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Fiddlers (87th Precinct series Book 55) [Kindle Edition]

Ed McBain
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Six victims. Same gun. No link. The final 87th Precinct novel from the master...

It started with the blind violinist - shot twice through the head at point-blank range in the alley outside his dingy restaurant. But it's only when the omelette lady gets shot with the same gun in the same way twenty-four hours later that the 87th Precinct really starts to sit up and take notice.

But Steve Carella and the boys at the Precinct always seem to be one step behind the killer, and are unable to prevent the death toll rising. The trouble is, while the gun is the same, none of the victims seem to be related in any way. And why is the killer heard to introduce himself as 'Chuck' before pumping two bullets into their bodies?

FIDDLERS is a brilliantly twisting puzzle of a book where nothing is as it seems and the pace never lets up - Ed McBain at his very best.

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Seldom has a series retained its vibrancy so well over half a century and 56 volumes. The puzzle is slowly completed by our ageing heroes, with never a lifeless page or wasted word. McBain's series will remain a landmark achievement. (THE GUARDIAN, 24 Sept)

McBain's dialogue is still lively... a reminder of one of the greats of crime fiction. (Susanna Yager THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH, 25 Sept)

Gripping. (DAILY MIRROR, 23 Sept)

Characters only McBain could dream up. Marvellous. (EVENING TELEGRAPH, 1 October)

"One of McBain's best¿ a great stylist, witty and inventive, who created a brilliant format which was hijacked without acknowledgement by TV. He will be sorely missed both by readers and wannabe writers who longed to be shown how to do it. No one else so far has discovered the knack." (LITERARY REVIEW, November 2005)

It moves at lightning speed... McBain's trademark heavy irony and light comic touch are much in evidence. A fitting end to a remarkable series. (EVENING STANDARD, 17 October)

A neat police procedural interspersed with engaging slices of the policemen's lives... always immensely satisfying. (IRISH INDEPENDENT, 12 Nov)

McBain's timing is impeccable. What makes (his) books work so well is his ease with character and dialogue. It is a gift few writers have - the ability to delineate a realistic character with just a few descriptive lines, which an absolutely authentic voice then fills in. I read FIDDLERS in one non-stop session... He'll be missed. (CRIME TIME, 1 Jan)

Beautifully written... a splendidly crafted story. (THE SCOTSMAN, 21 Jan)



Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 909 KB
  • Print Length: 320 pages
  • Publisher: The Murder Room (6 Mar. 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00IF7LG94
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #16,380 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

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.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ed McBain - Fiddlers 16 Sept. 2005
By RachelWalker TOP 500 REVIEWER
When the fiddlers have fled...
It begins when a blind violinist is found shot - twice, in the face - in an alley outside his club, located somewhere within the borders of the good ol' 87th precinct. Within a very short time, another identical killing occurs elsewhere in the city. The gun used is the same, but there is no connection between the two victims whatsoever. The immortal boys of the 87th are stumped. It's a state affairs that continues, despite their valiant efforts, as the corpses seem to drop around them like rain. A university lecturer, a priest, a widow... The only thing any of them have in common is a plethora of years to their age. Stumped though they are, the boys will have to doggedly chase down all the leads until the final breakthrough which will crack the case, and they have to do it quickly, before the killer racks up too many more victims.
It's hard to read this book. Not in a bad way - McBain's prose is as fresh, youthful, witty, free of pretension and full of zest for life as ever, and his dialogue is some of the finest. As always, this is an 87th Precinct novel that takes almost no effort to read and yet rewards you in spades for doing so - you almost feel as if you're cheating, somehow. No, it's hard to read in a bittersweet way. It's difficult not to feel a little melancholy, knowing that this is - in all likelihood - the final 87th Precinct novel, since McBain's sad death in July. (Rumours that there are two more yet to come - "Put them All Together and they Spell Mother" and "Exit" - have not been corroborated either way, but we can live in hope.) Not only that, but you almost feel a little guilty for having so much absolute fun, too. Though of course that's what McBain would have wanted.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The End of the Line 26 Aug. 2009
By H. meiehofer VINE VOICE
And so we come to the final chapter in the 87th Precinct story; brought to an end only by the death of its creator. This has been one of the most successful series in crime fiction, stretching for nearly fifty years.

Whilst he may have had some inspiration from certain work that preceded him there is no doubt that Ed McBain changed the world of crime fiction by popularising the police procedural. Without him dare I say it would we have Hill Street Blues, Homicide or the Wire. Or even James Ellroy?

Of course the series has changed over this time; the sex and language is more explicit. However, the endearing qualities are those that have maintained the continuity; the excellent recurring cast (both inside and outside the precinct) and the trademark humour.

