Friday, September 04, 2009

Forgotten Books: THE MCBAIN BRIEF -- Ed McBain

Okay, here's the problem. In the intro to this collection of short stories, Ed McBain says that only one of them was previously published under the McBain name, and that was as a reprint. But the book gives no publishing information. We don't learn when or where or under what names the stories were originally published. I read the paperback, so maybe the info's in the hardcover edition. I would hope so.

The first and last stories in this book are also the first and last stories in McBain's more recent collection,
Learning to Kill. Some of the others appear there, too. "Kiss Me, Dudley," for example. (When I was a kid, I thought this parody of Spillane was hilarious. Now, not so much.) But there are other stories that aren't in Learning to Kill ("Skin Flick," for one), and they all illustrate McBain's strengths as a story teller. If you have one collection, there's really no need to own both, but I'm glad I do.


Anonymous said...

Sure, they're uneven but you can't go wrong with McBain shorts.


George said...

Excellent choice, Bill! Someday some Ph.D. student will track down those short stories and supply the bibliographic information.

Todd Mason said...

So, the other book didn't give the previous pub credits for those two stories, either?

And why was the Spillane parody not so good? Too broad? "It was easy"? Compares poorly to, say, Jean Kerr's or Fritz Leiber's? I still haven't read a Lombino/Hunter/McBain/et al. I'm fully satisfied with, so this might not be the book for me to go on to next.

Max Allan Collins said...

The Spillane parody, heavy-handed and unfunny, was an odd inclusion, particularly since McBain's own comments attached to the story don't mention Spillane at all!