Irritating though he was, Lester Henderson had it all when he strode up to rehearse his keynote address in the darkness of a downtown theatre. Widely tipped to be the next mayor and possessing a nice line in catalogue-casual daywear, Henderson stood four-square facing his glorious future. But five shots later and his lifeblood was seeping away. He had been gunned down by persons unknown from stage-right... At that point he became Ollie Weeks' problem. But this savage crime is suddenly overshadowed by a deed even more repugnant. Ollie's life work is his novel. Honed by countless rejection letters, it is finally ready to be released to the general populace. But then the one and only manuscript disappears, leaving Ollie to head off in pursuit of the thief. A thief who is convinced that Ollie's work contains the secret location of a hoard of hidden diamonds...
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.