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Money, Money, Money: A Novel of the 87th Precinct    by Ed McBain order for
Money, Money, Money
by Ed McBain
Order:  USA  Can
Pocket, 2002 (2001)
Hardcover, Paperback, Audio, CD, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

It's hard to believe that Money, Money, Money is the 51st of the author's '87th Precinct' novels, since, unlike many other long-running series, the standard of quality has not dropped. Evan Hunter, writing under the pseudonym Ed McBain, is in his usual fine fettle, showcasing my favorite of his characters, Steve Carella (Meyer Meyer is also there but only as a supportive sidekick).

Steve's blind, but very personable, wife Teddy is concerned that her husband is approaching burnout, and he begins to wonder himself after too close an encounter with a hungry lion. He's also upset about his sister and mother's romantic relationships. On the job, Carella has to cope with the body that the lions had for lunch, drug runners, Secret Service agents, counterfeit cash and a terrorist plot.

Then there's the cop who keeps saving Steve's life - the perfectly politically incorrect slob Ollie Weeks, who also happens to be a good detective. In between bites of his continual snacks, Ollie has big dreams. He's taking piano lessons, but having trouble with the first note, and he's writing a mystery, of which an excerpt is provided. Ollie has been growing on me for several books; his delusions are endearing. And the dialogue, especially a precinct scenario where the detectives discuss movies, is real enough to drive you crazy.

At the center of the puzzle that the police try to piece together is Wadsworth and Dodds, 'a two-bit publisher that never had a bestseller in its history', whose five representatives don't seem to visit any bookstores. As the plot thickens and it becomes clear whose money is paying for deaths, drugs and terrorism, Steve realizes that 'life's too damn short' to be at odds with his loved ones. Money, Money, Money is McBain at his best.

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