Monday, January 12, 2009

Bullet Points: “Come Monday” Edition*

• We’ve spent a lot of space honoring the late Donald E. Westlake (see here and here). But there’s another Don’s death that draws my attention today, that of actor Don Galloway, who played Detective Sergeant Ed Brown on NBC-TV’s Ironside from 1967 to 1975. He succumbed to a heart attack last week at age 71. What I didn’t know until reading the Los Angeles Times obituary was that “As research for the role [of Brown], Galloway hung out with Los Angeles Police Department officers and often found himself wondering what it would be like to actually be a peace officer ... In 1993, he became a reserve deputy for the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, but he left about a year later when he retired from show business--along with his agent--and they embarked on a lengthy cruise on a private yacht with their families.” Galloway also used to write a weekly column in the New Hampshire Union Leader, in which he expressed his Libertarian views. I heard about Galloway’s demise from TV Confidential co-host Ed Robertson, who reminds me that he talked about Galloway last year as part of a show about Ironside star Raymond Burr.

From Ben Hunt’s Material Witness blog: “January 19 marks the bicentennial of the birth of Edgar Allan Poe, and to mark the event BBC Radio 3 is broadcasting a series of essays on the great scribe read by five celebrated contemporary writers--Loving the Raven.” The series begins this evening at 11 p.m. in London, with an essay by Andrew Taylor (Bleeding Heart Square). Other contributors are Joanne Harris, Mark Lawson, Kim Newman, and Louise Welch. Episodes of the series should be available through the BBC Radio 3 site.

• The January 2009 update of Kevin Burton Smith’s indispensable Thrilling Detective Web Site is now up.

• Michael Wiley casts his Shamus Award-nominated first novel, The Last Striptease, for Hollywood. By the way, for what it’s worth, I say go with Salma Hayek as Lucinda. Someone with this much sex appeal, can do pretty much anything.

• For the Irish Independent, Declan Burke previews “the bumper crop of crime novels by Irish writers due in 2009.” I’m looking forward most to the Ken Bruen-Reed Farrel Coleman collaboration, Tower (“In the tradition of The Long Goodbye, Mystic River and The Departed, ... a powerful meditation on friendship, fate, and fatality”), Gene Kerrigan’s third novel, Dark Times in the City, and Brian McGilloway’s third Inspector Devlin novel, Bleed a River Deep. This might even be the year I finally read a novel by Alex Barclay, whose work I have somehow missed up to now.

• Maryland writer Kieran Shea (god, I hope I spelled his frickin’ name right this time) is the latest contributor to David Cranmer’s new Webzine, Beat to a Pulp. Shea’s short story, “Backing the Stakes,” can be found here.

• Oh no, another crime-fiction resource book I have to possess!

• In an interview with New York Magazine, talking about his new paperback mystery, Fifty-to-One, Hard Case Crime publisher Charles Ardai says that his story’s heroine, Trixie Heverstadt, was “loosely inspired by Queens-based noir novelist Megan Abbott ... Arriving in the city to find her wayward sister, Trixie survives on pluck and good legs, trading in the Dorothy Parker–esque wit that Ardai ascribes to Abbott.” Meanwhile, Scott D. Parker has posted his very own interview with Ardai, as well as notes on the author’s appearance at Houston’s Murder by the Book.

• How perfect a tribute is this? The city of Albuquerque, New Mexico, is going to name a public library after the late mystery author Tony Hillerman. “It will be only the third of Albuquerque’s 17 libraries to be named after a resident,” explains the Native American Times. “Ernie Pyle and Erna Fergusson are the others.” (Hat tip to In Reference to Murder.)

• Who remembers Lana Wood (sister of Natalie Wood) as Bond girl Plenty O’Toole in Diamonds Are Forever (1971)? CinemaRetro certainly does. (Hat tip to Bish’s Beat.)

• Author and newspaper columnist Eddie Muller is this week’s contributor to Seth Harwood’s crime-fiction podcast, CrimeWAV, reading his short story “Last Call.”

• If you haven’t been paying attention, Sarah Weinman has just concluded an excellent four-part series about historical mysteries, written for The Barnes & Noble Review. Go to parts one, two, three, or four. It’s well worth your time, even though reading all of it might increase the height of your to-be-read pile.

Mystery Readers Journal is out with its second-in-a-row issue devoted to San Francisco crime fiction. Several stories from this edition are available online, including Randal Brandt’s introductory essay, “The Birthplace of Modern Crime Fiction.”

• In a Bond vs. Bond contest, whose ego will concede first?

• Alexandra Sokoloff (The Price) expounds in her blog about “what makes a great villain.”

• Given the amazing dearth of decent crime shows on television these days, I find it amazing that the old UPN didn’t pick up Nikki & Nora, “a proposed series about a pair of lesbian cops in New Orleans played by Liz Vassey and Christina Cox.” Lee Goldberg shares a clip to show us what we missed. (More on the Nikki & Nora pilot here.)

• One of the few series that’s actually worth watching these days, Life on Mars (the American version, not the preceding British one) gets the pulp cover treatment.

• Speaking of Life on Mars, co-star Gretchen Mol was one of “the sexiest women on television in 2008,” according to the UK-based Dan’s Media Digest. Also making the list: Keeley Hawes (Ashes to Ashes), Mädchen Amick (My Own Worst Enemy), Julie Benz (Dexter), and Amanda Righetti (The Mentalist). But the No. 1 spot goes to Yvonne Strahovski (Chuck). And doubts of her status are dispelled by the video Mr. Dan offers at the conclusion of his rundown.

• The first episode of BBC Radio 7’s reading of Geoffrey Household’s famous tale, Rogue Male, can be heard here. Other episodes will be available throughout the week.

• The USA Network series Burn Notice returns on January 22.

• Chris Pimental’s Bad Things e-zine is live.

Your Monday load of memorable Dashiell Hammett quotes.

• Janet Rudolph reports in Mystery Fanfare: “At last there’s some good news. The National Endowment for the Arts Report Found Fiction Reading on the Rise. Yahoo! Of course, if you read ONE book a year that counts as reading. But reading is reading, and hopefully this study and the attention it’s getting will send some kind of message to publishers. Hope springs eternal.”

• Joe the Plumber’s 15 minutes of fame have already lasted 14 minutes too long.

• And as if you don’t have enough weird things swimming around in your head, add this to the mix.

* Lest anyone miss the significance of that headline, click here.

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