Re: RARA-AVIS: police procedurals & Top Banana

Date: 11 Aug 2002


Re your comments on why Bill James's books are not procedurals.

> Well, the protagonists are high-ranking police, but
> there isn't any police
> work in it. Mostly, the three top cops try to
> undermine each other or
> prevent one from physically attacking a second or
> sleep with the another
> one's wife.

That's the way real-life cops in a mangerial/command position often act. And since big-city command-type cops do very little hands-on police work, you wouldn't see a lot of beat patrolling or street level investigating if the story was told from their POV. That doesn't, by itself, render it a non-procedural. The accuracy or inaccuracy of the law enforcement milieu is what renders it a procedural or a non-procedural.

> Much of the book is from the top
> criminals' perspective, and
> they have similar dysfunctional relationships.

Many procedurals spend large sections from the criminals' POV. Off-hand, McBain's THE HECKLER (my personal favorite 87th Precinct) comes to mind. Much of the book is told from the POV of the criminal mastermind, referred to only as "the deaf man." This character proved to be so compelling that McBain has made him the 87th's personal Moriarty, bringing him back for FUZZ, LET'S HEAR IT FOR THE DEAF MAN, EIGHT BLACK HORSES, and MISCHIEF, in the process capitalizing his title into a proper name, "The Deaf Man."

Similarly, many of Maurice Procter's Harry Martineau books are told from the POV of Dixie Costello, the city of Granchester's number one organized crime figure, to whose incarceration Martineau devotes much of the series.


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