Tuesday, August 25, 2020

A Quick Five

• Twenty months after he began posting his choices of the 106 “Greatest Crime Films of All Time,” in CrimeReads, New York City bookseller and editor Otto Penzler yesterday finally announced his No. 1 pick: The Third Man (1949), based on Graham Greene’s novella of that same name and starring Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, (Alida) Valli, and Trevor Howard. Of the picture, Penzler writes:
Graham Greene based the villainous Harry Lime on Kim Philby, the infamous British double agent. Greene had been a member of the British Secret Intelligence Service until 1944, when he abruptly resigned. It has been suggested that the reason for his resignation was that he suspected Philby of being a traitor and did not want to actively assist him. Greene, himself a communist sympathizer, did not report Philby, who continued his activities for some time after Greene’s resignation.
A trailer for The Third Man can be enjoyed here. Penzler’s full list of film favorites is available here.

• Can you tell a whole story in just half a dozen words? That’s the challenge being posed by the Rocky Mountain Chapter of Mystery Writers of America (RMMWA), which will open its fourth annual Six-Word Mystery Contest on Tuesday, September 15. A news release explains that “Six-word ‘whodunits’ can be entered in one or all five of the following categories: Hard-boiled or Noir; Cozy Mystery; Thriller Mystery; Police Procedural Mystery; and/or a mystery with Romance or Lust. The Six-Word Mystery Contest is open to all adults 18 and over. No residency requirements. … The contest entry fee is $6 for one entry (just $1 per word); or $10 to enter six-word mysteries in all five categories. The grand prize winner will receive $100 in cold, hard cash. Winners in all other categories will receive $25 gift certificates, and all winners and finalists will be featured in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, on our RMMWA website, and in our popular newsletter, Deadlines.” Last year’s the overall winner is Jeffrey Lockwood, an author and professor of natural sciences and humanities at the University of Wyoming, whose punchy submission read simply: 36D, 44 magnum, 20 to life.

• The crime-fiction social networking site Crimespace has shut down. Sydney, Australia, writer Daniel Hatadi, who founded that online community for crime-fiction enthusiasts back in 2007, recently sent out the following message:
As you may be aware, Ning.com, the company who provides the servers and service for Crimespace to run on, charges an annual fee. The fee is $USD 239.90 and based on the donations and my current financial situation I cannot afford to run Crimespace any longer.

I’ve been checking activity on Crimespace and it is extremely minimal these days, most likely due to the more popular social networks.

As such, I’ve decided to close Crimespace.

This was supposed to happen soon but it appears that it already has been deactivated from July 20th 2020. Please accept my apologies for this short notice.

For blogs, there is a function to duplicate posts to other blog services so if you have used this so far there will most likely not be much work for you to transition.

Thanks to everyone who has donated along the way, it’s much appreciated.
• San Francisco-area author Mark Coggins launched a podcast in the midst of the COVID-19 lockdown. Called Riordan’s Desk, after his series private eye, August Riordan, it began with him reading—chapter by chapter—his latest Riordan novel, The Dead Beat Scroll (2019). Last week, he concluded that 30-part presentation by sitting for an interview with Randal S. Brandt, curator of the California Detective Fiction Collection at the University of California, Berkeley’s Bancroft Library, who asked him questions about the podcast project and about his full Riordan series. Listen to their exchange here.

• Speaking of podcasts, Sunshine State journalist Craig Pittman is now co-hosting one called Welcome to Florida. He writes that “our latest episode features a discussion with Colette Bancroft of the new short-story collection Tampa Bay Noir, which features tales of shady people in sunny places from Michael Connelly, Lisa Unger, Ace Atkins, Lori Roy, and a host of others.” That episode can he heard here.


Mark Coggins said...

Thanks for the mention, Jeff!

Kevin R. Tipple said...

I was on CrimeSpace years ago and at first liked it a lot. Over time, it started morphing into primarily a "look at my new book" deal and some authors spammed the group several times a week.

Then, one year, when it came time to renew my membership, it became mandatory to "donate" to the site to stay. Making it mandatory to donate hit me all wrong and so I bailed out. There were a lot of us who left at the same time a couple of years ago for this same reason.

Until today, I did not know it was still around. Unlike some places, this is totally self inflicted and could have been easily avoided.