this is the 192nd in my series of forgotten or seldom read books
In this eighth in his series featuring the repertory cast of characters which comprise the fictional 87th Precinct, Ed McBain (Evan Hunter) gives the reader an extremely unusual situation.
Virginia Dodge, wife of convicted thief and shooter Frank Dodge, who has recently died in prison, walks into the 87th Precinct, up the stairs, pushes her way into the squad room, sits down at an empty desk, pulls out a .38 and tells the cops present to hand over their weapons or be shot. Oh, and she pulls out a bottle of clear liquid which, she informs them, is nitroglycerin. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t, but do they dare risk finding out?
She’s there, she tells them, to kill Steve Carella. She has her reasons, or thinks she does, and she’s determined. But Carella is out investigating a suicide, or probably a suicide, and no one knows when he’ll return. No problem, she says, “I’ll wait. We’ll all wait.”
So begins the book, and there are tense hours as the afternoon moves slowly along. But surely a room full of cops can figure out a way to outsmart this one obviously crazy woman, can’t they?
I’ve only read three 87th Precinct books, and, though I find the premise here pretty unbelievable, this was the best of them. I may try another one someday, maybe, but these just didn’t strike a chord with me.