This final piece is typical. A cracking story that keeps the reader gripped, some twists and turns along the way and quite a few laughs. It may not be up there with the best of the 87th but it is still miles better than most authors in this particular sub-genre produce.

McBain's style is deceptive; because it is light reading many will think it is not profound. Yet as ever he tackles big issues of race and gender as well as the internal politics of the Police Department.

It is sad to think that we will have no more Carella, Hawes and Meyer, but at least Ed left us with a very good book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars This may be a terrible thing to say but... 7 Dec. 2006
By Smst1
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase many ways I'm pleased that Evan Hunter's death ended the 87th Precinct series, because if we're to be honest, he's been off-form for the last half-dozen or so.

Diehard fans will regard this as heresy, but - sorry and all that - I'M a diehard fan too, and it pained me to read some of the substandard offerings of the past few years and compare them to earlier titles.

I read this book a few monthbs back and can't remember a single aspect of plot, characterisation or denouement. Unlike - let's say - the very early books in the series like Cop Killer and progressing through what I regard as the golden era of Jigsaw and Give the Boys a Great Big Hand.

Ever since Ghosts maybe, I've noticed a decline, buying each new offering in the fervent hope that it'd be better than the last and saddened that they never were.

If you're a real fan, you'll buy this simply because it's the last ever McBain. But if you're new to his work, read his earlier stuff. It is truly and unfailingly brilliant
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars May the 87th Precinct Continue in Good Hands 5 Oct. 2005
With the passing of Ed McBain, we lost one of the great ones.
If this were a review of Ed McBain's writing, his work would clearly receive five stars. His 87th Precinct and Matthew Hope novels have been landmarks in detective fiction for longer than most of us can remember.
My fervent wish is that Mr. McBain's literary heirs will consider authorizing his 87th Precinct stories to continue under a new author . . . first using any notes or partially completed manuscripts they find.
On to Fiddlers. The best part of this book is found in the many imaginative word plays on the title that Mr. McBain used throughout the book. If you like tongue in the cheek humor in your police procedurals, you'll love fiddling along with fiddlers in Fiddlers.
The personal stories of the detectives are more interesting than usual. Bert is still trying to recover from his faux pas with Sharyn. Steve finds a new problem at home.
The crime story is an interesting variation on the serial killer genre. I think you'll enjoy uncovering the motives behind the murders.
Mr. McBain fiddled with us in one other way -- he brings all the investigations forward successfully in one grand gesture . . . almost like a final curtain call.
The book's main weakness is that the negative events in the perp's life seem to be more than a little too much. Had Mr. McBain satisfied himself with more modest motives, I think this could have been a grand story.
If you have ever read any of the books in this distinguished series, you will make a mistake if you miss this one. It may be the last.
Adieu, Mr. McBain!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars I brought this book to replace my paperback copy.
I brought this book to replace my paperback copy.
Published 7 days ago by Brian
4.0 out of 5 stars 87th Precinct
As always, Ed McBain is always a good and entertaining read
Published 6 months ago by Mrs. C. M. Phelps
5.0 out of 5 stars As always a good entertaining read.
I love ed mc bain what more can I say.
Published 9 months ago by raymond l down
5.0 out of 5 stars Another world beater
Great story but then all ed Mcbain books are great, there not only the very involved detective narrative but such beautiful descriptions of the characters. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Viza
5.0 out of 5 stars another great read
This is a great book by a brilliant author, i really enjoyed reading this book and would recommend to other readers
Published 13 months ago by Jean Parsons
5.0 out of 5 stars Ed McBain will never get a bad review from me.
I am a fan pure and simple. He can do no wrong and I do NOT believe is spoilers so read this and all his 87th Precinct novels and you are likely to become a fan too.
Published 15 months ago by M. Taplin
4.0 out of 5 stars Another world...
I have not read any other Ed McBain books and enjoyed this as it brought to me a world I never knew existed outside of television cop shows. Read more
Published on 29 Jan. 2013 by C. FULLER
5.0 out of 5 stars A shame that he's gone
It's been 35 years since I read his first novel and more than a decade when I last read one of his books . It's a plain "cops and robbers" book , as good as they come . Read more
Published on 21 Jan. 2012 by Dundee Ghost
3.0 out of 5 stars Okay
The story is entertaining, reasonably well told but at the end of the day fairly easy to guess early on. So all in all it's a fairly mediocre offering. Read more
Published on 24 July 2007 by TKr
5.0 out of 5 stars fiddlers
even by mcbains high standards in crime fiction this is a stand out work, you must make time for this which i believe to be his best ever. Read more
Published on 10 Sept. 2006 by bookworm
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