Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Bullet Points: Post-“Ho Ho Ho” Edition

Another Christmas come, another Christmas gone. Left behind are myriad wonderful gifts from family members and friends, including a package of delicious nonpareils, the DVD Mission: Impossible--The ’88 TV Season, Stephen King’s 11/22/63, and an out-of-print collection of New Yorker writer Joseph Mitchell’s stories. I cut back on blogging in observance of the holiday, but am once more ensconced behind the mighty Rap Sheet desk, awaiting the new year. In the interim, let me highlight some crime-fiction bits of recent date.

• These last couple of days brought to the Web a Humphrey Bogart Blogathon hosted by the film fans at Forever Classics. Click here for a full list of the contributions, which include True Classics’ look back at John Huston’s adaption of The Maltese Falcon, Tales of the Easily Distracted’s write-up about The Big Sleep, In the Mood’s recollection of Bogie’s relationship with Lauren Bacall, and Friend of The Rap Sheet Ivan G. Shreve Jr.’s tribute to the 60th anniversary of The African Queen. There’s a good deal of excellent material here.

• Prolific novelist Stuart M. Kaminsky died in October 2009. However, the newly re-launched Mysterious Press has only now gotten around to releasing the majority of his Toby Peters gumshoe novels in inexpensive but handsome e-book form.

• Author Greg Rucka’s fine tribute to Kaminsky is here.

• Another welcome bit of news: Amazon Publishing’s Thomas & Mercer imprint will release 35 of Ed McBain’s famous 87th Precinct police procedurals in both trade paperback and e-book formats. The e-book versions are already available here, but the paperbacks won’t start showing up in bookstores till February 2012. In addition, Thomas & Mercer plans to publish a dozen titles in McBain’s series starring Florida attorney-detective Matthew Hope, beginning in the spring of next year. Lawrence Block, Nelson DeMille, Max Allan Collins, Aaron Elkins, and other crime novelists share their thoughts on McBain’s work and legacy here.

• Following up on its Thanksgiving crime stories, the housing-advocacy Web site FourStory has posted a couple of Christmas-themed tales for your enjoyment: “Third Santa on the Left,” by Gar Anthony Haywood,” and “Home for the Holidays,” by Mike Bullock.

Happy birthday to Steve Lewis’ Mystery*File blog!

• Another old crime fictionist who’s new to me: Lord Ernest William Hamilton, who penned “at least two books that clearly fall with[in] the mystery genre: a thriller, The Perils of Josephine (1899), and a much later detective novel, published when Lord Ernest was seventy years old, The Four Tragedies of Memworth (1928).”

• It looks as if the year-end assessments have not yet petered out. In addition to the many blog posts I already compiled on this page, here are two new ones: Jen Forbes’ collection of revealing reads and rejects from 2011, and Netherlands blogger TomCat’s look back at his 35 favorite detective novels (not all of them published in 2011) that he most enjoyed reading during the last 12 months.

• Omnimystery News carries the trailer and poster promoting 21 Jump Street, a new film--premiering on March 16, 2012--based (kinda, sorta, lamely) on the 1987-1981 Stephen J. Cannell TV series that starred Johnny Depp, Holly Robinson, and others as “youthful-looking undercover police officers investigating crimes in high schools, colleges, and other teenage venues.”

• Meanwhile, The Huffington Post hosts the trailer for The Dark Knight Rises, the third (and apparently last) Batman film to star Christopher Nolan, and this time co-starring the purr-fectly proportioned Anne Hathaway as Catwoman.

• An article I composed for Mystery Scene about handsome contemporary crime-novel fronts, published in the magazine earlier this year, has now been posted on MS’ Web site.

• Flick Attack’s Ron Lott is surprisingly impressed with the 1938 film Nancy Drew--Detective. He writes: “The squeaky-clean, super-efficient mystery involves chasing a pigeon carrying a secret message; slapstick with a wrench; dressing Ned in drag, disguised as a nurse; and communicating via the cutting-edge technology of Morse code. Speaking of dated, the flick is filled with now-odd slang, like ‘Aw, stop disturbin’ the molecules!’ Even when presented in context, that made so sense to me, but like the rest of the hour-long adventure, I sure did enjoy it.” Hmm. Maybe I should give this a watch too.

Los Angeles Times reviewer Kenneth Turan is much less captivated by film director David Fincher’s interpretation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, the first of three best-selling thrillers by Stieg Larsson. (For a more favorable critique of that same movie, click over to Ali Karim’s recent posting in The Rap Sheet.)

• University of California, Berkeley librarian Randal S. Brandt writes in Mystery Fanfare about The Long Escape, David Dodge’s fifth mystery, which was recently reissued by Bruin Books. “This book holds a very special place for me,” explains Brandt. “Not only was it the first Dodge novel I ever read, but the story of the circumstances surrounding my discovery of it is one that I’m sure Dodge would have appreciated.” Find out more here.

• R.I.P., George Whitman and Russell Hoban.

• Here’s an unusual case of crime novelists working together: Rap Sheet contributor Mark Coggins provided the photograph for the end papers of Red Mist, Patricia Cornwell’s latest Kay Scarpetta thriller.

• And author James Gracie passes along news that “Bloomsbury Publishing are reissuing novels by forgotten Scottish writers in e-book form.” Among those novelists are Eric Linklater, Chaim Bermant, and Fitzroy Maclean.” Another Bloomsbury find, notes Gracie, “is crime writer Leo Horace Ognall (born in Canada, raised in Scotland). I’ve never heard of him, never mind read any of his works. He wrote under the pseudonyms Harry Carmichael and Hartley Howard.” It should be fun, rediscovering some of these dusty old works.

1 comment:

Barbara said...

A film of "21 Jump Street?" Say it ain't so, Jeff! I loved that TV series; it's when we discovered Johnny Depp and my husband and I have followed him in every incarnation since. A movie will ruin my memories and therefore I won't see it.