Saturday, May 14, 2011

Bullet Points: Sunny Seattle Saturday Edition

• Adam Graham at the Great Detectives of Old Time Radio site seems to be in a mood lately to choose groups of five significant sleuths. First, he posted his list of “The Five Greatest Detectives No Radio Network Could Hold” (including The Man Called X and Howard Duff’s The Adventures of Sam Spade). Then he put together his selection of “The Five Best ABC Old Time Radio Detectives” (among them Defense Attorney, starring Mercedes McCambridge, and The Fat Man with J. Scott Smart). And yesterday he posted his picks for “The Five Best Mutual Old Time Radio Detectives(including The Adventures of Michael Shayne, starring Wally Maher, and Nick Carter, starring Lon Clark). These are all part of Graham’s series “ranking the top five radio detectives by network (i.e. ABC, NBC, CBS, Mutual, and the syndicated shows).” Stay tuned for more.

Cullen Gallagher has an excellent interview in Pulp Serenade with author-screenwriter Lee Goldberg. It pretty much covers the latter’s entire professional career, from his early writing years in college (in college? Wow, I really feel like a slacker now) to his launch, with William Rabkin, of the action-supernatural series, The Dead Man. You’ll find their exchange here.

• UK novelist Jeremy Duns (Free Country) recounts his successful search for American playwright Ben Hecht’s early film adaptations of Ian Fleming’s initial James Bond novel, Casino Royale. You’ll find Duns’ article here. (My thanks to Brian Lindenmuth for the link.)

• Act fast, if you’re interested: You have less than 24 hours remaining in which to enter The Drowning Machine’s third annual Watery Grave Invitational Short Story Contest. Submissions for phase one of this competition must be made “no later than noon” tomorrow, May 15. The full details can be found here.

• Matt Beynon Rees’ series character, Omar Yussef (The Fourth Assassin) makes an unscheduled appearance in “Damascus Trance,” a new short story made available at no cost in Rees’ blog. The author characterizes this yarn as a “fictional response to bloody, dramatic events in Syria.” He explained more in an e-note:
“Damascus Trance” takes place in the Syrian capital during the present anti-government demonstrations. Rees’s acclaimed Palestinian detective Omar Yussef is there to attend a university reunion, but finds himself caught up in old hatreds and new political currents.

“I usually write novels about Omar Yussef, but a novel takes a year to complete and another year to publish,” says Rees, who lives in Jerusalem. “I wanted my readers to have a more immediate way to connect with these shocking events. I also wanted them to have the opportunity to see events in the form of fiction, which I believe can have a deep emotional impact.”
You can read all of “Damascus Trance” here.

• In recognition of the 50th anniversary of The Avengers, the town of Chichester, England, has a two-day celebration planned. Details here.

• Blogger’s software’s difficulties over the last couple of days caused some confusion around the weekly “forgotten books” postings. A few contributors apparently lost their scheduled pieces, and the appearance of others was delayed due to the shutdown. However, a number of crime-related works did wind up being recommended as part of this series, including The Honest Dealer, by Frank Gruber; I’ll Sing You Two-O, by Anthea Fraser; Play to the End, by Robert Goddard; The Kill, by Douglas Heyes; Little Caesar, by W.R. Burnett; The Man Who Was There, by N.A. Temple-Ellis; Three Entertainments, by Graham Greene; Dead Man’s Bones: The Air Adventure Stories of Lester Dent; Patterson’s Volunteer, by John Smith; B Is for Burglar, by Sue Grafton; and the non-fiction work, The Bedside, Bathtub, and Armchair Companion to Agatha Christie, edited by Dick Riley and Pam McAllister.

• Jeff Rutherford’s latest Reading and Writing podcast interview is with James R. Benn, author of the Billy Boyle World War II mystery series.

• For Crime Time, Bob Cornwell talks with Turkish crime writer Esmahan Aykol about her first Kati Herschel novel, Hotel Bosphorus, which is due out in the States in July from Bitter Lemon Press.

• American TV network execs are starting to announce their fall 2011 programming choices. Tara Gelsomino has a rundown in the Criminal Element blog of the many crime and spy dramas under consideration, including a Charlie’s Angels reboot, a Prime Suspect remake starring Maria Bello, a Minnie Driver series called Hail Mary, Grimm (“about a cop who figures out that fairy tale monsters are real”), and Ashley Judd’s CIA thriller, Missing. With the exception of Judd’s show, I can’t say that any of these interests me much. But maybe I’m no longer within the right demographic range for U.S. television. Frankly, what I would like to see is a good, old-fashioned private-eye series. Preferably one that doesn’t try to retread a classic such as The Rockford Files, but has something new to offer. Is that too much to ask?

• Good news for fans of NBC-TV’s Harry’s Law and USA’s Fairly Legal: both shows have been renewed for a second season.

• Bad news for fans of Detroit 1-8-7: Along with most of its marginally successful dramas, ABC-TV has cancelled the Motor City-set series, which I thought was one of the finest police procedurals that network has offered in a very long while, and a worthy successor to NYPD Blue.

