Steve Carella and other detectives from the 87th Precinct spring into action and are busy setting traps on King's phone lines and doing the other things that the police would normally do in such a case when Bobby walks through the door after playing outside. Doug King would have been willing to pony up the money for his own son, but he's not so sure about ransoming back the chauffer's kid, because if he does, he will not have the money he needs to complete his big business deal. While Carella and the other detective try to track the kidnappers and rescue the boy, Doug King must wrestle with his conscience and decide what to do.
The book opens during a long scene at a board meeting where several share holders begin plotting to gain control of the company so they can produce a cheaper shoe. The entire precinct are called out to hunt the kidnappers, though the police angle on this one is secondary to the King family and the Kidnappers.
So, since it must have been decades since last I read King's Ransom, to the library I did make a request . At that very moment, kidnappers seize his young son Bobby and demand a $500,000 ransom. And I was right in my expectations of the behavior of Our Boys: although they -- along with everyone else -- make it plain that they think Doug's eventual decision not to pay the ransom sucks, they have no big confrontation with him about it, make plain that it's his decision and his alone, and in general retain that level of courtesy and restraint for which Carella at least is renowned.
PLOT - 2: A young boy is kidnapped, supposedly the son of the almost-rich Douglas King, hence the title. But the young boy bears a resemblance to King's chauffer's son, Jeff. So it's Jeff who is kidnapped, and King refuses to pay the ransom: it's not his kid! King's wife smartly leaves Douglas for good after an extended (pages and pages) of "you're a terrible person"type dialogue in which one sentence ("you're a terrible person") would have sufficed. CAST - 2: Jeff, the boy inadvertently kidnapped, shows his mettle and is nicely portrayed. Jeff's father, King's chauffer, has a great scene in which he begs on his knees for King to pay (King refuses).
We really have but one crime on which the story hinges: the kidnapping of an eight year old boy and a ransom demanded from the wealthy industrialist presumed to be the childs father. Saving the life of another persons child at the cost of ones own financial ruin, however, less so.
Given that I recently purchased Akira Kurosawa's High and Low as part of Barnes and Noble's July Criterion sale, I figured that as I haven't watched that movie yet it might be a good idea to read its inspiration, Ed McBain's King's Ransom.. The book itself can be read out of order like the other McBain novel that I've read, and the pace moves along really quickly helped by some snappy back and forth dialogue.
One kidnapper's wife is horrified that the more ruthless member of the group may be planning to kill the child when he gets the money and wants to prevent that.