Thursday, September 27, 2018

A Mystery Miscellanea

• The Killing Times reports that French actress Eva Green (Casino Royale, Penny Dreadful) has been signed to star in a British television adaptation of Eleanor Catton’s Man Booker Prize-winning novel, The Luminaries (2013). “The period tale of adventure and mystery is set on the Wild West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island in the boom years of the 1860s gold rush,” the blog explains. “It’s billed as an epic story of love, murder and revenge, as men and women traveled across the world to make their fortunes.” Variety notes that Green will be appearing in this six-part BBC Two production opposite Eve Hewson (The Knick) and Marton Csokas (Into the Badlands). The Luminaries is set to start filming in November of this year.

• Catherine Turnbull has posted a fine retrospective, in Crime Fiction Lover, on the 2018 Bloody Scotland International Crime Writing Festival, which took place from September 21 to 23.

• If you caught my article in CrimeReads about original Philip Marlowe private-eye stories published since Raymond Chandler’s death in March 1959, you know that I was hesitant to read Lawrence Osborne’s recent Marlowe outing, Only to Sleep, but wound up with a generally favorable opinion of the work. So I was also interested to read the author’s new essay in The New York Times Book Review about how he came to write that novel and how his own experiences as a reporter in Mexico informed his fiction.

• “Burt Reynolds made his share of dogs, which he’d be the first to admit, but in 1981 he released Sharky’s Machine, a rock-solid cop noir about dirty money and easy virtue,” writes SleuthSayers’ David Edgerley Gates. He goes on to call Sharky’s Machine “Burt Reynolds' high-water mark” as a director. Hmm. I guess it’s about time I watched that film, which somehow passed me by.

• Author and former journalism professor Richard Hoyt wrote me recently to announce that he’s trying to crowd-fund the publication of a topical work of black humor called Pussy Bomb: The Rude Truth About President Ronald Strangedick. He describes this outlandish but “hip” standalone yarn as “an expanded, rewritten and updated version” of his 1984 Jim Quint novel, Cool Runnings, which “dealt with the awkward reality that a battlefield or ‘suitcase’ nuke weighing from 10 to 20 pounds—large enough to evaporate Manhattan—can be smuggled in the hold of a cargo ship, in a sailboat, or in the bed of a Ford pickup.” Hoyt also said Pussy Bomb “satirizes the thriller genre, the national security apparatus, and Donald Trump.” Reading the synopsis—available here—is likely to make your head spin, what with its converging plots about North Korea’s efforts to spread nuclear destruction, a humiliated jihadist seeking revenge, and a CIA agent who’s struggling to keep U.S. President Strangedick, “a paranoid narcissist, from going totally off the rails.” You can read the first 50 pages of Pussy Bomb on Hoyt’s Facebook page. He’s set a deadline of Sunday, October 21, to sell 500 “pre-orders.”

• Happy 50th anniversary to the original Hawaii Five-O! The Spy Command reminds us that that “cop show with a spy twist” first aired on CBS-TV on September 20, 1968.

From The Hollywood Reporter:
Not content with solving murders in Titan Comics and Hard Case Crime’s graphic novels, period detective Minky Woodcock is making the leap to the stage with this week’s opening of a new play based on her first appearance, just as Titan announces details of her upcoming second case.

Created by author, artist and playwright Cynthia von Buhler, Minky—a private detective and rabbit lover in the 1920s—made her debut in the four-issue series
The Girl Who Handcuffed Houdini in 2017; the critically acclaimed series, which also won praise from Neil Gaiman, was released in a hardcover collected edition last month.

Now, it’s become a live-action stage play written and directed by von Buhler, opening at Theater 80 in New York City on Wednesday and running through Nov. 10. Really, “stage play” doesn’t begin to describe the show, which takes place over three floors of the theater, with audience members choosing whether to be spiritualists, pragmatists or Houdini’s guests as the action unfolds, with their choice changing what they watch throughout the night.
The next Minky Woodcock comic-books series, Minky Woodcock: They Die Fast on Broadway, is set to go on sale in 2019.

• Reed Farrel Coleman, writing about the connections between alcohol and crime fiction: “When I’m asked about the drinking habits of Chandler, Hammett, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Faulkner, or whomever, I say that it’s about emotional access. My theory—and it is just that, a theory—is that these men used alcohol in two ways: to either ease the process of accessing their emotions or to self-medicate after the experience. Is there any validity to it? Probably some, but maybe not. What makes sense isn’t always so. It sounds good at speaking engagements and the audiences like it.”

• I always enjoyed Vincent Price’s introductions to the PBS-TV series Mystery!, which he delivered from 1981 to 1989. So I was pleased to find this example online. In it, he not only prepares viewers for Part 3 of Praying Mantis, starring Jonathan Pryce and Cherie Lunghi, but also ponders the definition of what constitutes a “mystery.”

• I’ve never met Bill Cosby, but like so many other people, I am familiar with him from his many television appearances (mostly, for me, in I Spy and The Cosby Mysteries), his co-starring role in 1972’s Hickey & Boggs, and his comedy albums (especially 1973’s Fat Albert). So when I heard on Tuesday that the now 81-year-old performer had been sentenced to three to 10 years in prison for sexual assault, I had a hard time wrapping my mind around the news. Cosby has a long history of sexual assault charges, and I don’t disagree that the evidence required his sentencing; but it was jarring to reconcile his criminality with my appreciation of his acting and my memories of laughing at his comic routines. I wasn’t the only one with such mixed feelings, as I learned by reading this piece in the Los Angeles Times by deputy television editor Greg Braxton.

• Bruce K. Riordan, a federal prosecutor in Los Angeles, chooses his 12 favorite police procedurals from among the myriad such movies and TV shows produced over the last half century. And yes, he includes both Bullitt (1968) and the initial season of True Detective.

• Finally, a few more author interviews deserving of your attention: Martin Edwards talks with Steven Powell of The Venetian Vase about his new historical crime novel, Gallows Court; for Jeff Rutherford’s Reading and Writing Podcast, Ace Atkins answers questions having to do with his latest Quinn Colson novel, The Sinners; Ivy Pochada (Wonder Valley) is the guest on the third episode of the Killing Times Podcast; The Christian Science Monitor chats with Ovidia Yu on the subject of her latest Singapore-set cozy, The Frangipani Tree Mystery; and Crime Watch’s Craig Sisterson quizzes Simone Buchholz, the German author of Mexikoring and Blue Night.


FurryBootsCityBoy said...

Sharky’s Machine was based on the novel by William Diehl and is well worth a read. Film is good too.

Kevin R. Tipple said...

You are not the only one having a hard time wrapping the mind around the Bill Cosby news. What has come out about him is a shock and horrific.

I also have questions whether it was necessary at his age and with his issues to name him a "violent sexual predator" as well as throw him in jail. At 81 and blind, whatever he was he is not now so the designation is not to serve community interest, but make some folks feel good about getting justice. At 81 and blind and with his celebrity status, he is going to tie up a lot of prison staff and resources. I think the designation is meaningless with his situation and a lot of tax payer dollars are going to be spent that could have been better used confining him at home.