Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Collecting the 87th Precinct Part 2 of 2

by Peter Enfantino

In the first part of this guide to collecting Ed McBain's 87th Precinct in paperback, we took a look at the stylish Perma editions. This time out we look at the later editions of Dell, Signet and Ballantine. While not nearly as atmospheric as their predecessors, these runs still provide some nice (and at times, graphically violent) images to go with the fabulous stories within. If I didn't mention it enough last time, let me stress that the 87th Precinct was the best police procedural series ever published and certainly had a major affect on TV cop shows in their staccato dialogue, on-going subplots, continuity, and the glimpses at the home life of a police officer. The influence of the 87th Precinct can especially be seen in the work of Steven Bochco and his Hill Street Blues and NYPD Blue.

As with the Permas, I've provided the book's number and date so as to make it easier for some one to track the particular edition down. I've also provided cover artists where identified.

Let's start with the Dells:
There were 12 Dells published from 1966-1970, some with photo-based cover images (this is the weak link I mentioned in the last installment—most of these look like bad Maurice Binder knock-offs), a few with very sharp illustrations (Dean Ellis' art for He Who Hesitates would fit comfortably on the cover of Manhunt).


1966 He Who Hesitates (3598) (ca: Ellis)
1966 Doll (2086) (ca: Ellis)
1967 Eighty Million Eyes (2234) (ca: Ellis)
1967 The Pusher (7169) (ca: Ellis)
1967 Lady Killer (4623) (ca: Ellis)
1967 Killer's Wedge (4497) (ca: Ellis)
1968 'Til Death (8907)
1968 King's Ransom (4549)
1968 Give the Boys a Great Big Hand (2909)
1969 See Them Die (7795)
1969 The Mugger (5911)
1970 Killer's Choice (4478)

And now the Signets:
By the time Signet picked up the gauntlet in 1973, McBain had already seen 28 of his 87th mysteries in print. Between 1973 and 1982, the publisher produced 24 books, all with the instantly recognizable artwork (always featuring lead detective Steve Carella) and yellow bar at the top of the cover announcing that this was "an explosive sizzling 87th Precinct mystery." Note that five of the original books were not published in this series as their rights were bought by Ballantine (and were published concurrent with the Signets). Also, I've listed them in order of publication. In some cases, they were published out of order. To add to the confusion, Fuzz was first published by Signet in 1969 (T5151). When the Burt Reynolds-Raquel Welch film came out in 1972, a movie tie-in was issued. The book went through several printings, including an edition in 1978 during this run. I don't consider this book part of the run as it doesn't include the uniform "Steve Carella" cover art. Nor does Shotgun (T4319), which was first published by Signet in 1970 and re-issued in 1979. Other unique Signets include Jigsaw (T4464) issued in 1970; Hail, Hail, the Gang's All Here (T5063) from 1972; and Sadie When She Died (Q5570) from 1973. All three were issued by Signet with unattractive covers and then re-released with the "Carella" covers. Unfortunately, it becomes difficult when placing these three in the grand scheme of things since they don't list the latest publishing date.

One other note: several of McBain's non-87th Precinct novels were dusted off and given the same kind of cover art as the run (sans Carella, of course). One could be fooled by these "drop-ins" as they also include the yellow banner across the top. In this case, the title of the book replaces the 87th blurb. These include the books originally published under McBain's Richard Marsten alias: Death of a Nurse (Y6903-original title: Murder in the Navy), Vanishing Ladies (Y7069), Big Man (Y7544), Even the Wicked (Y7402), and Runaway Black (W7928). The only adult Marsten novel not reprinted in the series was The Spiked Heel. The Marsten name was used for two "young adult" science fiction novels published by Winston in the 1950s: Rocket to Luna and Danger: Dinosaurs! There was also a reprinting of The April Robin Murders, a novel that was unfinished at the time of "co-author" Craig Rice's death, later finished by McBain and reprinted during this run (W7794).


1973 Cop Hater (Q5617) oct
1973 Pusher (Q5705) dec
1974: Let's Hear It For the Deaf Man (Q5794) feb
1974 The Con Man (Q5863) apr
1974 Killer's Payoff (Q5939) june
1974 Lady Killer (Q6067) sep
1974 Killer's Wedge (Q6219) dec
1975 'Til Death (Y6320) feb
1975 King's Ransom (Y6467) may
1975 Hail to the Chief (Y6548)
1975 Give the Boys a Great Big Hand (Y6683) sep
1975 Bread (Y6754)
1976 The Heckler (Y6839) jan
1976 See Them Die (Y7030) june
1976 Lady, Lady, I Did It! (Y7151) sep
1976 Like Love (Y7221) nov
1977 The Empty Hours (Y7287) jan
1977 Ten Plus One (Y7463) may
1977 Ax (Y7654) sep
1977 So Long as You Both Shall Live (W7749)
1979 Jigsaw (E8707)
1979 Hail, Hail, The Gang's All Here (E8855)
1979 Sadie When She Died (E8930)
1982 Blood Relatives (AE 1854)

And finally, the Ballantines:
As mentioned above, Ballantine had the rights to only five of the 87ths and published them twice each with variant covers. The first printings featured gritty, noirish paintings by Charles Lilly, while the second (painted by Walter Rane) had a scene of violence below the title and Steve Carella's painted face above.

1975 Killer's Choice (24443) / 1981 (29238)
1975 Doll (24530) / 1981 (29289)
1975 Eighty Million Eyes (24604) / 1983 (29292)
1975 The Mugger (24656) / 1981 (29290)
1975 He Who Hesitates (24757) / 1982 (29291)


Because I'm a completist (and so are you, don't deny it!), I'll list the other 24 87th Precinct novels that followed the completion of the Signet run:

1977 Long Time No See
1979 Calypso
1980 Ghosts
1981 Heat
1983 Ice
1984 Lightning
1985 Eight Black Horses
1987 Poison
1987 Tricks
1989 Lullaby
1990 Vespers
1991 Widows
1992 Kiss
1993 Mischief
1994 And All Through the House
1995 Romance
1997 Nocturne
1999 The Big Bad City
2000 The Last Dance
2001 Money, Money, Money
2002 Fat Ollie's Book
2004 The Frumious Bandersnatch
2004 Hark!
2005 Fiddlers

5 comments:

Martin O'Hearn said...

Is that Mitchell Hooks' signature on the cover of Cop Hater?

Peter Enfantino said...

It looks somewhat like Mitchell Hooks' stuff, in fact his name is in my notes with a big question mark. But I couldn't find anything to link Hooks to these pbs (and they all look like the work of the same artist). The signature on the cover reads "HELL." At least that's what it looks like to me.

Jeffrey Marks said...

Rice didn't leave any notes on the outcome of the story. Hunter had to write the final 1/3 of the book using his imagination to finish the plot and his skills to make it sound like Rice. He didn't go back and change the text she had written.

WestcoastTony said...

Just coming to this topic a bit late, but I'm both a McBain collector and a follower of modern illustration and this is a great post. Those Signet covers do not strike me as Mitchell Hooks, and by the late 70s his style was evolving into something different. I;ve discussed the possible artist of the Signeet 87th Preceinct covers with sevral knowledgeable folks and we are all still stumped. Any new information from anybody?

WestcoastTony said...

...apologies for the typos and misspellings on my comment above. I'm actually a bit less illiterate than that. ;-)