• Only occasionally do I regret not subscribing to cable-television network HBO. Now is certainly one of those times. This coming Sunday night will bring the debut of True Detective, an HBO cop drama starring Matthew McConaughey, Woody Harrelson, and Michelle Monaghan. As Flavorwire explains it, “McConaughey and Harrelson play Rust Cohle and Martin Hart, two detectives with the Louisiana State CID (Criminal Investigations Division). In the first episode, ‘The Long Bright Dark,’ they’re sent to a graphic, brutal, ritualistic crime scene, where a nude woman has been bound, posed, marked, and murdered.” Criminal Element has posted a trailer for this anthology series, which is scheduled to premiere on January 12 at 9 p.m. Sigh … I’ll just have to watch True Detective after it’s released in DVD format.
• The Private Eye Writers of America is currently accepting submissions in five categories to its 2014 Shamus Awards competition. The deadline is March 31. You can find full details here.
• The line-up of news bits in Mike Ripley’s January “Getting Away with Murder” column for Shots includes: fresh fiction from Deryn Lake, Massimo Carlotto, Eva Dolan, and David Hewson; the long-awaited re-enactment of an award presentation; publisher Hodder’s forthcoming new edition of Leslie Charteris’ The Saint in Europe (first published in 1953); and notes on March’s Essex Book Fest.
• Sally Powers’ new I Love a Mystery Newsletter is out.
• Want to own a piece of literary history? The blog Past Offences reports that Cornwall, England’s 263-year-old Jamaica Inn, “owned (at different times) by Daphne du Maurier and Alistair MacLean, is now on sale with the asking price of £2 million.”
• Martha Grimes has turned her long-ago legal trouble (a lawsuit brought against her by her former agent, and subsequently dismissed) into satirical fiction in her new mystery, The Way of All Fish (Scribner). That book, writes Claiborne Smith, the editor in chief of Kirkus Reviews, “is a sequel to Foul Matter (2003); both books are the Get Shorty’s of the publishing industry, gleefully sending up greedy, double-crossing, hypocritical liars and the suckers they exploit. The novel opens as a pair of hit men, ‘two stubby hoods like refugees from a George Raft film,’ sprays bullets across the aquarium in the Clownfish Café, a mediocre Manhattan spot where manipulative agent L. Bass Hess is having lunch.”
• Maybe TV fans know more than network executives in this case. The historical crime series Ripper Street may have been cancelled, but it’s still collecting honors. The Hollywood Reporter brings word that that 1890s-set drama, starring Matthew Macfadyen, Jerome Flynn,
and Adam Rothenberg, “has been voted the best TV show of 2013 in a survey by the website of British magazine Radio Times.”
• Yes! Fiona Maazel defends good grammar in The Millions.
• We have some more late entries in the critical effort to choose the Best Books of 2013. Euro Crime contributors register their favorites here, while Book Dirt’s Kelly Robinson recommends half a dozen works, both new and vintage.
• In The Daily Mail, Colin Dunne offers a fine retrospective on pulp-fictionist Hank Janson (real name Stephen Daniel Frances), whose “sexy crime thrillers” were, during the mid-20th
century, “the hottest thing around.” It didn’t hurt his sales, either, that many of Janson’s novels were illustrated
by Reginald Heade.
• Finally, Omnimystery News reports that Fox-TV “has ordered a 13-episode season of Backstrom, based on a character created by Swedish crime novelist Leif G.W. Persson. The pilot, written by Hart Hanson and starring Rainn Wilson as police detective Evert Backstrom, was originally ordered by CBS, which passed on the project. (The setting has been moved from Stockholm in the books to Portland, Oregon, for the television series.)”