Monday, March 31, 2014

Bullet Points: PWG, TV, and DVDs Edition

Wow, it seems like forever since I’ve found time to compose a crime-fiction news wrap-up post, but it’s actually only been a little more than two weeks. During that period, I’ve accumulated myriad items of interest, but I’ll offer just a few of them here.

• Today may or many not be the birthday of Sherlock Holmes’ investigative associate and chronicler, Dr. John H. Watson--depending on which sources you believe. I wrote about this in a post for The Rap Sheet years ago, which you can still enjoy here.

• UK critic-author Mike Ripley talks with Duncan Torrens, for Shots, about the work that went into releasing Mr. Campion’s Farewell (Severn House), a novel featuring Margery Allingham’s gentleman sleuth, Albert Campion. As Les Blatt notes in his blog, Classic Mysteries, Farewell is “a continuation of a book begun by Allingham’s husband, Pip Youngman Carter, after his wife’s death. Carter died after writing only a few chapters, and the manuscript was never finished or published. Now, Mike Ripley has completed it, and I believe it has just been published by Severn House in the UK. It’s scheduled to be released in the U.S. on July 1st.” You will find Shots’ conversation with the honorable Mr. Ripley here.

• I’m sorry to learn, from Janet Rudolph’s Mystery Fanfare, that Book ’Em Mysteries in Pasadena, California, will close on April 30 after 24 years in business. Co-owner Barry Martin is quoted as saying, “You reach a point in your life when you feel you’ve accomplished something. We are heartened by our customers who have supported us over the years. Many are more than customers. They’re friends.”

• Oh, no, not again! After going dormant for some months, it looks as if the Webzine Plots With Guns is closing down--but not until after the release of “one last, big issue.” It seems that creator Anthony Neil Smith had a heart attack and was in the hospital for a while, and as he explained on Facebook, “Sean O’Keefe, Erik Lundy, and Gonzalo Baeza, the current editorial staff and braintrust, have also decided it’s time to move on.” Before the band breaks up, though, they’re soliciting contributions to a blockbuster final issue. The deadline for submissions is Thursday, April 10. You may recall that PWG already tried to sign off once, at the end of 2004, with its editors complaining that “we’re tired.” But it was reborn at the start of 2008, and has been turning out fine editions ever since. Let’s hope this latest termination effort is as unsuccessful as the previous one, and that we haven’t heard the last of PWG. Meanwhile, I’ll let you know when the current editors’ close-out issue is posted.

Lee Child answers some readers’ questions.

R.I.P., Lorenzo Semple Jr. The screenwriter who developed the 1960s live-action TV series Batman died on March 28 at age 91. Coincidentally, that was only two days before the 75th anniversary of Batman’s debut as a crime-fighting comic-book hero.

• MysteryPeople chats with Steven Saylor about his recently released historical mystery, Raiders of the Nile.

• It’s official! The complete DVD collection of the 1975-1976 ABC-TV series Barbary Coast--about which I wrote here not long ago--is scheduled for release on June 3. Barbary Coast, you may recall, was a not great, but interesting Western-cum-crime drama starring William Shatner and Doug McClure. I’ve already placed an order for the set. I hope the show measures up to my memories of it.

• Meanwhile, I have no recollection of this 1970 legal drama.

Mystery Scene’s Oline Cogdill bids farewell to two small-screen series, one of which--Psych--ended its eight-year run (really, that long?) last week, while the other--Justified--has a final, sixth season still to come. “The two shows,” writes Cogdill, “could not be more different--one a comic-drama mystery, the other a hard-charging, often violent series--yet each was/is completely satisfying in its own way with realistic characters who drew you in to their exploits, good plots and, especially in Justified’s case, crisp dialogue.”

• And I don’t think my local public-TV station has scheduled broadcasts of Father Brown, the BBC series starring Mark Williams. Which would be worse, if not for the fact that Criminal Element blogger Leslie Gilbert Elman thinks that program “has little in common with its source material” and shouldn’t be held “to any standard of historical accuracy.” Read her full overview of Father Brown here.


Todd Mason said...

Yikes. Smith should know that webzines laugh at our mere mortality...thanks for that bulletin, and much better luck to him. Meanwhile, see Harlan Ellison's THE OTHER GLASS TEAT for quite a lot about THE STOREFRONT LAWYERS, including an Ellison script for the series and his production diary, and such amusing bits as, when ordered by the network to insert a more "mainstream" character into the mostly Jewish and otherwise "ethnic" leading cast, the production initially named the character Christian White...which the network suits only slow realized was a joke at their expense.

Todd Mason said...

Ah. I read the more trivial note too quickly, and conflated THE STOREFRONT LAWYERS with THE YOUNG LAWYERS...which I gather is rather too easy to do.