McBain_And-All-Through-The-House_warnerThis is my last review of the year and I couldn’t resist a seasonal entry from my favourite police procedural series. This 87th Precinct short story (which first appeared in the December 1984 issue of Playboy) got the royal treatment in 1994 when Warner published it as a  hardback, which charming illustrations by Victor Juhazs (it also made its way into paperback from Guild, but I don’t have that edition).

It is Christmas Eve and Carella finds himself the only detective on duty inside the station house. He is just starting to not enjoy the quiet when Cotton Hawes bursts in, covered in blood

Lullaby (87th Precinct series # 37.5)
First Published: 1984
Leading players: Steve Carella, Cotton Hawes, Bert Kling, Meyer Meyer, Andy Parker, Alf Miscolo

“The silent nights got to you. He much preferred it when things were really jumping.”

There is not a huge amount to be said about the plot of this sentimental but certainly well-intentioned seasonal tale. Carella is pleased that his too silent night is interrupted, but things soon get farcical as the guests include two noisy white man who stabbed each other (and Cotton) over a bag full of hash; then Meyer brings in a young lad who stole a sheep from the zoo (as a present for his sister); and then Kling brings in a black man with a bag full of silver and gold he just stole. Just as it soon starts to snow, Andy Parker brings in two Puerto Rican transients looking for a place to say – she is very pregnant and their names are Maria and José … Well, there are no surprises here and the child-like tale couldn’t be simpler. The plentiful black and white illustrations are charming and if nothing else, this story proves, once again, just how well the author could ring the changes with his series. Incidentally, several years Rex Parker discussed this story, and its odd history as a chapbook, over at Pop Sensation and it is still well worth a look.


And so we come to the end of another year at Fedora, during which I reached a number of important goals for the site: I made a bit more of a dent in my pursuit of all the McBain books in the 87th Precinct series; I read a lot more women authors; and I tried very hard to keep up with my mystery reading challenges. This year I only managed to complete the Golden Vintage Mystery Challenge set by Bev at My Reader’s Block but managed to block out 26 tiles of the Silver Challenge too, so that’s 62 book reviews, all of which can be read here (if you dare). I was particularly pleased with many of the new authors I got to discover such as Patricia Moyes, Jill McGown and Margot Bennett, while ended up talking up a storm over a book by Barbara Wilson. Thanks Bev, I had a great time!

Speaking of special bloggers, I doff my hat to the amazing Todd Mason, who through thick and thin has served us so well with his Tuesday’s Overlooked Film meme; and to Patti Abbott (who also found time to publish Concrete Angel, her first novel), for hosting the Friday’s Forgotten Book celebration over at Pattinase. Thanks so much.

McBain_And-All-Through-the-HouseAs ever, as we are rounding things up, I have to send very warm thanks to many of my blogging buddies out there: most especially Colin (whose birthday it was yesterday) of the fab Riding the High Country; Mike Ripley (sorry we couldn’t meet up the other month); The ‘Puzzle Doctor’ of In Search of the Classic Mystery Novel who helped me get started; Margot Kinberg of Confessions of a Mystery Novelist for being all over the shop and always so enthusiastic; John F. Norris of Pretty Sinister Books will I hope have a great 2016 after a fairly bruising few months; Thanks for all the great info from Santosh; my Mum’s new FB friend Moira (she of The Guardian and Clothes in Books); Admiral Ironbombs of Battered, Tattered, Yellowed and Creased; Prashant at Chess, Comics and Crosswords; TracyK of Bitter Tea and Mystery; Jeff (aka the very busy father of the amazing Kenji) of The Stalking Moon; Kelly Robinson, of the always revealing Book Dirt and Film Dirt; the locked room TomCat of Beneath the Stains of Time; Karen of Kaggsy’s Bookish Ramblings (even if she did make me read a Christie that was sad for all the wrong reasons); Mike of Films on the Box; the encyclopedic John Grant of Noirish; Rich Westwood at Past Offences (sorry for not participating in as many of your challenges this year); new kid on the block ‘JJ’ of The Invisible Event; the mega busy Curtis Evans of The Passing Tramp; the charming Yvette of in so many words …  and Neeru of a hot cup of pleasure – thanks for being there and visiting here.

In the meantime I wish you all the very best for the season. I won’t be around as much in 2016 but look forward to catching up every now and then.


This entry was posted in 2015 Vintage Mystery Challenge, 87th Precinct, Ed McBain, New York, Police procedural. Bookmark the permalink.

