Saturday, October 19, 2019

Just Trying to Keep Up

Variety brings word that “PBS Masterpiece has boarded the remake of classic European detective series Van der Valk and will co-produce and air the show in the U.S. Masterpiece’s Rebecca Eaton will exec produce the project. It is the latest in a healthy line of U.K.-originated drama that Masterpiece has boarded since becoming the U.S. home for British-made hits such as Downton Abbey.” Production of this new Amsterdam-set series is said to be underway, with no firm release date as yet. The original Van der Valk, starring Barry Foster and based on a succession of novels by Nicholas Freeling, was broadcast (on and off) between 1972 and 1992. (Hat tip to Lee Goldberg.)

• Meanwhile, Mystery Fanfare reports that Lara Prescott’s debut novel, The Secrets We Kept, along with Adrian McKinty’s acclaimed The Chain are slated for Hollywood film adaptation.

• And Mystery Tribune says Swedish writer Camilla Läckberg (The Girl in the Woods) “has turned her attention into creating a new TV series titled Hammarvik, which can be characterized as a Nordic version of Desperate Housewives with a serial killer on the loose.”

• Not long after the posting of my latest CrimeReads piece, “Detecting During Disasters”—about mystery and detective novels set amid real-life catastrophes, including San Francisco’s 1906 earthquake and city-destroying fire—I received a note from Randal S. Brandt, a librarian with the University of California, Berkeley’s Bancroft Library. He told me of an article he’d written for a 2006 edition of the Bancroft’s newsletter, about novels featuring that trembler—everything from Sara Dean’s Travers: A Story of the San Francisco Earthquake (1908) and Shaken Down (1925), by Alice MacGowan and Perry Newberry, to Mignon G. Eberhart’s Casa Madrone (1980) and Dianne Day’s Fire and Fog (1996). Titled “The Big Shake,” Brandt’s feature is accessible in this PDF; simply scroll down to page 10.

• I’d never heard mystery-maker Ngaio Marsh speak—until now.

• Houston-born novelist Attica Locke has won the 2019 Texas Writer Award. Sponsored by the Texas Book Festival, this prize is given out annually to authors who have “significantly contributed to the state’s literary landscape.” Locke is, of course, known for penning such books as Bluebird, Bluebird (2017) and its new sequel, Heaven, My Home. She will be presented with her award during an October 26 ceremony in Texas’ state capitol in Austin. (Hat tip to The Gumshoe Site.)

• I’ll be sorry to miss this presentation. “If you’re going to Bouchercon [in Dallas, October 31-November 3],” writes B.V. Lawson in In Reference to Murder, “you won’t want to miss The Ghost Town Mortuary, a radio play by Anthony Boucher, performed by members of Mystery Writers of America NorCal, Friday, November 1, 11 a.m., at the Landmark Ballroom in the Hyatt Regency. Authors scheduled to participate include Laurie R. King, David Corbett, Kelli Stanley, Reece Hirsch, Randal S. Brandt, Dale Berry, Gigi Pandian, James L’Etoile, and Terry Shames.”

• Looking for a Christmas present for yours truly? This set of 20 Rockford Files trading cards would be a fun choice.

• England’s Daily Telegraph newspaper carries a story—reproduced by Chris Sullivan in his blog—about how actor Laurence Fox, late of Inspector Lewis and currently appearing in Victoria, has found solace in his music, after a divorce and the death of his best friend.

• Comfort TV blogger David Hofstede continues his series of posts about two-part television episodes—good and definitely not so good—with write-ups that mention several crime dramas, such as The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries, The Fugitive, and Charlie’s Angels.

• It’s always good to be reminded of ABC-TV’s classic gumshoe series, Peter Gunn, and its “jazz chanteuse,” played by Lola Albright.

• Finally, if you could use some financial assistance to attend next year’s Left Coast Crime convention in San Diego, California (March 12-15), you may be in luck. The LCC National Committee has drummed up funds for five scholarships to the event, plus expense money. More information and application procedures are available here.

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