• As The Spy Command reminds us, “Today, March 24, is the 100th anniversary of the birth of author Donald Hamilton, creator of Matt Helm.” More info about Helm and Hamilton can be found here.
• I mentioned yesterday that director Michael Mann is launching his own book-publishing imprint. What I hadn’t known until reading this item in the Crimespree Magazine blog is that “one of his first projects finds him teaming up with award-winning crime writer Don Winslow.” Jeremy Lynch goes on to explain that “Winslow will be crafting a novel based on the relationship between legendary organized crime bosses Tony Accord and Sam Giancana. And not surprisingly, plans are already underway to make a film out of it. Mann has, with The Story Factory’s Shane Salerno (Don’s co-writer on the screenplay for Savages), written a screenplay already. I would assume that Don will draw from the screenplay, but if a film is a made, a new draft will almost certainly be made to reflect where Don goes in the novel.”
• I always remember Oklahoma-born performer Larry Drake best for his regular part as Benny Stulwicz, a developmentally disabled office assistant on NBC-TV’s L.A. Law. However, blogger Terence Towles Canote makes clear that Drake, who died on March 17 at age 67, enjoyed a much more diverse and honored acting career. “Larry Drake was an extremely talented actor,” Canote writes in A Shroud of Thoughts. “When he was playing Benny on L.A. Law there were many in the general public who were convinced that he was actually developmentally challenged. His performance in the role was simply that convincing. What is more, he could play a wide variety of roles. Ruthless mobster Robert Durant in Darkman may be his second best known role and it is as far from the gentle Benny as one can get. Over the years Mr. Drake played everything from scientists to priests to rednecks to J. Edgar Hoover, and he did all of them well.”
• While any such list is suspect, Sadie Trombetta’s rundown of “13 of the Best Female Sleuths from Pop Culture” has much to commend it—including the fact that she includes Veronica Mars.
• So here’s an important question: What were the oddest-titled books published in 2015? Mashable has the answer.
• Speaking of titles … It isn’t often that the word “taffeta” figures into a novel’s name. So
when I spotted this post about Marla Cooper’s brand-new Terror in Taffeta, I thought immediately of Ben Benson’s 1953 police procedural, Target in Taffeta.
• Andrew Nette has a fine piece in Pulp Curry about English screenwriter-director Mike Hodges’ “underappreciated 1972 film, Pulp,” which he calls “a delight for any fan of cheap pulp paperback fiction.” You will find Nette’s post here.
• Need reading material for Easter Sunday? Check this out.
• Rolling Stone has just endorsed Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton for president. Writes publisher Jann S. Wenner: “On the question of experience, the ability to enact progressive change, and the issue of who can win the general election and the presidency, the clear and urgent choice is Hillary Clinton.”
• Pay attention, James Bond film fans: For his blog, Illustrated 007, Peter Lorenz interviews Cindy Wirth, who modeled for the poster artwork promoting the 1983 film Never Say Never Again.
• Since I have always loved libraries, I was interested to check out BookRiot’s list of “47+ of Your Favorite Books About Libraries.” Among those mentioned are Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose and Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s The Shadow of the Wind, two favorites of mine.
• Meanwhile, the Detroit Public Library’s main branch figures into this post showcasing Motor City historical landmarks. Since I lived for a while in Detroit, Michigan, I’m always interested in stories about its past and present. At the
link you will find photos and write-ups about 13 of the city’s surviving architectural wonders. I have visited most of them, but not all. Next time I’m in Detroit, I definitely have to pay a call on what remains of
Michigan Building and Theater!