Monday, February 25, 2013

Bullet Points: Post-Oscars Edition

• If you watched the Oscars presentations Sunday night, you already know this, but it’s news worth repeating: British singer Adele won in the Best Original Song category for her work on last year’s 23rd James Bond film, Skyfall. “It’s the second time the [title] song has won an award in 2013,” notes Moviefone, “taking home the Best Original Song prize at this year’s Golden Globes.” Skyfall also tied with the movie Zero Dark Thirty in the Oscar category for Best Sound Editing. The HMSS Weblog notes that Skyfall is “the first 007 film to win more than one [Academy Award]. Goldfinger and Thunderball won one apiece. It broke a 47-year Oscar drought for the Bond series.”

• Meanwhile, Patrick Ohl continues adding to his “007 Reloaded” series in At the Scene of the Crime, most recently revisiting Ian Fleming’s 1960 short-story collection, For Your Eyes Only. Catch up with his previous series posts here.

• What gives with Holmes scholar Leslie S. Klinger’s campaign to have the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois “determine that the characters of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John H. Watson are no longer protected by federal copyright laws ...”? Boing Boing provides the wording of Klinger’s civil action, while novelist Gary Phillips submits analysis of the situation. Updates on the campaign should become available here.

• Three milestones worth mentioning: First, congratulations to “TracyK” at the blog Bitter Tea and Mystery, which observed its first anniversary today. Second, let us offer a thumbs up to Sergio Angelini, whose crime-fiction-oriented blog, Tipping My Fedora, has now surpassed its 200,000th reader visit. And finally, outside the realm of crime fiction, kudos to Steve Benen of the must-read Maddow Blog, who this weekend celebrated 10 years of blogging about politics.

• Several years ago, I penned a post about the 1975-1976 western-detective series Barbary Coast, which starred William Shatner and Doug McClure. Over the last week, Michael Shonk of Mystery*File has revisited that ABC-TV program again, writing here about the Barbary Coast pilot film (which co-starred Dennis Cole instead of McClure) and here about four of the show’s 13 weekly episodes. I agree with Shonk, that Barbary Coast offered “moments when it is entertaining and fun, but overall the series [was] disappointing, one of failed potential.”

• Another show worth remembering: Kolchak: The Night Stalker (1974-1975), which Amber Keller applauds in Criminal Element. “I can’t think of actor Darren McGavin without picturing his portrayal of Kolchak and the various monsters of the week he was pitted against,” remarks Keller. I totally agree. If you’d like to read still more about Kolchak, check out the tribute blog It Couldn’t Happen Here ...

• Sarah Ward of Crimepieces offers a splendid write-up about Frances Crane (1890-1981), the sadly forgotten American creator of Pat Abbott and Jean Holly. Those soon-to-be-married sleuths debuted in The Turquoise Shop (1941) and wound up traveling across the United States during their 28 book-length adventures (all with a color in the title), solving crimes of a usually cozy sort.

• I consider this pretty exciting news: Irish author Kevin McCarthy, whose 2010 historical thriller, Peeler, made it onto my rundown of favorite new crime novels that year, has a sequel due out from Dublin-based publisher New Island. Titled Irregulars, it was supposed to be released in February; but McCarthy now pegs its debut at “around the end of March, early April.” Whenever, I’ll waste no time digging into it. (Hat tip to Declan Burke’s Crime Always Pays.)

• “10 Celebs You Didn’t Know Were Athiests.”

• This is for all the Trekkies out there: “An online vote to name Pluto’s two newest, itty-bitty moons is over,” reports TPM’s Marcia Dunn. “And No. 1 is Vulcan, a name suggested by actor William Shatner, who played Capt. Kirk in the original Star Trek TV series. Vulcan snared nearly 200,000 votes among the more than 450,000 cast during the two-week contest, which ended Monday. In second place with nearly 100,000 votes was Cerberus, the [name of the] three-headed dog that guarded the gates of the underworld.”

