Monday, March 09, 2015

Bullet Points: Monday Make-up Edition

Yikes! It’s been a whole two weeks since The Rap Sheet’s last wrap-up of crime-fiction news. But I had to put together my mammoth catalogue of spring books, and then I was busy over the last few days, working on a project for Kirkus Reviews that I hope you’ll all enjoy reading in the near future. So it’s time for a little catching up …

• This last weekend brought an announcement of finalists for the 27th Annual Lambda Literary Awards, given to the best LGBTQ books. There are 24 categories of entries, but the two of likely greatest interest to Rap Sheet readers are these:

Gay Mystery:
-- Blackmail, My Love, by Katie Gilmartin (Cleis Press)
-- Boystown 6: From the Ashes, by Marshall Thornton (MLR)
-- Calvin’s Head, by David Swatling (Bold Strokes)
-- DeadFall, by David Lennon (BlueSpike)
-- Fair Game, by Josh Lanyon (Carina Press)
-- A Gathering Storm, by Jameson Currier (Chelsea Station)
-- Moon Over Tangier, by Janice Law (Open Road)
-- The Next, by Rafe Haze (Wilde City Press)

Lesbian Mystery:
-- The Acquittal, by Anne Laughlin (Bold Strokes)
-- Done to Death, by Charles Atkins (Severn House)
-- The Old Deep and Dark, by Ellen Hart (Minotaur)
-- Slash and Burn, by Valerie Bronwen (Bold Strokes)
-- UnCatholic Conduct, by Stevie Mikayne (Bold Strokes)

Winners are scheduled to be named during a ceremony in New York City on Monday, June 1. (Hat tip to Mystery Fanfare.)

Who remembers actress Nina Van Pallandt?

• I still haven’t watched the 2014 American biopic Lizzie Borden Took an Ax, which starred Christina Ricci as Fall River, Massachusetts’ notorious alleged 1890s parent murderer and was broadcast on the Lifetime television network this last January. But already there’s news of a sequel. According to Criminal Element, “Christina Ricci will reprise the role of Lizzie Borden in a 6-episode miniseries, plus two more episodes on order, which fantastically elaborates life (and plentiful death) in Fall River after the woman acquitted of slaughtering her parents in 1892 experiences a murderous relapse.” The Lizzie Borden Chronicles is slated to debut on Lifetime on Sunday, April 5.


• We now have an official trailer for Mr. Holmes, embedded above. That film--due for release in the UK this coming June, and expected to debut in the States sometime later in 2015--stars Sir Ian McKellen and Laura Linney. Wikipedia’s description of its plot reads: “In 1947, the long-retired Sherlock Holmes, aged 93, lives in a remote Sussex farmhouse with his housekeeper, Mrs. Munro, and her young son, Roger. Holmes reflects on his life while writing in his journals, tending to his bees, and dealing with the deterioration of his once incredible mind. The film, like the novel, uses flashbacks to reveal events of the past, when [Holmes] was still at the height of his fame and mental ability at his Baker Street consulting rooms, and during a visit to Japan.” The novel referred to in the above passage is Mitch Cullin’s A Slight Trick of the Mind (2005), on which this picture is based. I remember Cullin’s novel most fondly, and will probably take the time to re-read it again before seeing Mr. Holmes. A previous clips from Mr. Holmes is available here.

• UK critic Mike Ripley’s latest “Getting Away with Murder” column was posted last week in Shots. It features notes about: a revival of the 1986-1994 BBC-TV series Lovejoy, based on Jonathan Gash’s series of novels; the present awards-giving season; and new novel releases from Emily Winslow, David Morrell, John Connolly, and Maurizio De Giovanni. But it also repeats talk that Ripley will give up writing “Getting Away with Murder” after this current installment, No. 100. Is this really the end of Ripley’s regular appearances in Shots? The fact that his successor is to be announced on April 1 might provide a clue.

• Friend of The Rap Sheet B.V. Lawson, who writes the blog In Reference to Murder, reports that she now has an additional gig: writing a 750-word news column for the quarterly Prose ’n Cons magazine. Her request: “If you know of newsworthy crime-themed TV shows or movies, new/special releases or reissues, author appearances, fan conferences, special events--feel free to send them along to”

• Meanwhile, another blog goes dark. British reviewer and Crime Writers’ Association judge Rhian Davies, the author of It’s a Crime! (or a Mystery …), closed down her site on Friday, after 10 years of blogging, first on Typepad and later on WordPress. She noted, however, that she’ll not disappear completely from the Web, but will be posting occasionally at Books and Entertainment UK.

• Expect this car chase through Rome to show up in the next James Bond film, Spectre, due out in theaters this coming November.

