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Goldilocks (1978)

de Ed McBain

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2016106,450 (3.28)2
A woman and her two daughters have been brutally murdered. The one person who could not have a motive is the only one confessing to it, and he insists on Matthew Hope for his defense. Definitely not for children --Cosmopolitan.
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Someone told me once that men always have their eye out for the next woman of their dreams—even if they're happily married. This theme seems to be the case in Goldilocks when Dr. Jamie Purchase comes home to find his wife and children savagely stabbed to death. He immediately calls his family attorney, Matthew Hope, who tries to solve the crime to help his client. Matthew, who has been having an affair of his own, soon discovers divorce has left a very bitter taste in Jamie's estranged family. Now he has to figure out which of them is capable of murder. I love Ed McBain's style of writing, and this book was no exception. It grabbed me from the first page—I had to finish it the same day. ( )
  PaulaGalvan | Jul 1, 2020 |


- stealing into someone else's house, testing the chairs and the porridge and especially the beds. Goldilocks, the other woman ...

- something more than a murder mystery. A story which begins with the slaughter of the innocent and goes on to reveal, piece by dazzling piece, a guilty world of other women and other men, double-lives and creaking marriages.
A world stained with moral murder of which few are innocent ... for Goldilocks visits everyone, and everybody knows Goldilocks ...

"Perhaps his best since he left the 87th Precinct ... Compulsive, and very cunningly contrived with a stunning and not unduly contrived solution." - The Observer
My take.....

Ed McBain is probably better known for his long 87th Precinct series of books, as opposed to the dozen or so books, featuring a Florida attorney Matthew Hope. Goldilocks is the first in the Hope series.

Only 200-odd pages long, it was a disappointment. We open with Hope called to the scene of a triple murder. His friend and client, Jamie Purchase has discovered his second wife, Maureen and their two young children stabbed to death.

Over the course of this plodding book, we have....... a triple murder, dodgy alibis, lies, interrogation, infidelity, a confession from the victim's step-son and half sibling - somewhat shaky and possibly false, an ex-wife, mistresses, a pity party, secrets, ultimatums, broken promises, gallery parties, an attempted suicide, a dead cat, a confrontation or two, the appearance of another family member, another confession and our outcome.

I wasn't really expecting a high energy book, I think McBain's books portray a realism regarding police work and the everyday drudgery and routine. I was expecting something with a bit more fizz though. Hope isn't a crusading lawyer as such, he kind of sits in on interviews, asks a few questions, offers advice - mostly ignored and for the most part concerns himself with his own marital issues, somewhat brought into focus by the deceits and betrayals surrounding the players involved in the murder case.

I didn't especially find him a likeable or sympathetic character. He's cheating on his wife and he's semi-committed, hmm ... more a bit vague about leaving her and asking for a divorce, but there's always an excuse or a reason not to rock the boat. This is a situation which causes friction with the other woman. He loves his step-daughter. He's cold towards his wife, in return she's frosty and they are both argumentative. He seems a bit of a coward to be honest. You don't really see his lawyerly skills or expertise to any great degree.

The husband of the deceased doesn't really feature that much. None of the extended family including the ex-wife solicit much sympathy either. The dead wife and children do. Hope's wife doesn't. I didn't like the cat either, though that's purely out of principle. I'm a dog person! The only character I kind of took to was the investigating detective, Ehrenberg. His instincts tell him that something is a bit off with the first confession from Michael Purchase. He has concerns about an innocent man taking the rap for a crime he didn't commit and getting sent to death row.

The first 160 pages dragged and I don't really think it was my reading mood, I think it was the story. The last forty pages or so, picked up. I kind of planned to read a chapter a day to finish the thing by the close of the weekend, but 160-170 improved, 170-180 maintained so I just toughed it out.

Overall borderline 3 because of the last quarter or so of the book, but nah 2.5 from 5 is more on the money.

I've read McBain before, but none of his 87th Precinct books. I still intend to somewhat ambitiously read my way through the series (over 50 of them). I have more of the Matthew Hope series on the pile.

My McBain's to date are
Downtown (1989), Guns (1976), Driving Lessons (1999)

Read - October, 2019
Published - 1977
Page count - 208
Source- owned copy
Format - paperback ( )
  col2910 | Oct 24, 2019 |
In the midst of an argument with his wife at 3:00 in the morning, lawyer Matthew Hope receives a phone call from a client by the name of Jamie Purchase whose wife and two daughters have been brutally murdered. He rushes out to assist but soon finds himself involved in a murder case where the husband and his ex-wife seem to have solid alibis but there are soon possible cracks in those alibis. Then Jamie's son pleads guilty to the crime although both Matthew and the police detective doubt his story.

As in any god detective story, there are possible false leads which in this story are Jamie's affair with another woman, his ex-wife's open hatred for his murdered wife and Matthew's own affair with a married woman.

Actually the novel's main theme is about affairs and how they disrupt families and what they they do to children. They often lead to intense anger that is taken out on friends, children and ex spouses. The title refers to what one ex called her former husband's new blond wife which became the name by which their children also knew their stepmother.

Having personal knowledge of an affair, reading the guilt that lovers feel because of their attraction to a new person brought back many unpleasant memories. If you are having an affair, reading this novel may give you pause about you are doing. ( )
  lamour | Dec 2, 2016 |
I received this book 8 days ago.
I did not find this story as interesting as many others I have read. The book was more about who was sleeping with who.
I felt more time could have been spent on the murder and the final outcome. ( )
  therealjim | Mar 3, 2015 |
It's really quite difficult to write anything meaningful about this book without inundating you with spoilers, but here's my best effort.

Matthew Hope, another of McBain's series characters, a lawyer, gets a call in the middle of the night from _______ who reports that his _______ and ________ have been ________. Hope rushes over to _______'s __________ where he finds the ________ already involved in ____________. Then the _______ is found in the ________ and he _________. In the meantime, Hope does some _________ on his own and discovers that ___ ____ _______ ____ __ seems. There are multiple _________ of ___________ and ___________ on the _________ and _________ of having an ___________.

Classic McBain.

P.S. The publisher's description of the book has inaccuracies. ( )
  ecw0647 | Sep 30, 2013 |
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A woman and her two daughters have been brutally murdered. The one person who could not have a motive is the only one confessing to it, and he insists on Matthew Hope for his defense. Definitely not for children --Cosmopolitan.

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Mitjana: (3.28)
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