Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Sadie When She Died (1972)

Basically another solid entry in the 87th Precinct series of police procedurals by Ed McBain, though with mostly all familiar elements: Steve Carella is the star, investigating the murder of a woman in her home by a burglar. Carella suspects her husband found her not dead yet and finished the job by dragging the knife she'd been stabbed with through her guts. He suspects this because the husband, a criminal defense attorney, expresses only loathing for her, and later seems to be taunting the police. The investigation turns up, among other things, episodes of adultery on the part of the dead woman. So the problem of the puzzle becomes how to prove the husband did it. Meanwhile, death by knife, wanton promiscuity—it's the usual McBain table setting in many ways. This one also gets more into detective Bert Kling's running hard-luck story with women, which can become so extreme, as here, that one is left thinking McBain treated it as something of a joke. That's all right. It's actually pretty funny. Meyer Meyer also makes a brief appearance here, and Arthur Brown an even briefer one. This one is essentially Carella on the case, with Bert Kling for something like comic relief. It's set in December, in the holiday season, and as always the city of Isola presents its own brooding presence. I'm getting closer to a saturation point now visiting and revisiting these old McBains. I think I might like this one even more if I hadn't just read a bunch of the others. It's pretty good because the main case is reasonably mysterious. At the same time, the knifing and the promiscuity are getting just a little overfamiliar. Maybe this is a good one to save for a rainy day, after a break from the series. Not a bad place to randomly dip into. Perfectly adequate. Yet not necessarily one to make a point of getting to. There's time for them all.

In case it's not at the library.

No comments:

Post a Comment