cover image Romance


Ed McBain, Evan Hunter. Grand Central Publishing, $30 (336pp) ISBN 978-0-446-51804-8

Romance and drama capture police detectives Carella and Kling of the 87th Precinct in McBain's Manhattan clone, Isola City. An actress in a play about an actress who gets stabbed is stabbed. Her superficial wound draws little blood but enough media attention, perhaps, to save the drama from the opening-night closing its director expects. The play is titled Romance, a subject very much the focus of Kling's personal life as he doggedly pursues another cop-black surgeon, Sharyn Cooke. Next, a cast member is fatally stabbed and another member of the company dies in a suspicious fall out of an apartment window, giving the case some urgency and, not incidentally, stirring up ugly interprecinct politics, notably with Carella and King's loathed colleague, Fat Ollie Weeks. McBain has fun in this 48th 87th precinct tale, weaving romantic dialogue into the investigation and taking shots at various dramatis personae of the theater world. When McBain has fun, so do his readers. Mystery Guild selection; Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club alternates; author tour. (Apr.)