• My best experience thus far in April? Finally meeting Scottish author Philip Kerr, who I have interviewed twice via e-mail (see here and here), but have never talked with in person. Until today, that is, when he visited my hometown of Seattle to sign copies of his new Bernie Gunther novel, The Other Side of Silence, at the Seattle Mystery Bookshop. Before he began inking title pages, Kerr talked with a small group of devoted readers (mostly men, if that means anything) about how he researches and composes his award-winning World War II-era series. In the course of it, Kerr—dressed in jeans and a dark sport jacket, with a long blue scarf wrapped around his neck and a cup of Starbucks coffee at hand—mentioned that if he had the opportunity to meet just one Nazi leader, he’d like it to be Joseph Goebbels, who in addition to being Adolf Hitler’s propaganda minister was also a published novelist; that the plot of his next Gunther yarn, Prussian Blue, includes a murder at Berghof, Hitler’s residence in the Bavarian Alps; that he doesn’t maintain a detailed chronology of his protagonist’s history, believing the wise-cracking Gunther should be allowed some inconsistencies and prevarications in the stories he tells other people about his life; and that HBO-TV is considering launching a series based on his Gunther adventures. I’ve read every one of Kerr’s 11 Gunther books, so was more than a bit pleased to walk away from today’s bookstore encounter carrying a hardcover copy of The Other Side of Silence, signed to me from “Phil Kerr” and including the mischevious message, “Bernie says hi.”
• This is a most promising development, indeed: The Hollywood Reporter states that “The upcoming HBO drama [The Deuce] from David Simon has tapped novelists Megan Abbott and Lisa Lutz as new writers on the series. They’ll join current writers George Pelecanos, Richard Price, and Simon, who together penned the pilot. The project, which was given a series order in January, stars Maggie Gyllenhaal and James Franco and is in pre-production in New York. It follows the story of the legalization and subsequent rise of the porn industry in New York’s Times Square from the early 1970s through the mid-1980s, exploring the rough-and-tumble world that existed there until the rise of HIV, the violence of the cocaine epidemic, and the renewed real-estate market all ended the bawdy turbulence.”
• A post in Mystery Fanfare about forthcoming offerings from the British U.S. streaming service Acorn TV mentions that Season 9 of Murdoch Mysteries—the Canadian series based on Maureen Jennings’ novels about Victorian-era Toronto police detective William Murdoch—includes an episode in which former Star Trek captain William Shatner plays humorist Mark Twain. In the video below, Murdoch Mysteries lead Yannick Bisson explains that Shatner’s guest spot came about as a result of a series of Twitter communications.
• Delicious Foods, James Hannaham’s 2015 Gothic crime novel, has won the 2016 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction.
• Glenn Harper, who usually writes the International Noir Fiction blog, has a good piece in the Los Angeles Review of Books about Lene Kaaberbøl and Agnete Friis’ tetralogy of thrillers featuring Danish nurse Nina Borg (The Considerate Killer).
• Someday I hope there will be crime and mystery tales included among the
nominees for the Sarah Awards for audio fiction.
• And yesterday I noted that author Craig McDonald said, in a Facebook post, that his next Hector Lassiter novel will be titled Three Chords & the Truth. McDonald subsequently sent me a link to this interview he did with Steve Powell of The Venetian Vase, in which the handsome cover from that new book is featured.