Reviews for The Night and the music : the Matthew Scudder stories

Publishers Weekly
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This welcome expanded edition of MWA Grand Master Block’s 2013 collection of the same name contains the complete short fiction featuring his best-known character, Matthew Scudder. The stories, which run the gamut from Scudder’s early years as an informal investigator struggling with alcoholism to his eventual sobriety and marriage, include the powerful “A Candle for the Bag Lady,” in which he investigates the seemingly random street killing of a bag lady who for no apparent reason had left him $1,200. Other highlights are “By the Dawn’s Early Light,” perhaps the best of the series, as well as the gentle and humane “The Merciful Angel of Death,” in which patients at an AIDS hospice are suspected of dying sooner than expected. Familiar supporting characters such as Elaine Mardell and Mick Ballou appear throughout, as do the fully realized New York locales of Scudder’s world. In an afterword, Block notes he wrote the elegiac final tale, “One Last Night at Grogan’s,” especially for this volume. This is essential reading for Scudder fans. Agent: Danny Baror, Baror International. (Sept.)