Deaf Man

(87th Precinct novels)

Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game


The 87th Precinct Mysteries is a long-running series of police procedural novels by Ed McBain. “Long-running” since the first was released in 1956, and it continued until at least the 2000s.

Perhaps the most notable figure, appearing in a half-dozen of the novels, is the genius criminal mastermind the Deaf Man


  • Real Name: Unrevealed.
  • Marital Status: Unrevealed.
  • Known Relatives: Unrevealed.
  • Group Affiliation: None.
  • Base Of Operations: Unrevealed.
  • Height: 6’ Weight: 175 lbs.
  • Eyes: Unrevealed. Hair: Unrevealed.


Powers and Abilities

The Deaf Man is an old fashioned criminal mastermind, à la Moriarty.

His most important abilities are his great intelligence and his ability to convince lowlives to join in on his grandiose heists. This is despite the huge number of his former criminal associates who have ended up penniless and in jail.

Strangely few of his associates try to kill him, despite his tendency to lecture them on number theory and statistical deviation.


The Deaf Man was introduced in The Heckler (1960). Therein he masterminded a plot to steal over two million dollars which involved :

  • Digging a tunnel underneath the construction site where a new bank was being built. This was done using the noise of the above ground construction to cover the below ground digging.
  • Shooting an employee who was talking too much.
  • Threatening and harassing a dozen different business owners adjacent to inviting robbery sites. This campaign which culminated in a fake ad inviting every red haired woman in town to come and try out to become a model.
    Detectives and patrolmen found themselves wasting a lot of resources trying to stake out all the possible targets – because one of them had read The League of Red-Headed Men.
  • Shooting Lt Steve Carella when he got too close to what was going to happen.
  • Planting 24 bombs in sites like a football stadium, Grand Central Station, the power station and an oil refinery.
  • Stealing the money in the confusion.

It didn’t quite work out the way he wanted, but the mayhem was unprecedented.

He tried several more times to pull off similarly grandiose operations in the 87th Precinct each time failing by a narrow margin through chance.



A tall man. Usually well dressed.


A charming, cool and calculating psychopath with a monstrous ego.

His biggest weakness is his compulsion to show how smart he is, and when he’s in not-New-York-City, he always makes sure to call the 87th Precinct house and tell them he’s about to pull something.

His plans are far more elaborate than they need to be. He never spends his Hero Points , except to make his escape after his plans go awry.


“You’ll have to speak up. I’m a little deaf.”

“Truth is a constant, Chuck. It is only the observation of truth which is a variable. The magnitude of error depends on the difference between the unchanging truth and the faithfulness of observation.”

“I never forget anything.”

DC Universe History

Redundant really. The DC Universe already has the Riddler and the Deaf Man is just a classier version of the same concept.

Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG

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The Deaf Man

Dex: 03 Str: 02 Bod: 03 Motivation: Mercenary
Int: 09 Wil: 11 Min: 04 Occupation: Criminal Mastermind
Inf: 07 Aur: 09 Spi: 03 Resources {or Wealth}:  ?
Init: 019 HP: 100

Recall: 09

Detective (Police Procedure)*: 09, Military (Camouflage, Cryptography, Danger Recognition)*: 09, Thief (Stealth): 05, Weaponry

Area knowledge (87th Precinct), Iron Nerves, Gift of Gab, Connoisseur, Scholar (Mathematics), Omni-Scholar.

Criminal Underworld (High).

Enemy (Lt. Steve Carella), Minor Physical Restriction (Hard of Hearing – he may not really be deaf, though), SIA (Vengeance).

By David Johnston.

Source of Character: Ed McBain’s 87th Precinct novels.