puberty brings. Yes, she can sign "No drugs!" as loudly as she can, and it may work the first time, but eventually the kids will do their own thing, rebelling against the unusual home setup (obsessed cop dad and signing Mom) and wanting to be like other more normal families.

However, Ed McBain's tragic death deprives us of resolution, and I expect something in the man delighted in this, for he had a pretty good opinion of himself and, much like you and I, considered himself one of the great American novelists. Irreplaceable. I for one don't want any V C Andrews scam occurring to the 87th Precinct series. We loved him for his writing pure and simple.

FIDDLERS is pretty good and it's miles better than that wretched book where Ollie Weeks was writing a novel, remember that? Its lame parody of bad writing, presented in standard 87th Precinct facsimile form? Yikes was that awful. This one is much better, and although the actial revenge plot borrows quite a bit from Cornell Woolrich's two 1940s thrillers THE BRIDE WORE BLACK and RENDEZVOUS IN BLACK, the addition of the red-headed prostitute, Reggie, turns the human interest up a notch, so we become interested in the unlikely pairing of serial killer and call girl.

Why "FIDDLERS" though? OK, the first victim played the violin. Maybe there's some larger, overarching metaphor here. Funny thing that FIDDLERS should be Ed McBain's last book, while FIDDLERS THREE was the last play that Agatha Christie wrote. Nothing but a coincidence, but I'm just saying.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
McBain will be missed Nov. 15 2005
By Professor - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Five stars for the book, but I'm really writing a tribute here to this man, whom we unfortunately lost this year.

McBain was unbelievably prolific and successful--over 100 million books sold. You would think that a writer with such popularity must be writing lightweight, low common denominator trash. You would be wrong.

McBain knew how to write. He knew character, dialog, and plot as well as any novelist--and better than most.

I teach literature and writing at a Florida university. My comrades in the department are busy writing poetry and exploring obscure "literary" writers. I doubt if many of them have ever read McBain--too lowbrow. Too bad for them.

Good literature involves the reader personally because he or she cares about the characters and what happens to them. Good literature provokes insight and analysis because of the moral and ethical issues that are presented. Good literature appeals to our sense of humanity.

McBain never failed to do that in all his years of writing. I'm going to miss Steve Carella, Matthew Hope, and all of the other great McBain characters. They were real people--good people that we cared about (except for maybe Fat Ollie--but I'm even going to miss him!).
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
A realistic police procedural Sept. 1 2005
By Luan Gaines - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
A blind violinist. A cosmetic sales rep. A priest. A professor. All over fifty and all shot two times point blank in the face. This horrific scenario is given to the detectives of the 87th Precinct to solve, with no clues. In this suspense novel, it is the dialog that pushes the plot along, a rhythm that builds, clue by clue, character by character. Along the way we get to know the detectives of the 87th Precinct: Carella, Meyer, Burns, Parker and Oliver Wendell Weeks. Sharing intimate portraits of their personal lives, the detectives work a bizarre set of serial murders with their usual professionalism, solid police work.

The detectives take to the streets, hitting night clubs, raves, any and all venues with the potential for shifting quantities of illegal drugs. The trail leads one way, then another, but they can get no fix on the motive for the killings. Meanwhile the murderer keeps busy, dropping new bodies while the cops are mid-stride chasing the last one. As the chapters alternate the crimes and private glimpses into the daily lives of the men who work the 87th, a pattern slowly emerges; it doesn't fit any previously known serial killer, but eventually an identity emerges, a man with a vengeance.

Even in the midst of these heinous crimes, the author inserts humorous asides, usually relating to the detectives' personal problems, humanizing the men who deal with everyday violence, a mix of crime and the mundane details that make up police life. McBain sprinkles the pages with eccentric characters, dope dealers, students, ex-husbands, all with pitch-perfect dialog that feels like eavesdropping on a private conversation. The 87th does their footwork by the book, gradually narrowing their suspects. This particular murderer plots his revenge for a painful past, a revenge he prefers served cold. But that's the thing with resentments...they'll kill you. Luan Gaines/2005.


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