Thursday, October 03, 2019

Bullet Points: All Over the Place Edition

• Here’s a mystery for you: Earlier this year—following TNT-TV’s late-2018 broadcast of a mini-series based on The Alienist, Caleb Carr’s 1994 historical crime thriller—Mulholland Books announced that it would publish two brand-new Carr tales starring psychologist Dr. Laszlo Kreizler. The first of those, to be titled The Alienist at Armageddon, was supposed to take place in 1915 and find Kreizler and his cohort, New York Times reporter John Moore, probing a series of deadly explosions on the eve of World War I. Mulholland proclaimed the book would be released on September 1, 2019. Well, that date has obviously come and gone, and there’s no Armageddon. In fact, Mulholland has scrubbed a page devoted to the novel from its Web site. The Amazon sales site claims an e-book version of Armageddon will appear in September 2022—three years away!—but even that could change, and it makes no mention of a print edition. Is this a case of an author blowing past his deadline? Or has the decision been made to hold off on Armageddon’s release until after TNT broadcasts its Alienist sequel, The Angel of Darkness (based on Carr’s 1997 work of the same name)? And what does this all mean for the promised fourth book in the Kreizler series, a prequel titled The Strange Case of Miss Sara X? I wish I had the answers, but only time will tell.

Mystery Scene magazine’s latest issue (Fall 2019) leads with a fine profile of Ruth Ware, the British author of The Turn of the Key. Elsewhere in its pages can be found Michael Mallory’s look back at fictional detective Captain Hugh “Bulldog” Drummond, a fixture of fiction between the two world wars; Oline H. Cogdill’s assessment of half a dozen recently introduced “writers to watch,” among them Rachel Howell Hall and Stephen Mack Jones; a piece by Craig Sisterson on translated crime and mystery fiction; and a remembrance of the encounter between author Stuart Palmer (the creator of amateur sleuth Hildegarde Withers) and Groucho Marx on a 1954 episode of You Bet Your Life.

• Let’s hope this comes to pass: Anthony Horowitz, who has already penned two remarkable James Bond novels—Trigger Mortis (2015) and Forever and a Day (2018)— tells the Radio Times that he’s “in discussions” to write a third 007 yarn.
“I would certainly consider it,” he said. “I don’t know when [it’ll happen], because I’m pretty busy at the moment.

“I’ve got a sequel to [the 2016 book]
Magpie Murders I’ve just finished, literally last week, and I’ve got two more Hawthorne novels [featuring private investigator Daniel Hawthorne] to write, another Alex Rider … but if I can, and if the estate—the Ian Fleming family—and the publishers are happy for me to do it, then I’m certainly game.

“I would love to. I think there’s one more in me at least.”
• BBC One has confirmed that it will begin airing the psychological thriller Dublin Murders, based on Tana French’s best-selling succession of haunting modern-day mysteries, on Monday, October 14. The second of that program’s initial eight episodes will be shown the next evening. Dublin Murders is still slated to premiere in the States on Sunday, November 10, courtesy of the premium channel Starz.

• In honor of Graham Greene’s birth, 115 years ago this week, CrimeReads managing editor Dwyer Murphy has compiled 10 of that author’s most memorable opening paragraphs. Let me recommend, especially, his excerpt from The Third Man (1949).

• I’m very sorry to hear about the death last week of Wayne Fitzgerald, “the main title designer who set the tone and atmosphere for hundreds of films, from Auntie Mame and Pillow Talk to The Godfather: Part II and Total Recall,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. He passed away on September 30 “on South Whidbey Island in Washington after a brief illness.” Fitzgerald was 89 years old. Over the last few years, I have sought to contract Fitzgerald through several avenues, hoping to talk with him about his TV work, but I was never successful. Now he’s forever beyond my reach. As the Web site The Art of the Title recalls, the Los Angeles-born designer put in 17 years at Pacific Title & Art Studio, creating the opening sequences for such films as The Music Man and My Fair Lady, and for small-screen shows including Maverick and Mr. Ed, before starting his own design firm in 1967. Among his numerous other credits were the main titles for television programs on the order of The Bold Ones, Sarge, Switch, Tucker’s Witch, Quincy, M.E. and Matlock, and for movies ranging from Chinatown (1974) and Farewell, My Lovely (1975) to The Seven-Per-Cent Solution (1976), The Electric Horseman (1979), and Terms of Endearment (1983). I’m embedding four of my favorite Fitzgerald title designs below, in this order: the NBC Sunday Mystery Movie (with theme music by Henry Mancini), It Takes a Thief (theme by Dave Grusin), Night Gallery (music by Gil Mellé), and the 1967 motion picture Bonnie and Clyde (theme by Charles Strouse). The Hollywood Reporter observes that Fitzgerald picked up three Emmy Awards for his introductions. (Hat tip to The Spy Command.)

