"Eighty Million Noses"

"EDITOR'S NOTE: As many of you are no doubt already aware, last year marked the thirtieth anniversary of Ed McBain's popular 87th Precinct series. Among the various forms of recognition Mr. McBain received, the Mystery Writers of America bestowed upon him their Grand Master award.

"Author Josh Pachter, however, saw fit to celebrate this achievement in a more unique manner: he wrote the following story — a parody hilariously capturing much of the wit, style, and characterization that has made the originals so appealing.

"'Eighty Million Noses' was originally accepted by another mystery/crime publication whose publisher at the last minute vetoed the editor's selection, claiming a 'no parodies' policy. The editor, to his credit, stuck by his guns strongly enough to attain payment for Josh's effort, but that still left the story unpublished.

"Enter HARDBOILED. Josh sent me the manuscript in May of last year, explaining the circumstances, and I promptly agreed — hell, I jumped at the opportunity — to run it in HB. Since I already had the next couple issues planned out, we figured on using it in our Winter issue, thus still making the Eight-Seven's anniversary year, though not by much. Well, we all know by now what happened — or rather didn't happen — concerning our Winter issue last year.

"My regrets to Josh Pachter and Ed McBain (who has read the story in manuscript form, by the way, and enjoyed it) for not having presented 'Eighty Million Noses' within the proper time frame. Not that the delay detracts anything from the story — I'm sure readers will find it a case of better late than never. Some of Josh's first published stories, back in the late '60s and early '70s, were parodies of Rex Stout, Ellery Queen, Edward D. Hoch. I think you'll agree he definitely hasn't lost his touch."

This story still cracks me up. The title, by the way, is a play on McBain's Eighty Million Eyes.

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