Isola (fictional city)

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Isola is a section of a fictional city that is the setting for the 87th Precinct series of police procedural novels written by Ed McBain (pseudonym of Evan Hunter).

The city, which is never named in any of the books, is based on New York City, and similarly, has five sections, corresponding with the five boroughs of New York: Isola (Manhattan), Bethtown (Staten Island), Calm's Point (Brooklyn), Majesta (Queens), and Riverhead (Bronx). It has two major rivers, the Harb and the Dix, which inexplicably flow in a westerly direction despite the fact that Isola is on the East Coast.

McBain's obituary in the Times described Isola as being more than just a copy of New York, saying it lived in its own right.[1] In contrast, Gary Hausladen states that whilst Isola is an obvious replica of New York, it does not have a strong sense of reality, suggesting that McBain's aim was to create an intentionally generic urban setting.[2] However, McBain offered details about Isola that drew parallels to New York City. On at least one occasion he tells the story how Riverhead (The Bronx) got its name after a farmer called Ryerhurt. The borrough The Bronx also got its name after a farmer, a Mr. Bronck of Swedish origin.


  1. ^ "Evan Hunter". London: The Times. July 6, 2005. Archived from the original on September 6, 2008.
  2. ^ p36, Gary Hausladen, Places for Dead Bodies, University of Texas Press, 2000