Ed McBain

All about Ed McBain, 87th Precinct, bio, links to books

Ed McBain is just one of the many pseudonyms used by one prolific
writer, Evan Hunter.

Born in New York in 1926 as Salvatore A. Lombino, the master of the police procedural has used many pen names, including Curt Cannon, Ezra Hannon, and Richard Marsten, but he is best known for his police novels written under the name Ed McBain.

The first, “Cop Hater” (1956), introduced the famous members of the 87th precinct, set in the fictional city of Isola. Steve Carella, Meyer Meyer, Andy Parker, and the other hard-working precinct cops are usually seen tackling several cases simultaneously and have remained ageless over the course of four decades. This was necessary, according to McBain, because, he says, “If I hadn’t done that, I’d now have a precinct of doddering old men.” (Great Detectives)

In McBain’s books, police life is presented in a gritty, realistic style that has only added to their popularity.

The urban setting provides an endless opportunity for different storylines and personalities to interact, increasing the sense of realism. This portrayal of the grim realities of big-city police work is balanced with McBain’s “essentially optimistic view of the city as a place in which, despite the violence, moral order prevails because police are good citizens and laws work.” (Crime Classics)

Perhaps it is for this reason that McBain’s novels remain so popular.


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