Review: Sadie When She Died An 87th Precinct Mystery by Ed McBain


Esta entrada es bilingüe, para ver la versión en castellano desplazarse hacia abajo

Pan Books Ltd, 1974. First published in 1972. ISBN: 0 330 24012 9. 160 pages.

Gerald Fletcher was very glad to have found her wife dead. And when Detective Steve Carella warned him that anything he said could … , Fletcher interrupted him saying that he, as a defence lawyer, was well aware of his rights and had full knowledge of the fact that whatever he said, could be later on used against him. But still he claimed that his wife was a no-good bitch, and he was delighted that someone had killed her. Not long before, Mr. Gerald Fletcher had arrived to his home and had just discovered that his once-beautiful wife Sarah had been stabbed with a switchblade knife and immediately called the police.

Soon it become clear this was an open-and-shut case. The next day, a junkie named Ralph Corwin confessed the crime. He explained that Sarah found him when he broke into the house in this his first and only burglary attempt. And, frightened by her screams, he stabbed her and ran away. Besides, Corwin had not been very careful, had left his fingerprints everywhere and a witness had identified him. Furthermore, he twisted his ankle when he fled and left his name and address with the doctor who treated him. 

Shortly after, in what was the first of his two days off that week, Carella received a phone call from Gerald Fletcher inviting him to lunch. Despite the fact that the culprit had confessed, Carella is firmly convinced that Fletcher has killed his wife and is determined to prove it. In the course of his investigation Carella finds Sarah Fletcher’s address book and her secrets begin to come to light.

Simultaneously, Cindy Forrest had broken off her engagement with detective Bert Kling, and Kling starts dating Nora Simonov, the witness who had identified Ralph Corwin as the man who left the apartment building shortly after the murder of Sarah Fletcher.

Sadie When She Died is the first book by Ed McBain in his well recognised 87th Precinct series that I have read and I must be thankful to Sergio at Tipping My Fedora for his excellent review that encouraged me to read it. This series, in particular, has the honour of being considered one of the first, if not the first one, that introduced the police procedural in detective fiction, if my information is correct. And it happens that this subgenre is one of my favourites. Being the first in a rather long series I find it hard to comment here, but I’m very pleased to have read it and I will certainly recommend it. With just 160 pages is very easy to read in almost no time and it has surprised me the ability of McBain to tell a highly appealing story in few pages with well-defined characters. In short Sadie When She Died is a very enjoyable and entertaining read that will just require a few hours of our time. I’m quite convinced that I’ll spend more time with the 87th Precinct in a not too distant future. Just wonder why the Kindle edition of most of the books in the series is not available in Spain.  

My rating: A (I loved it)

Ed McBain was a penname used by Evan Hunter, born Salvatore Albert Lombino, who legally adopted the name Evan Hunter in 1952. He was one of the most prolific crime writers of the last century. He was named Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America and received the prestigious Diamond Dagger from the British Crime Writers Association, the first American to be so honoured. He also wrote several teleplays and screenplays, including Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds. As Ed McBain he published Cop Hater in 1956, the first novel in the 87th Precinct crime series. Hunter revealed that he was McBain in 1958, but continued to use the pseudonym for decades, notably for the 87th Precinct series, and the Matthew Hope detective series. Evan Hunter passed away the 6 of July 2005, aged 78.

Sadie When She Died has been reviewed at Tipping My Fedora (Sergio), Past Offences (Rich), Only Detect (Mike)

Ed McBain official site 

87th Precinct at Wikipedia

87th Precinct at The Thrilling Detective Web Site

Evan Hunter, Writer Who Created Police Procedural, Dies at 78 

Cuando Sadie murió de Ed McBain

Gerald Fletcher estaba muy contento de haber encontrado muerta a su mujer. Y cuando el detective Steve Carella le advirtió que cualquier cosa que dijera podría … , Fletcher le interrumpió diciendo que él, como abogado defensor, era muy consciente de sus derechos y tenía pleno conocimiento del hecho de que, cualquier cosa que dijera, podría ser utilizado más adelante en su contra. Pero aún así afirmó que su esposa era una perra inútil, y estaba encantado de que alguien la hubiera matado. Poco antes, el Sr. Gerald Fletcher había llegado a su casa y acababa de descubrir que su otrora bella mujer Sarah había sido apuñalada con una navaja de muelle y de inmediato llamó a la policía.

