September 09, 1985 12:00 PM

by Ed McBain

Let’s hear it for the guys at the 87th Precinct! The dreaded Deaf Man, a sinister character familiar to fans of this series, is sending McBain’s hero, Inspector Carella, cryptic messages, and the nude body of a beautiful woman is found across from the police station. As Christmas draws near, the messages become a parody of The Twelve Days of Christmas, with such items as nightsticks and walkie-talkies replacing the turtledoves and leaping lords. The bad guy, muses Carella, “was smarter than the police, and he used the police, and he let the police know they were being used.” McBain has written more than two dozen 87th Precinct novels, and they have become the models for police procedural. The Deaf Man’s complex plot doesn’t feature astute work by the cops; accidental discoveries make the difference. Still, for mystery fans Eight Black Horses is top notch. (Arbor House, $15.95)

You May Like