Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Treasures from the Genre’s Past

Two rather ambitious blog series have been launched of late, and promise to be with us for some while to come. If you have not already noticed these, you really should start paying attention.

Criminal Element is looking back at the last 64 years worth of books that have received the Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Novel from the Mystery Writers of America. Its series opened with Joe Brosnan revisiting the competition’s very first winner, in 1954: Beat Not the Bones, by Charlotte Jay, which he says is “surprisingly modern” and “undeniably a mystery novel, but … also doubles as an early example of anticolonial literature.” In the series’ second installment, Adam Wagner—who’d apparently never read one of Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe detective novels before now—considers the virtues and weaknesses of The Long Goodbye, which captured the Edgar in 1955. Among the books still to be considered are (in order of their Edgar victories) Margaret Millar’s Beast in View, Charlotte Armstrong’s A Dram of Poison, Ed Lacy’s Room to Swing, and one of my favorite private-eye novels, Stanley Ellin’s The Eighth Circle. You should be able to keep track of all Criminal Element’s Edgar posts here.

Concurrently, New York City bookstore owner, anthologist, and critic Otto Penzler is re-examining—for CrimeReads—what he maintains are the 107 “Greatest Crime Films of All-Time.” First up was Sleuth (1972), followed shortly by A Shot in the Dark (1964), Seven (1995), Dead End (1937), No Country for Old Men (2007), and Foreign Correspondent (1940). Only 101 selections to go, and I’m expecting to read about—and be enticed to see—more movies I haven’t already watched. Click here to find all of Penzler’s picks.

No comments: