Thursday, September 12, 2019

Bullet Points: On Heavy Meds Edition

Please pardon my silence of the week, for as tardy schoolchildren worldwide are often heard to say, “I have a good excuse!”

Within an hour of my wife and I returning home last Saturday from a couple of days away, I somehow managed to fall down my back steps and hit the concrete sidewalk below. There were no consequent head or neck injuries, but I did break five ribs on my left side, as well as one small bone in the elbow of my left arm, and I seriously knocked the wind out of myself. Now, I’ve broken ribs on two previous occasions, so I wasn’t terribly worried at first. However, when my left arm started to freeze up, I decided to take my wife’s advice and head for the nearest emergency room. There, it was discovered that my accident offered one further complication: I had a hematoma on my spleen. This combination of ills sent me in an ambulance to an intensive care unit, where I spent Sunday and Monday. After being thoroughly poked and prodded, and reassured that the hematoma was dissipating, I was finally sent home with pain medication and recommendations that I take it easy for a while. That lasted a couple of days, before I felt the need to jump back into at least some modest work schedule.

So look at the “Bullet Points” news compilation below as part of my recovery. I hope to post at least one additional thing on this page before week’s end, but we’ll see how my energy level holds up. Because, of course, I don’t want to tire myself out so greatly that I can’t also spend some of this downtime reading.

• Thirty-one-year-old Swedish actor Adam Pålsson will star as Henning Mankell’s renowned detective protagonist, Kurt Wallander, in a six-episode English-language series for Netflix, due out next year. This Young Wallander, which is apparently hoping to generate some of the same magic that has made a hit of Shaun Evans’ Inspector Morse prequel, Endeavour, will explore “Wallander’s first case and the experiences that shaped him as a person,” explains The Killing Times. “When the series begins, Wallander is in his 20s and a recent graduate from university now working as a uniformed police officer.” Beyond Pålsson, the show will feature Richard Dillane as Police Commissioner Hemberg, Leanne Best as Frida Rask, and Ellise Chappell as Mona Wallander. Filming is said to be currently underway.

• The BBC is spreading a trailer—embedded above—to promote its upcoming TV series Dublin Murders, which is based on Tana French’s succession of haunting modern-day mysteries. The eight episodes of Season 1 have been adapted from French’s first two best-sellers, In the Woods and The Likeness, and will star Killian Scott (Ripper Street) and Sarah Greene (Ransom). Dublin Murders will show next month in the UK, but as The Killing Times points out, it won’t premiere in the States until November 10, courtesy of the premium channel Starz.

• By the way, Dublin Murders is just one of many interesting new crime dramas being readied for small-screen broadcast in Britain over the next several months. Also among that bunch will be Vienna Blood, a BBC Two production based on Frank Tallis’ 2007 historical novel of that same name. Here’s a plot précis:
Starring Matthew Beard, and Juergen Maurer, Vienna Blood is set in 1900s Vienna, a hotbed of philosophy, science and art, where a clash of cultures and ideas play out in the city’s grand cafés and opera houses. Max Liebermann (Beard) is a brilliant young English doctor, studying under the famed psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud. When Max comes into contact with Oskar Rheinhardt (Maurer), an Austrian Detective Inspector struggling with a strange case, he offers his assistance. Max’s extraordinary skills of perception and forensics and his deep understanding of human behaviour and deviance help Oskar solve some of Vienna’s most mysterious and deadly cases.
We can only hope that Vienna Blood will make its way to this side of the Atlantic very soon.

• As TV Guide notes, “Sacha Baron Cohen is best known as the comedian and impersonator who has brought to life quirky characters like Ali G, Borat and Bruno, and whose character work in Who Is America? convinced several real-life politicians to say some hilarious and disturbing things. But his next dramatic role—playing real-life Israeli spy Eli Cohen in Netflix’s [new] thriller The Spy—looks like the perfect fit, especially based on the first trailer for the limited series.” You’ll find that preview here; The Spy debuted on Netflix last Friday, though I haven’t yet found time enough to watch it.

