Monday, August 19, 2013

Bullet Points: From Thompson to “Trek”

Jim Thompson is best remembered for having composed such noirish tales as The Killer Inside Me (1952), The Kill-Off (1957), and The Grifters (1963). But it’s his 1967 novel, Ironside, published to coincide with the premiere of Raymond Burr’s NBC-TV crime drama of that same name, that wins Book Dirt blogger Kelly Robinson’s attention here. Although she declares this novelization “wildly uneven,” she does find its incorporation of sex into the story (something for which the show was not famous) and its fleshing out of the Mark Sanger character worthy of attention.

• To welcome the release of her new anthology, Troubled Daughters, Twisted Wives: Stories from the Trailblazers of Domestic Suspense, Sarah Weinman submits to an interview with Salon’s Laura Miller.

• Meanwhile, in her own blog, Weinman quotes from an October 1959 profile of Dorothy Salisbury Davis, in which the Edgar Award-nominated author “discusses the state of the genre at the time, and zeroes in on the differences--in taste and in marketing--of crime novels largely read by women versus those largely read by men.”

• Author Martin Edwards reports back from St. Hilda’s Crime and Mystery Week-end in Oxford, England, calling it “a crime conference with a distinctive and delightful personality which makes it very different from other crime-related events.” UPDATE: Shotsmag Confidential’s Ayo Onatade offers her own coverage of this conference here, here, and (soon to come) here.

• Although it’s jumping the gun by a couple of months, The HMSS Weblog--a James Bond-obsessed blog spun off from the Her Majesty’s Secret Service Web site--is celebrating five years in business. Congratulations to managing editor Bill Koenig on a job well done.

• The Crime Segments has some nice things to say about Jerry Tracy, Celebrity Reporter: Smashing Detective Stories, Open Road Media’s new e-book compendium of vintage crime yarns by Theodore A. Tinsley. Read more about that release here.

• Swedish novelist and literary critic Jan Arnald, who pens mysteries under the pseudonym Arne Dahl (Bad Blood), writes in The Scotsman about how his home country is still getting comfortable with its reputation as a hotbed of crime (fiction).

• Hmm. The last I heard, renowned author Larry McMurtry was “finished writing fiction.” Yet The New York Times reports today that he has just “left Simon & Schuster after more than 40 years and signed with Liveright Publishing.” For that latter house, McMurtry intends to pen The Last Kind Words Saloon, “a fictional retelling of the friendship between Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday, set against an Old West backdrop of barrooms, brothels, and cattle ranches.” The novel is currently “scheduled to appear in June 2014.”

• Your Monday home cinema opportunities: Our Man Flint (1966) and its sequel, In Like Flint (1967), both starring James Coburn.

• Alternatively, sample this: The Gracie Allen Murder Case, based on S.S. Van Dine’s 1938 Philo Vance novel of the same name, and starring “the zany half of the George Burns & Gracie Allen comedy team.” Learn more about this picture from Wikipedia.

• In A Shroud of Thoughts, Terence Towles Canote makes the case for a revival of NBC Saturday Night at the Movies, the film anthology series that debuted in 1961 but was cancelled in 1978. “NBC Saturday Night at the Movies could draw more viewers to NBC on Saturday nights, certainly more than the reruns they currently air now,” he opines. “At any rate, it seems to me that instead of simply surrendering Saturday night to the cable channels, it is time for the broadcast networks to fight back.” Actually, what I’d prefer to see is a Saturday night anthology series devoted to crime, mystery, and thriller films (either big-screen works of TV movies), all chosen and introduced by today’s top-notch crime novelists. Whaddya think?

This ranks among Arthur Conan Doyle’s more obscure novels.

• Could anyplace sound more perfect as the setting for historical crime fiction than Washington, D.C.’s old Murder Bay neighborhood?

• With the Showtime TV series Dexter set to conclude its eight-season run late next month, Crime Time Preview offers what it contends are the show’s “10 best moments.”

• Criminal Element looks back at the notorious hatchet murders of Andrew and Abby Borden, allegedly committed by their daughter Lizzie 121 years ago this month.

• If you don’t think it’s possible for a U.S.political party “to alienate Latino voters for a long period of time by succumbing to conservative pressure to demagogue immigration,” ask California Republicans.

• Congratulations to James Reasoner on the release of his 300th novel, a Western called Dancing with Dead Men.

R.I.P., Rizzoli & Isles’ Lee Johnson Young.

• Cool! I have this edition, signed by the author.

• Ed Gorman continues his fine “Pro-File” series, interviewing Bill Crider and Max Allan Collins, both of whom have new books out.

• And I remember as a tyke watching Star Trek: The Animated Series (1973-1974), but I had never happened upon any of its episodes online. Today, however, I discovered “The Slaver Weapon,” based on Larry Niven’s short story “The Soft Weapon,” on YouTube. It is a true curiosity, in that it’s the only episode of the original Trek series or this animated follow-up in which Captain James T. Kirk does not appear. Watch the whole adventure here.


michael said...

TV, even network TV, has changed. It is not just about the number of people or even the number of 18-49 year old people watching, it is about profit.
The networks make more profit from cheap reruns promoting their successful series or cut their losses burning off unsuccessful shows than the profit they might make producing new programs that even if successful would make more money on another night.

The anthology series cost too much with added cost of new sets, casts, etc and such series have a low success rate. And how many "wheel series" have failed compared to those who succeed?

Even cable tends to avoid Saturday for original programs, preferring Sunday and then Monday through Thursday.

Saturday remains a good day for the network sports department and allows them to promote their high profiled cable sports network.

HMSS Weblog said...

Thanks kindly for the HMSS Weblog bullet point.

One reason for moving up the anniversary post is that October will also be the 50th anniversary of From Russia With Love. Multiple posts related to that anniversary will be done in October. So now seemed a good time to get the blog's anniversary out of the way.

Bill Koenig