This 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.
As 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.