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The Mugger (87th Precinct #2)

3.76  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,583 Ratings  ·  116 Reviews
The mugger was special. He preyed only on women. He waited in the darkness, coming from behind to snatch their bags. Then he punched his victims and told them not to scream. As the women reeled with pain and fear, he bowed, and said, 'Clifford thanks you, madam.' The cops in the 87th Precinct are not amused. They want the mugger and they want him bad. Especially after he p ...more
Published May 1986 by Avon Books (first published 1956)
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James Thane
This is the second book in Ed McBain's 87th Precinct series. McBain was still obviously feeling his way into the series at this point and was still very strongly committed to the idea of creating an ensemble cast of detectives and other police officers who would rotate in and out of the books, sometimes dying and otherwise disappearing just as real policemen would.

The central character in the first of the novels, Cop Hater, was a detective named Steve Carella, and in this book, McBain sends Car
Cop Hater had used a classic smoke-screen plot as an introduction to the series, with cops the victims of a killer who seemed out to get cops - a way of bringing my full (at the time) complement of cops onstage as both investigators and potential victims. Having set up the characters who would be around, more or less, in every book, I now wanted to experiment with my theory that the squadroom itself could function as a "hero", with different cops taking the spotlight in each book.
--Ed McBain,
Jun 10, 2013 Melki rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-fiction
When Patrolman Kling, still recovering from the gunshot wound he received in the last book, is asked by an old pal to sniff out what's up with the buddy's teenage sister-in-law, he suspects something's wrong, but can't put his finger on the problem.

Meanwhile, the 87th looks for a bizarre mugger, a man who punches his female victims in the kisser before bowing and introducing himself.

One of these storylines was W-A-Y too predictable for me - (view spoiler)
Mar 12, 2012 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, detective, 2012
This second book in Ed McBain's police procedural series shines more light on some of the other cops of the 87th Precinct while Steve Carella enjoys his Honeymoon with Teddy. A mugger with a curious MO and a penchant for violence is terrorising the women of Isola. Although Hal Willis is running the case, with help from Roger Havilland and Eileen Burke, the story tends to focus more on Bert Kling, a beat cop recovering from getting shot in the first book. An old friend asks him to talk some sense ...more
David Williams
Amazon has recently started reprinting the 87th Precinct series in both paperback and Kindle editions. In their promotional material I was intrigued by the statements from authors I admire, Stephen King foremost among them. You may or may night like Mr. King's novels, but he is a master of prose and understands good writing. When King says that McBain "taught a whole generation of baby boomers how to write stories that were not only entertaining, but that truthfully reflected the times and the c ...more
The second book in the 87th Precinct sequence had a tough act to follow but McBain did the wise thing and gave his world depth rather than sending the exact same character on another vendetta. This time it was even more of an ensemble effort which gave me great hope for the rest of the series.

As with the last book the ending was obvious from the beginning but the journey was the enjoyable part. The set up for the joke told by Meyer Meyer, (yes, that is a characters name) for example, is excellen
Colin Mitchell
A short book, more of a novella in my view. Easy to read in one evening. The detectives of the 87th are on the tail of a mugger that is targeting ladies handbags. The attacks are becoming increasingly violent and when a young girl is murdered and thrown down a cliff the mugger is suspected. Detectives Havilland and Willis are on the case with unexpected assistance by patrolman Kling who is recovering from the shoulder injury sustained in the first book, "Cop Hater".

The writing is straightforward
Very tense read! Especially the sequence where someone goes undercover to try and catch the mugger!
The second in the 87th Precinct series still carries a punch. Armed with his original idea of a composite detective squad, McBain packs Steve Carella on honeymoon and focuses on introducing more new faces.
There is plenty to do; a "gentleman" mugger seems to begetting more violent and when a young woman is found dead the fit seems to be there.
However Patrolman Bert Kling had already become involved in an unofficial capacity and uses the case to press his credentials for a promotion.
I particularly
This book was of interest to me mostly for its historical perspective. It was published in 1956, the second in Ed McBain's 87th Precinct series of police procedurals. It seemed very dated to me, even more so than the first in the series, Cop Hater, but, as I kept reminding myself, it was of its historical period and this is, I think, the way that male writers of thrillers or crime fiction wrote in the mid-20th century - with gender and racial stereotypes intact and unchallenged.

Even acknowledgin
Jun 12, 2016 Leslie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, mysteries
This is the second book in the 87th Precinct series. I found it to be well done crime fiction. A very fast read once I got started - I look forward to reading more of this series!

