Cover image for Hark! : a novel of the 87th Precinct
Title:
Hark! : a novel of the 87th Precinct
Author:
McBain, Ed, 1926-2005.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Simon & Schuster, [2004]

©2004
Physical Description:
293 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780743250351
Format :
Book

Available:*

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FICTION Adult Fiction Popular Materials-Mystery
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Summary

Summary

Ed McBain concocts a brilliant and intricate thriller about a master criminal who haunts the city with cryptic passages from Shakespeare, directing the detectives of the 87th Precinct to a future crime -- if only they can figure out what he means.The 87th Precinct gets a visit from one of the city's most accomplished criminals -- a thief known as the Deaf Man. Because he might be deaf. Or he might not. So little is known about the man who is harassing Detective Steve Carella with puzzling messages that it is hard to tell. But as soon as a pattern emerges, the detectives of the 87th are forced to hit the books and brush up on their Shakespeare -- because each new clue contains a line from one of his plays. Unless they can crack this complicated riddle and beat the Deaf Man at his own cat-and-mouse game, someone is going to end up hurt, or something will be stolen -- or both. It's always so hard to tell with the Deaf Man. Ed McBain brings his most intelligent and devious criminal back to the 87th Precinct with a richly plotted and literary crime.


Author Notes

Ed McBain is a pen name for Evan Hunter who was born in 1926 in East Harlem, New York on October 15, 1926. Hunter was born with the name Salvatore Albert Lombino, and he legally adopted the name Evan Hunter in 1952. During World War II, Hunter joined the Navy and served aboard a destroyer in the Pacific. He graduated from Hunter College, were he majored in English and psychology, with minors in dramatics and education.

He was a prolific writer who also wrote under the names of Ed McBain, Curt Cannon, Hunt Collins, Ezra Hannon, and Richard Marsten. His first major success came in 1954 with the publication of The Blackboard Jungle, which was later adapted as a film. He published the first three books in the 87th Precinct series in 1956 under the name of Ed McBain. He also wrote juvenile books, plays, television scripts, and stories and articles for magazines. He won the Mystery Writers of America Award in 1957 and the Grand Master Award in 1986 for lifetime achievement. He died of laryngeal cancer on July 6, 2005 at the age of 78.

(Bowker Author Biography) Ed McBain is the only American to receive the Diamond Dagger, the British Crime Writers Association's highest award. He also holds the Mystery Writers of America's coveted Grand Master Award. His books have sold over one hundred million copies, ranging from his most recent, "The Last Dance", to the bestselling "The Blackboard Jungle", the screenplay for Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds" & the bestselling "Privileged Conversation", written under his own name, Evan Hunter. He lives in Connecticut.

(Publisher Provided) Ed McBain, aka Evan Hunter, wrote the screenplay for Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds and has written many novels. He is the only American to be awarded Britain's coveted Diamond Dagger Award, the highest honor a suspense writer can achieve. He lives in Connecticut.

(Publisher Provided)


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

The Deaf Man is not a dead man. The brilliant criminal, double-crossed by his female partner in Mischief (1993) and left for dead, is back to make life miserable for the detectives of the 87th Precinct. The cops' frustration begins with the murder of the Deaf Man's former accomplice, a crime that leads the investigating officers down a dead end. But then come the notes, hand delivered to the precinct by a parade of junkies, prostitutes, and panhandlers, and containing combinations of Shakespearean quotes, encrypted anagrams, and palindromes. The Deaf Man is providing clues to the crime he is going to commit, if only the detectives are clever enough to decipher their meaning. As Steve Carella, Cotton Hawes, and Fat Ollie Weeks--who also has a lead on his missing novel (see Fat Ollie's Book, 2003)--struggle with the Deaf Man's missives, the Deaf Man himself is dealing with the fallout from his own nearly fatal flaw: underestimating his new female partner. Melissa Summers may be a hooker, but she's no victim and is slowly hatching her own plan as the Deaf Man executes his. McBain has written the series since the mid-1950s yet his key players keep evolving--there are always character-driven subplots woven carefully into the crime story--and the setting is always contemporary. McBain remains the quintessential Grand Master of the genre. If his name's on it, read it. --Wes Lukowsky Copyright 2004 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

