Matthew Hope

Created by Ed McBain
Né Salvatore Lombino
Other pseudonyms include Evan Hunter, Curt Cannon, Hunt Collins, Richard Marsten, Ezra Hannon,John Abbott

(1926 -2005)

Robert Randisi considers Calusa, Florida attorney MATTHEW HOPE to be a private eye, and that’s good enough for me.

When we first meet Hope in 1978’s Goldilocks, he’s a transplanted New Yorker who moves to Calusa on Florida’s West Coast, hoping to practise civil law in a small firm. Except trouble seems to stock him, and murder rears its ugly head with alarming frequency. So what’s a poor lawyer to do?

By Mary, Mary (1993), he’s considered one of the top criminal layers in the State.

Ed McBain, of course, is the man behind the 87th Precinct series of police procedurals, as well as the creator of private eye Ben Smoke. McBain seems to have a little fun with the Matthew Hope books are fun, and they certainly display a lot more whimsy than his gritty 87th Precinct books, gleefully alluding to nursery rhymes and fairy tales as a titling gimmick for most of the series.

Then again, McBain did love his gimmicks. In Gladly the Cross-Eyed Bear (1996), for example, he has Guthrie Lamb, a old-time private eye he first wrote about over forty years earlier, helping out Hope, and in the last one, The Last Best Hope (1998), he has Steve Carella of the 87th Precinct in Isola “up north” calling in on a case that involves divorce, a barroom brawl and a museum rip-off.

Somebody must have been reading these. The series eventually numbered thirteen, and there was even an attempt to spin them off into a series of TV movies, casting Brian Dennehy as Hope in Three Blind Mice (2001). While it was watchable enough—and several viewers rated it “better than expected, a series never materialized.



    (2001, CBS)
    Made-for-television movie
    Based on the novel by Ed McBain
    Teleplay by Anne Gerard and Adam Greenman
    Directed by Christopher Leitch
    Produced by Ted Swanson
    Associate producer: Suzanne Lauer
    Executive producers: Patricia Clifford, Brian Dennehy
    A Viacom Productions
    Starring Brian Dennehy as MATTHEW HOPE
    Also starring Debrah Farentino, Rosalind Chao, John Doman, Glenn Plummer, Mary Stuart Masterson, Patricia Demming, Eddie Diaz, James Martin Kelly, Ron Yuan
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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