• Following on Ali Karim’s recent post about the second series run of Bosch—the crime drama based on Michael Connelly’s award-winning police procedurals—comes news that the Amazon TV-streaming service has renewed Bosch for a third season. Connelly says that “We are going to adapt The Black Echo and elements of A Darkness More than Night this time around.” I look forward to seeing the results.
• New Zealand author Neil Cross, who I noted last week is in the running for a BAFTA (British Academy Television Craft Awards) commendation in the TV drama-writing category, has been tapped to adapt Patricia Highsmith’s The Talented Mr. Ripley and four later works featuring “dapper psychopath” Tom Ripley for television. “Landing Cross for the project is a coup,” says Variety, “as the scribe has been courted for TV in the U.S. following the success of Luther, the BBC drama starring Idris Elba.”
• Word is that the fourth season of BBC-TV’s Sherlock, starring Benedict Cumberbatch—preliminarily scheduled for broadcast in the UK in early 2017—“will be darker compared to the previous installments. Meanwhile, Martin Freeman, who plays the character of Doctor Watson, hinted that [Watson’s wife] Mary Morstan will die in the upcoming season. [And] Thor star Tom Hiddleston has also been rumored to be the third brother of the Holmes family.” Wait, what was that? Third brother?
• We bid a sad farewell to Douglas Wilmer,
the English actor who portrayed Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous “consulting detective” in a succession of Sherlock Holmes story adaptations made by BBC-TV between 1965 and 1968. Wilmer went on to appear in such films as Patton
(1970), The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes’ Smarter Brother (1975), Revenge of the Pink Panther (1978), and the 1983 James Bond adventure, Octopussy. As The Guardian’s obituary recalls, “In 2012, at the very end of his acting career, he made a special cameo appearance in an episode of BBC’s Sherlock as an irate old man at The Diogenes Club alongside Benedict Cumberbatch’s Holmes.” Wilmer passed away on March 31 “after a short bout of pneumonia.” He was 96 years old.
• It’s good to see that Criminal Element’s Leslie Gilbert Elman, who did such excellent work
last year keeping track of Grantchester’s premiere season on PBS-TV, is back recapping the Season 2 installments. Her assessment of last night’s episode is here, and you’ll find all of her write-ups here. Grantchester, starring James Norton and
Robson Green, resumed broadcasting under the Masterpiece series umbrella on March 27, and will show through Sunday, May 1.
• Someday I hope to be lucky enough to attend the annual Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival held in Harrogate, England. Not this year, though ... which is unfortunate, for In Reference to Murder brings news that the event, which will take place from July 21 to 24, now has its guest-star lineup. It “includes authors Peter James, Jeffery Deaver, Martina Cole, Neil Cross, Linwood Barclay, Tess Gerritsen, Val McDermid, and Gerald Seymour. Conference organizers encourage fans to ‘grab a pint of Yorkshire’s finest ale, and dip into an intoxicating mix of comedy, heated debate, and scintillating socializing’ at Agatha Christie’s old haunt, the luxurious Old Swan Hotel.”
• Meanwhile, this year’s lineup for Val McDermid’s much-watched Harrogate “New Blood” panel
of fast-rising crime novelists has been announced. Its members will be Martin Holmen (Clinch), J.S. Law (Tenacity), Beth Lewis (The Wolf Road, and Abir Mukherjee
(A Rising Man). That panel presentation is scheduled to take place at noon on Saturday, July 23, at the Old Swan Hotel.
• Rap Sheet contributor Gary Phillips is one busy guy, as he makes clear in this interview with fellow author S.W. Lauden.
• I’m starting to fear that the aggregator Web site CrimeSpot might be out of business. Founded in 2006 by Texan Graham Powell, it quickly became a popular resource, drawing together posts from a wide variety of blogs focused on crime, mystery, and thriller fiction. However, the last time CrimeSpot was updated was in December of last year. A few weeks ago, I sent Powell an e-note inquiring about his page’s future. “I haven’t had much time to work on it,” he told me, “and it really hasn’t been a high priority. You’re only the second person to ask me about it! But I guess I better get off my behind and get it straightened out.” We can only hope he does.
• A little visual entertainment: “18 Movie Poster Clichés That Prove Hollywood Has Run Out of Ideas.”
Mystery Fanfare: “Deadline reports that ... Sharp Objects, a drama series project starring Amy Adams [and based on Gillian Flynn's 2006 novel of the same name], has been picked up by HBO with an eight-episode straight-to-series first season order. Marti Noxon (UnReal) is show-runner for the project, with Jean-Marc Vallée (Wild) directing. Noxon wrote the pilot script and Flynn is set to write multiple episodes. The book was picked up five years ago by Jason Blum and Blumhouse Productions, long before Gone Girl was a hit movie.”
