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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Gladly the Cross-Eyed Bear (Matthew Hope Mysteries) by Ed McBain | LibraryThing

“I didn’t kill him.”  This persistent refrain comes from Hope’s client but on each occasion of her affirmation the surrounding circumstances in her story change in a Roshomon-like manipulation of the truth.

His client, Lainie Commins, is suing a toy company for violation of copyright, claiming she had come up with the idea of a cross-eyed bear whose eyes were corrected when specially designed toy glasses were put on.  When the owner of the toy company is murdered, suspicion falls on Lainie, especially when she doesn’t deny having gone to his yacht that evening and numerous witnesses placed her at the scene around the time of the murder.

Hope is hampered by the absence of his normal detective operatives, Warren and Toots.  In a parallel story, Warren has kidnapped Toots, who has become a crack addict, and much against her will, taken her out on a boat, some thirty miles out to sea, where she remains handcuffed to a bracket in Warren’s attempt to get her to kick the drug “cold turkey.”

There are actually three parallel stories going on although not necessarily concurrently:  Hope’s experience in the hospital escaping from a coma and his subsequent recovery after being shot; Warren’s efforts to “cold turkey” Toots; and the investigation of the Toyland boss’s murder.

I like the way  McBain writes and lays out the story, often in a matter-of-fact manner but vivid manner.  His description of  the intensity of an addict’s cravings seems so real one wonders if he had some personal knowledge.

Downgraded from 4 stars only because I didn't think the multiple story lines worked that well.

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