60 Responses to AND ALL THROUGH THE HOUSE (1984) by Ed McBain

  1. Margot Kinberg says:

    Many thanks for the kind mention, Sergio 🙂 – Thanks also for this and all of your other fabulous reviews. Wishing you a wonderful holiday season and a good 2016.

  2. realthog says:

    Thanks for the shoutout, Sergio!

    I hadn’t realized this story had been separately published. I must keep my eye out for a copy, even though I’m pretty certain I have it in a collection somewhere.

    I hope you don’t find the holiday season too ghastly and that you have an amazingly fantabulous 2016 despite living in the same country as the Sun, the Daily Mail and a Tory government.

    • Well, funny you should mention the hibbilities of UK living as I will be off to Australia for a holiday in a week, so that will definitely take the sting out of it all. Hope you have a terrific Christmas and New Year chum. Hope to be back to blogging some time in Feb …

  3. realthog says:

    Oops: forgot to sub.

  4. Colin says:

    Thank you very much for the mention and the birthday wishes too, Sergio – really appreciated. You’ve given a great year’s worth of reading and chat here, along with some super recommendations as usual.
    I hope Christmas sees you happy and healthy, my friend.

  5. JJ says:

    It’s great to think that an author of McBain’s obvious talents took the opportunity to diversify a bit more playfully, and even better to hear that this received a “proper” publication…no small feat!

    Thanks for the mention, and thanks for your continued excellent work with Fedora. Enjoy the festivities, look forward to more of the same in 2016.

  6. kaggsysbookishramblings says:

    I was lucky enough to be gifted a copy of this last year, when my OH made a point of tracking down all the obscurities by McBain he could find so I could have a complete set. It’s a sweet little book. Have a merry Christmas and look forward to reading you in the new year!

  7. What do you mean you won’t be around as much in 2016? I don’t like the sound of that, Sergio. Please explain. Thanks very much for the “kind mention.” I have enjoyed my visits to your fabulous blog — you do such a marvellous job of all your reviews.

    Here’s wishing you and your family a memorable Christmas and New Year, Sergio, and Happy Holidays all round.

    • Thanks for all the kind words and support. But yes, 2016 is going to be very challenging in pesky real-life terms and I know I won’t have as much time on my hands. Frankly I don;t even want to think about it until I’m back from my holidays! Hope you have a great break with the family Prashant.

  8. Thanks for the mention, Sergio! Wishing you happy holidays on your trip to the land down under, and a great 2016 as well… though how great can it be if you won’t be around as much? 😉

  9. John says:

    Safe travels, Sergio! Hope you enjoy your annual visit Down Under. I most likely will not be blogging as much in 2016 either as I return to the grandiose task of selling off 75% of the books in my home. It will be daunting and more exhausting than writing. Merry, merry and all that jazz!

  10. Tim says:

    Thanks for reminding me of my sin of omission: I’ve read nothing by McBain for years, so I must do penance immediately (i.e., you’ve reminded me just in time!)
    All the best from Crime Classics, where I’ve posted a review of one of my favorite Christmas crime novels:
    . . . Merry Christmas, kind sir, and God bless us every one!

  11. tracybham says:

    Thanks for the mention, Sergio. I look forward to any posts that you do have time for in 2016. Your project to read all the McBain 87th precinct books in order motivated me to do the same. I hope I can get more of the books in that series read in 2016.

  12. TomCat says:

    Sorry for the late response, but thanks for the mention and recommendation! The book has been jotted down for next year. I wish you a Merry Christmas and all the best for 2016. And may I recommend reading Arthur Upfield during the long flight to Australia.

  13. Santosh Iyer says:

    I have obtained the December 1984 issue of Playboy and will soon be reading the story.

  14. Bev Hankins says:

    I hope you had a very Happy Christmas, Sergio. Thanks so much for being one of my regulars in the Vintage Mystery Challenge. I look forward to your splendid reviews in 2016!

    • Thanks Bev – hope you have a great New Year. Even if I am going to have to power down somewhat, as always I am really looking forward to participating in your latest challenge.

      • Piero says:

        Sai come mettersi in contatto con Curt per dare anche a lui gli auguri? La sua casella di posta non risponde: mi sono stati inviati indietro i vari messaggi che gli ho inviato con gli auguri. Ha micia un altro indirizzo di posta elettronica che tu sappia?

  15. Piero says:

    Buon Natale, Sergio, e auguri di un 2016 migliore ! Come stai? Piero

  16. Piero says:

    I tuoi? Ma i tuoi nonerano in Italia?

  17. Hope you had a great Christmas Sergio. Thanks for the kind words, and we will just have to make the most of you when you are here in 2016 – I hope it is good things keeping you busy.

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