• Organizers of this year’s Bloody Scotland Crime Writing Festival (to be held in Stirling, Scotland, from September 20 to 22) have announced their list of finalists for the 2019 McIlvanney Prize:

Breakers, by Doug Johnstone (Orenda)
Conviction, by Denise Mina (Vintage)
The Way of All Flesh, by “Ambrose Parry,” aka Chris Brookmyre and Marisa Haetzman (Canongate)
A Treachery of Spies, by Manda Scott (Transworld)

You’ll find the longlist of nominees for that commendation here, together with the five books vying to take home the inaugural Debut Prize. The winners of these two awards will be made known during an opening reception for Bloody Scotland at Stirling’s Church of the Holy Rude on Friday, September 20. (Hat tip to The Gumshoe Site.)

• Meanwhile, the Australian Crime Writers Association has chosen the recipients of its 2019 Ned Kelly Awards as follows:

— Best Fiction: The Lost Man, by Jane Harper (Pan Macmillan Australia)
— Best True Crime: Eggshell Skull, by Bri Lee (Allen & Unwin)
— Best First Fiction: The Ruin, by Dervla McTiernan
(HarperCollins Australia)

Click here to see the shortlisted works in each of those categories.

• Could a woman play British spy James Bond in future installments of the still-popular film series? According to two men who have portrayed Ian Fleming’s protagonist in the past, Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig, the answer is yes. “I think we’ve watched the guys do it for the last 40 years, get out of the way, guys, and put a woman up there,” Brosnan (GoldenEye, Die Another Day) is quoted in The Washington Post as saying. “I think it would be exhilarating, it would be exciting.” Brosnan conceded, though, “that a female James Bond was unlikely, given executive producer Barbara Broccoli’s insistence that ‘Bond is male.’”

• Speaking of Agent 007, The Spy Command reports that French actress Léa Seydoux, who appeared as psychiatrist Dr. Madeleine Swann in 2015’s Spectre, will be given a larger-than-earlier-anticipated part in next year’s 25th Bond flick, No Time to Die. A Google translation of a story published in Brazil says Swann “will also play a considerable role in the plot, as her character will again appear working in a psychiatric clinic.” No Time to Die is due to be released in the UK on April 3, 2020, with its U.S. debut expected on April 8.

• Finally, the James Bond Radio podcast is expected to return sometime in October. Its future had been left in doubt, following the recent departure of co-host Chris Wright. An Apple podcast archive of existing installments can be found here.

• I was saddened to hear this news, in the wake of my being discharged from the hospital: Onetime child model and actress Carol Lynley—known for her roles in such theatrical releases as Under the Yum Yum Tree, Bunny Lake Is Missing and The Poseidon Adventure, as well as in TV programs ranging from Mannix and It Takes a Thief to The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and The Fall Guy—died on September 3 at age 77. I first remember spotting Lynley (who was born in New York City as Carole Ann Jones) in The Night Stalker, a 1972 ABC Movie of the Week in which she played the winsome blonde girlfriend of journalist-turned-monster hunter Carl Kolchak (Darren McGavin). I later enjoyed her performance in a two-part, 1974 episode of Bill Bixby’s The Magician, and subsequently saw her in Quincy, M.E., Kojak, and Richie Brockelman: Private Eye. Variety says that Lynley (left) perished at her home in Pacific Palisades, California, “after suffering a heart attack.”

• Sorry, but not even the addition of Agent Carter star Hayley Atwell to the expanding cast of Tom Cruise’s next Mission: Impossible picture (the seventh entry in that franchise) will convince me to plunk down real money for the “privilege” of watching Cruise struggle to appear tough again on screen.

• I’m far more likely to enjoy a very different Atwell role. This news item comes from B.V. Lawson’s In Reference to Murder:
The first trailer for Netflix’s new procedural drama, Criminal, is out, with David Tennant and Hayley Atwell starring as uncooperative suspects in the “innovative” police-procedural anthology series. Set entirely in the confines of a police interview suite, the show features 12 distinct stories that take place in four countries: the UK, France, Germany, and Spain.
• The latest edition of Clues: The Journal of Detection was recently published. As managing editor Elizabeth Foxwell explains, it’s a “theme issue on interwar mysteries guest edited by Victoria Stewart (University of Leicester, UK).” Topics include: “‘The Ghost of Dr. Freud Haunts Everything Today’: Criminal Minds in the Golden-Age Psychological Thriller”; “Capital Punishment and Women in the British Police Procedural: Josephine Tey’s A Shilling for Candles and To Love and Be Wise”; and “Whose Trauma? Dorothy L. Sayers’s Use of Shell Shock and the Role of Memory in Interwar Detective Fiction.”

