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Fiddlers / Ed McBain.

By: McBain, Ed, 1926-2005.
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookSeries: An 87th Precinct novel: ; McBain, Ed, 87th Precinct novel: ; 87th precinct: ; McBain, Ed, 87th Precinct mystery: ; An 87th Precinct mystery: Publisher: London : Orion, 2005Description: 259 pages ; 25 cm.Content type: text Media type: unmediated Carrier type: volumeISBN: 075286954X (hbk.); 0752873741 (pbk.).Subject(s): Carella, Steve (Fictitious character) -- Fiction | Serial murders -- Fiction | Shooters of firearms -- Fiction | 87th Precinct (Imaginary place) -- Fiction | Serial murder investigation -- Fiction | Police -- United States -- Fiction | Large type books | Crime -- Fiction | Detective and mystery storiesGenre/Form: Detective and mystery fiction. | Detective and mystery stories.DDC classification: 813.54
Contents:
A serial killer who doesn't meet the profile - he uses a gun, and only selects victims over 50 years of age - and has struck five times in two weeks. Steve Carella and the detectives of the 87th Precinct must find what the victims had in common before the killer strikes again.
Subject: 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 police really start to take notice. But Steve Carella and the boys at the 87th Precinct always seem to be one step behind the killer, for 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 bullets into their bodies?
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Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

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 police really start to take notice. But Steve Carella and the boys at the 87th Precinct always seem to be one step behind the killer, for 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 bullets into their bodies?

Fiddlers is Ed McBain at his best - a twisting, turning puzzle book where nothing is as it seems and the pace never lets up. It once again proves McBain to be one of the true greats of modern crime writing.

A serial killer who doesn't meet the profile - he uses a gun, and only selects victims over 50 years of age - and has struck five times in two weeks. Steve Carella and the detectives of the 87th Precinct must find what the victims had in common before the killer strikes again.

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 police really start to take notice. But Steve Carella and the boys at the 87th Precinct always seem to be one step behind the killer, for 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 bullets into their bodies?

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Excerpt provided by Syndetics

