Thursday, June 11, 2015

Bullet Points: Salmagundi Edition

• What a treat! Los Angeles resident and Ross Macdonald biographer Tom Nolan is currently composing a series of posts about that renowned detective novelist for the Library of America site. You’ll find the first couple here and here. They’re well worth reading.

• I mentioned in my interview with Nolan back in April, that The Archer Files, his 2007 compilation of Macdonald’s previously unpublished Lew Archer short stories and story fragments, would be reissued in paperback by Vintage Crime/Black Lizard in July. But there wasn’t cover art available for the book at that time. Now there is. Personally, I prefer artist Jeff Wong’s original front for this collection (which was based on Mitchell Hooks’ illustration for the 1955 Bantam paperback, The Name Is Archer), but clearly, Vintage wanted its edition of The Archer Files to look like its previous Macdonald reprints.

• Rap Sheet reader Peter Hegarty passes along this story from The Irish Times, explaining that former U2 manager Paul McGuinness has been working for the past year with director Neil Jordan and Irish wordsmith John Banville, aka Benjamin Black (The Black-Eyed Blonde, Holy Orders), on a pay-TV crime drama called Riviera. “It’s about a sort-of French, sort-of Italian business family,” McGuinness explains. “This large, seemingly legitimate family business empire conceals a criminal enterprise. That’s the basis of the story.” He hopes to see Riviera make it to the airwaves by the fall of 2016.

• A reminder to authors: The deadline to register, if you wish to be considered for a panel at Bouchercon 2015 in Raleigh, is June 15!

According to Double O Section, “Sundance Channel has started aggressively advertising for Deutschland 83, their Cold War miniseries event that will mark the first ever German-language program broadcast on American television …” The blog provides a rather humorous video trailer, and you can learn more about the show on the Sundance Web site. Deutschland 83 is scheduled to debut next Wednesday, June 17.

• Lisa Levy, editor of the new crime fiction-oriented Web site, The Life Sentence, is profiled briefly by author Alex Segura in his newsletter, Stuff & Nonsense.

• Speaking of The Life Sentence, it features a new piece about the Black Gat line of paperback noir works rolling out from Stark House Press. That imprint has already brought three books to market: A Haven for the Damned, by Harry Whittington; Stranger at Home, by Leigh Brackett; and Eddie’s World, by Charlie Stella. When asked what future titles to expect, publisher Greg Shepard says, “I don’t want to give much away at this point, but authors I’m considering or have contracted at this point cover an interesting range of old and new: Malcolm Braly, Vin Packer, Orrie Hitt, who we’ve already published in the trade line; and writers like Helen Nielsen, Don Tracy, Gary Phillips, and John Flagg, who would be first-time authors to the list.”

• “Can Reading Make You Happier? asks The New Yorker. There’s no doubt of where I stand on that question--a resounding YES!!!

• Director Guy Richie has released, via Instagram, “what he described as the final poster for The Man from U.N.C.L.E. movie and said a new trailer debuts June 11.” That news comes from The Spy Command, which notes that “The movie, with Henry Cavill as Napoleon Solo and Armie Hammer as Illya Kuryakin, is scheduled to debut Aug. 14.” A new, second trailer for Ritchie’s U.N.C.L.E. is here.

• In case you have not yet noticed (and hey, why the hell haven’t you?), I put together a rather extensive gallery of paperback fronts for my other blog, Killer Covers, all of which employ the word “wanton” in their titles or, alternatively, use it in their cover teasers. One additional entry along the same theme is found here.

• I don’t envy the judges of this year’s Davitt Awards, sponsored by Sisters in Crime Australia. There are a record 96 books vying for only six prizes, all of which are intended to honor the best in Down Under crime writing by women. A list of finalists is to be announced in late July, with the 2015 winners to be declared on August 29.

Here’s a new promo for the 24th James Bond flick, Spectre.

• After “months in the making,” says Sarah Weinman, her good-sized profile of 87-year-old American “Queen of Suspense” Mary Higgins Clark has finally been published in The Guardian. One of the things that stands out in the piece is Clark’s contrary insistence on delivering amiable, reliable female protagonists in her fiction. “Unlikable heroines are in vogue,” notes Weinman, “and the success of books like Gone Girl, The Girl on the Train, and Luckiest Girl Alive ensures it will stay that way for some time. Clark’s overtly likable heroines, a standard from which she hasn’t deviated ... in four decades and never will, seem strangely subversive as a result.”

• This comes from In Reference to Murder:
The Bloody Scotland conference announced the lineup for its fourth annual event this September. Highlights will include an all-woman panel of writers tackling the topic, “Killer Women--Deadlier Than the Male?”; a celebration of the 125th anniversary of Agatha Christie’s birth, with talks by research chemist Dr. Kathryn Harkup (whose book A Is for Arsenic looks at Christie’s obsession with poison), and Icelandic author Ragnar Jonasson, who’s translated 14 of Christie’s books; writers and comics will join forces to improvise the plot of a crime novel on stage; and the event culminates with the Bloody Scotland Crime Book of the Year awards dinner. The conference also announced it’s giving away free tickets to the unemployed.
• Really, Edgar Allan Poe inspired the game Scrabble?

• Nancie Clare has been busy of late, posting a number of new Speaking of Mysteries podcasts for your delectation. Her interviewees include Robert Rotstein (The Bomb Maker’s Son), Stephen Hunter (I, Ripper), Sharon Bolton (Little Black Lies), and Attica Locke (Pleasantville). Check out all of her author conversations right here.

