Monday, November 04, 2013

Minor Mentions for Monday

• Tomorrow should bring word, courtesy of the British Crime Writers’ Association, of its findings from a rather ambitious survey to determine the Best Ever Crime Writer, the Best Crime Novel, and the Best Series as voted on by CWA members. “The announcement,” explains Crime Fiction Lover, “will be made at a special evening event held at Foyles on Charing Cross Road in London starting at 6 p.m. ... A panel of experts will be discussing the results of the poll live, including crime-fiction commentator Barry Forshaw, and authors Zoë Sharp, Belinda Bauer, and David Stuart Davies.”

• Having now mentioned Crime Fiction Lover, let me also point out the fact that that blog has begun rolling out its “third annual celebration of new blood in crime fiction--New Talent November.” Already spotlighted as part of this series: Becky Masterman’s Rage Against the Dying; A.P. McCoy’s Taking the Fall; and C.J. Howell, author of New Pulp Press’ The Last of the Smoking Bartenders. Stay tuned here for further developments.

• UK critic and author Mike Ripley is back with the latest installment of his “Getting Away with Murder” column for Shots. Among his subjects this time: Jorn Lier Horst’s Closed for Winter; new translations of Georges Simenon’s early novels; the Margery Allingham Short Story Competition; publisher Five Leaves’ latest anthology, Crime; fresh releases from Nick Stone, Maurizio De Giovanni, and Jill Paton Walsh; and Iceland’s first festival of crime fiction, which is scheduled to take place in Reykjavik from November 21to 24. (To learn more about Iceland Noir, click here.)

• Blogger Joe Barone likes the short new Spenser holiday novel, Silent Night (Putnam), penned in part by Robert B. Parker. He adds, though, that “I, like everyone else, read this book knowing it is the manuscript Parker was working on at his writing desk when he died. His longtime agent and friend Helen Brann finished the book.”

• I’ve referred several times over the years (including here) to an unsuccessful 1971 NBC-TV pilot titled Ellery Queen: Don’t Look Behind You, which starred Peter Lawford and Harry Morgan (and was originally written by Columbo creators Richard Levinson and William Link, though they eventually disowned it). Now I see the Web site Modcinema has finally made that flick available on DVD. It’s not a faithful adaptation of the superior 1949 Queen novel Cat of Many Tails, but it’s still interesting in many respects. Thank goodness, however, that Rat Packer Lawford (who’d previously portrayed Nick Charles on the small screen) didn’t have a chance to keep playing Ellery--and thereby re-create him as a hipster icon for the ’70s.

Whaddya know, a “new” Hercule Poirot novella.

• This comes in addition to two previously unpublished short stories featuring Poirot, both of which were included in John Curran’s Agatha Christie’s Secret Notebooks.

• Finally, speaking of that distinguished Belgian sleuth, Mystery Fanfare has posted British TV network ITV’s official trailer promoting the last four movie-length episodes of Agatha Christie’s Poirot (although that trailer seems to focus primarily on previous installments of the popular series). These new episodes began showing in the UK on October 23, and will conclude with a dramatization of Christie’s Curtain, the final Poirot case, on Wednesday, November 13. As Wikipedia observes, “At the programme’s conclusion, every major literary work by Christie that featured the title character will have been adapted.” So far there doesn’t seem to be any news about when these new Poirots will be shown in the States.

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