Mysteries

By Kreiner, Judith | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), September 16, 2001 | Go to article overview

Mysteries


Kreiner, Judith, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


Byline: Judith Kreiner

Perhaps the greatest mystery about the 87th Precinct police procedurals is how Ed McBain, the pen name for Evan Hunter, manages to keep them so lively. His latest, Money, Money, Money (Simon & Schuster, $25, 267 pages), features the same old crew, from Meyer Meyer to Steve Carella to Fat Ollie Weeks, and we are happy to revisit them, but the female pilot delivering drugs and the "professional" burglar are as fresh as the produce at Sutton Place.

Cassandra Jean Ridley had flown military helicopters in the Persian Gulf war so the idea of piloting a small, single-engine plane through the canyons of Arizona - with a $200,000 payoff at the end - sounded like child's play. And so it was. She didn't even need the .45 she was carrying for insurance.

Will didn't ever carry a gun. He was a professional burglar, intent on getting in and out without being noticed by so much as the family cat. He knew there were furs in Cassie's apartment. But the big stash of money was a dividend he was not expecting.

That money proves the death of both Cassie and Will, bringing the 87th onto the scene. The scene being the zoo, where the lions are disposing of Cassie's murdered body - and the evidence of the crime.

At this point the plot reaches "Nellie, bar the door" and we're off on a ride that seems to be going in numerous directions, rather like one of the new roller coasters. Well, hang on, because Mr. McBain brings it all together in his usual satisfactory way. Pieces linked, crime solved. But it is a shame we had to lose Cassie. While she lasted, she was fun.

And while we are in the mood for lively, there Anne George's Murder Boogies with Elvis (William Morrow, $23, 243 pages). This is another excursion with the Southern sisters, two siblings so different it's remarkable that they were both fished out of the same gene pool.

The loud, flamboyant Mary Alice and the quiet, dignified Patricia Anne are at a local festival when one of a chorus line of Elvis impersonators flies off the stage and lands in the orchestra pit.

He and a bass are both ruined. The bass is smashed but the Elvis has been stabbed right through the gizzard.

No one has been near enough to drive a knife through his back except the other Elvises, all dressed in white satin jumpsuits that would show a speck of blood in a military minute. …

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