The manager of Ninotchka was a wiseguy named Dominick La Paglia. Not a made man, but mob-connected, with a string of arrests dating back to when he was seventeen. Served time on two separate occasions, once for assault with intent, the other for dealing drugs. He insisted the club was clean, you couldn't even buy an inhaler in the place. "We get an older crowd here," La Paglia said. "Ninotchka is all about candlelight and soft music. A balalaika band, three violinists wandering from table to table during intermission, the old folks holding hands when they're not on the floor dancing. Never any trouble here, go ask your buddies up Narcotics." "Tell us about Max Sobolov," Carella said. This was now eleven P.M. on Wednesday night, the sixteenth day of June. The three men were standing in the alleyway where the violinist had been shot twice in the face. "What do you want to know?" La Paglia asked. "How long was he working here?" "Long time. Two years?" "You hired a blind violinist, right?" "Why not?" "To wander from table to table, right?" "Place is dark, anyway, what difference would it make to a blind man?" La Paglia said. "He played violin good. Got blinded in the Vietnam War, you know. Man's a war hero, somebody aces him in an alleyway." "How about the other musicians working here? Any friction between Sobolov and them?" Meyer asked. "No, he was blind," La Paglia said. "Everybody's very nice to blind people." Except when they shoot them twice in the face, Carella thought. "Or anybody else in the club? Any of the bartenders, waitresses, whoever?" "Cloakroom girl?" "Bouncer? Whoever?" "No, he got along with everybody." "So tell us what happened here tonight," Carella said. "Were you here when he got shot?" "I was here." "Give us the sequence," Meyer said, and took out his notebook. The way La Paglia tells it, the club closes at two in the morning every night of the week. The band plays its last set at one thirty, the violinists take their final stroll, angling for tips, at a quarter to. Bartenders have already served their last-call drinks, waitresses are already handing out the checks . . . "You know the Cole Porter line?" La Paglia asked. "'Before the fiddlers have fled'? One of the greatest lyrics ever written. That's what closing time is like. But this must've been around ten, ten thirty when Max went out for a smoke. We don't allow smoking in the club, half the geezers have emphysema, anyway. I was at the bar, talking to an old couple who are regulars, they never take a table, they always sit at the bar. It was a slow night, Wednesdays are always slow, they were talking about moving down to Florida. They were telling me all about Sarasota when I heard the shots." "You recognized them as shots?" La Paglia raised his eyebrows. Come on, his look said. You think I don't know shots when I hear them? "No," he said sarcastically. "I thought they were backfires, right?" "What'd you do?" "I ran out in the alley. He was already dead. Laying on his back, blood all over his face. White cane on the ground near his right hand." "See anybody?" "Sure, the killer hung around to be identified." Meyer was thinking sarcasm didn't play too well on a mobster. The Sobolov family was sitting shiva. Meyer had been here, done this, but today was the first time Carella had ever been to a Jewish wake. He simply followed suit. When he saw Meyer taking off his shoes outside the open door to the apartment, he took off his shoes as well. "The doors are left open so visitors can come in without distracting the mourners," Meyer told him. "No knocking or ringing of bells." He was washing his hands in a small basin of water resting on a chair to the right of the door. Carella followed suit. "I'm not a religious person," Meyer said. "I don't know why we wash our hands before going in." This was all so very new to Carella. There were perhaps two dozen people in the Sobolov living room. Five of them were sitting on low benches. Meyer later explained that these were supplied by the funeral home. All of the mirrors in the house were covered with cloth, and a large candle was burning in one corner of the room. In accordance with Jewish custom, Sobolov had been buried at once, and the family had begun sitting shiva as soon as they got home from the funeral. This was now Friday morning, the eighteenth day of June. The men in the family had not shaved. The women wore no makeup. There was a deep sense of loss in this house. Carella had been to Irish wakes, where the women keened, but where there was also laughter and much drinking. He had been to Italian wakes, where the women shrieked and tore at their clothing. The prevailing mood here was silent grief. The apartment belonged to Max's younger brother and his wife. The brother's name was Sidney. The wife was Susan. Both of Max's parents were dead, but there was an elderly uncle present, and also several cousins. The uncle spoke with a heavy accent, Russian or Middle European, it was difficult to tell which. He told the detectives stories about when Max was still a little boy. How his parents had purchased for him a toy violin that Max took to at once . . . "You should have seen him, a regular Yehudi Menuhin!" The brother Sidney told them that his parents had immediately started Max taking lessons . . . "On a real violin, never mind a toy," the uncle said. . . . and within months he was playing complicated violin pieces . . . "His teacher was astonished!" "He had such an aptitude," one of the cousins said. "A natural," Sidney agreed. "He was so sensitive, so feeling." "The kindest person." "Such a sweet little boy." "When he played, your heart could melt." "All his goodness came out in his playing." "What a player!" the uncle said. Sidney told them that no one was surprised when his brother was accepted at the Kleber School, or when Kusmin put him in his private class. "Alexei Kusmin," he explained. "The head of violin studies there." "Max had a wonderful career ahead of him." "But then, of course . . ." one of the cousins said. "He got drafted." "The war," his uncle said, and clucked his tongue. "Vietnam." "Twenty-fifth Infantry Division." "Second Brigade." "D Company." "B Company, it was." "No, Sidney, it was D." "I used to write to him, it was B." "All right, already. Whatever it was, he came back blind." "Dreadful," Susan said, and shook her head. "It began at the hospital," his uncle said. "The drug use." "Before then," his brother said. "It started over there. In Vietnam." "But mostly, it was the hospital." "Medicinal," his brother said, nodding. "The VA hospital." This was the first the detectives were hearing about drug use. They listened. "And also, you know, musicians," one of the cousins said. "It's prevalent." "But mostly the pain," the uncle said. "Understandable," another cousin said. "Besides, everybody smokes a little grass every now and then," a third cousin said. "It should only be just a little grass," the uncle said, and wagged his head sympathetically. "And yet," his brother said, "right to the day he died, he was the sweetest, most loving person on earth." "A wonderful human being." "A mensch," the uncle agreed. Only one of the girls was really beautiful, but the other one was cute, too. He hadn't expected either of them to be prizes. You call an escort service, they're not about to send you a couple of movie stars. The woman on the phone yesterday had said, "You know what this is gonna cost you, man?" She sounded black. "Price is no object," he'd said. "Just so you know, it's a thousand for each girl for the night. Comes to two K, plus a tip is customary." "No problem," he'd said. "Usually twenty percent." He thought this was high, but he said nothing. "Which'll come to twenty-four hundred total. You could make it an even twenty-five, you were feeling generous." "Credit card okay?" he'd asked. "American Express, Visa, or MasterCard," she'd said. "What time did you want them?" "Seven sharp," he'd said. "Can you make it a blonde and a redhead?" "How about a nice Chinese girl?" "No, not tonight." "Or a luscious sistuh?" He wondered if she had herself in mind. "Just a blonde and a redhead. In their twenties, please." "Le'me find you suppin nice," she'd said. The blonde was the real beauty. She told him her name was Trish. He didn't think this was her real name. The redhead was the cute one. She said her name was Reggie, short for Regina, which he had to believe because who on earth would chose Regina as a phony name? He guessed Trish was in her mid-twenties. Reggie said she was nineteen. He believed that, too. "So what are we planning to do here tonight?" Trish asked. She was the bubbly one. Wearing a short little black cocktail dress, high-heeled black sandals. Reggie was wearing green, to match her green eyes. Serious look on her Irish phizz, she should have been wearing glasses. Better legs than Trish, cute little cupcake breasts as opposed to the melons Trish was bouncing around. Neither of them was wearing a bra. They both wandered the hotel suite like it was the Taj Mahal. "Lookee here, two bedrooms!" Trish said. "We can try both of them!" Before morning, they'd used both beds, and the big Jacuzzi tub in the marbled bathroom. It hadn't worked anywhere. "Why don't we try it again tonight?" Trish suggested now. "I have other plans," he told her. "Then how about tomorrow night?" she said. "Maybe," he said. "Well, think about it," she said, and gave his limp cock a playful little tug, and then went off to shower. Reggie was drinking coffee at the dining room table, wearing just her panties, tufts of wild red hair curling around the leg holes. Freckles on her bare little breasts. Nipples puckered. "We could do this alone sometime, you know," she said. He looked at her. "Just you and me. Sometimes it works better alone." He kept looking at her. "Sometimes two girls are intimidating. Alone, we could do things we didn't try last night." "Like what?" "Oh, I don't know. We'll experiment." "We will, huh?" "If you want to," she said. "Give it another try, you know?" She lifted her coffee cup, drank, put it down on the table again. "And you wouldn't have to go through the service," she said. Down the hall, he could hear the shower going. Copyright (c) 2005 by Hui Corp. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Requests for permission to make copies of any part of the work should be mailed to the following address: Permissions Department, Harcourt, Inc., 6277 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, Florida 32887-6777. Excerpted from Fiddlers by Ed McBain All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Library Journal Review

