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The Empty Hours
By Ed McBain

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The Empty Hours

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The Empty Hours
An 87th Precinct Mystery
By Ed McBain
Thorndike Press - Large Print Edition (2005)
ISBN: 0-7862-7889-7
Genre:Mystery, Police Procedural

Reviewed by Sheldon Ztvordokov - November 14, 2005

The Empty Hours is a collection of three outstanding 87th Precinct Mystery novelettes by the master of the Police Procural, Ed McBain. These thrilling mysteries are taken directly from the vault of the 87th Police Precinct in New York City and they have the same feel as McBain's full length novels. The three novelettes in this collection are The Empty Hours, "J", and Storm.

The Empty Hours is a straight murder mystery. Claudia Davis, a society lady, is found strangled to death in the squalid slum apartment that she had rented. It falls to Steve Carella and Cotton Hawes, two of the detectives of the 87th Precinct, to discover who killed her, and why she was living in such squalid conditions when she had the money to live a more genteel life.

"J" is not your typical murder mystery. As the story opens a man is found dead, in an alley, surrounded by blood and blue and white paint. Before his death, he had scrawled on the wall a single letter, the letter J. Once again the case falls to Detectives Cotton Hawes and Steve Carella, aided by Detective Meyer Meyer, to investigate this horrific murder. The case quickly takes on an added sense of urgency when the dead man is identified as Rabbi Jacob Solomon. Was this a case of antisemitism run amok, or something else?

Storm once again finds one of the valiant detectives of the 87th Precinct on the trail of a killer, but this time it's personal. Detective Cotton Hawes has taken some much needed time off to go skiing with a leggy blonde. However, work follows him to the slopes when he discovers the body of a dead girl, and the hunt begins for her killer.

The three stories in this collection are well plotted, and attention grabbing. The stories where originally published in the early 1960's and are as exciting today as when they were first written. Ed McBain fans, and those who like police procedural will find The Empty Hours both entertaining and thrilling to read.

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