Pronto parecía claro que éste era un caso muy evidente. Al día siguiente, un drogadicto llamado Ralph Corwin confesó el crimen. Explicó que Sarah lo encontró cuando entró en la casa en este su primer y único intento de robo. Y, asustado por sus gritos, la apuñaló y huyó. Además, Corwin no había sido muy cuidadoso, había dejado sus huellas digitales por todas partes y una testigo lo había identificado. Por otra parte, se torció un tobillo cuando huyó y dejó su nombre y dirección con el médico que lo trató.

Poco después, en lo que era el primero de sus dos días de descanso esa semana, Carella recibió una llamada telefónica de Gerald Fletcher para invitarlo a almorzar. A pesar del hecho de que el culpable había confesado, Carella está firmemente convencido de que Fletcher es el verdadero asesino de su mujer y está decidida a demostrarlo. En el curso de su investigación Carella encontrará la libreta de direcciones de Sarah Fletcher y sus secretos comenzarán a salir a la luz.

Simultáneamente, Cindy Forrest había roto su compromiso con el detective Bert Kling, y éste empieza a salir con Nora Simonov, la testigo que había identificado a Ralph Corwin como el hombre que salió del edificio de apartamentos poco después de cometido el asesinato de Sarah Fletcher.

Cuando Sadie murió es el primer libro de Ed McBain en su reconocida serie Distrito 87 que he leído y he de agradecer a Sergio en Tipping My Fedora por su excelente reseña que me animó a leerlo. Esta serie, en particular, tiene el honor de estar considerada una de las primeras, si no la primera, en introducir el procedimiento policial en la novela de detectives, si mi información es correcta. Y sucede que este subgénero es uno de mis favoritos. Siendo el primero de una serie bastante larga me resulta difícil de comentar aquí, pero estoy muy contento de haberlo leído y sin duda lo recomiendo. Con apenas 160 páginas resulta muy fácil de leer en poco tiempo y me ha sorprendido la capacidad de McBain para contar una historia muy atractiva en pocas páginas con personajes bien definidos. En resumen Cuando Sadie murió es una lectura muy amena y entretenida que sólo requerirá un par de horas de nuestro tiempo. Estoy bastante convencido de que voy a pasar más tiempo con el Distrito 87 en un futuro no muy lejano. Sólo me pregunto por qué la edición Kindle de la mayoría de los libros de esta serie no está disponible en España.

Mi valoración: A (Me encantó)

Ed McBain fué un seudónimo utilizado por Evan Hunter, nacido Salvatore Albert Lombino, quien adoptó legalmente el nombre de Evan Hunter en 1952. Fue uno de los escritores de novela policíaca más prolíficos del siglo pasado. Fue nombrado Gran Maestro por los Escritores de Misterio de los Estados Unidos y recibió el prestigioso Diamond Dagger de la Asociación Británica de Escritores del Crimen, el primer estadounidense en recibir este honor. También escribió varias series de televisión y guiones de cine, entre otros Los pájaros de Alfred Hitchcock. Como Ed McBain publicó Odio en 1956, la primera novela de la serie policiaca Distrito 87. Hunter reveló que él era McBain en 1958, pero continuó utilizando el seudónimo durante décadas, especialmente en las novelas de la serie Distrito 87, y en las protagonizadas por Matthew Hope. Evan Hunter falleció el 6 de julio de 2005, a los 78 años. 

Evan Hunter / Ed McBain, novelista y autor de guiones de cine

13 thoughts on “Review: Sadie When She Died An 87th Precinct Mystery by Ed McBain

  1. I’ve only read a couple of this series, but this is one of them, and I did think it was a clever and compulsive book. And short, always good. My goodness Ed McBain wrote a lot didn’t he… Thanks for the review and reminding me of this book.

  2. Thank you for the kind words Jose Igancio – and I agree, this is a terrific little book, one of the best in the series – I love the cover you’ve chosen, never seen it before and for once it depicts something that actually happens in the book!🙂

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