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The Mugger

(87th Precinct #2)

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  3,952 ratings  ·  222 reviews
This mugger is special.

He preys on women, waiting in the darkness…then comes from behind, attacks them, and snatches their purses. He tells them not to scream and as they're on the ground, reeling with pain and fear, he bows and nonchalantly says, “Clifford thanks you, madam.” But when he puts one victim in the hospital and the next in the morgue, the detectives of the 87
Kindle Edition, 214 pages
Published December 13th 2011 by Thomas & Mercer (first published 1956)
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Average rating 3.84  · 
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Bobby Underwood
May 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Here, bludgeoned by poverty, exploited by pushers and thieves and policeman alike, forced into cramped and dirty dwellings, rescued occasionally by the busiest fire department in the entire city, treated like guinea pigs by the social workers, like aliens by the rest of the city, like potential criminals by the police, here were the Puerto Ricans.”

Ed McBain would often begin writing with only a title in mind, then wing it. But here, he had written a story for Manhunt Magazine called Now Die in
The Mugger by Ed McBain is a 1956 publication. The version I read is a 1996 release. I also added audio which is part of my KU subscription.

This is the second installment in the 87th Street Precinct series.

There is a violent mugger on the loose, whose main targets are women. After hitting them, taking their valuables, he bows, and introduces himself as ‘Clifford”. But, when one of the victims dies, the case takes on a new urgency.

For those unfamiliar with the format, McBain uses a rotating ca
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
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
David Dowdy
I picked up the yellowed, thin paperback and figured it to be a cheap thrill. Wrong!

The Mugger is the second of the fifty-five 87th Precinct police procedurals by Ed McBain. It’s a tight story that starts a few months after Cop Hater. To say it’s a continuation of the first book would be a disservice to the late and prolific McBain because it is so much better.

Before I slap too many honorifics on this book, I must question the many instances early in the story where the narrator and characters o
Jun 07, 2013 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 02, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012, mystery, detective
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
Deb Jones
McBain's 87th Precinct series of books are character-driven police procedurals. Unlike others in the genre at the time, there isn't one hero/protagonist for the entire series. Instead, McBain hones in on a few characters in the precinct and highlights a specific one or two. These books are great reads; well-plotted, easy-to-read, and believable.

Although it is a series, the books could be read as stand-alones, but the reader might miss some references to earlier instances in the series.
Jun 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The second in this series is better than the first: down to earth, sometimes funny, and more fully developed characters. A lot of times, the first few books develop just this way. Writing styles and techniques grow.
Apr 30, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Mugger is the 2nd book in the 87th Precinct series by American writer, Ed McBain. I've now read the first two of the series in pretty quick succession and I'm kind of hooked. The premise is simple; the cops of the 87th Precinct try to solve cases in their area.
The scenario for the 2nd book is a series of muggings in the precinct, with the latest involving the death of the female victim. At the same time, uniformed officer Bert Kling is asked by a childhood friend to try and get his sister-i
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
Benoit Lelièvre
Aug 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ed McBain's 87th precinct novels are enjoyable, so far, but in a weird and predictable way.

Over the first two books, the formula is lean and mean: narrating the lives of police officers while they're investigating a crime. It work well enough, but these are glorified, borderline padded social dramas and not really mysteries. Loved the case of the mugger because it was complex and genuinely frightening, but it was solved in less than twenty pages like Cop Hater.

The jury's still out on whether t
Feb 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found "The Mugger" by Ed McBain on a 99 cent sale on kindle and it sure was a great find! I figured out whodunit early in the book, but it was still a fast and fun ride which is why I gave it 5 stars!

It is about a teenager found dead and mysterious mugger "clifford" is suspected. This is a quick read of a police mystery read and is mucho reccomended!!
May 30, 2014 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. ...more
Byron Washington
Sep 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Pretty Good!

I'm enjoying Ed McBain's novels, but I'm 2 for 2 in figuring out the killer before the end.. I think it's more of a byproduct of my cynicism and suspicious mind than anything else. TRUST NO ONE!!!

Buy it, read it and enjoy!!👍🏾🔥👍🏾🔥👍🏾🔥👍🏾🔥👍🏾🔥
Feb 17, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019, crime
Second book syndrome...

