July 7, 2005


Crime novelist Ed McBain dies at 78 (AFP, 7/07/05)

Evan Hunter, who as Ed McBain wrote a genre-defining series of gritty police novels, has died at his home in Connecticut, his representative said. He was 78.

McBain had died on Wednesday from cancer of the larynx, his agent Jane Gelfman said.

Hunter was a prolific writer, producing plays, screenplays and short stories under a variety of pseudonyms, but it was the 87th Precinct series of bestsellers -- beginning with "Cop Hater" in 1956 -- that will be his most enduring legacy.

With their vivid, sometimes brutal depictions of urban crime and the flawed humanity of the police who deal with it, the series took the police novel genre in an entirely new direction and spawned a host of imitators.

His books have sold over one hundred million copies worldwide.

"The first contract was for three books," Hunter said in a recent interview.

"I thought that might be the end of it; easy come, easy go. The next contract was for another three. I began to suspect then that I might be around for a while," he said.

The Mystery Writers of America awarded Hunter its Grand Master Award for lifetime achievement in 1986, and in 1998 he was the first American to receive a Cartier Diamond Dagger from the Crime Writers Association of Great Britain.

Queer--I'd just written a bit this morning for a Simenon review:
When we were kids our grandparents home libraries tilted heavily towards mysteries, including the mystery book club that used to put three in one volume. The highlights of their collection, for me at any rate, were Ed McBain's 87th Precinct series and Georges Simenon's Maigret mysteries. Simenon was legendary for the speed with which he wrote and the volume of work he produced, churning out books in

The 87th Precinct books are great and that they became completely anachronistic as the detectives never aged over the decades only made them more lovable. The entries featuring The Deaf Man were always especially good.

-Evan Hunter, Writer Who Created Police Procedural, Dies at 78 (MARILYN STASIO, July 7, 2005, NY Times)

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 7, 2005 2:37 PM

A sad day for humanity, but as great as Hunter/McBain's novels were, I preferred John D. MacDonald's works.

Hunter had far more movies made from his novels, however.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at July 7, 2005 6:15 PM