Sunday, 12 November 2017

Looking Back - Cop Hater

Shall we take a trip down memory lane, to 1956 and the release of the first 87th Precinct novel, "Cop Hater" by Ed McBain - a pseudonym of Evan Hunter?

Copyright for Cop Hater was registered on the 20th March 1956, as can be seen in the "Catalog of Copyright Entries" for the year:

It was published by Permabooks - an imprint of Doubleday begun in 1948, out of their Manhattan office. Part of Permabook's mission statement was to produce "Books for reference, recreation and self-improvement". By 1954 Doubleday had sold the imprint to "Pocket Books" and Cop Hater was published by them on 10th April 1956 with serial M-3707.

The New York Times first reference to the book that would start this extraordinary series of police procedural books was simply this:

The novel was reviewed in the 29th April '56 edition of the NYT, by Anthony Boucher in his "Criminals At Large" column. Boucher himself was an author and editor of mystery and "fantastic fiction" writing. His review of Cop Hater says, "McBain has caught TV's semi-documentary flavor excellently. He's written a tough, sexy novel with inherent honesty and decency." (Full Text)

The UK release (by publisher T.V.Boardman) was reviewed in The Observer on 4/1/59 by Maurice Richardson who considered it "Efficient and Violent [with] convincingly detailed description of police procedure". Richardson further suggested that the book is "Crudely plotted but unforced" and states, rather grandly, "The development of this form is important for the future".

On June 5 '57 the NYT was reporting that newly formed film company, Barbizon films, was planning to make movies of COP HATER and THE MUGGER. Filming was reported to have started on August 6, 1957 with William Berke directing and Robert Loggia as "Carelli" (named changed from "Carella" for some reason!). Editing for the movie of Cop Hater was scheduled to finish by 20th Sept '57 (45 days to shoot & edit a film!) before filming on The Mugger began. The movie opened on 1st October ‘58. A review in the NYT the next day described the “inept direction” & said the best thing about it was that it featured relatively unknown actors.

Should you want to hear our take on Ed McBain's Cop Hater from the 87th Precinct series, our very first ever bumper size podcast episode is available here, or on anyof the main podcast providers.

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