As you may have noticed from all the hoopla hereabouts, today is The Rap Sheet’s first birthday. And we’ll resume our previously scheduled nominations of overlooked/underappreciated crime novels presently. But there are things going on elsewhere in the crime-fiction realm, too, that deserve attention.
• Speaking of birthdays, there will be Sherlock Holmes fans all over the world celebrating what would have been Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s 148th birthday today (had he not died in the summer of 1930). But another birthday may be more easily forgotten. May 22 was also the birthday of Douglas Heyes (born in 1919), a screenwriter who worked on many films and TV shows of note. In addition to penning the screenplays for Beau Geste (1966) and Ice Station Zebra (1968), Heyes--who seemed to be a favorite of legendary producer Roy Huggins--wrote episodes of Maverick, 77 Sunset Strip, Checkmate, Alias Smith and Jones, Night Gallery, McCloud, The Bold Ones, City of Angels, and others. He also wrote a fine but largely forgotten 1969 teleflick called The Lonely Profession, which starred Harry Guardino as a San Francisco private eye embroiled in a case involving too much money and too few scruples. In addition, Heyes adapted Taylor Caldwell’s novel Captains and the Kings as a 1976 NBC miniseries, created the too-short-lived William Shatner-Doug McClure historical adventure Barbary Coast, and served as executive producer of the 1971 “post-Western” series Bearcats! Oh, and I almost forgot to mention: Heyes was a novelist. I own one of his books, a pretty exciting 1930s P.I. tale called The Kill (1985), but he apparently also wrote two previous novels, The Kiss-Off and The 12th of Never. Heyes died of congestive heart failure in Los Angeles in February 1993.
• “BookBitch” blogger Stacy Alesi interviews author Alafair Burke on the subjects of her famous father, crossover crime characters, her Manhattan commute, and her forthcoming novel Dead Connection. Their exchange can be enjoyed here.
• Meanwhile, John Kenyon of Things I’d Rather Be Doing asks Michael Connelly about his remarkably short new novel, The Overlook.
• Have you ever wondered what author Ian Rankin’s work space looks like? Well, wonder no more.
• Christian Science Monitor writer Daniel B. Wood takes readers on “a gumshoe’s tour” of Raymond Chandler’s Los Angeles, complete with “passage-quoting noir junkies.” Ride along with him here.
• And Bookgasm’s Bruce Grossman readies us for summer with notes on a trio of older paperback novels that remind us of what is really important this coming sunnier season: bikinis and Berettas. You’ll find his comments here.