Several excellent narrators, including the author, have lent their voices to McBain's long-running series about the detectives of the 87th precinct, but none seems as perfectly tuned in to the sleuths' personalities and attitudes as actor, playwright and author McLarty. He picks up all of McBain's nuances and adds a few of his own when delineating the lengthy lineup of characters from the thoughtful, heroic Steve Carella, somewhat distracted by the impending dual marriages of his mother and sister, to the Deaf Man, the velvety smooth recurring nemesis of the 87th. This time the puzzle-happy villain bedevils the precinct with Shakespearean quotes, giving McLarty the rare opportunity to show off his flair for classical locution. But of his many audio achievements, the finest is his interpretation of the overweight, obnoxious Det. Ollie Weeks, to whom McLarty gave voice in Fat Ollie's Book (2003). In that audiobook, Weeks found love in the form of Officer Patricia Gomez. Near the end of this audiobook, there's a beautifully written vignette in which Ollie and Patricia take a skim milk break, with him trying to alter his chauvinistic, racist lingo while she tries to bolster his flagging self-esteem. McLarty captures the humor, poignancy and, yes, romance of the scene, shifting between the two very different voices with eye-blink speed and even adding asides from an acerbic waitress. It's a magic moment and not the only one to be found in this highly entertaining adaptation. Simultaneous release with the S&S hardcover (Forecasts, July 19). (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

Doublecrossed in Mischief, the Deaf Man is back, itching for revenge. Another in a series that's been going strong since 1956. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

