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A Master's Police Procedural: 'Learning to Kill'

Writer Evan Hunter, known to most fans as "Ed McBain," virtually created the police novel. He died in 2005. Learning to Kill is a new collection of McBain's early crime fiction.

On NPR's Fresh Air, McBain once explained his approach to his work:

What I would like to do is to bring to the mystery novel the same novelistic skills I would bring to a so-called serious novel. And I did that, and I think if I taught anything to mystery writers out there, it was that they could dare to write well.

McBain's writing popularized the kind of flawed-but-noble cop characters who are now a mainstay of crime novels and TV.

Veronique de Turenne is a writer living in Los Angeles.

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Veronique de Turenne