Saturday, July 01, 2017

Mystery Morsels

Happy Canada Day, everyone! Since my maternal grandfather was born and reared in Victoria, British Columbia, I have always felt some affinity toward the United States’ estimable northern neighbor. Today marks 150 years since the Canada we now know became “a single Dominion within the British Empire.” To celebrate this occasion, Crime Fiction Lover has posted a selection of what it contends are “The Best Canadian Crime Novels of All Time.” Consulted on this matter was Montreal resident Jacques Filippi—editor of the still-on-hiatus House of Crime and Mysteryso you’re guaranteed that the 10 highlighted works of fiction (which include novels by John McFetridge, Louise Penny, and even Ross Macdonald) won’t disappoint.

• To learn more about Canada’s crime-fiction heritage, check out a two-part study I did of the matter for Kirkus Reviews a few years back. Part I is here, Part II is here. And don’t miss my 2013 interview with Marilyn Rose, a professor in the Department of English at Ontario’s Brock University and the co-creator of the online database CrimeFictionCanada, or Kevin Burton Smith’s essay “on why crime fiction from north of the border does not receive more attention from U.S. readers.”

• Speaking of Canadian crime … Brian Busby, the editor of Véhicule Press’ noir mystery imprint, Ricochet Books, tells me that The Pyx, the 1959 debut novel from Montrealer John Buell—about the case of “a heroin-addicted call girl” who “dies in a fall from a swanky penthouse terrace”—has been reissued in Canada by Ricochet, and will become available in the States on September 1. Busby has opined that “No Canadian novelist has been so unjustly neglected as John Buell. He was published by Farrar, Straus, he was praised by Edmund Wilson, and he has been out of print for more than a quarter century. I never once heard John Buell's name in the years I studied at Concordia University … the very same university at which he was teaching.”

• London’s small but prominent Goldsboro Books has announced the longlist of contenders for its inaugural Glass Bell Award for Contemporary Fiction. They include at least three books that can be classified as crime/thriller fiction: The North Water, by Ian McGuire (Scribner); Pendulum, by Adam Hamdy (Headline); and I See You, by Clare Mackintosh (Sphere). A roster of finalists is expected by September 1, with the winner to be declared on September 28.

• Uh-oh! The rebooted Hawaii Five-0 is losing two members of its original, central cast—Daniel Dae Kim and the lovely Grace Park—“in a pay dispute,” The Spy Command Reports. “The two ‘had been seeking pay equality with stars Alex O’Loughlin and Scott Caan, but were unable to reach satisfactory deals with CBS Television Studios, which produces the series,’ Variety said. “Kim and Park were believed to be making 10-15% less than O’Loughlin and Caan.”

• It’s July 1—time for a new installment of Mike Ripley’s “Getting Away with Murder” in Shots. This month’s column includes mentions of new or forthcoming books by Simon Scarrow, Bonnie MacBird, Peter Murphy, Michael Connelly, and Holly Seddon.

• Deadline Hollywood reports that the big-screen version of Don Winslow’s The Force (Morrow), his new novel about camaraderie and corruption within the New York Police Department, should be released by 20th Century Fox in March 2019. David Mamet has been charged with penning the screenplay.

In a fine “By the Book” column for The New York Times Book Review, Winslow explains what kind of works he reads (paper or electronic?) and how he reads them:
Paper, definitely. I have to hold that book, although I actually prefer paperbacks to hardcovers, maybe from the time when I couldn’t afford the latter.

I read several books at a time; they’re scattered around the house like coffee cups, and I read them depending on where I am. I usually read at night because most of my daytime reading is work-related research. The exception is Sunday, when I make it a rule to do nothing but read for pleasure. My wife and I do a four- to six-mile hike, and then I come home, sit outside and read until it’s dark. It’s the best.
This sounds like a history volume I ought to own.

• We now have two more lists of “the best books of 2017 … so far.” This first one comes from the Chicago Review of Books and includes four works I’d classify as crime, mystery, or thriller: Danny Gardner’s A Negro and an Ofay; J. Robert Lennon’s Broken River; Kristen Lepionka’s The Last Place You Look; and Lori Rader-Day’s The Day I Died. Meanwhile, Powell’s Books’ mid-year round-up mentions only one title that fits neatly into this genre, Peter Heller’s Celine, but its other picks are interesting, as well.

• Finally, Sarah Schmidt, Australian author of the forthcoming historical suspense novel See What I Have Done (Atlantic Monthly Press), finds a spot in Publishers Weekly’s list of “Writers to Watch Fall 2017: Anticipated Debuts.”

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