Three Blind Mice

Jessica Leeds calls Matthew Hope when her husband, Stephen Leeds, is arrested for the murder of the three Vietnamese men who had been acquitted of raping her. The rape, which is graphically described in flashback courtroom scenes, becomes the pivotal point of the mystery as Hope must discover whether someone has framed his client or whether Leeds has indeed murdered the men for revenge--as Assistant State Attorney Patricia “Don’t call me Pat” Demming assures Hope.

Demming becomes involved in Hope’s life when she crashes into his brand-new car while trying to avoid hitting a cat. Hope, who is divorced and is not currently seeing his former wife (with whom he has an on-again, off-again relationship), is interested in Demming, but then he meets Mai Chim Lee, a beautiful Vietnamese bookkeeper who doubles as an interpreter.

THREE BLIND MICE is a combination of Hope’s personal and professional lives, which constantly overlap. Ed McBain’s style borders on the lurid, especially in the details of the murder method (the title applies to the inflicted condition of four of the five murder victims), and in details of his characters’ love lives. These details, like the sweat and heat of the setting of Calusa, Florida, may become a little overwhelming at times, but McBain’s story line holds up to even the closest scrutiny--or the worst humidity.