• Three terrific historical pieces from CrimeReads:The Spectacle of Degradation,” in which Dominique Kalifa looks back at 19th-century tours of big-city underworlds; Kerri Maniscalco’s essay, “Was H.H. Holmes the Real Jack the Ripper?”; and “100 Years Ago, the Country Debated Arming Women to Combat Sexual Assaults,” by Amy Stewart, whose fifth and newest entry in her acclaimed Kopp Sisters series, Kopp Sisters on the March, will reach bookstores this month.

• Lee Goldberg makes a good point in this Facebook post:
I don’t get why author Carolyn Weston (1921-2001) is never mentioned in articles about ground-breaking female writers in the crime-writing genre. She was the author of three hard-boiled police procedurals in the late 1960s set in Santa Monica, California, and featuring detectives Al Krug, a seasoned veteran, and his partner Casey Kellog, a younger, college-educated surfer. It was a strong pairing … so strong that it led to [TV producer] Quinn Martin optioning the books, and adapting the first one, Poor, Poor Ophelia, into the pilot for The Streets of San Francisco. The [1972-1977] series was a huge hit, and yet (to my knowledge), Weston and her publisher never capitalized on the success. To my knowledge, no Streets of San Francisco tie-in editions of her books were ever released—which is astonishing. Weston also never wrote another book and is forgotten, even though her books became the basis for one of the best-known TV cop shows in history.

Five years ago, Brash Books acquired the copyright to the trilogy, republished them, and hired Robin Burcell to write a new book,
The Last Good Place, in the literary series (though we moved the action to present-day San Francisco to better align it with the TV series. …)
• Pay attention, folks: The submission process for Canada’s 2020 Arthur Ellis Awards opened on September 1. Submission rules and entry forms can be found at the link.

• Last but not least, here are a few author interviews worth checking out: CrimeReads interrogates Rachel Moore on the subject of her new non-fiction book, Savage Appetites: Four True Stories of Women, Crime, and Obsession; Speaking of Mysteries host Nancie Clare chats with Sherri Leigh James about her two Cissy Huntington whodunits, Blood Red and Iced Blue; and MysteryPeople has a few questions for Reed Farrel Coleman, whose brand-new Jessie Stone novel is Robert B. Parker’s The Bitterest Pill.


Patrick Murtha said...

Terribly sorry to hear about your fall. I live in terror of same (at age 61 now), and take exaggerated care to prevent it. Best wishes for a speedy recovery!

Deborah said...

So sorry to hear about your accident. Hope you recover soon.

Art Taylor said...

Thanks for the round-up of news—great as always—but so sorry to hear about the fall and the further complications from it. Sending good wishes your way for the recovery to speed along!!!

BVLawson said...

Oh no, Jeff! So sorry to hear about your mishap. Hope you're back running marathons again soon - or the writing equivalent thereof. :-)

Mark Coggins said...

Very sorry to hear about your accident, Jeff. Heal quickly!

June Lorraine Roberts said...

My sister fell and broke six ribs, broke her collarbone and bruised her lung. Five weeks later she was in the pool paddling around a bit with a pool noodle to help - She's 81. Get better soon, I know you can do it.

Bill Selnes said...

Sorry to hear of your fall. Even will injured you show amazing energy. I hope recovery goes well and quickly.

J. Kingston Pierce said...

Thank you, everyone, for your kind wishes. Not being a good sick person -- one who stays obediently in bed -- I've been as up-and-about and working as much as I think wise. I am due to be re-evaluated by doctors this week, and expect they'll encourage somewhat greater idleness on my part. Meanwhile, a pill or two here and there have allowed me a moderate work and reading pace.

I recall that the last time I broke ribs (three on that occasion), it took me several weeks to stop groaning every time I tried to rise from bed or a chair. I expect the same this time. I'll do what I can to keep all of my usual balls in the air, but may have to delay (briefly) work on several projects. We shall see.


Elizabeth Foxwell said...

Thanks for the mention, Jeff. Hope you're feeling better soon.

Lee Goldberg said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your accident. Listen to the doctors and take it easy! You can read some books and watch old TV shows -- that's work, isn't it?