• I missed spotting this news about the 2013 Florida Book Awards. It seems Randy Wayne White won the Gold prize in the General Fiction category for his second Hannah Smith mystery, Deceived (Putnam); while in the Popular Fiction category, Brad Meltzer picked up the Silver prize for The Fifth Assassin (Grand Central Publishing), his second Beecher White thriller, and the Bronze went to Alex Kava for her latest Maggie O’Dell mystery, Stranded (Doubleday).
• A hardy congratulations is due Patti Abbott, whose novel Concrete Angel has been purchased by Exhibit A Books and is scheduled for publication in February 2015.
• I didn’t know until just yesterday that Los Angeles Police Department veteran-turned-author Paul Bishop has begun penning a column about crime fiction for a Web site called Venture Galleries, but his latest installment--looking back at August Derleth’s Sherlockian pastiche, Solar Pons--certainly convinces me to check on his contributions more regularly now. You’ll find
Bishop’s piece here.
• Really, John Travolta as the next James Bond?
• Editor Janet Rudolph is looking for additional essays about Canada-themed crime fiction to publish in the spring 2014 edition of Mystery Readers Journal. She’s also in need of more personal “Author! Author!” articles for that same issue. The deadline is March 15. E-mail Rudolph here for more information.
• An interesting prospect for any wannabe crime-fictionists living in the Lone Star State: “The Sisters in Crime, Heart of Texas Chapter here in Austin is offering a fun opportunity for aspiring mystery authors. The Barbara Burnett Smith Aspiring Writers Event (BBSAWE) is calling for all unpublished, aspiring writers of thrillers, true crime, noir or any mystery genre, for young or old readers, to submit the first 500 words of their mystery manuscript along with a brief synopsis. All who submit will be paired with a published author mentor for one-on-one sessions and recognition
at the BBSAWE in May of each year. The submission deadline is March 31, 2014.”
Learn more here.
• One of the most intriguing turns, at least for me, in the saga of Western outlaws Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (Harry Longabaugh) has always been their 1901 stopover--together with the mysterious Etta Place--in New York City on the way to what they hoped would be quieter lives in Argentina. Last night’s episode of the PBS-TV series American Experience dealt well with that interlude, as well as so much else about their exciting,
• Did you know that Halle Berry is set to star in a CBS-TV mystery/science fiction series titled Extant, due to premiere this coming July? As The Futon Critic explains, the show will be about “a female astronaut trying to reconnect with her family after returning from a year in outer space. Her mystifying experiences in space lead to events that will ultimately change the course of human history.”
• The Crime Segments’ Nancy O. is reviewing her way through Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe novels. She’s now up to The Lady in the Lake. You should be able to find her preceding posts here.
• Happy 205th birthday to Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln, both of whom were born on February 12, 1809.
• I’ve never read Always Leave ’Em Dying, Richard S. Prather’s 1954 Shell Scott private-eye novel, but this fabulous quote from the book--included in a post by Detectives Without Borders’ Peter Rozovsky--makes me want to find a copy sometime very soon: “ … she’d just turned twenty-one, but had obviously signaled for the turn a long time ago. … she wore a V-necked white blouse as if she were the gal who’d invented cleavage.”
• Ed Gorman wrote more about Prather’s fiction here.
• This note comes from B.V. Lawson’s In Reference to Murder: “Italian novelist Andrea Camilleri was awarded the prestigious Pepe Carvalho prize for lifetime work at the BCNegra noir literary festival in Barcelona last week. Previous winners include Michael
Connelly, P.D. James, and Henning Mankell.”
• Good for President Obama, who today signed an “executive order raising the contracting
standards for workers on federal contracts.”
• Why does this not surprise me one bit? According to a new study by Central Connecticut State University president John Miller, my current hometown of Seattle is the second most literate city in the United States. The No. 1 position belongs to Washington, D.C., which probably benefits from its large contingent of highly educated people laboring away in government offices there. (Which isn’t to say that everybody in D.C. is all that bright--especially not those who are ideologically driven to tank the nation’s economy.) Minneapolis, Atlanta, and Pittsburgh round out the roster’s top five, while Boston holds eighth place, San Francisco is in 10th, and Portland, Oregon, ranks No. 11. Of the 77 cities included in this study, Bakersfield, California, came out at the very bottom; Corpus Christi, Texas, and Stockton, California, didn’t fare much better.
• It was on this date in 1940 that “Superman took flight on radio,” recalls the blog Down These Mean Streets. “Premiering in his own serial adventure just two years after his comic debut, the Man of Steel thrilled radio audiences for over a decade.”
just makes me happy!
• Another assessment of James Bond’s drink of choice.
• With the character of Sherlock Holmes having entered the public domain--thanks to a judicial ruling last year--will the future hold a series of increasingly bizarre/ridiculous pastiches? I mean, how many Holmes vs. vampires thrillers do we need?
• Is there anyone less likely than Stuart MacBride--“one of Scotland’s darkest, most blood-curdling authors”--to write a children’s book?
• I’ve always loved Mad’s Spy vs. Spy cartoons.
• The oddball but nonetheless brilliant 1974-1975 ABC-TV crime/horror drama Kolchak: The Night Stalker, starring Darren McGavin, has periodically been a subject of comment on this page. But now Phil Dyess-Nugent applauds its spooky strengths in the A.V. Club blog. His post, by the way, includes a link to the full 1972
teleflick that started it all, The Night Stalker, “a Richard Matheson-penned adaptation of [Jeff Rice’s] unpublished novel The Kolchak Papers.”
• Maybe it’s time to re-read John Ball’s In the Heat of the Night.
• I’m sorry to say that I have been to only half a dozen of what Business Insider declares are “18
Book Stores Every Book Lover Must Visit at Least Once.” Then again, I hope to enjoy many healthy years in my future to remedy this deficiency.
• Just in time for Valentine’s Day: Word that DNA deposited on somebody’s cheek through kissing can become criminal evidence.
• Yay! A new release of Orson Welles’ classic Touch of Evil.
• R.I.P., Sid Caesar, who died today at age 91.
• And congratulations to Governor Jay Inslee of Washington, who has declared a moratorium on state executions. “Equal justice under the law is the state’s primary responsibility,” Inslee says. “And in death penalty cases, I’m not convinced equal justice is served. The use of the death penalty in this state is unequally applied, sometimes dependent on the budget of the county where the crime occurred.”