Sunday, April 07, 2013

Bullet Points: In Honor of Ebert Edition

• Washington resident and author Earl Emerson, who created the private investigator Thomas Black series, will receive the annual Willo Davis Roberts Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Mystery Writers of America’s Northwest Chapter. According to a press release, this prize is to be presented during an April 20 ceremony. Emerson hasn’t published any new novels since 2009, when Cape Disappointment, his 12th Black outing, went on sale. But he is reportedly shopping around two fresh Black tales, along with a thriller.

• I don’t think I have ever been sent a press notice such as this one, e-mailed last Thursday by publisher Viking:
You should have received a finished copy of John le Carré’s A Delicate Truth this week. I’ve just been told that there was a mistake at the printer, so you did not receive the final edition. Please disregard the copy you have now and you will receive the final edition next week.
Curious. I was indeed happy to find a hardcover copy of A Delicate Truth in my mail. It’s not at all obvious what is the matter with this edition (an accidentally excised plot twist? Maybe a misplaced signature?), but I’m now curious to see if I can spot any differences between this one and the next copy to arrive on my doorstep. Also, I wonder how many of these incorrect hardcovers were run off the presses before someone caught this expensive “mistake.”

• Meanwhile, The Daily Telegraph’s Jon Stock chooses his 10 favorite le Carré novels, a list that includes The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, Smiley’s People, and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.

• Happy birthday to James Garner! The star of Maverick, The Rockford Files, and numerous big-screen pictures celebrates his 85th birthday today. I had the rare opportunity in 2011, at the time his autobiography was first published, to ask Garner some questions, and I still deem that one of my most satisfying interviews of all time. I hope that however Mr. Garner is celebrating this occasion, he’s doing so with pleasure and in great peace.

• If you’re in Portland, Oregon, this month, don’t forget to pay a last call on Murder by the Book. That Hawthorne Boulevard crime-fiction shop will close on Saturday, April 20, after three decades in business.

• The manufactured-on-demand (MOD) DVD series Warner Archive has launched a brand-new online streaming service called Warner Archive Instant. Although “hundreds of film and TV selections” are promised, the offerings so far seem paltry, with series such as 77 Sunset Strip, Hawaiian Eye, and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. being made available, together with teleflicks on the order of Probe (the pilot for the series Search) and big-screen entertainments the likes of Cleopatra Jones and Helen Hayes’ A Caribbean Mystery. You can sign up for a two-week trial of the service, but after that a subscription with set you back $9.99 per month. (Hat tip to Television Obscurities.)

• TV and film writer Ken Levine has a pretty funny story to share about Passover, his swimming pool, and actress Eliza Dushku.

• Omnimystery News reports that “Cinemax has ordered a pilot for a period crime drama based on a character created by Max Allan Collins.” The series, set in the 1970s, is inspired by Collins’ soon-to-be-10 books about a hired killer known as Quarry. The Broker (more recently republished as Quarry), was the series’ first entry back in 1976. A new installment, The Wrong Quarry, is due out in January 2014.

Also, a TV series based on the 2002 film The Gangs of New York (which was itself inspired by Herbert Asbury’s 1928 book of the same name) is being developed by Martin Scorsese and Miramax.

So, what is Martin Edwards reading?

• The Gumshoe Site brings the news that prolific English author Basil Copper has died at age 89 as a result “of complications from Alzheimer’s disease.” Copper was best-known as a writer of horror fiction, but from the 1960s through the ’80s he also concocted dozens of stories featuring Los Angeles P.I. Mike Faraday. Following the death in 1971 of August Derleth, Copper continued the former’s series of pastiches featuring Sherlockian sleuth Solar Pons. More here.

• Michael Shonk has a nice piece in Mystery*File about the 1960-1961 NBC-TV drama Dante, which starred Howard Duff as a gambler turned San Francisco nightclub proprietor. The half-hour series was based on an eight-episode, Four Star Playhouse run of stories starring Dick Powell and concocted by Blake Edwards. Shonk calls Dante’s dialogue “clever and the banter quick and witty,” and adds that “The stories plots were creative and hold up well.” Unfortunately, NBC doomed Duff’s series by positioning it on Mondays at 9:30 p.m. opposite The Andy Griffith Show.

• In honor of film critic Roger Ebert, who passed away last week at age 70, writer Bob Sassone has republished a short piece he put together in 2002 called “Why I Write.” For its own part, Mental Floss has posted a rundown of “10 Movies Roger Ebert Really Hated,” most of which I didn’t even know existed.

• Nick Cardillo has lately decided to expand the coverage of his blog, The Consulting Detective, beyond Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Who, and feature more posts about hard-boiled crime fiction and film noir. His intro to those subjects can be found here.

• This last Friday marked 30 years since the final original appearance of spies Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin, in a made-for-television movie called The Return of the Man from U.N.C.L.E.: The Fifteen-Years-Later Affair. In addition to series stars Robert Vaughn and David McCallum, the flick featured Gayle Hunnicut (P.J.) and Patrick Macnee (The Avengers, Gavilan). If you’d like to watch the title and end credits from Return, along with a scene that features George Lazenby as the distinctly James Bondish “J.B.,” simply click here.

• It’s nice to see The Thrilling Detective Web Site, Kevin Burton Smith’s huge database of information about fictional private eyes and other good guys, win some more favorable press, this time in Brian Abbott’s The Poisoned Martini.

• Wow, I don’t remember hearing that Detroit, Michigan, once proposed that the United Nations be headquartered there, instead of in New York City. (Hat tip to Curbed.)

• Steve Powell has a terrific article in The Venetian Vase about how Los Angeles’ infamous 1947 Black Dahlia murder case has influenced popular culture. You’ll find the full piece here.

• And Michael Sears revisits the work of South African crime writer James McClure in a piece for Murder Is Everywhere.

• Terrence McCauley gabs with Shotgun Honey about his new Terry Quinn historical thriller, the e-book Slow Burn. While over at Lit Reactor, Todd Robinson--author of The Hard Bounce--fields 10 questions about his writing history, his biggest mistake, the fictional character he’d most like to drink with, and more.

• Novelist-biographer Jeffrey Marks is interviewed by Pulped! about his forthcoming work on Erle Stanley Gardner, the creator of Perry Mason and gumshoes Cool and Lam. Marks previously offered a preview of the work in Candid Canine.

• Finally, if you’re going to be in London, England, on Sunday, April 13, you might want to sign up now for a daylong introduction to crime fiction offered at Goldsboro Books, in Cecil Court, and featuring authors M.R. Hall and William Ryan.

1 comment:

michael said...

About the Warner Archives Instant, I have tried the two week free membership. They have over 150 movies, TV Movies, and TV series and are adding more. I have wanted to watch the 60s TV series Jericho for awhile. It is another series created by Richard Levinson and William Link (with another man). It is done by Norman Felton (Man From Uncle) and is basically Mission Impossible set in WWII. While the show is not that great, I was pleased with the picture quality.

In the coming soon for TV series, Bronk and McClain's Law are promised