Gregory Kirschling
January 09, 2004 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Frumious Bandersnatch

Current Status
In Season
Ed McBain
Mystery and Thriller

We gave it an A-

If you think the title’s batty, try this for a chapter opener: ”The squad was somewhat perturbed. One might even say they were quite blaxitomed!” Is the 77-year-old McBain losing his mind? As his wiseacre and battle-scarred omniscient narrator might say: Don’t bet your fried corn husk on it, Gertie. The 53rd entry in the 87th Precinct series is top-dollar McBain, as funny and adroit as his last couple, but old-school edgier. What a joy to watch these same characters at work after 47 years, this time investigating the harbor-yacht kidnapping of a Beyonce-like pop star. Imagine your favorite Law & Order cast solving fresh mysteries into infinity, with no reruns, and you have some sense of McBain’s grand, ongoing accomplishment.

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