introducing readers to writers since 1995

July 07, 2005

Evan Hunter (Ed McBain), 1926-2005

by Ron Hogan

The NYT obituary headline credits Evan Hunter rightly credits Evan Hunter with inventing the police procedural, but as it quotes one of his characters, the 87th Precint saga was really just "novels about cops" at its heart. Great novels about cops, I should say; it'd be pretentious to call the series a roman fleuve or to bandy Balzac's name about, so the bottom line is that he created a world, filled it up with a lot of richly detailed characters, and kept at it for the long haul--and if you've never read the series, check the mystery blogs. They'll be better equipped than I to tell you which books make the best entry points. Sarah Weinman leads the way to many writers and fans expressing their thoughts online.

See also the NYT's earlier tribute to McBain five years ago, though you'll have to get past whatever grudge Newgate Callendar, the paper's mystery critic before Marilyn Stasio had against McBain. (And if you decide to go the DVD route, stay far away from the '90s TV-movies starring Dale Midkiff. Just go straight to Fuzz, which may be the closest thing to a Robert Altman picture that Robert Altman didn't actually direct.)

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