The Frumious Bandersnatch: A Novel of the 87th Precinct
Simon & Schuster, 2004 (2004)
Hardcover, Audio, CD
Reviewed by Hilary Williamson
d McBain presents the most horrendous events in an off-hand, casual fashion that mimics the distancing his detectives must themselves take from the crimes they investigate. The title of this
episode comes from Lewis Carroll's
Through the Looking Glass
, the one that begins '
'Twas brillig and the slithy toves did gyre and gimble in the wabe
' - and verses are delightfully quoted (and misquoted) throughout the mystery by all its players. '
' also happens to be the title of a new album and video by hot singing sensation Tamar Valparaiso.
t's primarily Steve Carella's case, after Tamar is kidnapped during a rape enactment at her launch party by two men and a woman. Appropriately enough ('
for the launch
'), the snatch occurs on a rented luxury yacht. Though Steve catches and begins the investigation, an FBI task force self-styled '
' soon horns in, anxious for glory as the media go wild - I especially enjoyed the author's snarky perspective on case irrelevancies taken up by the talk shows. And McBain has lots of fun with the music industry, in particular a cynical explanation of video production, voiced by one of Bison's executives '
trying to sell his savvy
' to a young black girl at the launch party.
hough I figured out the probable twist early on, it's still always a joy to watch this master unfold his plot. And, having read every other
novel, I like re-entering the lives of detectives like Cotton Hawes and, susprisingly, Ollie Weeks. He's the one who was always Carella's
police officer as pig
foil earlier in the series - fat, bigoted, unlikeable, but still a competent cop. I've loved watching McBain re-invent Weeks recently. Ollie takes piano lessons, is writing a book, and now is even dating Patricia Gomez, a female police officer. Is Ollie in love and will he ever get that book published (after he rewrites it, since a petty crook stole the manuscript)?
hough Ed McBain writes a fine police procedural with a satirical pen and plenty of '
jaws that bite
' and '
claws that catch
', it's the unique human faces of his detectives that I enjoy most in this series.
The Frumious Bandersnatch
was high entertainment on all levels, and I hope to read many more
Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.
Find more Mystery books on our
or in our book