• Hardy congratulations are due New Zealand author Eleanor Catton, who at 28, has become the youngest writer ever to win the Man Booker Prize. She’s received that commendation for her new, 832-page novel The Luminaries, which I had seen but did not realize until yesterday is a work of crime fiction. “A murder mystery set in and around [the Kiwi township of] Hokitika in the gold rush year of 1866, the novel uses astrological star charts as an organizing principle, rotating 12 characters born under 12 different star signs through a complex 12-month schema, while eight other characters move in and out of phase with them,” the New Zealand Listener explained in a piece last summer. Blogger-journalist Craig Sisterson (who I was honored to dine with recently) contacted me on Tuesday to inform me of Catton’s Man Booker triumph and point me toward a post he’d written about the author in early 2012. Naturally, The Luminaries is now hard to find in bookstores, but I’ll be adding it to my near-future reading list. You can find out more about Catton and her work here and here.
• In Mystery Scene magazine’s blog, Oline Cogdill celebrates The Silence of the Lambs, Thomas Harris’ third and still best-known work, which was released a quarter of a century ago this month. “At the time,” she remarks, “this was a ground-breaking novel, setting a high bar for the serial killer novel. And 25 years later, Silence of the Lambs
still is the standard for the serial killer novel.”
• Critic Peter Guttridge reports, in a post for Shotsmag Confidential, on Walter Mosley’s recent visit to England’s Durham Book Festival, during which the author talked about resurrecting his character Easy Rawlins in Little Green.
• Dashiell Hammett--way out of his element.
• The Double O Section blog laments the failure of a 1973 CBS-TV pilot, Call to Danger, that “would have seen Peter Graves follow up his successful run on Mission: Impossible with another spy series. Had the show gone to series, it would have once again seen Graves as a team leader recruiting citizens to spy week after week.” Pseudonymous blogger Tanner offers the opening title sequence from that pilot film, and then says, “tell me this wouldn’t have been the best show ever. No! You’re wrong. It clearly would have been.” You can read all of Tanner’s post here. And I offered a bit more information about Call
to Danger in my 2010 obituary of actor Graves.
• Finally, I mentioned a few days ago that James “Demon Dog” Ellroy is returning to the 1940s with four
crime novels, beginning with Perfidia, which is to be released in the fall of 2014. Now, British crime-fiction scholar Steven Powell (Conversations with James Ellroy) brings us a few details--from the author himself--about his tale’s plot. In this
post, Powell also recalls the start of Ellroy’s authorial career.