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A Novel of the 87th Precinct

by Ed McBain

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-7432-0270-8
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Detective Oliver Wendell Weeks, the “equal-opportunity bigot” of the 88th Precinct who thinks of himself as “discerning,” gets his own case when someone assassinates Isola City Councilman Lester Henderson as his crew’s setting up a political rally inside Martin Luther King Memorial Hall. Recovering the weapon just creates a bigger problem: How could the perp have shot Henderson from stage right and then cannoned into a sozzled Vietnam vet outside stage left, dropping the gun as he ran? Apart from making a careful diagram of stage right and stage left he shares with Steve Carella and the other detectives of the 87th Precinct, where the Hendersons made their home, Fat Ollie can’t be bothered with such niceties, because he’s on the trail of a much more heinous crime: the theft of his just-completed police novel, Report to the Commissioner, from his locked car outside King Hall. The thief, transvestite prostitute Emilio Herrera, who’s even dimmer than Ollie, thinks he’s reading a real report to the commissioner by one “Olivia Wesley Watts” whose name, like all the untraceable names in the report, is obviously in code. While Carella & Co. are busy running down the Councilman’s killer and Ollie and impressionable Officer Patricia Gomez are following the trail of the Report, Emilio, a.k.a. Emmy, toils to identify the principals and find the diamonds they’re all seeking.

A neatly turned pair of cases leavened by some obvious but very funny satire of cop novels, including McBain’s own (Money, Money, Money, 2001, etc.), courtesy of some extended peeks at Ollie’s opus.