• Meanwhile, TV Squad’s Stephanie Earp thinks procedural crime dramas are overly formulaic. She proves it by offering a handy guide to building your own show in that category.

• A new addition to our blogroll: Crimeways Magazine.

• This week’s new short story in Beat to a Pulp is titled “Nobody’s Listening.” It’s the work of native New Orleanian Linda Schenck.

• The latest edition of Mystery Readers Journal focuses on London detectives. Contributors include Liza Cody, Martin Edwards, Christopher Fowler, Dan Waddell, and Jacqueline Winspear.

• The Mulholland Books blog this week posted not only Part XVI of “Black Lens,” the serialized Ken Bruen and Russell Ackerman tale, but parts one and two of a new Matthew Scudder story by Lawrence Block titled “Let’s Get Lost.” Good for weekend reading.

• Oh, and for anyone who doesn’t know, Block’s newest Scudder novel, A Drop of the Hard Stuff, was officially released this week.

• I have already read Raymond Chandler’s last novel, Playback (1958), a couple of times. But I might be coaxed back into the story again after reading Tipping My Fedora’s review of the audio version, which stars Toby Stephens.

• I was rather fond of the 1982-1988 cop series Cagney & Lacey, featuring Sharon Gless and Tyne Daly, but I can’t say I remember their 1995 reunion flick, Cagney & Lacey: Together Again. Those who do, though, and would like to see it at least once more will want to know about eOne Entertainment’s DVD release of that telefilm, scheduled for August 30.

• Republicans are whining about how Democrats should stop clobbering them over the heads for their radical, unpopular plans to do away with Medicare and give still more tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans. Hah! Such justified bashing has only begun.

• Nathanael Booth continues his excellent series recapping episodes of the 1975-1976 NBC-TV series Ellery Queen. Booth’s latest write-up focuses on “The Adventure of the Sinister Scenario.” You’ll find his whole series of Queen posts here.

• Los Angeles crime novelist Gary Phillips is among the folks contributing to the forthcoming anthology, The Green Hornet Casefiles, edited by Joe Gentile and Win Scott Eckert. The book should be out in June from Moonstone.

• I’m sorry to see Jim Lehrer leave the anchor desk at PBS NewsHour after 36 years. His former co-anchor, Robert MacNeil, retired in 1995.

• Heath Lowrance lists his all-time favorite book titles.

• Robert B. Parker’s widow, Joan (who I don’t think I have ever seen interviewed), talks with WGBH-TV in Boston about her late husband’s final posthumous Spenser novel, Sixkill, and the publishing deal that will keep Parker’s best-known protagonist on the job.

• U.S. Representative Ron Paul, Republican of Texas, launches his latest, going-nowhere presidential campaign by saying that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) should be abolished. He thinks Americans should just have to fend for themselves during and after hurricanes, floods, fires, etc. Gee, what a swell guy.

• Excellent news: Renowned documentary filmmaker Ken Burns turns his sights on America’s “Noble Experiment,” the 20th-century legislative disaster known as Prohibition. His film on the subject will air on PBS-TV on October 2. You can find more information about the film here.

• And with all of the crazy talk about how the world is going to come to an end on May 21, it’s good to know that, in the event that this “Rapture” should occur, there are arrangements you can make for the care and feeding of your pets, after you’ve drifted off to Heaven. I trust this business has a no-refunds policy. (Hat tip to Steve Benen.)


Naomi Johnson said...

Thanks for plugging the WGI!

I am so in agreement on wanting a good, new PI series. Something, please, that relies on investigation and not simply forensic evidence. And does not require an ensemble cast of eight or more investigators.

The Texans are still pissed: they feel they got shafted by the administration during the recent wildfires, while the southeast got FEMA attention after the tornadoes. Paul shd check what the churches & other non-profits are doing in Alabama. They aren't just sitting back expecting FEMA to take care of everything. 'Bamians have turned out(and still are) by the thousands to help each other. FEMA, although doing good work there, has been a drop in the bucket of goodness.

David Cranmer said...

Thanks for the BEAT to a PULP link.

EWA private network said...

Thank you :)

Barbara said...

I really hate it that Detroit 1-8-7 is gone. It was a good show with interesting characters, and it was good for Detroit.

Fred Zackel said...

The NY Times did an interview about the demise of Robert Parker ... as seen through his wife Joan's eyes earlier this year. They lived on separate floors, they led separate lives ... one of the saddest ... almost pathetic! ... stories I have ever read. I never thought I would feel pity for Parker, but after that article, whew, the poor bastard!!

Randy Johnson said...

Detroit 1-8-7 will be the one I miss the most.

A good P.I. series would be very good. I think we'll never see another Rockford, Harry O, or The Outsider again though.

I'll be looking forward to Campings excuse when this end of the world fails once more. people have been predicting it for two thousand years and haven't hit it yet. i have no doubt this one will fail again. Camping knows suckers, and their wallets, when he sees them.