Friday, 2 November 2018

Hark! Bonus Interview - James Naughtie

Hark! It's an 87th Precinct Extra Special Bonus Podcast!

We're delighted to be able to bring you this short extra episode, which features a discussion with radio presenter, James Naughtie, who is a well-known voice to millions in the UK, as presenter of the fantastic show, Bookclub, on BBC Radio 4 (also available as a podcast), the former presenter of the flagship morning news programme, Today, amongst other duties as a correspondent and contributor. He's also a writer himself, having written history and music books, as well as thriller stories. 

During the recent Liverpool Literary Festival, James was presenting an episode of Bookclub and hosting other talks, and having heard about his love for McBain in an article for the Radio Times, we contacted him and he kindly and enthusiastically agreed to meet up and have a chat. Paul went along with his trusty portable recorder and spoke to this broadcasting legend about his love for McBain, Wodehouse, Simenon and much more - this is a conversation about love for reading, love for the worlds authors can create and James also tells us about his own encounter with Evan Hunter. 

We hope you enjoy this. Please share, rate and review us - it all helps us to reach a wider audience and if you feel inclined to donate the price of a digital coffee towards the running of the show, you can do so at www.ko-fi-com/hark87podcast. Thanks for listening - see you soon for our next episode about Ed McBain's "DOLL". Fare thee well.

Monday, 22 October 2018

Ed McBain's He Who Hesitates - Episode 19, Bonus: A Bridge Glued To The Side Of His Head

Hark! It's an 87th Precinct Bonus Episode!

We're back with our usual round of exploring the physical book - looking at the editions and covers of the versions we've got of Ed McBain's "He Who Hesitates", as well as the original releases. Stevo gives his usual olfactory assessment of the books and seems to become slightly obsessed with the notion of 'fonts'.

We answer a couple of listener questions here, in particular about other lesser-known authors we enjoy and, what with it being late October, give our Haunted House Halloween Recommendations! All these are listed on the blog as well. Thanks to everyone who got in touch - we love being able to respond, so please contact us through social media or via

We'll be back soon to enjoy the next 87th Precinct novel, Doll, with you, but we should have some super-special bonus stuff coming up soon as well. Fare thee well!

Friday, 19 October 2018

Ed McBain and Columbo (Season One)

When you think about it, the idea that the worlds of Ed McBain's 87th Precinct and Columbo ever intersected is a strange thing. Of course, the detectives of the 87th Precinct and Columbo are both dealing with violent crime, murder usually, and of course they exist as part of the police force - not independent agents, detectives or amateurs. Other than this though, the differences seem more pronounced than their similarities. The cops of the 87th Precinct act as a force, the various personalities well-drawn, but ultimately acting as part of the machinery of detection. Columbo is an individual and, for all his scruffiness and supposed absent-mindedness, he is a maverick. The 87th Precinct is set on the East Coast, in a New York-a-like city with urban decay, deprivation and the problems associated with that, whilst Columbo's beat is the mansions and playgrounds of the L.A. rich - industrialist playboys, businessmen and women, stars of the silver screen and so on.

It might have been these differences that meant that when two 87th Precinct stories were adapted for the later seasons of Columbo (So Long As You Both Shall Live became No Time To Die in 1992 and Jigsaw became Undercover in 1994) they generally didn't work to serve either the source material or the show well - although Undercover does give us a chance to see Detective Arthur Brown leap off the pages of the book and onto screen (played by Harrison Page).

The first season of Columbo has now been released on Blu-Ray and Paul got the chance to review it for the website We Are Cult, so please go along and have a read of the article, here

As an aside, below is a list of the various relationships between Columbo (Season One ONLY) and the 87th Precinct. Obviously for the most part this means the 87th Precinct TV series, but there are some other relationships in there as well. If you can think of any more, let us know! 

