Friday, October 22, 2010

Bullet Points: In Bouchercon’s Wake Edition

I’m behind in my news gathering, thanks to the time I spent away at Bouchercon last week. But let me see if I can’t catch up a bit here.

Halloween is just over a week away. In anticipation, Janet Rudolph has asked a succession of crime fictionists to blog in Mystery Fanfare about their spookiest stories of haunts and homicide. So far, the components of that series can be found here, here, here, here, here, and here. In addition, Rudolph offers up a good-size list of Halloween-oriented mysteries, and a rundown of the 10 best haunted houses in America.

In case you haven’t been paying attention, blogger Dan Fleming has spent this month focusing on books, movies, and TV series associated with Elmore Leonard (who celebrated his 85th birthday on October 11). I was especially attracted to a couple of posts Fleming wrote about the 2003-2004 show Karen Sisco, which I wrote about myself last month as part of The Rap Sheet’s “Killed in the Ratings” series. You will find Fleming’s Sisco pieces here and here.

This is my kind of computer. (Hat tip to Bill Crider.)

R.I.P., Janet MacLachlan, whose face was so familiar from four decades of TV guest roles in everything from The Mod Squad and Longstreet, to Ironside and The Name of the Game. She died earlier this week at age 77.

Speaking of Ironside, blogger Randy Johnson features the two novels based on that long-running Raymond Burr series.

Also having passed recently is British actor Simon MacCorkindale, who succumbed at age 58 to bowel cancer. Sadly, he will probably be remembered best as the star of a truly horrendous 1983 NBC-TV series, Manimal. Watch that series’ intro here.

When I saw him in San Francisco, Kevin Burton Smith, the editor and creator of The Thrilling Detective Web Site, told me that he would be discontinuing the fiction component of his Internet project. Now he’s made that decision official. In his most recent editor’s note, he explains: “[D]ue to severe time constraints, part of our previous concept (or was it conceit?) of semi-regular ‘issues’ featuring a handful of original stories and selected excerpts, has--after a lot of personal soul-searching and hand-wringing--been abandoned. Temporarily or forever, I’m not sure, but currently I just don’t have the dime or the time to devote to the fiction side of this site. Or at least in any sort of way that will ensure the quality you’ve come to expect. I will, however, continue to try to keep--with renewed energy, I hope--the reference portion of the site going. That, in fact, was the original idea for the site: a big P.I. reference site.” (Hat tip to In Reference to Murder.)

If I lived some place cool like this, I might actually be persuaded to stay in Seattle for the rest of my life.

During Bouchercon last week, I missed seeing author Gregg Hurwitz interview Michael Connelly. So I’m glad that parts of their exchange can now be seen on YouTube.

Meanwhile, Bill Crider took an opportunity during that same convention to catch up with and question Janet Hutchings, the editor of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine.

The Webzine Beat to a Pulp throws a curveball this week. Instead of presenting readers with a new short story, it’s featuring “Squish You, Babe,” a not-so-heartwarming poem by Frederick Zackel.

Johnny Depp wants to remake The Thin Man?

Hot dog! Megan Abbott has a new book due out next July.

• Les Blatt was lucky enough to attend the Rex Stout banquet, held during Bouchercon week. He tells about it here.

Another appreciation of writer-producer Stephen J. Cannell, this one from Mystery Scene blogger and reviewer Oline Cogdill.

Patti Abbott’s round-robin short-fiction challenge continues, with the third installment appearing in K.A. Laity’s blog.

• More crime fiction is headed soon for a screen near you. Norwegian writer Jo Nesbø’s 2007 novel, Snowman (released in English translation in the UK this year), has been optioned for film adaptation. Actor Samuel L. Jackson is supposedly “developing a crime drama for The CW [TV network],” titled Hawkshaw, about “a 20-something man who believes he’s a descendent of Sherlock Holmes--or may, indeed, be Holmes himself.” Thomas Perry’s Jane Whitfield mysteries are the basis of a new series in the works for CBS. ABC-TV is interested in creating a series based on Lisa Lutz’s The Spellman Files. And Britain’s ITV has commissioned a two-part drama based on Sophie Hannah’s Point of Rescue, the third entry in her series featuring detectives Simon Waterhouse and Charlie Zailer.

Scottish wordsmith Tony Black recalls the origins on his series about Glasgow sometime sleuth Gus Dury (Long Time Dead).

• Why does this not surprise me?

In the Mystery*File blog, British author, critic, and columnist Mike Ripley lists his 88 favorite thriller novels.

• Meanwhile, The Guardian picks the “top 25 crime films.” Number one is Jack Nicholson’s Chinatown. For more on those picks, click here.

• Bare•bones continues its tribute to Manhunt magazine.

Since I just saw Denise Mina at Bouchercon, I was interested to read J. Sydney Jones’ interview with the author of Garnethill.

• And because I just finished James Swanson’s fascinating new history book, Bloody Crimes: The Chase for Jefferson Davis and the Death Pageant for Lincoln’s Corpse, I was primed to read this short essay about how he came to compose that work.

• Rap Sheet contributor Mark Coggins has begun releasing his second private ey August Riordan novel, Vulture Capital (2003), in free podcast form. You can listen to the opening episode here. And Coggins tells here about how Vulture Capital was “intended as an homage” to Dashiell Hammett’s The Glass Key.

• While Republicans have threatened during this campaign season to undermine or do away completely with Social Security for ideological reasons, Democrats are stepping up to protect Social Security, America’s most popular social program. Good for them.

• And I realize that in all of the post-Bouchercon hubbub, I neglected to thank January Magazine editor Linda L. Richards, who filled in at the Rap Sheet helm during my days off in San Francisco. She did such a superb job that, in all likelihood, many readers of this blog didn’t even realize I was gone. That’s talent for you.


Naomi Johnson said...

I'd rather remember MacCorkindale for 'Riddle of the Sands.'

That penthouse is cool, but they had me with the Chihuly chandelier.

Peter Rozovsky said...

I had not seen the Guardian's list of best crime films; thanks for posting the link. Chinatown is an impressive movie, but it may be the most overrated crime film ever.
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"

Dave Zeltserman said...

Peter, could not disagree with you more about Chinatown, which could be the best crime movie made in the last 50 years. What would you rank above it? I could see arguments for Godfather and Godfather 2, but I'd still put Chinatown slightly above those two.

Peter Rozovsky said...

Dave, The Godfather might plausibly rank ahead of Chinatown, and I'd say Rashomon does, too. My beef with Chinatown is that I could too easily figure out what made it impressive: its invocation of those two CHandler- and Hammett-era staples: civic corruption and family secrets.
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"