• Last Friday, Evan Lewis of the blog Davy Crockett’s Almanack of Mystery, Adventure, and the Wild West kicked-off a “nine-day extravaganza celebrating slick-tongued reporter Daffy Dill” of the fictional New York Chronicle, a character created in the 1930s by Richard Sale and popularized through the pages of Detective Fiction Weekly. So far, Lewis has posted “The Dancing Corpse,” a “never-reprinted adventure from the September 7, 1935, issue of Detective Fiction Weekly”; assembled a gallery of Dill magazine covers; and offered readers the Daffy adventures “A Dirge for Pagliaccio” and “A Slug for Cleopatra.” Coming up this Friday, Lewis promises, will be “an in-depth look at the life and times of Daffy Dill by Monte Herridge--an article that originally appeared in the 2013 Pulpfest magazine PEAPSTER. And to wrap things up, on Saturday the 29th we’ll have still another ‘new’ Daffy story, coming your way for the first time since 1937.” This extravaganza is certainly proving to be a lot of fun.
• The coming film adaptation of Veronica Mars had already earned one place in the history books, thanks to its record-breaking Kickstarter campaign (remember how it accumulated $2 million in financing in under 11 hours?). Now, reports Moviefone, the “movie will be the first to be simultaneously released by a major studio in theaters (270 theaters) and made available for purchase and to rent on the same day: March 14, 2014.”
• Meanwhile, watch for the long-awaited Man from U.N.C.L.E. movie to premiere on January 16, 2015. Unfortunately, this means it won’t be out in time to be part of the 50th anniversary celebration of U.N.C.L.E.’s September 22, 1964, NBC-TV debut.
• The British Crime Writers’ Association announced today that digital publisher Endeavour Press will be the new backer of its annual Historical Dagger for the best historical novel of the year. “Endeavour Press are proud to be sponsoring the CWA Historical Dagger,” says Richard Foreman, the company’s founder. “As both readers--and publishers--of
crime fiction, Endeavour Press are keen to support the CWA, an association which continues to foster relationships between its authors and the growing readership for crime novels. Also, as someone who has spent the past decade promoting both history books and crime fiction, it also gives me great personal satisfaction to help reward authors for their hard work and talent, whether they be debut writers or more established names.” The winner of this year’s first CWA Endeavour Historical Dagger will be named on June 30.
• How’s this for a peculiar progression? Author J. Sydney Jones (The Keeper of Hands) recently e-mailed yours truly, J. Kingston Pierce, asking for information about how to contact Canadian novelist J.
Robert Janes (whose new Jean-Louis St-Cyr/Hermann Kohler tale, Carnival, is due out in mid-May). The result is an excellent new interview with Janes in Jones’ Scene of the Crime blog.
• This comes from In Reference to Murder: “Thanks to Crime Fiction Lover for noting that Crime Story, a new festival for crime fiction lovers, is coming to Newcastle [England] at the University of Northumbria on May 31st. The organizers have added a fun twist: they’ve commissioned author Ann Cleeves to invent a fictional crime which will then be investigated by various experts including forensic scientists, police detectives, and legal eagles.”
• Won’t somebody please step up to help Linda Dewberry, the proprietor of Olympia, Washington's Whodunit? Books, who has put her mystery bookstore on the market?
• R.I.P., Maria von Trapp, who, the Moviefone blog notes, was “the last surviving member and second-eldest daughter of the musical family whose escape from Nazi-occupied Austria was the basis for The Sound of Music, has died. She was 99.” There’s more about von Trapp’s passing in Britain’s Daily Mail.
• In the Kill Zone blog, Mark Alpert reconsiders five “classic novels that offer useful lessons for thriller writers.” Good choices, all.
Capone--in the flesh!
• Nancy O of The Crime Segments continues her reviewing of Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe series with this
piece about his 1949 novel, The Little Sister.
• Journalist and onetime cartoonist Keith Thomson, the author of 2011’s Twice
a Spy and the brand-spanking-new thriller Seven Grams of Lead (Anchor), writes in Mystery Fanfare about his 2008 journey to CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, and his subsequent fantasy about having had an eavesdropping device planted in his left wrist during the course of that visit. Read the whole piece here.
• I love great unsolved mysteries.
• Flavorwire’s new list, “10 Times Oscar Got It (Unexpectedly) Right,” posted in advance of next Sunday’s Academy Award presentations, includes at least three winners near and dear to
the hearts of crime-fiction fans: Gene Hackman’s “Best Actor” Oscar for The French Connection (1971); Robert Towne’s “Best Original Screenplan” win for Chinatown (1974); and Isaac Hayes’ “Best Original Song” prize for “Theme from Shaft” (1971).
• Saved from the Paper Drive seems to have a cache of old Have Gun, Will Travel comic books, and has been rolling them out in the blog one by one. Its latest sampling, “The Vigilantes,” comes from 1960. This link should take you to previous entries in the series.
• More from Michelle Monaghan on True Detective.
• Hmm. I must have missed seeing the recent news alert that Anthony Neil Smith, the author of Hogdoggin’, All the Young Warriors, and assorted other works of fiction, has confessed to being “Red Hammond”--the man behind XXX Shamus (Broken River), a “porno P.I.” novel that Jedediah Ayres applauds as “incendiary.”
• And as a balance against all the recent “you must read these books before you die” directories, Janet Potter offers some worthy suggestions in The Millions of what sorts of volumes really deserve your attention in the near future. Her best two bits of advice, I think: “You should read the book that you hear two booksellers arguing about at the registers while you’re browsing in a bookstore” and “You should read the book that you didn’t read
when it was assigned in your high school English class. You’d probably like it better now anyway.”