RARA-AVIS: Recycling

From: Mark Sullivan ( DJ-Anonyme@webtv.net)
Date: 08 Jul 2001

I just finished reading McBain's second 87th Precinct, The Mugger. I liked it a lot.

I found it particularly interesting that the book recycles a plot McBain used in one of his Curt Cannon stories, Now Die In It.


The subplot involving Bert Kling's investigation of his one-time friend's sister-in-law is exactly the same as Curt Cannon's investigation in that story. Both friends are married cabdivers with beautiful sisters-in-law who look just like the wife once did. Both contact a detective to placate the wife's worries. Both sisters are pregnant, though this is known from the outset in the story, but hidden for a while in the novel. Both sisters hang out in a teen club. Both are murdered. Both detectives get involved with an older, loose woman who hangs out in the club and befriended the sister. Both investigations involve figuring out what subway stop the sister exited to meet her lover. In both, the detective is called in by a homicide captain to tells him to stop mucking about, who found out he was by an anonymous call (however, drunk detective Cannon is physically beaten, but Kling is just browbeaten, his job threatened).

Whereas the plot makes up the complete short story, it becomes a subplot in the novel. The murder is at first thought to be an escalation in a string of female muggings, but is eventually revealed as a copycat killing

Now Chandler's "cannibalizations" of stories, particularly those in the Killer in the Rain anthology, for his novels is well known. How standard is/was this practice? Does McBain do this often?


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