|Posted by Vladimir Mortsgna on January 19, 2019 at 10:55 AM|
So, I basically consider Hopscotch to be a fun and skillful read, but is it a worthy entry in the same gallery of masterpieces as The Light of Day and The Spy who came in from the Cold? I have never once recommended it to a friend, for example, as I do repetitively with An Instance of the Fingerpost and Polar Star. But a look at the field in its year of publication, 1975, shows a crowded field of solid mysteries with not quite a case to overturn the actual winner.
In their Top 100, The Mystery Writers of America flagged four of 1975’s mysteries. Three I haven’t read and know little about: Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters, and Where are the Children, by Mary Higgins Clark. The estimable Ms Clark is almost definitely the only author who will be mentioned in this column whom I have personally met, so I should give her extra points, but I just don’t know enough about these novels. The Choirboys by Joseph Wambaugh has certainly had a great influence in the depiction of complex police lives and careers. The fourth Top 100 is the one I have read and would designate as the “should have won” Edgar if I was truly taking each year and each novel independently. This is John D MacDonald’s The Dreadful Lemon Sky. But I already chose a John D over the official winner in a past year.
Other strong contenders are Agatha Christie’s Curtain, Crichton’s The Great Train Robbery, and Thomas Harris’ Black Sunday. Crichton has had one already, Curtain isn’t one of Dame Agatha’s best, and I think we will need to look hard at Thomas Harris in a few years for his novel, which I have read (like most of you) involving a certain brilliant but difficult psychologist with eccentric culinary tastes…
So 1975 was a strong year in crime fiction, but in honor of the ongoing NFL playoffs, I will use a football expression: The ruling on the field stands. Hopscotch is the deserved Edgar winner.
Categories: Edgar Winner Reviews (No Spoilers)