Columbo reference
McBain/Hunter reference
Peter Falk
87th Precinct ep.19
“Greg Brovane”
The Pigeon 29/01/62
Robert Culp
Columbo ep.2
“Carl Brimmer” (murderer)
Death Lends A Hand
87th Precinct ep. 1
“Curt Donaldson” (murderer)
The Floater 25/09/61
(Based on The Con Man)
Suzanne Pleshette
Columbo ep.3
“Helen Stewart”
Dead Weight
The Birds 1963
“Annie Hayworth” (adapted by E.H.)
Mister Buddwing 1966
“Fiddle” (based on E.H. novel)
John Fiedler
Columbo ep.7
Blueprint For Murder
87th Precinct ep.20
A Bullet For Katie 12/02/62
Ross Martin
Columbo ep.4
“Dale Kingston” (murderer)
Suitable For Framing
87th Precinct ep.6
“Joe Czepreghi”
Occupation, Citizen 30/10/61
Pat Crowley
Columbo ep.2
“Lenore Kennicutt” (victim)
Death Lends A Hand
87th Precinct ep.9
“Josie Thompson”
Empty Hours 20/11/61
Janis Paige
Columbo ep.7
“Goldie Williamson”
Blueprint For Murder
87th Precinct ep.30
“Cheryl Anderson”
Girl In The Case 30/04/62
Harlan Warde
Columbo (2nd Pilot)
“Paul Williams” (victim)
Ransom For A Dead Man=
87th Precinct
“Dr Ben Daniels” (psychiatrist)
The Pigeon
My Friend, My Enemy
Lady Killer
Sandra Gould
Columbo ep.4
Suitable For Framing
87th Precinct ep.8
“Mrs Stradling”
The Guilt 13/11/61
Eddie Quillan
Columbo ep.6
Short Fuse
87th Precinct ep.4
“Blinky Smith”
The Modus Man 16/10/61
Hank Brandt
Columbo (2nd Pilot)
Ransom For A Dead Man
87th Precinct
“Vic” (ep.25)
Step Forward 26/3/62
“George” (ep.9)
Empty Hours 20/11/61
Charles Macaulay
Columbo (2nd Pilot)
Ransom For A Dead Man
87th Precinct ep.14
“Brother Jeffrey”
Run, Rabbit, Run 25/12/61
Jerry Hausner
Columbo ep.4
“Coroner” (uncredited)
Suitable For Framing
87th Precinct ep.22
“Nathan Kosoff”
Feel Of The Trigger 26/2/62
Lionel Lindon
Director of Photography
David H Moriarty
Henry Kline
Unit Production Manager/Assistant Director
Edward K Dodds
Unit Manager/Assistant Director
Lou Watt
Assistant Director
George Bisk
Assistant Director
Robert R Bertrand
Albert Whitlock
Columbo ep.6
Special Photographic Effects
Short Fuse
The Birds 1963
Pictorial Effects
Joel Fluellen
Columbo ep.5
Lady In Waiting
The Young Savages 1962
“Court Clerk” (Uncredited)

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Ed McBain's He Who Hesitates - Episode 19: A Normal Crab and Iguanas

Hark! It's the 87th Precinct Podcast!

Ed McBain's first 87th Precinct of 1965 is "He Who Hesitates" and it's a change from the norm. Join us as we tag along with Mountainy Man Roger Broome as he walks the streets of Isola, trying to decide whether to go to the police about.... something.

As usual, we set the scene by taking a look at the pop culture and events of the time and Paul outlines all the research bits'n'pieces he can find about the book, and we share contemporary reviews of the story and some of our listeners' opinions as well.

Remember you can find us on all the podcast platforms and social media as HARK87PODCAST and you can contribute to the running of the show with a one-off donation at KO-FI.COM. Or help us out by writing a review and sharing!

We'll be back with our bonus episode soon, and then onto the next book in the series - "DOLL". Fare thee well.

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Ed McBain's Ax - Episode 18, Bonus: Chief Superintendent Strange Noise

Hark! It's an 87th Precinct Podcast Bonus Episode!
Following on from our main episode discussion of Ed McBain's 1964 87th Precinct novel, Ax (or Axe, if you like), we take our usual dive into the editions we own and the original publications. In a shocking turn of events, Morgan reveals that his edition has re-awoken his dormant sense of smell. This is book huffing To The Max.
We then ruminate on matters such as what Crimey things we've been watching and reading, where you'd set a US adaptation of Inspector Morse, before the evening takes its toll and reduces us all to helpless idiots whilst Stevo attempts to perform another story from the "TRUE CRIME?" canon. Please, forgive us our indulgences!
Apologies, also, for the sound of loose-elbows hitting microphone boom arms. We'll list the books we've read/recommended on our blog/website. Join us next time in 1965 for "He Who Hesitates". Chop chop!

