Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Evening Briefing

• Leave it to Andrew Nette, author of the spirited blog Pulp Curry, to bring to market this project: Lee, a new e-book anthology of stories--some fictional, others more biographical--about tough-guy American film and TV actor Lee Marvin. According to Crime Fiction Lover, Nette and his fellow editors have “assembled 17 stories from the cream of the crop of recent pulp writers. The stories trace Lee Marvin’s career from his time in the marines during WWII through all of his best loved movies: The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, Point Blank, Paint Your Wagon--and the movie Marvin didn’t join, Jaws. ... This anthology aims to take the larger-than-life mythos surrounding Lee Marvin and make it even bigger.” It all sounds like fun. Nette offers some of his own thoughts on the work here.

• Last October I wrote on this page about the syndicated small-screen private-investigator series The Brothers Brannagan (1960-1961), of which I had not then previously heard. Now, Mystery*File’s hard-working television historian, Michael Shonk, has posted more background on that program, plus comments on three of its 39 half-hour episodes (including one written by Columbo creators Richard Levinson and William Link).

Want a job with Portsmouth’s Conan Doyle Collection?

• Congratulations to Patrick Ohl, whose blog, At the Scene of the Crime, celebrates its second anniversary today.

In an interview with Examiner.com, much-acclaimed short-story author Art Taylor admits, “My first real love was Nancy Drew.”

• Wouldn’t you know it? I finally find on YouTube a full video of Las Vegas Roundabout, the rarely seen pilot for Switch (1975-1978), CBS-TV’s con man/detective series starring Eddie Albert and Robert Wagner, and it turns out to have been dubbed in French!

• And author Max Allan Collins laments the desire of so many crime-fiction fans for “a murder in the first chapter. Better still, the first page.” He continues: “Didn’t any of these readers and reviewers ever read a Perry Mason novel or see the classic TV series? Maybe not. But Erle Stanley Gardner took his sweet time killing the murder victim, whose identity was almost always obvious to the reader. Murders frequently don’t occur till a third of the way--sometimes half of the way--through many great mysteries by the likes of Agatha Christie and Rex Stout.” I agree with Collins: It isn’t at all necessary to exercise an act of homicide early in a story. Heck, one of my favorite gumshoe yarns of all time, Stanley Ellin’s The Eighth Circle (1958), doesn’t have a killing in it at all, and only one instance of a gun being pulled--a weapon that contains no bullets.

1 comment:

michael said...

As for when to kill your victim, when it comes to TV I believe the earlier the better. The reason I watched Perry Mason was to see Perry solve the case. I had no interest in the characters of the week so I found their story boring while I waited for Perry and the courtroom scenes.

Of course, it is not when the victim appears in TV, it is when the series characters appear. I'd skip the first half hour of Columbo when it dealt with the killer and victim, just let me watch Columbo vs the killer.

Are you surprised I prefer Hammett over Holmes?