Chapter One Gloria knew that someone was in her apartment the moment she unlocked the door and entered. She was reaching into her tote bag when a man's voice said, "No, don't." Her fingertips were an inch away from the steel butt of a .380 caliber Browning. "Really," the voice said. "I wouldn't." She closed the door behind her, reached for the switch to the right of the door jamb, and snapped on the lights. He was sitting in an easy chair across the room, facing the entrance door. He was wearing gray slacks, black loafers, blue socks, and a matching dark blue, long-sleeved linen shirt. The throat of the shirt was unbuttoned two buttons down. The cuffs were rolled up on his forearms. There was a hearing aid in his right ear. "Well, well," she said. "Look what the cat dragged in." "Indeed," he said. "Long time no see," she said. "Bad penny," he said, and shrugged almost sadly. It was the shrug that told her he was going to kill her. Well, maybe that and the gun in his right hand. Plus the silencer screwed onto the muzzle of the gun. And their history. She knew he was not one to forget their history. "I'll give it all back," she said at once. "Whatever's left of it." "And how much is that, Gloria?" "I haven't been frugal." "So I see," he said, and with a slight arc of the gun barrel indicated her luxurious apartment. She almost reached into the tote again. But the gun regained its focus at once, steady in his hand, tilted up directly at her heart. She didn't know what kind of gun it was; some sort of automatic, it looked like. But she knew a silencer when she saw one, long and sleek and full of deadly promise. "What's left of the thirty million?" he asked. "I didn't get nearly that much." "That was the police estimate. Thirty million plus." "The estimate was high." "How much did you get, Gloria?" "Well, the smack brought close to what they said it was worth...." "Which was twenty-four mil." The gun steady in his fist. Pointing straight at her heart. "But I had to discount it by ten percent." "Which left two-sixteen." Lightning fast calculation. "If you say so," she said. "I say so." A thin smile. The gun unwavering. "Go on, Gloria." "The police sheet valued the zip at three mil. I got two for it." "And the rest?" "I'm not sure I have all this in my head." "Try to find it in your head, Gloria," he said, and smiled again, urging her with the gun, wagging it encouragingly. But not impatiently, she noticed. Maybe he didn't plan to kill her after all. Then again, there was the silencer. You did not attach a silencer to a gun unless you were concerned about the noise it might make. "The rocks brought around half a mil. The lucy was estimated at close to a mil. I got half that for it. The ope, I had a real hard time dealing. The cops said eighty-four large, I maybe got twenty-five for it. If I got another twenty-five for the hash, that was a lot. The gage brought maybe one-fifty large for the bulk. The fatties, I smoked myself." She smiled. "Over a period of time," she said. "Over a long period of time," he said. "So let me see. You got two-sixteen for the heroin and another two for the coke. Half a mil for the crack and another half for the LSD. Twenty-five for the opium and the same for the hashish. Another one-fifty for the marijuana. That comes to two hundred and nineteen million, two hundred thousand dollars. The cigarettes are on the house," he said, and smiled again. "You owe me a lot of money, Gloria." "I spent a lot of it." "How much is left?" "I haven't counted it lately. Whatever's left is yours." "Oh, you bet it is," he said. "Maybe two mil, something like that? That's a lot of cash, Sonny." The name he'd used on the job was Sonny Sanson. Sonny for "Son'io," which in Italian meant, "I am." The Sanson was for "Sans son," which in French meant, "without sound." I am without sound. I am deaf. Maybe. "Where's the money?" he asked. "In a safe-deposit box." "Do you have the key?" "I do." "May I have it, please?" "And then what? You kill me?" "You shouldn't have done what you did, Gloria." "I know. And I'm sorry. Put down the gun. Let's have a drink, share a joint." "No, I don't think so. The key, please. And let me see your hands at all times." He followed her into a lavishly decorated bedroom, a four-poster bed, a silk coverlet, a chest that looked antique Italian, silk drapes to match the bedspread. From a drop-leaf desk that also looked Italian, hand-painted with flowery scrollwork, she removed a black-lacquered box, and from it took a small, red snap-button envelope. The printing on the envelope read FirstBank. "Open it," he said. She unsnapped the envelope, took out a small key, showed it to him. "Fine," he said. "Put it back, and let me have it." She put the key back into the envelope, snapped it shut, and held it out to him. He took it with his left hand, the gun steady in his right, and slipped it into his jacket pocket. "So here we are in my bedroom," she said, and smiled. "Took me a long time to find you, Gloria." "Thought you'd never get here," she said. Still smiling. "Didn't even have a last name for you," he said. "Yes, I know." "All I knew was you'd been a driver since you were sixteen, that your end of a bank job in Boston enabled you to buy a house out on Sand's Spit...." "Sold it the minute I came into some money." " My money." "Well, actually the ill-gotten gains from narcotics the police were going to burn anyway." "Still my money, Gloria." "Well, yes, it was your plan, so I suppose the dope was rightfully yours. And we all got paid for what we did, so it wasn't really right of me to...well...run off with the stash, I know that, Sonny. The plan was a brilliant one, oh, God , what a plan! First the diversion in the Cow Pasture...." "I see you remember." Smiling. "How could I forget? And then the heist itself, at the Department of Sanitation incinerator...." "Yes." Nodding. Remembering. "Houghton Street on the River Harb Drive," she said. "Remember, Sonny? Me driving the truck, you sitting right beside me?" "Went off like clockwork," he said. Still smiling, remembering. "Like clockwork," she said. Smiling with him now. Beginning to feel this would go all right after all. "I found the house you used to live in, Gloria. Took me a while, but I found it." "What took you so long?" "Recuperating. You almost did me in. A doctor named Felix Rickett fixed me up. Dr. Fixit, I called him," he said, and smiled again. "Yeah, well, like I said, I'm sorry about that." "I'm sure you are," he said, and glanced knowingly at the gun in his hand. "The present owner of the house told me he'd bought it from a woman named Gloria Anstdorf." "Yep, that was me, all right." "German ancestry?" "I suppose so. I know the dorf part means 'village' in German. My grandmother thinks the anst may have come from 'badie anst alt,' which means 'baths' in German. A village where they had thermal baths, you know? She thinks the Customs people at Ellis Island shortened it when her parents got to America. To Anstdorf, you know?" "But that's not the name in your mailbox, Gloria." "No, it isn't." "You bought this apartment as Gloria Stanford." "Yes. What I did was rearrange the letters a little. From Anstdorf to Stanford. Made the name a little more American, you know?" "A lot more American." "Never hurts to rearrange the letters of your name here in the land of the free and home of the brave, does it? Especially when someone might be looking for you." "It's called an anagram, Gloria." "What is?" "Rearranging the letters to form another word." "Is that right?" "Anstdorf to Stanford. An anagram." "Is that what I did? An anagram? I'll be damned." "Never hurts to use anagrams here in the land of the free and home of the brave." "I suppose not." "But I found you anyway, Gloria." "So you did. So why don't we make the most of it?" "Was that your German ancestry, Gloria?" "Pardon?" "Tying me to the bed that way?" "I thought you liked that part." "The Hamilton Motel, remember, Gloria?" "Oh, how I remember." "In the town of Red Point. Across the river." "And into the trees," she said, and smiled. She was feeling fairly confident now. She sat on the edge of the bed, patted it to indicate she wanted him to sit beside her. He kept standing. Kept pointing the gun at her chest. She took a deep breath. Never hurt to advertise the breasts here in the land of the free and home of the brave. He seemed to notice. Or maybe he was just searching for a spot on her chest to shoot her. "Was that German, too?" he asked. "Little bit of Nazi heritage there?" "I don't know what you mean, Sonny." "Shooting me twice in the chest that way?" "Well..." "Leaving me tied to the bed that way?" "Speaking of beds..." "Leaving me there to bleed to death?" "I'm really sorry about that, I truly am. Why don't you let me show you just how sorry I am?" "Turnabout is fair play," he said. "Come over here, honey," she said. "Stand right in front of me." "Fair is foul, and foul is fair," he said. "Unzip your fly, honey," she said. "Macbeth," he said. "Act One, Scene One." And shot her twice in the chest. Pouf, pouf. Copyright (c) 2004 by Hui Corp. Excerpted from Hark! by Ed McBain All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.