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Ed McBain's Ax - Episode 18: Drunken Bumdom

Hark! It's an 87th Precinct Podcast!

Careful with that ax(e), Eugene! Let's take a trip in the time-travelling toolshed back to 1964 and the 18th novel in the 87th Precinct police-procedural series by Ed McBain. The clear winner of the shortest-title-in-the-series competition - "Ax" - is a gruesome whodunnit, leading the cops of the Eight-Seven down blind-alleys and into dark-basements as they attempt to find out why poor old George Lasser ended up eating a faceful of chopper.

We open this episode with a little recap over what the essence of this book series is, as a recap and an initiation for new readers and listeners, before tackling our usual round of "What happened in this year?" in advance of our discussion, in an almost spoiler-free fashion, of the book. There's plenty of giggling at craps as well.

This week we feature a promo for our friends at Loaded Literature Podcast- check them out, and remember to use #lithappens on social media to find more literature and books podcasts.

A rating or review on iTunes is super-appreciated and super-useful for helping us reach new listeners or if you wish to contribute another way, we're rattling our digital donations cup over at

Join us soon for our bonus episode and then we're onto book 19 which is (wait for it...) "He Who Hesitates". Fare Thee Well!

Friday, 31 August 2018

The Hunter/Hitchcock Timeline

Thanks to Evan Hunter's book, Me and Hitch, published in 1997, it's pretty easy to pull together a timeline of the relationship between the writer and the director - including the decline and fall of their working relationship.

Hunter, although referring to his own records, does seem to get some dates wrong in the book, although as much of the volume is based on letters between him and the production team (Hitchcock or his assistant, Peggy Robertson) we can assume that those dates are accurate.

What's reproduced below isn't a detailed timeline, merely an overview. But it's really interesting to see how the story of their time together plays out and hints at the intensity of their relationship during this period. For many more details, read "Me and Hitch" to hear the story from Hunter's perspective.

During the podcast, our special guest, Herbert West (he of the "Trial Of  A Timelord" podcast), mentioned a very interesting article from Cinema Fantastique, from 1980. This is really worth a read - a fascinating insight into both the technical and the creative processes of making the film. The article is reproduced on the Hitchcock Zone website, here

Picture from Galactic Central

March 1953
Evan Hunter’s “Murder Comes Easy” is published in Real magazine.

April 1957
Alfred Hitchcock Presents… Vicious Circle. A TV episode based on the story “Murder Comes Easy” by Evan Hunter.

Early 1959
Hunter is asked to adapt Robert Turner’s “Appointment At Eleven” for the Hitchcock TV show.

(before 4th) Oct 1959
Hunter and Hitchcock first meet on the set of the TV show episode “The Crystal Trench”.

- September 1961
Hunter is contacted, via his agent, by Hitchcock to ask him to work on adapting Daphne Du Maurier’s “The Birds” as a motion picture.
The Hunter family move out to L.A. for the duration of the writing of the film.

November 1961
Hunter completes and officially hands over the screenplay.

December 1961
Hunter submits revisions to the scripts following feedback.

January 1962
Hunter completes further revisions and submits final script.

- July 1962
“The Birds” is being shot (Bodega Bay/Studio). 
Hunter occasionally attends filming.

March 1962
Hunter officially contracted to start work on adapting Winston Graham’s “Marnie”. Hunter writes to Hitchcock to say that he anticipates “No Problems” with adapting the story.

June 1962
Hunter submits his completed script for “Marnie”, but work on that film is postponed.

November 1962
Work recommences on “Marnie”.

March 1963
“The Birds” premieres and goes on general release.

April 1963
Hunter delivers his revised script for “Marnie”, with alternative versions of the wedding night sequence, contrary to Hitchcock’s intention. Hunter receives notification that the script doesn’t meet Hitchcock’s requirements.

May 1963
Hunter officially ‘fired’ from the “Marnie” project.