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Gladly the Cross Eyed Bear

Lainie Commins, a freelance designer of children’s toys, hires attorney Matthew Hope for a lawsuit against her old employers, Brett and Etta Toland. At stake are the lucrative rights to Gladly, a teddy bear with crossed eyes and corrective lenses. It’s a straightforward case — until Brett Toland is shot in the throat aboard his luxury yacht and Lainie becomes the chief suspect. From elegant canals to sunbaked ghettos, McBain has done for Florida’s Gulf Coast what he did for the 87th Precinct — created a teeming world where justice is elusive and where the saints and sinners are often one and the same.This time around Matthew Hope finds himself in southern Florida and in a mess. A woman he’s representing is suing a toy manufacturer she says stole her idea. The problem is, the president of the toy company was murdered, and guess who’s the prime suspect? The other problem–or problems–is that Hope’s primary private investigator winds up on a boat kidnapped by drug runners leaving Hope, who is still smarting from gunshot wounds he collected in other adventures, to contact by himself the subjects for the investigation, all of whom reside on boats. Got that? He does get some help, in the form of an old-school PI named Guthrie Lamb, who throws in his techniques to try to crack this rather nutty case.

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  1. charles falk says

    Gladly we read Ed McBain Ed McBain is the best and this is one of his best. Matthew Hope has two cases, but only one client. The first case is Lainie Commins’ battle with a big toy company over trademark rights to a cross-eyed teddy bear. The second is defending her aginst charges that she has murdered the owner of the toy company. He is also battling the after-effects of his own recent near-death experience. Matthew has to work through all these difficulties without the help of his favorite PI’s Warren Chambers and Toots Kiley who are embroiled in a life-threatening subplot of their own. This complcated story is played out against the backdrop of McBain’s beautifully rendered city of Colussa, Florida.

  2. Anonymous says

    More Carefully Written Than 87th Precinct Books I enjoyed reading this book. I am pretty sure that McBain takes more time writing his Hope series. There’s liitle of the flippant dialogue and other narrative devices that often mar the putative reality of the 87th books. McBain’s novel (not McBain necessarily) wants you to examine the complexities of human beings–in this novel: Hope, Laine–both in some depth. But all characters invite consideration and really seem to blend seamlessly into the narrative (e.g. Guthrie, Diaz, and Tootsie). The casual connection between pornography and a unique children’s teddy bear merits a second (third) look. Characters in this book are generally not nice, but are a mix of good and bad, right and wrong. Many readers will pooh-pooh the secondary plot with Warren and Tootsie, but it is in this world (the boat out on the open sea is a microcosm of our world) that seems so surreal, but really is “life-lived” and the “thing itself” that we glimpse a human being staring intently at evil (crack and/or cocaine) and saying “you aren’t going to beat us this time” He stands strong, helps his addicted friend and gave me some hope that good still may triumph, at least aspirationally, in this world, where my 50 plus years on earth has seen a lot of nastiness, betrayal and other unalloyed forms of evil. But a little good along the way. I read Money, Money, Money just before this one. I enjoyed it, but Gladly has legitimate edginess (not too overdone for a novel) and a kind of crunchy soulfulness that makes you applaud what Etta did to her husband. Again right over wrong; good over evil. Money also had its virtues but was too jauntily frivilous about certain things (lion) and maudlin about human relations: Carrella, mother and wife. My first Hope book; hope others are as good. Oh, I almost forgot. McBain’s handling of Hope’s coma was excellent and was wrapped up beautifully (understated and clever)at the end of the book. I have read 9 McBain books; Gladly (and just a little of Vespers) is the only one where when I finished the book, I said a little prayer and reached for Yeats’s poems. WEll Done.

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