KISS (1992) ***
by Ed McBain
This paperback edition published by Mandarin, 1993, 306pp
First published in 1992
© Hui Corporation, 1992
Blurb: When a beautiful blonde tells Detective Steve Carella that her husband’s former chauffeur has made two attempts on her life, Carella immediately begins tracking her assailant — only to find him far uptown, hanging from a basement pipe, a bullet in his head. Who killed the chauffeur? And why, now that her would-be murderer is dead, does the blonde’s wealthy husband insist on retaining the services of the private eye from Chicago? He loves me, she insists, but Carella has his doubts. It appears the husband is involved with another blonde, also from Chicago. Can Carella prevent another murder before someone else is betrayed with a kiss?
Comment: The 44th book in Ed McBain’s 87th Precinct series sees the author consolidating following the successful WIDOWS. Here he handles two unrelated plots with the primary one relating to the blonde Emma Bowles who believes she is being targeted for murder. The secondary plot continues on from the previous book with the killer of Carella’s father brought to trial. The result is a mix of mystery and courtroom drama whose only link is Steve Carella, the lead detective assigned to the Emma Bowles case. McBain’s comments on the fragility of the justice system are cleverly delivered through the twists in the book’s final chapters, but otherwise, whilst McBain’s writing is as skilful and entertaining as ever, there is less here to capture the imagination than in the previous book and the result is, therefore, a middling entry in the series.
KISS (1992) ***