McBain was the first mystery/crime writer to feature an entire precinct instead of one or two detectives and he also created a fictional yet realistic city to set the series in (he claimed that this was so he wouldn't have to worry about being accurate!). One feature in the first book which I am happy to see again is th
May 30, 2014 Donna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
The 87th precinct is filled with wacky detectives -- and they're brave too. The female detective was mighty, but her part was handled with some 50s male stereotypes. The other views of the 50s rang true and are interesting -- especially salaries and prices. A good series.
Mar 06, 2012 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Genre fiction, literary fiction, really doesn't matter what you're reading when you feel like it just couldn't have been done any better. The police procedural "The Mugger" is that kind of book. Plots seamlessly twist together, cops talk like cops and teenagers talk like teenagers, prose sings (example: "Autumn was a bold seductress on that late Monday afternoon..."). The novel was way too short, though. And while there are lots more in the series (50 written during the final ha ...more
S. Wilson
McBain's second novel in the 87th Precinct series delivers an alternate to the straight mystery that started the series, setting the tone that his novels would switch back and forth between, and gives the main mystery a bizarre and darkly humorous twist.

In this case, a mugger that courteously bows and thanks the women he abuses and victimizes ("Clifford thanks you, Madam.") is terrorizing the city, and the bulls of the 87th doing their best to stop him. The pressure already on them increases whe
Joe Hempel
Nov 07, 2014 Joe Hempel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In this second installment of the famed 87th Precinct series from Ed McBain, you start to get a better sense of the inner workings of the department, and a better sense of the demographic that makes up the city if Isola. One thing he strived to do with this series was to take a look at the department as a whole and not solely focus on just one person in his books. For this, Steve Carella takes a backseat and a patrolman, Bert Kling, whom you may remember getting shot in Cop Hater, comes to the f ...more
Jun 10, 2014 Monnie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've never read a book by Ed McBain, one of the pseudonyms of crime fiction author Evan Hunter, who died in 2005. When I had an opportunity to get this one for $1.99 through a special offer at, I read the description and it sounded interesting. Even though it's the second in a series featuring beat cop Bert Kling (who in future books gets promoted to detective), I hoped it would stand alone and I'd discover a great new series. In any event, at just 214 pages, I figured I could plow th ...more
Thomas Bruso
May 31, 2014 Thomas Bruso rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
McBain's sharp writing is what propels THE MUGGER. Good characterization and cunning dialogue drive his characters to do wicked things. A beat up cop is on the trail of a man named Clifford, a persistent, deadly mugger on his own trail, stealing from innocent, vulnerable prostitutes and making them victims of unthinkable crimes.

Katherine Ellio is one of those women. And in the first chapter, the interaction between she and the detectives at 87th Precinct is wonderfully written. Trying to describ
Christine Blachford
It's a while ago that I read the first book in the 87th Precinct series, and I liked it so much that I snapped up quite a few of the rest of the series. It's taken me this long to get round to reading the second, but I liked it just as much as the first. There's a way McBain has of describing things that really make them take on a life of their own - I remember that from the first, it felt as though the city was just as much a character as the main protagonists.

This time, we've got a change in t
Tom Stamper
Jun 04, 2015 Tom Stamper rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This series has been on the list for a decade and now I wonder why I waited so long. Because they are called police procedurals it some how got into my mind that they would be a lot of boring footwork instead of good characterization. Instead the footwork is one of the things that bring out the characters. More surprising is that this tale is pretty explicit for 1956, both in the descriptions of victims and the personal lives of detectives. These guys talk like you imagine 1950s cops might have ...more
John Marsh
Mar 12, 2015 John Marsh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
The Mugger is the second book in Ed McBain's 87th Precinct series, and it's a solid entry. My only complaint is that the solution to the central mystery seemed really obvious. On the other hand, it was obvious because it made sense and was fairly realistic, which is something that can't be said of a lot of mystery novels.
Luke Draeger
I've lost count of how many dollars I've sacrificed at the craps table of the "$1.00 Kindle ebook deal", but I can tell you the total is pretty large, and of all those dollars burned, I believe I've finished a total of two of the novels. Ed McBain's 87the Precinct novel would be the second of those two, and I'm happy to say that I finally rolled a winner!
At less than 200 pages, it's a short book, and it feels even shorter, thanks to McBain's riveting play-by-play. I let you do the reading to lea
Bobby Underwood
May 07, 2016 Bobby Underwood rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very early entry in the series. Carella is on vacation, and a violent mugger is running loose in the 87th Precinct. Kling is only a beat cop here, and this is how he becomes a detective, and also where he meets Claire. There is a lot of good stuff going on here, including a mystery surrounding a knockout of a girl who may or may not be a victim of the mugger. Written after Cop Hater, this is a must for McBain fans, because it fills in some of the backstory of characters, as well as being a fin ...more
Mar 13, 2015 George rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-mystery
Χρονολογικά η δεύτερη ιστορία της σειράς του 87ου αστυνομικού τμήματος, όμως είναι η τρίτη που διαβάζω. Και δεν μπορώ να καταλάβω γιατί μέσα σε δυο και κάτι χρόνια που έχω βιβλία του συγγραφέα στην βιβλιοθήκη μου, έχω διαβάσει όλα κι όλα μόλις τρία! Μιλάμε για πολύ ωραία αστυνομικά μυθιστορήματα που διαβάζονται ιδιαίτερα γρήγορα και ξεκούραστα.

