Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Of Surveys, Series, and Circus Clowns

• After having solicited numerous nominations online for its annual Dead Good Reader Awards, the British crime-fiction Web site Dead Good is now asking people to vote for their favorites in six categories, everything from The Nosy Parker Award for Best Amateur Detective and The Jury’s Out Award for Most Gripping Courtroom Drama to The Cat and Mouse Award for Most Elusive Villain. Included among the candidates this year are The Taking of Annie Thorne, by C.J. Tudor; Thirteen, by Steve Cavanagh; The Passengers, by John Marrs; and Beautiful Liars, by Isabel Ashdown. Click here to take part in this competition. Polls will remain open through Wednesday, July 17, with winners set to be announced on Friday, July 19, at the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate, England.

• If five seasons of Bosch haven’t already satisfied your craving for Michael Connelly television adaptations, then here’s good news: Deadline reports that CBS-TV “has given a series production commitment to The Lincoln Lawyer.” David E. Kelly, creator of The Practice and Ally McBeal, will apparently write the show and serve as one of its three executive producers, along with Connelly and Ross Fineman (Goliath). As with the 2011 big-screen picture based on Connelly’s novel of the same name, CBS’ The Lincoln Lawyer “centers on Mickey Haller, an iconoclastic idealist, who runs his law practice out of the back of his Lincoln Town Car, as he takes on cases big and small across the expansive city of Los Angeles.” There’s no word yet on who’ll play Haller in the series.

• Believe it or not, there’s still no official news yet regarding which books and authors are finalists for the 2019 Nero Award, to be given out by The Wolfe Pack, a New York City-based Nero Wolfe/Archie Goodwin fan organization. In mid-June, Mystery Fanfare blogger Janet Rudolph posted a partial list of contendersThe Fallen Architect, by Charles Belfoure, and The Man Who Couldn’t Miss, by David Handler—based solely on Web chatter. However, that’s everything either she or I know so far. I have e-mailed Nero Award chair Stephannie Culbertson in search of information, but have heard nothing back. Last year’s Nero recipient was August Snow, by Stephen Mack Jones.

CrimeReads has released an inventory of what its editors believe are “the best books of the year (so far).” Among those 25 picks are Lauren Wilkinson’s American Spy, Don Winslow’s The Border, Niklas Natt och Dag’s The Wolf and the Watchman, Lyndsay Faye’s The Paragon Hotel, Philip Kerr’s Metropolis, and Ausma Zehanat Khan’s A Deadly Divide. Several of CrimeReads’ choices also appeared on my own my own list of early 2019 crime-fiction preferences.

Crime-fiction expert and Financial Times contributor Barry Forshaw selects four novels he thinks every reader of crime and mystery fiction should investigate this summer.

• Tim Mason, author The Darwin Affair, recalls Charles Dickens’ great interest in London’s mid-19th-century police force, which helped give rise to what was “perhaps his greatest novel,” Bleak House (1853). In turn, it was Bleak House that inspired Mason’s excellent new historical mystery, The Darwin Affair, which stars Scotland Yard detective Charles Frederick Field, the often impulsive flesh-and-blood model for Dickens’ famous Inspector Bucket.

• In a two-part post for his blog, Mysteries and More from Saskatchewan (see here and here), attorney Bill Selnes reassess the controversial involvement of New York City prosecutor-turned-novelist Linda Fairstein in the notorious Central Park Five case. It was her role in that pursuit of charges against five alleged teenage rapists (beginning in 1990) that has led of late to the Mystery Writers of America withdrawing her nomination as one of its Grand Masters, and to her publisher booting Fairstein from its stable.

• For Mystery Scene magazine, Ben Boulden surveys the long, colorful history of mysteries set around circuses and carnivals.

• New Zealand actress-singer Lucy Lawless, best known for her ass-kicking role in Xena: Warrior Princess (1995–2001), is returning to television—at least in Australia. According to The Killing Times, she will play Alexa Crowe, “a brilliant, charismatic and ever-so-slightly scruffy ex-homicide detective,” in My Life Is Murder, a 10-part crime drama scheduled to debut Down Under within the next several weeks. Let’s hope this show eventually makes it to the States.

• And who remembers the 1985 made-for-TV movie Izzy and Moe, featuring Jackie Gleason and Art Carney (formerly co-stars of The Honeymooners) as a pair of Prohibition-era federal cops, their characters based on highly successful, real-life liquor-law enforcers? At least for the nonce, that 92-minute film is available on YouTube in 10 parts. Watch it now, before it disappears!

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