Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Bullet Points: Midweek Miscellany

• I want Michael Shonk’s job! The Mystery*File columnist writes with fair regularity about classic and forgotten TV dramas, usually related in some manner to crime fiction (Search, The Brothers Brannagan, The Outsider, etc.). His latest piece looks at Paris 7000, a short-lived 1970 ABC-TV series starring George Hamilton as “a diplomat working at the American embassy in Paris. Any American in trouble would call the embassy’s phone number, Paris 7000, and Brennan would come to their aid.” I have to admit, I don’t remember ever seeing this show, and certainly not during its original broadcasting. But as Shonk makes pretty clear, I haven’t missed much.

• Several years ago, I read and enjoyed The Double Take, a 1946 detective novel by future TV writer and producer Roy Huggins. Ever since, I’ve been looking out for copies of Huggins’ only other two novels, Too Late For Tears (1949) and Lovely Lady, Pity Me (1949). It seems fellow blogger Evan Lewis has beaten me to the last one, at least. His review of Lovely Lady, Pity Me can be found here.

• It never hurts to be reminded of Sleuth.

• I have long been a fan of the classic science-fiction novels Childhood’s End (1953), by Arthur C. Clarke, and Ringworld (1970), by Larry Niven. So you can imagine my consternation at hearing the news that both are to be adapted as mini-series by the SyFy Channel. Really, television very rarely gets these things right.

• The Los Angeles Times alerts me to another novel that might be of particular interest to crime-fiction fans: Lillian and Dash, by Sam Toperoff, due out in July from Other Press. Here’s how the Times’ Carolyn Kellogg describes the book’s plot: “Opinionated author Lillian Hellman and noir master Dashiell Hammett were a famously hard-drinking couple who never married. This is a novel that reimagines their relationship (which Hellman wrote about in her memoirs) with a strong dose of Golden Age romanticism.” OK, sign me up for a copy, guys.

• In case you need reminding of just why Dashiell Hammett was “one of the most influential writers of his time,” Terrie Farley Moran provides this essay in Criminal Element.

• From that same Web site comes a rundown of the winners in the mystery- and thriller-related categories of this year’s Reviewers’ Choice Best Books Awards, sponsored by Romantic Times magazine.

• After the lackluster mess AMC-TV made of The Killing--the U.S. version of the popular Danish show Forbrydelsen--I’m not sure I want to take a chance on another Danish crime-drama adaptation. But Euro Crime reports that “A&E are making their own version of the now cancelled Danish series Those Who Kill. It will star Chloe Sevigny and James D’Arcy ...” The show will run 10 episodes and debut in 2014.

• Meanwhile, Salon extols the virtues of the Danish political drama Borgen. Each episode, writes critic Andrew O’Hehir, “begins with a quotation from Machiavelli’s The Prince, and as the show proceeds, Denmark’s first female prime minister, an attractive and immensely likable moderate named Birgitte Nyborg (Sidse Babett Knudsen), gets a systematic education in that collection of cynical wisdom. One could almost say that Borgen is a lesson built on the old saw about power corrupting and absolute power corrupting absolutely--but Birgitte is the head of a shaky coalition government in a European social democracy, not a tyrant, and what keeps us watching is the knowledge that she always has good intentions.”

• How many of these “Best Crime Novels of 1939 have you read?

• The first issue of Mystery Readers Journal for 2013 is just out, with a focus on environmental mysteries. Editor Janet Rudolph writes that she “can't believe we’re in our 29th year of publication!” That’s quite a track record. Congratulations!

• Just as news comes of major discoveries about the shape and features of Roman London, author Jeri Westerson launches a new “One Minute History” feature in her blog, her initial subject being that city’s 1st century A.D. beginnings.

• Which leads right into news that Oleander Press is bringing back lost crime novels of the Golden Age, all their stories set in London.

R.I.P., GoldenEye’s Michael France.

• And for anybody who’s been huddled under a boulder somewhere and managed to miss this announcement elsewhere, the title of William Boyd’s soon-forthcoming James Bond novel--set in both Africa and the United States--will be Solo. The book is presently scheduled for release by Jonathan Cape in the UK on September 26, and by HarperCollins in the States on October 8.


Todd Mason said...

Season 2 of BORGEN, which I've been touting on- and off-blog for several years, is currently streaming on Link TV, the cable/satellite/broadcast channel, for US addresses (and those that can pretend to be US addresses):

Meanwhile, MHz Worldview (the small US public tv network and incidentally the home-video label for the US release) streams a number of European crime-drama series on its own ticket:

MHz Worldview's schedule:

Todd Mason said...

Actually, until 20 April, one can see the entire first season of BORGEN at the Link link, above, as well...