• Even as I finish work on the crime-fiction section of January Magazine’s “Best Books of 2012” feature package, other publications are posting their own favorite reads from the last twelvemonth. The Miami Herald touts its preferences here, while you can look for Book Chase’s choices here, blogger Nick Jones’ here, author Heath Lowrance’s here, and CrimeFictionLover’s here. Oh, and a variety of well-known UK wordsmiths list their favorites in Pulp Pusher.
• Meanwhile, British critic Robin Jarossi has posted his rundown of “2012’s ten best crime shows” right here.
• Wow, publisher Thomas & Mercer has certainly done well by Max Allan Collins, releasing many of his older novels in handsome
new paperback editions. It’s especially nice to see Collins’ six “disaster mysteries” back in print.
• It seems that the largest government-sanctioned execution in U.S. history took place 150 years ago today, on December 26, 1862. Thirty-eight Dakota Indians were hanged in the small town of Mankato, Minnesota, for “killing 490 white settlers, including women and children, in the Santee Sioux uprising the previous August.” Those executions marked the end of the so-called Dakota War of 1862. The story of that largely forgotten conflict is told in Scott W. Berg’s new book, 38 Nooses: Lincoln, Little Crow, and the Beginning of the Frontier’s End, which I just received for Christmas from my friend Byron, and look forward to reading.
• I’ve never really given much thought to Christmas-and-crime crossovers, but following on the heels of my recent recommendation that you watch a holiday-themed episode of Man Against Crime and The Avengers’ “Too Many Christmas Trees” ep, let me point you as well to these seasonal treats: the December 21, 1957, installment of Have Gun, Will Travel, titled “The Hanging Cross”; a clip from the December 23, 1966, episode of The Man from U.N.C.L.E., “The Jingle Bells Affair”; and “The Case of the Christmas Pudding,” the April 4, 1955, episode of Sherlock Holmes, a short-lived American series, based of course on Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous Victorian sleuth.
• Here’s another museum worth visiting in Washington, D.C.
• British producer and writer Gerry Anderson--who gave
TV watchers such science-fiction classics as Stingray, Thunderbirds, Space: 1999, and (my personal favorite) UFO--has passed away at age 83.
• Although it’s been wildly uneven in the quality of its coverage over the last several years, I am still sorry to see Newsweek release its final print edition this week. Launched under the banner News-Week on February 17, 1933, the magazine was owned for most of its 79 years by The Washington Post Company, which finally sold it in 2010 after significant monetary losses. Reports are that Newsweek will be reborn in 2013 as the all-digital Newsweek
Global, but for all intents and purposes, the mag as we have known and loved it is dead.
“chilling graph in Ezra Klein’s Washington Post blog makes abundantly
clear that “in the United States, when people decide to kill people, or kill themselves, they typically reach for a gun.”
• Perfect for today: a Boxing Day mystery.
• Drat, another fine Shell Scott story I haven’t read.
• Slattery’s People is one of those TV dramas I’ve heard
quite a bit about over the years, but have never seen. Broadcast on CBS from
1964 to 1965, and starring Richard Crenna, it was, as Wikipedia notes, “one
of the few American television series spotlighting the travails of local politicians, a topic that other programs of the period mainly avoided.” If you’re curious to know more, check out this new article about Slattery’s People in
• Gawk with me now at the New York City that once was.
• And here’s bad news for Downton Abbey fans, like me: Dan Stevens, who plays reluctant heir Matthew Crawley on that extraordinarily
popular British period series, won’t be returning for Season Four. Meanwhile, American viewers should ready themselves for the start of Season Three on PBS-TV on Sunday, January 6.