Sunday, February 19, 2012

Bullet Points: Pre-Presidents’ Day Edition

• There’s just over a week left now before the closing of “Bullets Across the Bay: The San Francisco Bay Area in Crime Fiction,” an exhibit that opened in September 2011 at the University of California, Berkeley’s Doe Memorial Library. So if you haven’t yet visited that popular display, be sure to get in there by Wednesday, February 29. Meanwhile, this coming Friday, February 24, will offer a concluding reception in the Morrison Library (inside Doe Library) from 6 to 8 p.m. A news release explains that the evening’s program will feature five local mystery writers--Mark Coggins, Janet Dawson, Diana Orgain, Sheldon Siegel, and Simon Wood--“reading selections from their favorite Bay Area crime and detective novels, followed by an opportunity for audience members to engage the readers and exhibit curators in Questions and Answers.” The reception flyer is here (PDF). All guests are welcome.

• Tomorrow is Presidents’ Day in America. Janet Rudolph marks the occasion with a long list of presidential mystery novels.

• Anybody want to buy a bookstore? Mystery Lovers Bookshop in Oakmont, Pennsylvania, is for sale after 21 years in business.

• As part of my continuing series on The NBC Mystery Movie, I wrote at length about Dennis Weaver’s fish-out-of-water 1970s crime drama, McCloud, back in October. But just last week, Stephen Bowie of The Classic TV History Blog offered his own take on that series.

• Critic and former crime-fiction blogger Sarah Weinman brings the news that she “will be editing an anthology of domestic suspense stories, all reprints, for Penguin. The working title is The Dark Side of Dinner Dishes, Laundry, and Child Care, and if all goes according to plan it should be on bookshelves and available at your local and national e-tailer in fall 2013.” Good for you, Sarah!

• Tonight at 10 p.m. ET/PT will be broadcast the season (let’s hope it’s not also the series) finale of ABC-TV’s period drama, Pan Am. Showrunner Steven Maeda talks about that program’s past and future in the Los Angeles Times’ Show Tracker blog.

• Sadly in competition with that show is the 90-minute final installment of Downton Abbey, season two, which begins at 9 p.m. ET/PT. Take it from somebody who’s had the privilege of watching this episode already: It’s filled with wonderful, dramatic turns.

• Linda L. Richards, who edits January Magazine and contributes to The Rap Sheet, in addition to writing novels, tells me that she’ll be talking about electronic books in a special workshop scheduled during the third annual Galiano Literary Festival. That event is to be held on Galiano Island, one of British Columbia’s Southern Gulf Islands, from Friday, February 24, through Sunday the 26th. Although she concedes that electronic books have created new opportunities for writers, Richards explains, “I’m still very much a dead tree kind of girl. I love books and everything about them: the way they feel, the heft in the hand. Even the way they smell.” Her presentation at the Galiano fest will take place early this coming Saturday afternoon.

• In case you’ve wondered what distinguishes a “courtroom drama” from a “legal thriller,” blogger José Ignacio offers some ideas.

• Finding spots in ShortList’s rundown of “The 50 Coolest TV Shows Ever” are Dragnet, The Avengers, Starsky & Hutch, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Life on Mars (the British version), Miami Vice, and several other familiar crime dramas.

Lawrence Block talked recently with Pornokitsch about last year’s release of Getting Off, a “sexy-sinister” novel that marked the “triumphant return of Jill Emerson, one of your earliest pen names.”

• Oh, and congratulations to Pornokitsch on its nomination for a British Science Fiction Association Award in the non-fiction category. The BSFA prizes are scheduled for presentation in mid-April.

• Omnimystery News lets us know that “Production has begun in Toronto on the upcoming BBC America crime drama Copper. Ten one-hour episodes are being filmed. Set in 1860s New York City, Copper stars Tom Weston-Jones as Kevin Corcoran, an intense, rugged Irish-American cop working the city’s notorious Five Points neighborhood. Corcoran is struggling to maintain his moral compass in a turbulent world, while on an emotional and relentless quest to learn the truth about the disappearance of his wife and the death of his daughter.” The show should premiere in the States this coming summer.

• Writer and graphic designer Christopher Mills previews a handsome series of covers he has created for half a dozen of Robert J. Randisi’s Miles Jacoby private-eye novels, which will be released in trade paperback in June by Perfect Crime.

• Seamus Scanlon, an award-winning Irish writer, in addition to being a librarian and professor at The City College of New York, and an occasional contributor to The Rap Sheet, will see a one-act play of his creation performed at Manhattan’s Cell Theater (338 West 23rd Street) on Saturday, March 3. More information is available here.

R.I.P., Writers’ Journal.

• Was Mission: Impossible’s sixth-season, 1971 episodeEncore,” which guest-starred William Shatner, really the most incredible installment of that series? Marty McKee certainly thinks so. “‘Encore,” he writes, “asks you to not only check your suspension of disbelief at the door, but to give it cab fare and send it home for the evening.” Hmm. I’ll have to go back and rewatch that episode now.

• And I’ve written several times in The Rap Sheet about the 1973-1974 NBC-TV series, The Magician, which starred Bill Bixby as a wealthy, trouble-shooting master of illusion. But whenever I do so, I am reminded that many of this blog’s readers have never seen that under-appreciated show. Therefore, I’m pleased to note that several full episodes of The Magician recently popped up on YouTube. Since the program isn’t yet available in DVD format, this might be your only chance to sample it in the near future. But do so quickly, because YouTube is notorious for taking down such TV segments. You might start your Magician watching with “Illusion in Terror,” an October 1973 episode that guest-starred Bixby’s wife, Brenda Benet. Part I of “Illusion” can be found here, along with links to other episodes such as “Ovation to Murder,” “Lady in a Trap,” and “Lightning on a Dry Day.”

1 comment:

Jared said...

Thanks! Have to admit, interviewing THE LAWRENCE BLOCK was incredibly intimidating. There are authors and there are legends, and he's firmly in the latter camp.