Η παρούσα ιστορία έχει να κάνει με την παράλληλη έρευνα των αστυνομικών του 87ου τμήματος της πόλης Ιζόλα, για έναν τσαντάκια ονόματι Κλίφορντ που επιτίθ
May 22, 2014 Gabby rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I borrowed this book from Amazon Prime. I thought I had read all the Ed McBain books available, but I didn't remember this one. McBain is my favorite author bar none. I would read his grocery list if he'd published it. And there's one other small but unknown detail about Ed McBain very few people know. It is because of him that I met and spent 10 years with the man I thought I would marry. Back in the dark ages when the internet was still catching on, I met this man because we were both Ed McBai ...more
Diego González
Segunda novela del distrito 87. Más procedimientos, más archivos consultados y más huellas digitales que no dan ningún resultado porque el asesino no está fichado (en EE.UU. por lo visto a la gente no le toman las huellas con catorce años, los muy fachas). En resumen, más Ed procedimental McBain.

EL protagonista de esta novela es un agente de tercera que investiga por su cuenta el asesinato de alguien a quien apenas conoce. Su investigación, pletórica de usos sociales propios de los cincuenta, s
Feb 25, 2012 Andre rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is a crime novel that was written in the 1950s. The Mugger is very much of that era. It wasn’t bad, but it was—at least to someone born in the 70s and raised in the 80s—pretty ridiculous. The primary story is that of a squad of detectives trying to find a man who has been mugging and beating up women walking alone on the city streets. It’s standard stuff, just a straight procedural. The interesting thing is that the novel’s title and primary plot actually don’t really concern the protagonis ...more
Tony Gleeson
Apr 22, 2011 Tony Gleeson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was only the second entry in the 55-title "87th Precinct" series, and I honestly expected it to have the rough-hewn, still-developing quality of the first and third entries ("Cop Hater" and "Pusher"), not to mention to feel a bit dated, having been written in the mid 50s. The nicely taut and interesting plot, and the introduction and conscious development of characters who would figure throughout the series, came as a pleasant surprise. One of my favorite characters, the chronically unlucky ...more
Brenda Mengeling
Dec 19, 2012 Brenda Mengeling rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries, fiction, ebook, 49
The Mugger is a very well done police procedural written in mid-1950s by Ed McBain. It is the second in McBain's genre defining 87th Precinct series. For me, police procedurals are best when they emphasize the integrated work of the department as a whole rather than that of a single officer, and this book did that quite well. Although much of the detective work is done by one patrolman, Bert Kling, who isn't even supposed to be working on the case (he's a new patrolman who walks a beat), his off ...more
Feb 09, 2016 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ed McBain was in reality Evan Hunter, who was in reality Salvatore Albert Lombino; some editor told this young Italian kid from the Bronx that he’d sell more books under the Hunter name. And sell books he did, by the bushel. What he’s best known for is his 87th Precinct, a fictional police department in a fictional city (based on New York) that obeyed real police rules and regulations. Think Dragnet, with its “the story you are about to see is true” intro; the TV series was a huge influence on M ...more
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Excerpted from

"Ed McBain" (October 15, 1926 – July 6, 2005) is one of the pen names of an American author and screenwriter. Born Salvatore Albert Lombino, he legally adopted the name Evan Hunter in 1952. While successful and well known as Evan Hunter, he was even better known as Ed McBain, a name he used for most of his crime fiction, beginning in 1956. He a
More about Ed McBain...

Other Books in the Series

87th Precinct (1 - 10 of 55 books)
  • Cop Hater (87th Precinct #1)
  • The Pusher
  • The Con Man (87th Precinct, #4)
  • Killer's Choice (87th Precinct, #5)
  • Killer's Payoff (87th Precinct #6)
  • Killer's Wedge
  • Lady Killer (87th Precinct #8)
  • 'Til Death (87th Precinct, #9)
  • King's Ransom (87th Precinct #10)
  • Give the Boys a Great Big Hand (87th Precinct, #11)

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