Friday’s Forgotten Books: Ed McBain’s Downtown

It is Ed McBain’s day at Friday’s Forgotten Books @ Pattinase. Well, I haven’t read much of McBain. In fact, have read only one book of his so far: Fuzz. That was truly enjoyable and yet I haven’t really read more of him. Now that I think of it,this is definitely strange because there was a time when if I liked an author/ character, I’d go searching for his/ her books and would not rest till I had kind of read them all: Enid Blyton, Three Investigators, Agatha Christie, Perry Mason, P.G. Wodehouse, James Hadley Chase, Paul Scott, Michael Innes, Raymond Chandler. So what has happened now? Do I fear that I might start finding them repetitive and thus boring? Or is it that there are just too many to read? Or is it that I do not want to run through authors and so be through with them? Or is it that now my reading is conditioned by reading challenges? Or is it that I have become more discerning and nobody enthuses me the way it was earlier?

I really can’t say but since this is about Ed McBain, here’s something from a book of his that I bought from the World Book Fair held last month. Michael Barnes is in New York from Florida attending to some business of his. Having a few hours to kill, he wanders into a bar and strikes up an acquaintance with a good-looking smartly dressed woman who he guesses works on Wall Street. She tells him her name is Helen and they are getting comfortable with each other when quite out of the blue she accuses him of having stolen her ring. Enter a policeman who rough-rides over Michael’s protestations of innocence, takes him out, searches him, and recovers the ring. Helen refuses to press charges however and both she and the police detective move away. A bewildered Michael returns to the bar, only to realise that his credit cards and dollar notes are missing from his wallet….

This is the opening of Ed McBain’s 1989 novel Downtown and it does seem pretty promising. Perhaps soon I’ll read the rest too.

12 thoughts on “Friday’s Forgotten Books: Ed McBain’s Downtown

  1. Neeru – I know what you mean about the sheer number of books in the McBain series, but in my opinion it's an excellent series. I hope you'll enjoy this one.


  2. This book sounds interesting. I have only read the 87th Precinct novels and only a few of those. I plan to read through them in order and I have only read three. Since he wrote so many, it is daunting but lots to look forward to.


  3. Neer, I think this is one of the very few McBains I've read. I do need to read more from a pile of his paperbacks. I think one of the reasons we don't read the same author as we did in the past is because we're discovering new writers practically everyday. In my case, for instance, I seldom read vintage fiction before I started blogging. Now three out of five books I read are vintage. Besides, we're spoilt for choice like never before, thanks to ebooks in the main.


  4. I also find I don't gorge on series by the same author anywhere near as much as I used to. I think part of it is due to sheer choice of books from my TBR now, but also due to blogging worries – nobody would want to read reviews of books by the same author if I posted them for weeks on end!


  5. Margot, I meant not only the books by McBain but books in general. I enjoyed my first 87th Precinct novel and am looking forward to reading more of McBain but there are just so many books before that….


  6. You are so right Prashant. Blogging definitely has made me aware of how little I know of books, esp.of the vintage variety. Now with so many recommendations and interesting posts, it is a very exciting world to explore. And yes, those ebooks! Half of the time, rather than reading a book, I am browsing through the catalogs.


  7. My worry Marie is whenever I start reading a book, I wonder whether it'd fulfill a criteria in a reading challenge or not. And if it doesn't, then there's a mental block in reading that book. This year, I am trying to get out of that mindset but it is a little tough.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.