• Terence Towles Canote has his own Wayne Fitzgerald obituary, in his blog A Shroud of Thoughts. It includes this tidbit: “While his contemporaries were often known for a specific style, Mr. Fitzgerald's titles could vary stylistically. If there is one thing that his titles had in common, it is that in many ways they were movies in and of themselves. His titles were closely-knit, but never cluttered, and in many cases told stories all their own. It was his talent at montage, at creating what were essentially ‘mini-movies’ with his titles, that allowed him to be so prolific. In being able to create titles that were works of art in and of themselves, Wayne Fitzgerald guaranteed he would always be in demand.”

• Whoops! In my post earlier this week about the recipients of prizes presented during London’s inaugural Capital Crime festival, I failed to mention that Ashley Harrison had been named as the winner of the New Voices Award for her book, The Dysconnect. Victoria Goldman and Patti Buff were identified as runners-up for that same commendation.

• This item comes from In Reference to Murder:
Rebus is set to return to TV screens after over a decade away. The detective drama starred Ken Stott in the role of DI John Rebus for three seasons when John Hannah quit the role after the first series. Rebus creator, Scottish author Ian Rankin, has confirmed its long-awaited comeback and that new episodes are on the way with Gregory Burke penning the scripts. It’s said the new episode could have a Nordic Noir-style, while Rankin (who has penned 22 books featuring Rebus) will have a much bigger say in how the series is run.

No broadcast date has been set yet, and there is no word on whether the show would return to ITV.
• That same blog notes that today marks 30 years since the founding of Scottsdale, Arizona’s now landmark Poisoned Pen Bookstore. “To celebrate,” it explains, “owner Barbara Peters and her staff will host a cake and champagne party featuring author Joe Hill (NOS4A2) in conversation with attorney and editor, Leslie Klinger. Other guests include John Sandford, author of the Prey series; James Rollins, author of the Sigma Force series; and Anne Perry, author of the Thomas Pitt and William Monk series.” Congratulations are certainly in order!

• The latest Paperback Warrior podcast focuses on Max Allan Collins’ series of novels starring the hit man known as Quarry, as well as Appointment in Iran, the 23rd action-packed Butcher novel by “Stuart Jason” (aka James Dockery). Listen here.

• Meanwhile, Stark House Press and its still-new short-story compilation, The Best of Manhunt, are the subject of The BookPeople Podcast’s latest episode. Numbering among the guests on that particular show are author Joe R. Landsdale and Rick Ollerman, editor of Down & Out: The Magazine. Listen here.

• I didn’t know until now that The Killing Times also produces a podcast. The most recent episode features Margrét Örnólfsdóttir, who wrote Sagafilm’s four-part TV adaptation of Icelandic author Viktor Arnar Ingolfsson’s best-selling novel, The Flatey Enigma (Flateyjargáta). More about the series—which showed in Britain in September—can be found here and here.

So that’s where Nero Wolfe’s New York brownstone was!

• Mystery Writers of America has planned a weeklong celebration of crime and mystery fiction, to take place at various locations in California from October 19 through 26. Mystery Fanfare offers the list of events, all of which will be free and open to the public.

• Only one novel from our favorite genre appears on Literary Hub’s list of “The 10 Best Debut Novels of the Decade”: Viet Thanh Nguyen’s 2015 work, The Sympathizer, which won both the Pulitzer Prize and the 2016 Edgar Award for Best First Novel by an American Author.

• Worrisome news, from The New York Times: “Wherever authoritarian regimes are growing in strength, from Brazil, to Hungary, to the Philippines, literature that expresses any kind of political opposition is under a unique, renewed threat. Books that challenge normative values, especially those with L.G.B.T. themes, have been hit especially hard. History textbooks crafted by independent scholars are being replaced with those produced by the state at a disturbing rate. In Russia, a new even stricter set of censorship laws was announced in March to punish those expressing ‘clear disrespect’ for the state (i.e. effectively Putin himself).” Along these lines, I wouldn’t be surprised at this point to hear Donald Trump call for censoring authors who disagree with his increasingly unhinged and authoritarian behavior. No doubt, he will declare that they, too, are committing “treason.”

• Finally, a few author interviews worth finding: Lori Rader-Day talks with Ann Cleeves (The Long Call) for the Chicago Review of Books; Barry Eisler submits to questions from Omnivoracious’ Chris Schluep about his new, third Livia Lone book, All the Devils; and Swedish novelist-journalist David Lagercrantz fields queries about his third and final Lisbeth Salander adventure, The Girl Who Lived Twice, for the aforementioned BookPeople Podcast.

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