Thursday, June 24, 2010

Checking the Traps Once More

• You just can’t say enough favorable things about Ross Macdonald’s 1964 Lew Archer detective novel, The Chill.

• Sure, it’s in Finnish, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t interesting. Juri Nummelin’s new Webzine, Isku, has finally debuted. And in its pages you will find some familiar contributors. Look for the first issue here.

• Janet Rudolph has posted a helpful list of summer mystery conferences and conventions in her Mystery Fanfare blog.

• Two months ago, when I posted an inventory of my best bets for summer crime-fiction reading this year, I failed to mention The Lodger, by Marie Belloc Lowndes--but only because I didn’t realize that Academy Chicago Publishers was going to reissue that early 20th-century classic. As the publisher’s Web site explains:
This first class, highly acclaimed thriller was published in 1914, more than two decades after the so-called Jack the Ripper murders, on which it is based, had occurred in Whitechapel, London. The murders--five in all--appeared to be the work of a woman-hating fanatic, someone who also must have had knowledge of anatomy, since the bodies were mutilated with surgical skill.

Twenty years later, memories of these serial killings were still fresh in Londoners’ minds and the author brilliantly captures the sense of fear and horror which the murders evoked. Praise for this novel has withstood the test of time in England, America, and around the world. The Lodger has been adapted for the screen several times, most notably by Alfred Hitchcock in 1926, his first film.

When The Lodger was first published The New York Times said of the author: “In this department of fiction (mystery), indeed, she can be depended upon to produce work of very excellent quality--work that has just that touch of reality, that feeling of ‘atmosphere’ that gives to a novel of this character genuine and permanent value. Her book is a splendid piece of work in the art that creates mystery in literature.”
Strangely, I’ve never read The Lodger, though I did once see the Hitchcock adaptation. I definitely have to find a place for this volume on my TBR pile (rather, TBR mountain).

• Damn! Another author whose work I’ve never read.

Political cynicism as its most damaging. More here and here.

• TV Squad offers a comparison of this summer’s new cop shows. On that subject, let me say that I enjoyed this week’s premiere episode of Memphis Beat, starring Jason Lee, but haven’t been willing to experiment further with The Good Guys (despite West Wing alumnus Bradley Whitford’s starring role) since I watched its cliché-ridden debut. The other show that gives me hope is The Glades, which will premiere on A&E on July 11 and stars Matt Passmore.

• Meanwhile, Vince Keenan reviews The Killer Inside Me, the controversial new motion picture starring Casey Affleck and Jessica Alba. “The film is uncompromised, uncompromising and ultimately unsuccessful,” Kennan writes. “Yet despite its flaws, I’m finding it awfully hard to shake.”

• News that more and more young Americans are delaying marriage in favor of long-term relationships strikes me as a positive development. It’s good to know what you’re getting into before you leap. Equally important, in my opinion, is for young adults to explore relationships with more than one person, before saying “I do.”

• And here are a couple of interviews worth reading: Jedidiah Ayres talks with Dennis Tafoya, author of the new crime novel, The Wolves of Fairmount Park; and Spinetingler Magazine’s Keith Rawson chats up Victor Gischler (The Deputy).

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