• Cuban/Spanish novelist Leonardo Padura, whose books include a quartet of crime novels featuring Lieutenant Mario Conde (Havana Black), has won Spain’s Princess of Asturias Award for Literature. In The Game’s Afoot, blogger Jose Ignacio Escribano quotes the prize jury’s president, Dario Villanueva Prieto, as saying: “The vast work of Leonardo Padura, which crosses all genres of prose, highlights a resource which characterizes his literary work and that is the interest in listening to people’s voices and lost stories from others.”

• Good-bye to Richard Johnson, a distinguished 87-year-old British actor who was once Sean Connery’s rival for the movie role of James Bond. Johnson eventually went on to appear in other spy films, including “the greatest Bond knock-off ever made,” 1967’s Deadlier Than the Male. He died on June 6.

• Meanwhile, SpyVibe reports that a new Blu-ray edition of Deadlier Than the Male has gone on sale in Britain. “If you are curious to explore slightly less mainstream 1960s spy movies and/or Eurospy, this is definitely in the top-five and not to be missed.” Hmm. I’m not altogether sure that I have seen Deadlier Than the Male (a trailer for which is embedded below). Maybe a viewing is in order.


• But don’t vampires live forever? Apparently, only the “real” ones do. The Guardian brings the sad news that “Sir Christopher Lee, known as the master of horror, has died at the age of 93 after being hospitalized for respiratory problems and heart failure.” In addition to his horror-flick roles, Lee also played the villainous Scramanga in the 1974 Bond picture, The Man with the Golden Gun. More here.

• For The Strand Magazine, Joseph Finder (The Fixer) picks his 10 favorite heist novels, among them Donald E. Westlake’s The Hot Rock, Steve Hamilton’s The Lock Artist, Michael Crichton’s The Great Train Robbery, and Gerald Browne’s 19 Purchase Street.

• HBO-TV is really trying to whet our appetites for the second season of True Detective. It’s released two new video teasers for the show, which is scheduled to return on June 21. “Although terse--one of the teasers (titled ‘Stand’) contains no dialogue at all--some insight about the new characters can be gleaned,” avers Flavorwire.

• Author Henry Miller’s11 Commandments of Writing and Daily Routine” include one morsel of advice that I always try (and sometimes struggle) to bear in mind: “Write first and always. Painting, music, friends, cinema, all these come afterwards.”

• Bob Douglas has put together a helpful overview of Charles McCarry’s espionage novels for the blog Critics at Large.

• Speaking of guides to authors’ works, folks interested in exploring Henning Mankell’s acclaimed Kurt Wallander series--either in books or on screen--would do well to check out this piece in Crime Lover.

• The British Library has decided to bring back into print The Incredible Crime, a 1931 novel by Lois Austen-Leigh, the granddaughter of Jane Austen’s nephew. “[Austen-Leigh] seems to have completely slipped out of memory--even experts in the field haven’t heard of her,” says Robert Davies of the British Library. “But she wrote four crime novels. This first one has an academic setting in a Cambridge college, and is very well done. It’s a witty take on academic life in Cambridge.”

• J.K. Rowling’s third detective novel written under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith will be titled Career of Evil. It’s set for release in the UK in late October. I don’t find any U.S. publication date yet.

• Did you know author Lynda La Plante, who created the long-running TV police-procedural series Prime Suspect, has a new novel due out in the UK on September 24 starring the same protagonist? It’s titled simply Tennison (Simon & Schuster), and serves as a prequel to the small-screen drama. “In 1972 Jane Tennison, aged 22, leaves the Metropolitan Police Training Academy to be placed on probationary exercise in Hackney where criminality thrives,” reads the book’s plot description. “We witness her struggle to cope in a male-dominated, chauvinistic environment, learning fast to deal with shocking situations with no help or sympathy from her superiors. Then comes her involvement in her first murder case.” Again, no U.S. release date for this work has been publicized.

• La Plante, by the way, is scheduled to be “among the big names at this year’s Hay Festival Kells in County Meath,” reports Crime Fiction Ireland. That festival will run from June 25 to 28.

In Noah’s Archives, Scott Ratner delivers a lengthy and fascinating piece about the myth of “fair play” in Golden Age mystery fiction.

• And I’m well aware of James Franciscus’ 1971-1972 ABC-TV series Longstreet, which cast him as a blind insurance investigator in New Orleans. But I didn’t know until this week that he’d previously held the same sort of position in CBS’s The Investigators (1961). According to this fine piece by Michael Shonk, in Mystery*File, “The Investigators told the story of a major investigation firm that worked for various insurance companies around the country (or maybe the world). Investigators, Inc. was run by Russ Andrews [Franciscus] and Steve Banks [James Philbrook] and located in New York. … The Investigators is worth remembering for the work of director Joseph H. Lewis and giving TV its first female licensed P.I., Maggie Peters [played by Mary Murphy]. However it, as [well as] many other action and crime dramas during the 1961-62 season, was doomed by the changing times.” Only 13 episodes of this Thursday night program were aired.

1 comment:

Stark said...

“Sundance Channel . . . Deutschland 83 . . . event that will mark the first ever German-language program broadcast on American television …” MHZ Network, as part of their International Mystery programming, has been broadcasting German-language programs, mysteries by the way, for some time now.

The most recent series both of which were very good were “Bukow & Konig” about a sort of odd-couple pair of German cops, and “Cenk Batu” an undercover agent born in Germany to Turkish parents.

MHZ also broadcasts quite a few Scandinavian mysteries, including Wallander and Beck; French mysteries, most notably Maigret; Italian, such as Inspector Montalbano; and many others.