• If you missed any entries in the Classic TV Detectives Blogathon’s recent (February 24-26) series of tributes, here’s the complete rundown of hosting sites and shows covered:

-- Captain Video - The Avengers
-- Classic Film & TV Cafe - Ellery Queen
-- Christmas TV History - Moonlighting
-- The Flaming Nose - Cagney & Lacey
-- Comfort TV - The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries
-- Classic TV Sports - Hill Street Blues
-- Embarrassing Treasures - Naked City
-- It’s About TV - M Squad
-- The Horn Section - Get Christie Love!
-- How Sweet It Was - Columbo
-- ImagineMDD - Dragnet
-- Made for TV Mayhem - Blacke’s Magic

• This is certainly promising news. In Reference to Murder reports that “The Dublin Murder Squad series of crime novels by Tana French are to be developed as a TV series by Euston Film and Veritas Entertainment. The producers hope to offer the series to ‘the international television market.’” Bring it on!

• In the Venture Galleries blog, Caleb Pirtle III (how’s that for a memorable moniker?) has posted a fond remembrance of John D. MacDonald, “the man who turned pulp into classics.”

• Some interviews worth your notice: Glen Erik Hamilton (Past Crimes) talks with Elise Cooper of Crimespree Magazine; Michael Robotham (Life or Death) chats at some length with Jacque Filippi from The House of Crime and Mystery; Adam Christopher (Elementary: Ghost Line) is questioned by Craig Sisterson of Crime Watch; and C.J. Box discusses his latest Joe Pickett novel, Endangered, with Speaking of Mysteries’ Nancie Clare.

• Adrian McKinty’s fourth Sean Duffy novel, Gun Street Girl, wins favorable press notice in Australia’s Sydney Morning Herald.

• As much as I enjoy searching the Internet these days, looking for answers to my always abundant fund of questions (and hoping that the “facts” I find on the Web can be trusted--which is often not the case), I remember fondly going into Seattle’s downtown library years ago to address my inquiries to workers at the Quick Information desk. Being an enthusiastic researcher myself, I often thought it would be thrilling to position myself behind that desk and field oft-obscure questions, armed with reference volumes and microfilm machines and card indexes of statistics. But of course, not everyone would bring me stimulating queries; some, like those recalled in this Open Culture post, would surely have left me aghast or shaking my head.

• The latest edition of Mysterical-E has been posted.

• If you missed seeing President Barack Obama’s powerful and stirring address this last weekend in Selma, Alabama--delivered half a century after 600 unarmed civil-rights marchers were attacked by state troopers and others on so-called Blood Sunday--you can still watch all of it here. And you should watch it.

• Also worth seeing is this 8.5-minute video compiling some of the oldest film footage from around New York City. Clips date from 1905 all the way back to 1896, and show streetscapes, subways, mounted police patrols in Central Park, windblown pedestrians at the foot of the Flatiron Building, and so much more. Amazing!

• Twentieth-century mystery novelist Todd Downing (1902-1974) and his recent biographer, Curtis Evans (Clues and Corpses: The Detective Fiction and Mystery Criticism of Todd Downing), enjoy welcome attention in this piece by The Washington Post’s Michael Dirda.

• David Niven’s 1965 big-screen comedy-adventure, Where the Spies Are, is finally available as a made-on-demand DVD. You can order it from Warner Bros.

• And due out on DVD is The Saint: The Complete Series, starring Roger Moore. As Spy Vibe explains, that 33-disc set of Moore’s 1962-1969 TV series will released on May 26. Retail price: $199.98.

• If you’re in Britain and don’t know about this, let me point out that next weekend will bring a series of crime-fiction-related events at Waterstones bookshops all over the country. Learn more here.

• BuzzFeed recently compiled a list of “19 Bars You Should Drink at Before You Die.” I’ve only visited four of those mentioned so far, but will try to remember to swing by Clockwork in Raleigh, North Carolina, when I am there for Bouchercon this coming October.

• Let’s hope that this British TV adaptation of Julian Barnes’ 2005 novel, Arthur & George (“inspired by the story of Sherlock Holmes creator Arthur Conan Doyle's reinvention of himself as a real-life investigator”), is soon broadcast in the States as well.

• Finally, it is with sadness that I must repeat news that Graeme Flanagan died in Australia on February 21 from pancreatic cancer. As publisher and comics historian Steve Holland notes in his blog, Flanagan was a retired public servant who “for some while … ran the Australian Vintage Paperbacks website and a fansite dedicated to [artist-illustrator] Robert McGinnis which was closed in 2008.” It was as a result of that last enterprise that I had my limited contact with him. I discovered Flanagan’s “invaluable Web-based collection” of McGinnis’ work in the fall of 2006. Only a year and a half later, the renowned artist himself asked Flanagan to remove his page “because of claims that the site contains direct links to live porn sites.” Not wishing to upset McGinnis, he took the site down in February 2008--but not before I was able, with his help, to copy many of the cover scans he’d made for my own files, which came in handy when I showcased McGinnis’ artistry last fall. Flanagan was 67 years old.

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