Fiddlers, by Ed McBain

A blind violinist is shot to death in a back street, so the 87th get involved. A woman is murdered in her apartment, and ballistics show that she was shot with the same gun. Over the course of the next few days, other shootings take place, all with the same gun, although none of the victims seeming to be related.

Turns out this is the final 87th Precinct book, but it doesn't seem like McBain was getting tired of it. It's a pretty good story and, although it's quite short (six CDs), quite a lot of plot seemed to happen. In fact I thought that this was the sort of story that I could imagine would have made a Prey novel. It was more like Sandford than Leonard anyway - more focused on the story than the antics of bumbling crooks (which some of the other McBain books I've read have been).

A couple of things struck me about the book - one is that there were a number of dead ends in the investigation, which I thought was good: there were times when they went to interview someone and spent a while following up a potential lead, and nothing came of it at all. In most books like this, you might expect that when they talk to someone and go into some incident in their past, then this will be relevant to the plot. But that didn't always happen here, and I liked that because it made it seem more real.

The other thing was that there were a few places where the writing seemed a little bit unpolished. Specifically people said things "with sarcasm", or situations were described in a rather cliched fashion. This was definitely not Leonard style, and it felt a bit of a surprise considering this is an author who should have plenty of experience by now. But it wasn't a big deal.

As well as the crime, there was a fair amount of personal stuff about the characters, including Ollie's continuing quest for love.

All in all a good read - doesn't make me want to rush out and read more straight away, but I'll look out for others by McBain.

Completed : 22-Jun-2011 (audiobook)

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