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The First Deadly Sin (The Deadly Sins Novels) Mass Market Paperback – April 15, 1987

4.0 out of 5 stars 175 customer reviews
Book 1 of 4 in the Edward X. Delaney Series

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Breathtakingly exciting. -- Rolling Stone

From the Inside Flap

A compelling drama of a crusty New York City cop who stalks the streets for a psychotic killer while his wife lies dying of an incurable illness. 2 cassettes. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: The Deadly Sins Novels (Book 1)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 640 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley; Reissue edition (April 15, 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425104273
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425104279
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.1 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (175 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,011,358 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jana L.Perskie HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 3, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The First Deadly Sin" was my introduction to author Lawrence Sanders' work. He is a gifted writer who uses his craft brilliantly. This extraordinary novel and mystery thriller is not plot-driven, although the storyline is unusually exciting and does move at a fast pace. Sanders' excellence is demonstrated through the fleshed-out, realistic characters he creates. He allows the reader to gain access to the most personal aspects of his two main characters, their thoughts, obsessions and behavior. Police Captain Edward X. Delaney, Commanding Officer of New York City's 251st Precinct, and Daniel Blank, a young business executive, a mountain climber, who has an extreme penchant for order, and strange sexual fantasies, are the primary focus of this unique mystery. The case deals with solving a series of bizarre murders, and understanding the intimacy that exists between the killer and his victim; between the detective and his suspect. Sanders takes his time developing these characters, along with the many interesting secondary figures necessary to the novel, but he does not slow the plot or sacrifice it in any way with his study of these two men.
Captain Delaney takes a leave of absence to care for his hospitalized wife of 30-plus years. During his leave, a murder is committed. One fall night, while Delaney is waiting for his wife's operation to conclude, a Brooklyn councilman is murdered most savagely in the middle of the 251st Precinct. Delaney goes to the murder scene to investigate; detective work is his real passion. He soon becomes entwined in vicious local politics and a major power play for control of the City. The Police Commissioner wants Delaney to conduct a secret investigation of the murder, while he is on leave. The Mayor is backing the assignment.
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By A Customer on January 27, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This was the first of many Lawrence Sanders books I read, Edward X Delaney is one of my favourite detective characters and was only surpassed when Archie McNally appeared on the scene. Whenever I make a sandwich I just wish I had Mr Delaney with me to offer one of his concoctions.
It is a major loss to crime fiction that Mr Sanders is no longer with us and as others have stated Why oh Why did he not do the 5th, 6th and 7th in the Deadly Sin series. Perhaps there is a writer out there who can do it, but that might ruin the memory of these 4 great books.
Oh, about this book, it was almost a fantastic read but as already said by earlier reviews he slipped up on the ending. But you have to forgive him after creating such a wonderful main character for the rest of the series.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Wasn't I fortunate to find the Deadly Sins series, written by Lawrence Sanders, fairly early in my adult reading years? If you haven't met Detective Edward X. Delaney of the New York police, then you cannot answer with that resounding Yes! that I expect.

A character-driven series, especially Delaney's character, the Deadly Sin books take the reader inside the characters' minds to learn causality and motivation. Of course, the details of each murder are laid out for the reader, but the focus is on the murderer and Delaney and the steady, but slodging pace required to do detective work, which consists of that slow but steady accretion of facts. Readers who want action, action, action best look elsewhere for their fix.

Generally speaking, the only books I reread are the classics that I taught when an English teacher--Silas Marner, Cry the Beloved Country, Wuthering Heights, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, Night, The Turn of the Screw, As I Lay Dying, Lord of the Flies, and so on. So when I state that I've read this series three times, I am placing it in a pretty heady position.

So what makes this series so compelling? I think I "fell in love" with the character, the idea of Edward X. Delaney. This is the kind of man every woman wants. Besides being kind, thoughtful, and generous, he makes the most provocative sandwiches and pours the most exotic spirits and brews. As much as the details of the murders, Sanders creates Delaney's sandwiches with memorable strokes on the keyboard. In fact, put down Delaney's tomato sandwich as one of those famous scenes in literature.
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14 Comments 12 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover
Sanders isn't mentioned in any of the mystery encyclopedias I have seen. You practically have to look him up on web sites genuinely devoted to mystery lovers. If he is remembered at all it will probably be for Delaney and McNally. It takes the first 150 or 200 pages to really get into this novel, especially when it comes to where one can feel comfortable liking it. And the ending isn't particularly great. But the Epilogue is interesting. The read leaves one wondering it this book isn't more psycological thriller than mystery.
If you want a light read or a good suspense, go elsewhere.
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Format: Paperback
I read this book about a decade ago, and it still sticks out in my head. I'm an avid mystery reader (4-5 a month), and there are only a handful of books that really stand out to me, this being one. I'm surprised there were not more reviews of this book. Ten years after reading it, I don't remember the details, other than it was extremely well-written, gritty, and disturbing - all of my favorite components of a good book. For me, this one is up there with some of the best.
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