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The Frumious Bandersnatch (87th Precinct #53)

3.6  ·  Rating details ·  744 Ratings  ·  57 Reviews
It should have been the night that launched a new pop idol. Tamar Valparaiso is young and beautiful, with the body and voice of an angel, and the stage is set for her to launch her debut album, Bandersnatch, on a luxury yacht in the heart of the city. But halfway through her performance, while the partygoers look on helplessly, masked men drag Tamar off the stage and into ...more
ebook, 304 pages
Published January 2nd 2004 by Simon Schuster (first published December 23rd 2003)
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James Thane
The Frumious Bandersnatch has to be the strangest title of any of the fifty-four novels in Ed McBain's 87th Precinct series. For that matter, it has to be one of the strangest titles in all of crime fiction. It comes from a poem by Lewis Carroll and refers to a monster of some sort that is never clearly defined. The book was published in 2004, and McBain may have also been influenced by a psychedelic rock band from the 1960s of the same name.

In this case, "Bandersnatch" is the title of the debut
Feb 08, 2017 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
This copy is signed by Ed McBain.
Sheila Beaumont
This is my favorite so far of the few 87th Precinct mysteries I've read. As a fan of Lewis Carroll's writings, of course I couldn't resist the title. I do like the way Ed McBain could write a solid, often shocking, crime story while brilliantly leavening things with humor, in this case satirizing the music industry, celebrity culture, cable TV, the FBI, et al. And, of course, there's the homage to "Jabberwocky," and it was good to see Fat Ollie (who is still looking for the missing only copy of ...more
Jan 20, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-detective
Disappointing. Tamar Valparaiso is the next hot pop sensation, and is kidnapped from a yacht chartered for a kick-off party for her newest album. Steve Carella catches the squeal, and is asked to stay involved by the promoter following a turf war with the FBI. Things go badly wrong, with the FBI's approach but solid police work uncovers the criminal conspiracy. In a pointless side-story, McBain is still trying to make Fat Ollie Weeks more palatable via his relationship with a policewoman. This o ...more
Jul 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, crime, read_2016
Tamar Valparaiso is a budding pop star set to become a household name. Unfortunately for her, and her record label, her star is rising for all the wrong reasons. Two masked men storm a boat hosting Tamar's record launch and kidnap the pop singer, beating her dancer and injuring her in the process. Their ransom demand? A relatively low 250k, a fact the kidnappers soon realize. Upping the ante to 1mil, Tamar's once bright future now looks bleak with the record exec balking at the price and police ...more
Jun 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ed McBain's 87th precinct series contain some of the best dialogue in the genre of police procedurals that you can find. The Frumious Bandersnatch delivers on that count, but falls a bit short of some of the other entrants in the series ( e. g., those involving the Deaf Man).
At any rate, I found the first half of the story somewhat disjointed and drawn out unnecessarily. This is perhaps due to the inclusion of a seemingly unrelated and completely minor sub plot involving a budding romance betwe
Ed McBain – 53th book in 87th precinct series
Bison Records' self-styled impresario Barney Loomis runs into a snag in his effort to catapult his newest performer, Tamar Valparaiso, to stardom. As Tamar is lip-synching the provocative video of her first album aboard a rented yacht, two men in Saddam Hussein and Yasir Arafat masks snatch her before a stunned audience.
***Ed McBain is the true master of the police procedural writing tight plots and true-to-life dialogue
Jul 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Wow! McBain hits on so many notes here it isn't funny. He particularly addresses racism--in popular culture, as a piece of every-day life and, most relevant today, as a taken-for-granted element of life and work for a number of police officers. He addresses this last in many of his books, but it is stronger here and I read this at a time when the consequences of this are so much in the news.

On a lighter note, how can one not love a book that centers on a piece of music and accompanying video bas
Debbie Rubio
Nov 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great police procedure details - what I like best about McBain novels. This one also has a surprise twist at the end.
Jul 05, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm no connoisseur of the 87th Precinct novels, but I picked this one up at book sale recently, chugged it last night and have to say that it delivered the goods. I was up till about 1:30 AM finishing it, couldn't see the ending beforehand, and had to spend a while afterwards calming down before I could get to sleep. Yes, it's a procedural, so there's a lot of exposition, of both police work as well as the music business. And the recurrent characters are involved in their own affairs, which have ...more
An emerging music star is kidnapped, and after Carella's short-term assignment to an FBI task force workking on the case ends badly, the members of the 87 ultimately end up competing with it to get her back. Guess who does better work? This is the second McBain (I keep hearing that guy on the Simpsons in my head, hahaha) book I've read; I listened to the audiobook of this one. It's got an ending I did not expect, and it was like a punch in the gut. The characters are engaging, and the author see ...more
Kirstin DeGeer
May 18, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-once
This book was a terrible piece of schlock, made more terrible by the halting, overdramatic reading of the story for the audiobook. No reading, however, could have saved it. Many sections of the book contained conversations that were ludicrous, repetative, and completely unrealistic. The plot was full of itself and utterly predictable.

