Monday, March 04, 2013

Taking in the Sites

• Blogger-author Evan Lewis today reports that Doug Allyn (who’s already carried home more of these coveted commendations over the years than anybody else) has won Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine’s 2012 Readers Award. Here’s how the voting broke down:

1. “Wood-Smoke Boys,” by Doug Allyn (March/April 2012)
2. “Mariel,” by David Dean (December)
3. “Champawat,” by Lia Matera (September/October)
4. “Skyler Hobbs and the Garden Gnome Bandit,” by Evan Lewis (September/October)
5. “Dial Country Code 91 + M for Murder,” by Stewart Brown (December)
6. “Death of a Drama Queen,” by Doug Allyn (September/October)
7. “So Near Any Time Always,” by Joyce Carol Oates (March/April)
8. “Black Pearls,” by Clark Howard (May)
9. “One Angry Julius Katz and Eleven Befuddled Jurors,” by Dave Zeltserman (June)
10. “Golden Chance,” by S.J. Rozan (December)

• It was about a year ago, I think, that my cable-TV provider dropped BBC America from its one-step-up-from-basic package. As a consequence, I lost Law & Order: UK and other programs I’d enjoyed watching regularly. Just this last weekend, though, I discovered that I once more have access to the channel ... which meant that I could finally see Ripper Street, the new crime series set in London’s notorious East End in
1889, shortly after Jack the Ripper’s murderous rampage there. Well, as you might expect, I spent a good few chunk of Saturday and Sunday catching up with Ripper Street via On Demand--and enjoyed every minute of that experience. What a splendidly atmospheric, character-rich, and smartly written show this is, with special credits due Adam Rothenberg, playing Homer Jackson, an American police surgeon with an elusive past, and Jerome Flynn, who appears as laconic but hammer-fisted Detective Sergeant Bennet Drake. If you haven’t partaken of this series, you owe it to yourself to watch. The eighth and final episode of the season is scheduled for broadcast in the States this coming Saturday at 9 p.m. (see the preview on the left), but Ripper Street has already been renewed for 2014. Once I’ve made it through the episodes from this series, I’ll be on to another BBC America crime drama, Copper, set in New York’s notorious Five Points neighborhood in the mid-1860s, which I’ve heard is also a must-see. Thank goodness, BBC America is back!

• Lend an ear, folks! At least for the time being, you can listen to Mark Billingham’s Rule Book of Crime, a three-hour production of BBC Radio’s 4 Extra. During the show, this author best known for his Tom Thorne crime novels (The Demands) “detects his favourite radio sleuthing stars--Sherlock Holmes, Miss Marple, Raymond Chandler, Henning Mankell, and P.D. James.” Billingham has long experience as a stand-up comedian, so you can expect this program to be very entertaining. (Hat tip to Ali Karim.)

• The March edition of Mike Ripley’s “Getting Away with Murder” column was posted in Shots today. It features notes about upcoming crime-fiction commendations, London’s “Murder in the Library” exhibition, new novels by Andrew Taylor, Tom Harper, and Paul Thomas, and the only rude photo I’ve ever seen of Louise Penny.

• The HMSS Weblog looks back a full half-century to the time when author Ian Fleming had to choose between committing himself to making movies from his James Bond novels, or participating in the TV spy drama The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

You can’t revisit The Maltese Falcon too often.

• Thank you to Steve Powell of The Venetian Vase for choosing The Rap Sheet as one of 2012’s best blogs.

• Well, it’s about damn time! China Beach, the habitually exceptional, 1988-1991 Vietnam War-era drama starring Dana Delaney, is finally due out in a 25-anniversary collector’s edition next month. It won’t be cheap; all 61 episode are being retailed for $199.95. But China Beach was an amazing show. If you have somehow forgotten it, refresh your memory by watching the Season 1 opening here.

• Do you have fond memories of Dean Martin’s Matt Helm spy films (based loosely on Donald Hamilton’s Helm novels)? If so, then a new e-book called Booze, Bullets & Broads: The Story of Matt Helm, Superspy of the Mad Men Era might be well worth your investigating.

• The fourth Kindle edition of ThugLit is now available.

• Organizers of PulpFest 2013 are soliciting nominations for their annual Munsey Award, which recognizes “the efforts of those who work to keep the pulps alive for this and future generations.” The PulpFest Web site adds that “All members of the pulp community, whether they plan to attend PulpFest 2013 or not, are welcome to nominate a deserving person for this year’s award.” Any ideas? The deadline for nominations is April 30.

• Can this really be? Today marks the 60th birthday of Los Angeles-born actress Kay Lenz, whose face was once very familiar on screens large and small. One of her childhood roles was on The Andy Griffith Show, but Lenz went on to appear in Ironside, Owen Marshall: Counselor at Law, McCloud, Nakia, Petrocelli, Hill Street Blues, Moonlighting, and numerous other TV series. She played a disturbed woman in the 1974 Peter Graves TV pilot, The Underground Man, and was cast as a mystified witness to a shooting in the 1979 Father Brown series pilot, Sanctuary of Fear. She also portrayed a withdrawn college student in the 1978 TV creepshow, The Initiation of Sarah. Lenz won an Emmy Award for her guest spot in “After It Happened,” an installment of the 1988-1991 NBC drama Midnight Caller. I probably remember her best, though, as a captivating, “free-spirited teenage runaway” in Clint Eastwood’s 1973 romantic film, Breezy, which also starred William Holden. (Watch the trailer here.) Happy birthday, Ms. Lenz!

1 comment:

Gram said...

I heard that Kay Lenz will be joining the cast of CSI in 2013 as Laura Sidle. Dee