Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Scanning the Web

• As part of its 2017 “Classics in September” celebration, Crime Fiction Lover has posted this terrific piece, by Jeremy Megraw, revisiting Raymond Chandler’s first Philip Marlowe yarn, The Big Sleep. “Although forged from Black Mask’s tough-guy mold,” Megraw observes, “Chandler’s Marlowe is a far cry from Hammett’s iconic blond satan, Sam Spade, who wades indifferently through the mean streets of crime and carnage. Marlowe is tempered by distinct morals. In the steamy, corrupt heart of 1930s Los Angeles, he is a shining knight striving to do the right thing. He is synonymous with the dark sensibility that thrived in Black Mask and was canonized forever in the popular imagination by Humphrey Bogart on film, but Marlowe is a bit more evolved. The contemplative dick plays chess, listens to classical music, and is comfortable with his feminine side. A fastidious dresser, Marlowe’s discerning eye extends to fashion, architecture, and interior design. He is the very model of the metrosexual detective—ahead of his time—in the burgeoning urban sprawl of L.A.” Click here to read the other entries in Crime Fiction Lover’s extensive series.

• Ngaio Marsh Awards organizer Craig Sisterson has launched a month-long blog tour to celebrate this year’s contenders for those prizes. The tour began in Liz Loves Books, with The Rap Sheet scheduled to take part this coming Sunday, September 10. Follow the day-to-day progress of the venture on Facebook or on Twitter.

• The September edition of Mike Ripley’s “Getting Away with Murder” column is currently available for your consideration.

• In her latest podcast, Speaking of Mystery’s Nancie Clare interviews Sheena Kamal, author of the debut crime novel, The Lost Ones.

• I didn’t even know there was an interesting story behind the wristwatch James Garner wore on The Rockford Files. But a blog called Calibre 11 brings it directly to us.

• To accompany today’s release of Legacy of Spies (Viking), the latest entry in John le Carré’s George Smiley series, David Cranmer has put together an excellent primer covering that fictional master espionage agent’s eight previous adventures.

• Since we’re on the subject, let me also point you toward Terry Gross’ fascinating interview with the 85-year-old le Carré, conducted for her National Public Radio show, Fresh Air.

• The Spy Command picks up on a rumor, spread by Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post, that the next James Bond film “may rework the plot of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969).” “‘Bond quits the secret service, and he’s in love and gets married,’ Page Six said. ‘The [Hollywood] source continues that “his wife then gets killed,” bringing Bond back into action.’” In a subsequent post, The Spy Command muses over whether remaking OHMSS might actually be a good idea.

• People like me, who are way behind in their reading of Georges Simenon’s extensive literary oeuvre, really ought to take note of Spanish blogger José Ignacio Escribano’s regular efforts to review that French author’s Inspector Maigret novels.

• With the sixth and final season of Longmire set to be released on Netflix this month, actor Lou Diamond Phillips—who plays Henry Standing Bear on the show—gives Cowboys & Indians a slight preview of what viewers should expect from the season’s 10 episodes.

• Meanwhile, it has been announced that cable-TV network HBO wants a third season of its oft-praised but uneven crime drama, True Detective, with Mahershala Ali (House of Cards) starring as Wayne Hays, “a detective from northwest Arkansas.” TV Insider reports: “Series creator Nic Pizzolatto is helming the new season and has written all the episodes for Season 3 except for the fourth episode which he co-wrote with David Milch (Deadwood, NYPD Blue) … The next entry in the anthology series ‘tells the story of a macabre crime in the heart of the Ozarks, and a mystery that deepens over decades and plays out in three separate time periods.’”

• Amazing! A month after I questioned the methodology employed by aggregator Feedspot in developing its “best blogs” lists, I find that The Rap Sheet has suddenly been added to that site’s catalogue of the “Top 50 Mystery Blogs and Websites for Mystery Lovers and Authors.” You’ll find it in the No. 16 position, behind author Joanna Fluke’s blog, but just ahead of Reviewing the Evidence. At least this time, Feedspot correctly states that The Rap Sheet produces “about 5 posts per week,” which is better than can be said for the site’s previous Rap Sheet mention, in its “Top 50 Crime Novel Blogs” tally, which suggested our frequency was about “about 1 posts [sic] per week.”

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