The only things that made me actually give this book two stars were the sometimes cunning (usually not) use of the Jabberwocky and the actual police procedural sec
Tony Gleeson
This 53rd entry in the 55-book 87th Precinct series starts off quite tongue-in-cheek as McBain takes on the music industry, poking fun at the shallow, the venal and the clueless. Three bungling kidnappers board a yacht that carries a promo party, and kidnap a young diva in mid-performance. Disturbingly, the book descends from its almost frothy parody of the music biz (using Lewis Carroll Jabberwocky metaphors) into something very dark and violent. Suddenly all those lovably silly folks become se ...more
Bill Keithler
This is not one of McBain's masterpieces --it was small mystery to determine who was the likely villain here, unusually obvious from the start. The rest of the story is ok, but overall pretty average (below average for McBain). There was a small side story with a recurring character in other 87th Precinct novels that didn't really add anything to the main plot or go anywhere on its own--seemed to be filler.
Jul 17, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-series
87th precinct series. Great take on the music industry, lots of literary allusions, clever language, good solid police procedural. An up and coming r&b star is kidnapped, and Steve Carella must find her. TOld from the viewpoint of police, kndnappers, victim. Classic tension between police and FBI.
Terryann Saint
Oct 03, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My copy was a hardcover with a different cover. Don't imagine that that affected the quirky characters or the feelings of pissed off outrage and sadness this generated in me. Bleak ending...typical McBain.
Jan 17, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like police novels
McBain is a master of the quick read crime novel. He created a genre in which the "hero" is the whole department, not a single protagonist. All of his books are great reads and this one was, as usual, good fun for a vacation.
Sawan Dutta
Mar 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love this guy, just love everything about him except that he's dead! This one would be horribly familiar to those who've worked in any music industry.
JoAnn Ainsworth
Jun 03, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A hard hitting police drama despite the fantasy title. Kept me interested.
Alton Motobu
Not up to par with McBain's usual works, this one is about a kidnapping gone bad but with lots of "padding" and distracting minor subplots. Carella is the main cop, but about half way through the story you get a feeling that something is not right and nothing is as it seems; the whole bit about paying the ransom seems odd. The FBI is portrayed as a bunch of "by the book" but bumbling and incompetent male models always dressed fashionably (like the "Die Hard" movies). Carella solves the crime wit ...more
Oct 05, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Not one of the better books I have read. I felt mired down in all of the explanations for different things or situations. I don't feel like I read the book, more like I slogged through the chapters much like you would through a wild swamp of words. I have read better books my this author.
Trevor Kenning
Cecile Christensen
Too many characters and investigating agencies to keep track of.
Aileen Bernadette Urquhart
Another cracking story. McBain is careless with his grammar, but who cares. Fat Ollie continues to grow as a character.
Only two books in the series left for me to read.
Jan 29, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
This is the first novel by Ed McBain (a.k.a. Evan Hunter) that I've read, but it's the 54th in book in his 87th precinct series which he began writing in 1956. It's a hard-boiled police procedural, and it read a bit like the an episode of CSI (but better, with subtly humorous character details). The characters were strong and though part of a long established series (there was a subplot that never connected with the main plot or seemed to go anywhere) I didn't have trouble following the story. T ...more
Oct 25, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, series, police
3-1/2 stars. Another good book in McBain's 87th Precinct series. In this one, an up and coming future pop star gets kidnapped from a cruise ship where she's doing a song/dance performance to her latest single, called "Bandershatch" (taken from Lewis Carroll's "Jabberwocky"). Detectives Carella and Hawes are assigned to the case to start with, but as the whole kidnapping has been filmed by a local tv station that was covering the party and new song launch, the kidnapping becomes a media circus an ...more
May 21, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tamar Valparaiso is on the verge of stardom. Both her new CD and video are set for release and her manager / recording company exec has rented a yacht for a launch party. As Tamar is performing a live version of her video, three masked and armed thugs kidnap her and escape on a boat. Initially, Steve Carella and Cotton Hawes of the 87th Precinct are assigned to the case. In spite of dozens of eyewitnesses, no one is able to identify the kidnappers. Since all three were wearing gloves, there were ...more
Oct 14, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Here's my review system--I score on four categories and average them together for the number of stars. The four categories are: character development (are the characters deep and complex, plot (is it interesting), voice (is the narration smooth and engaging) and cliche level (is it predictable.)

Character development: 4 stars-- McBain's characters are well developed though in this one I thought they approached being cartoonish

Plot: 2 stars-- The plot proceeded along without a surprise or a turn
Aug 30, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
#53 in the 87th Precinct series.

87th Precinct mysteries - Bison Records' self-styled impresario Barney Loomis runs into a snag in his effort to catapult his newest performer, Tamar Valparaiso, to stardom. As Tamar is lip-synching the provocative video of her first album aboard a rented yacht, two men in Saddam Hussein and Yasir Arafat masks snatch her before a stunned audience. With his usual expert pacing, McBain alternates the action among a number of characters, including the kidnappers and T
Dec 03, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The Frumious Bandersnatch by Ed. McBain.

Tamar Valparaiso is aboard a yacht with a captive audience waiting in anticipation to hear her voice as she launches her latest album Bandersnatch. Then masked gunmen enter the picture and she is forcefully kidnapped. The audience and crew alike this part of her show or is this the real deal.

The story that follows details the raw violence of a rape, beatings and deaths. It also reveals an insiders look at the workings behind the 87th Precinct.
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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 Hu
More about Ed McBain...

Other Books in the Series

87th Precinct (1 - 10 of 55 books)
  • Cop Hater (87th Precinct, #1)
  • The Mugger (87th Precinct, #2)
  • 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)