Review

Alice in Jeopardy

by Ed McBain



When a novelist has been plying his trade for more than one-half
century, it may be difficult for a book reviewer to find new
language to describe the author's latest endeavor. Ed McBain, who
also writes under his true name of Evan Hunter, has been producing
a wide range of literary efforts since the publication of his first
bestselling novel, THE BLACKBOARD JUNGLE, in 1954. One cannot even
catalogue the efforts of this prolific writer, which have included
upwards of fifty 87th Precinct police procedurals, the Matthew Hope
series, and a long list of novels covering a wide range of
subjects. Along the way McBain has been honored by mystery writing
organizations in England and America. He truly is a legend of
American writing.


ALICE IN JEOPARDY is McBain's latest mystery effort, a book that
offers readers some new and different elements of style and plot
while maintaining many of the tried and true essentials that make
his novels such a quality reading adventure.


For Alice Glendenning, the heroine of ALICE IN JEOPARDY, life has
been a recent string of calamities. Eight months earlier her
husband, Eddie, was lost at sea in a boating accident. The accident
had occurred shortly after the Glendenning family had moved to
Florida in an attempt to reinvigorate Eddie's flagging investment
career. Now widowed and the mother of two young children, Alice
desperately needs the infusion of insurance policy proceeds to keep
her precarious financial state from collapsing. She has taken a job
as a real estate agent but has yet to make her first sale. To top
off her troubles, on her way home from work, a traffic accident
puts her leg in a cast and makes work almost impossible. Then, for
reasons that Alice cannot fathom, her children, Ashley and Jamie,
are kidnapped and ransom demands are made. Quite a bit going on,
and we just finished chapter one.


There is an entertaining irony in the law enforcement response to
the report of the kidnapping. McBain has spent the greater part of
his writing life introducing readers to police officers who are
quietly competent crime fighters, solving mysteries with deep
thought and hard work. McBain's cops are not flashy superheroes;
they are just lunch-pail working men and women. But the law
enforcement crews appearing in ALICE IN JEOPARDY are nothing more
than keystone cops in their incompetence and clumsiness. Three
different police agencies become involved in attempting to locate
Alice's children. All of them appear to be interested in the
publicity and glory of a high-profile arrest. None of them seem to
care about the most important thing in the world to Alice, her
children.


While McBain takes great and humorous delight in skewering the
bumbling efforts of the Florida law enforcement officials involved
in Alice's case, there is still a kidnapping to be successfully
solved. All of the characters introduced to the reader in the
opening pages of the novel reappear in some important fashion to
help resolve the escapade that serves as the underpinning of ALICE
IN JEOPARDY. Throughout the adventure readers will find comfort in
the classic ingredients of an Ed McBain mystery: real people
confronting real problems in a real manner with wit and wisdom as
detailed by an experienced and renowned author.


For fifty years readers have come to expect enjoyable, quality
writing from a long and treasured list of novels. The years have
not dulled Ed McBain's talent.


   












Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman on December 22, 2010

Alice in Jeopardy
by Ed McBain

  • Publication Date: December 21, 2004
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • ISBN-10: 0743262506
  • ISBN-13: 9780743262507