A profile-defying serial killer runs amok in the next installment of the indefatigable Grand Master's oeuvre. McBain lives in Connecticut. This is one of the lead titles in legendary editor Penzler's new imprint. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly Review

MWA Grand Master McBain's 55th 87th Precinct police procedural suffers by comparison with 2004's Hark! as well as other top books in this iconic series, but still has plenty of good moments. A killer living the high life is exacting the last full measure of revenge. As his victims pile up, the 87th falls prey to the FMU or "first man up" rule. Since the initial victim, a blind violinist shot in the face, was done on the 87th's turf, all subsequent murders are theirs as well. More are not long in arriving; each victim shot in the face at close range with the same 9mm Glock. The whole cast of the 87th is stretched thin trying to track down clues in geographically disparate killings. This gives McBain license to update us on such matters as the romance between Bert Kling and Sharyn Cooke and Fat Ollie Weeks's courtship of Patricia Gomez. All are searching for the one lead that will pan out gold. While McBain siphons off some suspense by making the reader privy to the killer's actions, and his trademark dialogue isn't as crisp as usual, he still delivers dependable entertainment. Agent, Gelfman Schneider Literary Agents. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Booklist Review

A blind violinist is shot in the alley behind the restaurant where he works. A sales rep is gunned down in her apartment while cooking dinner. They are both killed with the same gun. Detective Steve Carella and his 87th Precinct team investigate. The case grows more confusing when an elderly priest and an old woman walking her dog are also murdered with the same gun. The killer, a seemingly ordinary man, is on a last fling with a call girl, who doesn't understand the darkness residing within the man she hopes will pull her out of the life. McBain has written more than 100 novels and earned more awards than can be cataloged in a brief review. His 87th Precinct novels remain the benchmark for both police procedurals and crime series fiction. Here he offers a proposition: with one's own end in sight, would there be any satisfaction in exacting revenge on those who forced your life off course? Say a teacher who gave you a C when a B would have kept you safe from Vietnam? McBain asks the question and--in making the killer something less than a monster--provides a provocatively open-ended answer. McBain just keeps getting better and better. This one will have readers waking in the middle of the night wondering if they, too, have killers inside themselves. --Wes Lukowsky Copyright 2005 Booklist

Kirkus Book Review

The boys of the 87th Precinct hunt a serial killer who won't play by the rules. Most serials stab or strangle their victims; this one shoots them in the face with a 9mm Glock. Most serials target a group with obvious similarities--cabdrivers, hookers, drifters; the only thing these victims seem to have in common is their age, which ranges from 50 on up. Most disturbingly: Unlike most serials, who pause for weeks or months before they kill again, this one seems hell-bent on claiming a record for speed. So there's every reason for Steve Carella, Meyer Meyer, Bert Kling, Cotton Hawes, Andy Parker, Richard Genero and Artie Brown to nail the perp as soon as they can. But each victim's life seems so different, and each killing leaves so many witnesses to interview, and so many apparent leads peter out that even longtime fans of the mystery field's premier procedural series (Hark!, 2004, etc.) may wonder when the threads will all come together, or how many of them will be left hanging--especially when several stalwarts of the 87th have problems that need watching in their personal lives, and when ineffably witless Detective Oliver Wendell Weeks of the neighboring 88th takes a proprietary interest in the case. The result, despite a serious anticlimax, is a single-plot mystery that feels far more generous, and one of the most comprehensive portraits of McBain's fictional kingdom of Isola ever. Copyright ┬ęKirkus Reviews, used with permission.