The detectives of the 87th Precinct are trying to catch a man who is mugging women in the streets of Isola, a district of the city that is clearly a fictionalised version of New York in which the series is set. The man is becoming more violent, often hitting the women even after he has stolen their valuables, and has the strange habit of finishing his assault by bowing and saying “Clifford thanks you, madam.” So far the detectives have little to go on, and the pressure ram
Jul 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Book #2 in the 87th Precinct series, The Mugger, begins to fulfill McBain’s premise of creating an ensemble cast of detectives rather than focusing on a single character. For fans of the series, it’s here that young patrolman Bert Kling becomes a regular part of the squad, earning his detective badge for solving a murder that occupies a good portion of the book.

For some, the absence of Det. Steve Carella (on his honeymoon) is a detriment to the story. The principal detectives in this entry, Wil
David Williams
Feb 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 14, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries, 50s
I didn’t like this book as much as the two others I’ve read, for two reasons. One: there is nothing funny about hurting animals. Nothing. There is some hateful anti-cat propaganda in here that I hate. Hate, hate, hate.
Two: a guy tells the withdrawn girl he’s interested in that he doesn’t mind if she’s carrying a torch for some other guy. She tells him that she’s still grieving for her boyfriend who died in Korea. Does he comfort her? No. He gets mad, yells at her, tells her that people die all t
Sep 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
McBain found an interesting way to take the focus away from Steve Carrella who starred in the first entry in this series: he sent him on his honeymoon. This gave us a chance to get to know some of the other detectives and set up the dynamic that would make this series stand out.

I'm thoroughly enjoying reading these books. I've read some of them before, but so long ago that I don't recall anything about the plots. And this time, I'm trying to read them in order, though, for reasons I won't detai
Chad Malkamaki
Feb 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For the second book of the 87th Precinct series you get a case...wait for it, of a serial mugger. This book makes up for the issue I had with the last book, the crime and criminal make sense, not a huge Dwight Gooden curveball, an off speed pitch nonetheless. Great insight into what's going on in the lives of the cops behind the badge. ...more
Mark Harrison
Jan 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Excellent sequel to first book as characters from the Precinct introduced in the first book track a vicious mugger escalating to murder and a patrolman tries to crack a case on his own time to get promoted to detective. Really entertaining.
Joshua Van Dereck
Sep 30, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
McBain's 87th Precinct series is pure pulp. The great white policemen are broad-shouldered 1950s hunks. Every woman is a swaying hourglass of hips and breasts in heels. The minorities are racist tropes (albeit, not nearly as bad as in many 1950s works...). Whichever reviewer wrote that this series is a great literary achievement should have their head examined.

That said, McBain (or Evan Hunter, his actual name) was an extremely talented and skilled writer. The cheesy metaphors and tone setting a
Jul 31, 2014 rated it it was ok
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
COUNTDOWN: Mid-20th Century American Crime
BOOK 228 (of 250)
This 2nd 87th Precinct was a surprise, but not in a good way.
HOOK= 2 stars: A woman is mugged, just a standard opener. Easy enough to close the book, but McBain's 87th Precinct novels go down easy, like a glass of cold water on a hot day.
PACE=2: Surprising slow-going compared to the 1st book in this series and this is a very short book.
PLOT=2: The search for a mugger begins and this particular plot is good. And there is a sublplot that
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
Feb 29, 2012 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
Colin Mitchell
May 07, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
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
May 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mysteries, kindle
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
Michael Corleone
Dec 27, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery-police
This is the second book in the 87th Precinct series of police procedurals. The idea of the series is that all the personnel of the precinct are the main characters of every book, so the focus shifts from person to spurn depending on the story.

This particular story involves a serial mugger and a murder. is one man responsible for all these crimes? It sure looks like it. But he's a slippery character and it will take some good detective work (and a bit of forensics) to find this guy.

Like the firs
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"Ed McBain" is one of the pen names of American author and screenwriter Salvatore Albert Lombino (1926-2005), who 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 also used the pen names John Abbott, Curt Cannon, Hunt Collins, Ezra Hannon, Dean

Other books in the series

87th Precinct (1 - 10 of 55 books)
  • Cop Hater (87th Precinct, #1)
  • The Pusher (87th Precinct, #3)
  • The Con Man (87th Precinct, #4)
  • Killer's Choice (87th Precinct, #5)
  • Killer's Payoff (87th Precinct, #6)
  • Killer's Wedge (87th Precinct, #7)
  • 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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