• As I’ve mentioned on this page before, British-owned Titan Books has chosen to reissue all 27 Matt Helm novels by the late Donald Hamilton. The first two Helm titles--Death of a Citizen and The Wrecking Crew (both originally released in 1960)--are already available in uniform mass-market paperback editions, with The Removers due in stores come April. But now there’s word of a prequel to that series, an e-book titled Matt Helm: The War Years. Author Keith Wease says Hamilton’s family gave him permission to compose the work.

• A fascinating article about taphophobia, or the fear of being buried alive, can be found in the online mag Obit. The same article contains information about “escape coffins,” in case you (like George Washington) suffer from this dread.

Here’s a bit of bizarre news: “A brain scan study recently revealed that Democrats and Republican process and understand risk in different ways, with Democrats more attuned to their emotions and those of others, while Republicans are more driven by fear and potential reward.” GOPers who endorse their party’s irrational hostility toward science will no doubt dismiss these findings.

From In Reference to Murder: U.S. TV network TNT “has given the go-ahead for a 10-episode order of an untitled private-eye drama based on author David Baldacci’s series characters Sean King and Michelle Maxwell. The project will star Jon Tenney (The Closer) and Rebecca Romijn (X-Men), with Michael O’Keefe (Michael Clayton), Chris Butler (The Good Wife) and Ryan Hurst (Sons of Anarchy, Wanted) rounding out the cast. Baldacci is a consultant on the series, scheduled to debut in the summer of 2014.”

• Author Robert Ferrigno once told me that he preferred to set his thrillers (including Heartbreaker and Prayers for the Assassin) in other places that his hometown, Seattle, because that way he could maintain some psychological distance between the violence he creates in his fiction and the reality of his family life. Yet Seattle is exactly where at least part of the action in his new e-book original, The Girl Who Cried Wolf, takes place. In an interview with Omnimystery News, Ferrigno says that this novel was “loosely inspired by an O’Henry short story, ‘The Ransom of Red Chief,’ about three kidnappers who snatch a little boy from a wealthy family and hold him for ransom, but find out that he’s such a brat that they pay the parents to take him off their hands.”

• The Web site Masters in English has posted a tally of what it says are “100 Essential Sites for Voracious Readers.” Neither The Rap Sheet nor any other crime-fiction-oriented blogs appear to have made the cut, but the list does include The Millions, The Writer’s Almanac, PrairieSchooner, Ploughshares, Caustic Cover Critic, Longreads, and a number of other Web sites I check with regularly.

This book looks like it belongs on my shelves.

• After introducing a lesbian Batwoman back in 2006, DC Comics now intends to marry off the character in--what else?--a same-sex wedding.

• Organizers of this year’s Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival--to be held in Harrogate, England, from July 18 to 21--recently announced the names of their convention’s special guest authors. Among them: Kate Atkinson, Ruth Rendell, and William McIlvanney.

• And this is just plain wrong: “Good-bye, International Herald Tribune: The New York Times Co. is rebranding its European newspaper. The company believes ‘there is significant potential to grow the number of New York Times subscribers outside of the United States,’ Times Co. CEO Mark Thompson said in a statement.” (You can read a bit more about this change here.) The Paris Herald was founded in 1887 by James Gordon Bennett Jr., the eccentric owner of the New York Herald. It became the Paris Herald Tribune when its parent company was sold to the rival New York Tribune in 1924, and morphed into the International Herald Tribune (IHT) after The New York Times became a joint owner, together with The Washington Post, in 1967. The Post pulled out in 2002, leaving the Times in sole control of the Paris-based broadsheet. With the IHT’s imminent renaming as The International New York Times, the final vestige of a once-great newspaper--the New York Herald Tribune--will disappear.


Sergio (Tipping My Fedora) said...

Thanks for the kind words and the support Jeff - much appreciated.

TracyK said...

Thanks for noting my first anniversary of blogging. It has been even more rewarding than I could have imagined.