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The Mugger (87th Precinct Series, Book 2) Paperback – March 2, 2012

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Welcome to the 87th Precinct
Thomas & Mercer is thrilled to announce the publication of crime fiction master Ed McBain's 87th Precinct series. Check out the 87th Precinct Booklist to see all available titles.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 212 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (March 2, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1612181864
  • ISBN-13: 978-1612181868
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.4 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (88 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #917,032 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

Stephen King and Nelson DeMille on Ed McBain

I think Evan Hunter, known by that name or as Ed McBain, was one of the most influential writers of the postwar generation. He was the first writer to successfully merge realism with genre fiction, and by so doing I think he may actually have created the kind of popular fiction that drove the best-seller lists and lit up the American imagination in the years 1960 to 2000. Books as disparate as The New Centurions, The Friends of Eddie Coyle, The Godfather, Black Sunday, and The Shining all owe a debt to Evan Hunter, who taught a whole generation of baby boomers how to write stories that were not only entertaining but that truthfully reflected the times and the culture. He will be remembered for bringing the so-called "police procedural" into the modern age, but he did so much more than that. And he was one hell of a nice man. --Stephen King

Way back in the mid-1970s, when I was a new writer and police series were very big, my editor asked me to do a series called Joe Ryker, NYPD. I had no idea how to write a police detective novel, but the editor handed me a stack of books and said, “These are the 87th Precinct novels by Ed McBain. Read them and you’ll know everything you need to know about police novels.” After I read the first book--which I think was Let’s Hear It for the Deaf Man--I was hooked, and I read every Ed McBain I could get my hands on. Then I sat down and wrote my own detective novel, The Sniper, featuring Joe Ryker. My series never reached the heights of the 87th Precinct series, but by reading those classic masterpieces, I learned all I needed to know about urban crime and how detectives think and act. And I had a hell of a time learning from the master. Years later, when I actually got to meet Ed McBain/Evan Hunter, I told him this story, and he said, “I would have liked it better if my books inspired you to become a detective instead of becoming my competition.” Evan and I became friends, and I was privileged to know him and honored to be in his company. I remain indebted to him for his good advice over the years. But most of all, I thank him for hundreds of hours of great reading. --Nelson DeMille

To read about how Ed McBain influenced other mystery and thriller writers, visit our Perspectives on McBain page.

For a complete selection of 87th Precinct novels available from Thomas & Mercer, visit our Ed McBain's 87th Precinct Booklist.


'McBain writes with spare economy, bringing his city and the cops who patrolits toughest precinct to vivid life. Classics of crime fiction.'EVENING PRESS --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

That's a mark of superb writing.
M. T. Bowers
Any book by Ed McBain is a fun read.
Roxann Kopischke
His characters are vivid and real.
P. Sims

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Slokes VINE VOICE on May 6, 2004
Format: Audio Cassette
And you will thank Clifford back for this exciting, fast-paced early entry in Ed McBain's 87th Precinct series of police thrillers.

A mugger is brutalizing the women of the 87th Precinct, stealing their purse, punching them up, and taking his leave with a dandyesque bow and the immortal words: "Clifford thanks you." The detectives of the 87th have no sense of humor where this sort of thing is concerned, especially when one apparent victim is found lying dead on a riverside embankment.

While the series actually began with "Cop Hater," this second book, published in 1956, is where the series, and its mythical city of Isola, begins to take shape. McBain takes time out to describe the demographics of the 87th, the dance clubs, the stay-at-home wives who rake each other over in their washing-line gossip sessions like so many Mesdames Defarge.

Some nice time-outs, too, like one early on about the essence of urban loneliness. "Loneliness doesn't respect the calendar," he writes. "Saturday, Tuesday, Friday, Thursday - they're all the same, and they're all grey."

