Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Of Spies, Sales, and Speculations

Today’s quick hits from around the crime-fiction world.

• The August edition of Mike Ripley’s “Getting Away with Murder” column for Shots includes brief mentions of London’s “Summer of Spies” promotion, HarperCollins UK’s decision to reissue Desmond Bagley’s adventure thrillers, an “absolutely magnificent” John le Carré book cover, Mattias Boström’s thorough study of Sherlock Holmes’ rise “from fictional creation to media megastar,” and new novels by Will Dean, Brooke Magnanti, Karen Ellis, and others.

• Worrisome news from In Reference to Murder:
[T]he Seattle Mystery Bookshop is up for sale. Founded by Bill Farley 27 years ago, the shop has hosted a veritable who's who of crime-fiction authors through the years for talks and signings. The store sells both new and used books within the genre, from noir to cozy, espionage, classics, [and] historical, and also specializes in hard-to-find, collectible, and signed first editions and Northwest mysteries.

Current owner J.B. Dickey hastened to add that the store isn't closing … yet. But they already had to resort to a GoFundMe drive which brought in enough funds to pay off overdue bills and sock away enough to last through this past winter. As Dickey noted, “It bought us a year—but barely, and that has taken its toll. While we could do another such fundraiser, that’s not a viable way to continue in business.”
My fingers are crossed that Seattle Mystery Bookshop will find a buyer able to steady that store’s financial outlook for the long term.

• If you remember CBS-TV’s Q.E.D., you may be among the few people who do. As explained by Wikipedia, it was “a 1982 adventure television series set in Edwardian England, starring Sam Waterston as Professor Quentin Everett Deverill. The Professor was a scientific detective in the mold of Sherlock Holmes, and the series had a smattering of what would later be called steampunk [devices]. In the show, the lead character was known primarily by his initials, Q.E.D; the reference here is that Q.E.D. usually stands for quod erat demonstrandum, a statement signaling the end of a proof.” I barely recall this show, and I’m not sure I ever watched it when it was originally broadcast. But suddenly, I have a second chance. Somebody signing himself “Howard Carson” has posted all six of the hour-long Q.E.D. episodes on YouTube. Enjoy them while you can!

• Oops! Britain’s Daily Mirror newspaper is enduring a public thrashing over its allegedly “fabricated story” (cited recently in The Rap Sheet) about the next, 25th James Bond motion picture being set in Croatia and based on U.S. author Raymond Benson’s 2001 Bond continuation novel, Never Dream of Dying. “What has yet to be uncovered in this tale,” writes the Bond blog MI6, “is the original source of the false rumour. Most likely, someone e-mailed the Mirror’s showbiz tip line with the claims of having inside information.”

In a piece for The Paris Review, Megan Abbott remarks on In a Lonely Place, Dorothy B. Hughes’ 1947 genre-bending noir novel, which is set to be reissued by publisher NYRB Classics on August 15.

• Meanwhile, New York journalist-turned-fictionist Julia Dahl (Conviction) writes in the Columbia Journalism Review about her years as a freelancer for the tabloid New York Post—an experience that, as she has written elsewhere, “changed my life in more ways than I could have ever imagined.” Click here to read her recollections in CJR.

• For the list fanatics among us: Kirkus Reviews’ rundown of the “10 Most Overlooked Books of This Summer” includes Riley Sager’s Final Girls and Bill Loehfelm’s The Devil’s Muse. Among the Chicago Review of Books’ “12 Books You Should Definitely Read This August” are Ryan Gattis’ Safe, Christopher Swann’s Shadow of the Lions, and Augustus Rose’s The Readymade Thief. For the Strand Magazine blog, British Columbia author Sam Wiebe names his “Top 10 Vancouver Crime Novels.” And U.S. novelist Warren Adler delivers to Crime Fiction Lover a selection of his “Top 5 British [TV] Crime Shows.”

• Finally, congratulations are due The Spy Command and its managing editor, Bill Koenig, for reaching their first million pageviews. Koenig’s spy fiction-oriented blog debuted in 2008 as The HMSS Weblog, but was renamed in 2015, following the failure of its associated Web site, Her Majesty’s Secret Servant.

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