Sunday, October 23, 2011

Bullet Points: Waiting for Halloween Edition

• The Rap Sheet wasn’t able to participate in this last Friday’s celebration of “forgotten books,” but others contributed some fine picks to the series. Among those were The Crooked Hinge, by John Dickson Carr; The Puzzle of the Blue Banderilla, by Stuart Palmer; Call Mr. Fortune, by H.C. Bailey; and Seance, by Mark McShane. Series organizer Patti Abbott offers a full list of participating bloggers here.

• Peter Rozovsky of Detectives Beyond Borders points me to Melville House’s Web site, where you can hear the late British writer Derek Raymond (aka Robin Cook) read from his 1984 Factory Series novel, He Died with His Eyes Open. Click here to locate that sound file.

• I featured the earlier trailer for Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows here, so it seems only right that I should now offer you the revised version (on the left). The cinematography looks fabulous. I only hope the rest of the movie isn’t a disappointment.
A Game of Shadows, starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law, is scheduled to be released in mid-December of this year. (Hat tip to The Moviefone Blog.)

• Meanwhile, I’m making my way slowly but surely through Nathanael Booth’s splendid write-ups about each of the dozens of episodes from Jeremy Brett’s classic British television series, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. You’ll find Booth’s multiplying posts in More Man Than Philosopher.

• Between this poll on the Random House Australia Web site, and this cartoon in a recent New Yorker, I’m starting to wonder whether Scandinavian crime fiction hasn’t become too popular for its own good.

Bradley Cooper to play Napoleon Solo?

• Elizabeth Foxwell provides a pretty neat breakdown of mystery fiction’s numerous subgenres here. But it falls to TV critic Robin Jarossi to explain the (new to me) concept of “sightseeing crime dramas” in his blog, Crime Time Preview.

• For the Mystery Scene blog, Oline Cogdill looks at the British TV series Case Histories, the second episode of which will be shown tonight under PBS’ Masterpiece Mystery! umbrella, beginning at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

• Here’s a headline that drove me to read more:Bram Stoker’s Notebook Offers Cryptic Clues to Dracula.” As The Guardian explains, the “100-odd-page notebook,” discovered in an attic on the Isle of Wight, “covers the period when Stoker was a student at Trinity College in Dublin and a clerk at Dublin Castle, [and is] written in a clear precursor to the journalistic style of Dracula ...” It’s said also to contain “the author’s earliest attempts at poetry and prose.”

• A couple of months ago, I asked Hard Case Crime editor Charles Ardai what had become of a long-promised joint packaging of two early (and pseudonymously published) Lawrence Block books, 69 Barrow Street and Strange Embrace. He told me, “it’s still coming, probably next May.” Thankfully, we don’t have to wait that long to get a gander at the artwork for this back-to-back “double.” Click here to see Robert McGinnis’ illustrations for both sides of the volume.

• Issue #8 of Crimefactory is now available online.

• One of the few new programs I think worth watching this season is Pan Am, an early 1960s-set drama about airline stewardesses--and spying--that’s directed by West Wing alumnus Thomas Schlamme. (See trailer here.) Stylish and sexy, with delightful performances by Christina Ricci and French-Canadian actress Karine Vanasse, the show is still finding its audience in ABC’s 10-11 p.m. slot on Sundays. (Tonight’s episode takes the crew to Monte Carlo). But it has also generated some nostalgia for that era before Homeland Security checks, when passengers still enjoyed in-flight food service and weren’t hustled in and out of planes like cattle. (Who knew, when we were all whining about mediocre airline service 20 years ago, that it could actually get worse?) One “stew” who worked for Pan Am in its heyday shares her memories with the Omaha World-Herald. And click here to read about the huge stock of Pan Am memorabilia housed at the San Francisco International Airport’s Aviation Library and Louis A. Turpen Aviation Museum.

• Omnimystery News offers this intriguing item:The Center for Fiction in New York City has announced a new program devoted exclusively to crime fiction. Called, appropriately enough, the Crime Fiction Academy, it will be the first on-going, rigorous program dedicated to crime writing in all its forms.” Authors Megan Abbott, Lawrence Block, Lee Child, Thomas H. Cook, Dennis Lehane, Laura Lippman, Val McDermid, and S.J. Rozan are among the authors slated to participate. Crime Fiction Academy is supposed to open in February 2012.

So much for the lie that tax cuts create jobs.

• Amazing! “Brothers Keith and Brian Collins say they discovered [Wyatt] Earp’s personal photo album while picking through a Hesperia [California] antique shop,” reports the Los Angeles Times. “Inside the worn, leather-bound album were more than two dozen tiny tintype and carte de visite pictures showing Earp as a child, a teenager and a young adult, they say. They say the album also contains photos of his mother and pictures of two of his three wives.”

• The latest short story featured in Beat to a Pulp is called “Intervention,” and it comes from Texas writer William Dylan Powell.

• Oh, damn! The DVD release of It Takes a Thief: The Complete Series is being delayed from October 25 until November 15.

• I don’t care that others may wish to do away with punctuation. As a veteran editor with a bent toward formality, I shall fight the battle for correct English usage for as long as I am able. So there ...

• And Criminal Element lists its “favorite spooky or creepy stories--ideal for reading as All Hallows’ Eve approaches.


John said...

I have no problem with Cooper as Napoleon Solo. When he was on ALIAS he proved to be pretty good wiht action scenes and I like him better in serious roles than those garbage frat boy comedies he was making for the past year and a half. I just hope they cast a genuine Eastern European actor to play Ilya instead of some Brit doing an accent.

Elizabeth Foxwell said...

Thanks for the mention, Jeff!

Matt said...

Great links here, Jeff. I read the punctuation story with amusement, trepidation and interest, and the trailer for the new Sherlock was the first I've heard of it. It looks even better than the first one. Thanks for the post.

Austin Carr said...

John F. Kennedy, our 35th President and icon of liberals everywhere, had this (and much more) to say about cutting federal taxes: “In short, it is a paradoxical truth that … the soundest way to raise the revenues in the long run is to cut the rates now. The experience of a number of European countries and Japan have borne this out. This country’s own experience with tax reduction in 1954 has borne this out. And the reason is that only full employment can balance the budget, and tax reduction can pave the way to that employment. The purpose of cutting taxes now is not to incur a budget deficit, but to achieve the more prosperous, expanding economy which can bring a budget surplus.” – John F. Kennedy, Nov. 20, 1962,

J. Kingston Pierce said...

David Greenberg points out in this Slate piece that Kennedy’s demand-side tax cuts were not the same thing as the Big Business-enriching, supply-side tax cuts being pushed today by Republicans:

“A demand-side cut,” explains Greenberg, “rests on the Keynesian theory that public consumption spurs economic activity. Government puts money in people's hands, as a temporary measure, so that they'll spend it. A supply-side cut sees business investment as the key to growth. Government gives money to businesses and wealthy individuals to invest, ultimately benefiting all Americans. Back in the early 1960s, tax cutting was as contentious as it is today, but it was liberal demand-siders who were calling for the cuts and generating the controversy.”

To enlist Kennedy as a defender of Republican tax-slashers does an injustice to the late president’s intent.

Peter Rozovsky said...

Thanks for the link to those posts on the Factory novels.