Steve Carella, the de facto hero of the 87th series, is away on his honeymoon for this one, and the reins are taken, for maybe the only time in the series, by a patrolman rather than a detective. Bert Kling is still nursing his injury from "Cop Hater" when an old friend pays him a visit, asking him to talk to his sister-in-law. That he does, and when the sister-in-law turns up dead the next day, he finds himself investigating the mysterious circumstances of her life. Why was a beautiful woman so sad, why did she visit a strange dance club and sit zombielike on the sidelines despite the many invitations to dance, why did she turn up a corpse on the other side of the city?
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Larry Eischen on August 25, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This entry in the 87th series spotlights Bert Kling before his promotion to detective. A mugger wearing cheap sunglasses has been targeting women in the precinct. When the sister of a friend is found murdered with all clues pointing to the mugger, Kling investigates and gets embroiled in the hunt for the purse snatcher. Noticeably absent in this novel is Steve Carella, who is usually McBain's focal point.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 7, 1998
Format: Hardcover
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Mac Blair on January 5, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
This is only the second McBain book I have read. It is very , very good. I am going to try to find them to read in order. Have a long way to go I know. The Mugger is about Bert Kling, who is a partolman. He is searching for a mugger named Clifford. He is doing this in his off duty time. Then a young girl Kling has met is killed, was it by the mugger or not????? The ending is great is all I will say about that. The book is fairly short, easy to read and will hold you attention. I would recommend it to anyone who likes a good mystery.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Ben on December 31, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
He uses the darkness of the city night as his cloak. He watches with a deep sense of patience. He silently, quickly steps up to the women, assaulting them violently. It is their money he is after...For he goes by the name of Clifford, and he is the Mugger. His method is always the same. After snatching his victim's purse, he bows from the waist and politely says "Clifford thanks you Madam." With several cases of muggings apperently commited by the same man, the detecives of the 87th Precinct go full tilt in bringing this man to justice. Detecives Hal Willis and Roger Hallivand head the case with what they have. Hal Willis is short in size, but don't let that fool you. He is a master of judo and knows how to use it. Roger Hallivand is a bull of a man, easily clearing the six foot mark. He speaks with his fists instead of words. Together, these two detecives use all they have to try to crack this case. Finally, a very attractive girl is found murdered, in which all evidence of the murder points toward the Mugger. The dead girl happened to be related to a friend of Bert Kling, who is a cop working in the 87th Precinct. Although he isn't a detecive, but instead a patrolman, Kling is weary. However, he is still convinced to seek out the killer by the victim's sister. He reluctantly agrees, and starts his own investigation. However, because he isn't a detecive and cannot offically investigate the crime without stepping on toes, Kling runs into trouble alng the way...Will the crafty Mugger ever be caught? Will Kling solve the murder? Will Kling ever be promoted to detecive? A very short and satisfying read. A true thriller. The second book in the acclaimed 87th Precinct series will keep you on edge. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jim on March 9, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is the second in the 87th Precinct series. I may be hooked as I have read three of the series in the last month and have more on hand. Ed McBain is a great writer and paints pictures with his words.
What I liked about this book is that I was able to piece the puzzle together before it was revealed. In the first book Cop Hater after the twist was revealed I could think back and see that all the clues were there. To me this is great mystery story telling when the reader can piece together the crime rather than just springing it on the reader in the conclusion.
I do have a complaint for Amazon. All the books in this series are not available digitally. I have had to buy paperbacks of two of the first six books. Make sure you get an accurate listing of the series. I made the mistake of reading book 4 (The Con Man) before I realized I had not read book 3 (The Pusher). They do refer back to prior incidents and introduce new characters in each book.
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More About the Author

Ed McBain was one of the many pen names of the successful and prolific crime fiction author Evan Hunter (1926 - 2005). Born Salvatore Lambino in New York, McBain served aboard a destroyer in the US Navy during World War II and then earned a degree from Hunter College in English and Psychology. After a short stint teaching in a high school, McBain went to work for a literary agency in New York, working with authors such as Arthur C. Clarke and P.G. Wodehouse all the while working on his own writing on nights and weekends. He had his first breakthrough in 1954 with the novel The Blackboard Jungle, which was published under his newly legal name Evan Hunter and based on his time teaching in the Bronx.

Perhaps his most popular work, the 87th Precinct series (released mainly under the name Ed McBain) is one of the longest running crime series ever published, debuting in 1956 with Cop Hater and featuring over fifty novels. The series is set in a fictional locale called Isola and features a wide cast of detectives including the prevalent Detective Steve Carella.

McBain was also known as a screenwriter. Most famously he adapted a short story from Daphne Du Maurier into the screenplay for Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds (1963). In addition to writing for the silver screen, he wrote for many television series, including Columbo and the NBC series 87th Precinct (1961-1962), based on his popular novels.

McBain was awarded the Grand Master Award for lifetime achievement in 1986 by the Mystery Writers of America and was the first American to receive the Cartier Diamond Dagger award from the Crime Writers Association of Great Britain. He passed away in 2005 in his home in Connecticut after a battle with larynx cancer.

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The Mugger (87th Precinct Series, Book 2)
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