• Folks who read Philip Kerr’s new Bernie Gunther novel, The Other Side of Silence, might be particularly interested in watching this 1981 video showing “Kim Philby, Britain’s most notorious cold war traitor, [telling] an audience of East German spies after his defection that he was able
to avoid being rumbled for so long because he had been ‘born into the British governing class.’ … Philby also describe[s] how he was able to walk out of secret service headquarters every night with his briefcase stuffed with secret documents and reports.”
• I don’t think I mentioned this before, but during the lead-up to his recent heart surgery, Max Allan Collins penned a blog post about having sold his original, 70,000-word movie tie-in novelization of Road to Perdition to publisher Brash Books. As most readers of The Rap Sheet know, the 2002 Tom Hanks/Paul
Newman picture was based on Collins’ 1998 graphic novel Road to Perdition. In his novelization, Collins explains, “I attempted to be true to the screenplay while weaving in material from the graphic novel as well as historical material about the real John Looney and his era. The DreamWorks licensing department put me through hell, making me cut anything—including dialogue!—that wasn’t directly from the script. They could not have cared less that I was the creator of this story and its characters. Even after they had accepted my 40,000-word debasement of my original novel, they kept cutting—if, in the film-editing process, director Sam Mendes dropped a scene or even a few lines of dialogue, they removed that from my novel as well. One chapter was reduced to a page and a half.” Collins says the Brash Books edition of Road to Perdition will be the full novelization, and that its release will be followed by new editions of the sequels Road to Purgatory (2004) and Road to Paradise (2005).
• I don’t always find the free time necessary to listen in on Les Blatt’s weekly “Classic Mysteries”
podcast, but I am never disappointed when I do. His latest audio feature examines Charles Warren Adams’ The Notting Hill Mystery, published as a book in 1865 and “said to be the first real detective novel ever written.”
• Not long ago I mentioned that Sadie Trombetta had assembled a “listicle” for Criminal Element that showcased “13 of the Best Female Sleuths from Pop Culture.” Well, now she’s back with another 23 nominees, based on reader recommendations. I’m most pleased to see Laura Holt (from Remington Steele) and Liza Cody’s ex-cop-turned-private investigator, Anna Lee, make this latest cut.
• Like many people, I fear, I wasn’t aware that film and TV critic Edward Copeland (real name
Scott Schuldt), who for most of a decade wrote and edited the blog Edward Copeland’s Tangents, died this last New Year’s Eve “after a long battle with Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis.” He was 46 years old. Schuldt’s
colleague Ivan G. Shreve Jr. offers up these moving memories of the late writer.
• There doesn’t seem to be any word about this on either author Craig McDonald’s Web site or the Amazon sales site, but McDonald mentioned in a Facebook post yesterday
that his final Hector Lassiter novel (the 10th, I believe) will be titled Three Chords & the Truth, and that it will include “a fleeting appearance” by country-and-western singer Merle Haggard. McDonald says Three Chords is “coming this autumn from Betimes Books.”
• If you don’t know this already, writer-filmmaker Peter Hanson has developed an interesting blog called Every ’70s Movie, which most recently focused on The Streets of San Francisco, the 1972 TV flick—based on Carolyn Weston’s
novel Poor, Poor Ophelia—that led to the 1972-1977 ABC crime drama of the same name starring Karl Malden and Michael Douglas.
• Finally, there are two milestones worth observing. First, the fourth
birthday of Deadline Detroit, the online news site founded in 2012 by my old friend Allan Lengel, who used to work for the The Washington Post and the Detroit News (as well as Monthly Detroit, which is where I met him), and Bill McGraw, another Detroit News alumnus. I’m very pleased to see the site growing and—despite some financial headaches—establishing itself as a valuable resource
for Motor City residents seeking information about and insight into their struggling but important town. Second, last week brought the 40th birthday—wow!—of Seattle Weekly (formerly just The Weekly), founded in 1976 by David Brewster and Darrell Oldham. I joined the Weekly editorial staff in the mid-1980s, after first being hired to edit a sister publication, the Bainbridge Island-based Puget Sound Enetai, and stayed with it until the end of that decade. Unfortunately, the celebration of the Weekly’s history was pretty darn unimaginative—consisting of four essays looking back at the last four decades. But those of us who worked for the paper in its “alternative journalism” heyday (it’s now a shadow of its former self) remember it as a lively, civically involved, and sometimes provocative publication well deserving of the many awards it earned over the years.