Thursday, February 25, 2021

Bullet Points: Wonders Never Cease Edition

• This coming Monday, March 1, will bring—from The Bagley Brief Web site—the release of Writer: An Enquiry into a Novelist, Philip Eastwood’s “painstaking reconstruction” of a previously unpublished memoir by English adventure-thriller writer Desmond Bagley (1923-1983). In advance of that, Shotsmag Confidential has posted the foreword to Eastwood’s work, written by Mike Ripley (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang) and establishing Bagley’s stature as one of the Big Three among contributors to the”Golden Age of the British thriller,” the other two being Hammond Innes and Alistair MacLean.

• Can it really be true, at last? According to Deadline,
Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins, a character created by author Walter Mosley, is getting another shot on television after Amblin Television signed up to develop a series.

The production company has closed a deal to adapt Mosley’s stories—Rawlins has appeared in 15 novels and short stories—with
The Americans and Amazing Stories director Sylvain White on board to direct the pilot episode and exec produce.

The series, based on the gritty detective novels, will center around Easy, a Black WWII Army veteran turned hard-boiled private eye. The show will be set in 1950’s Los Angeles and will honor the great traditions of storytelling in the detective genre, while also exploring the racial inequalities and social injustice experienced by Black people and other people of color.
Deadline observes that this “is the latest attempt to get Rawlins on to the small screen—[screenwriter-producer] John Wells attempted an Easy Rawlins series at NBC back in 2011 and USA Network also attempted a version seven years before that. The character of Easy Rawlins also previously appeared on screen in the 1995 film Devil in a Blue Dress, which starred Denzel Washington.”

• Back in December I mentioned that the often humorous British crime drama McDonald & Dodds, featuring Tala Gouveia and Jason Watkins as mismatched cops in modern-day Bath, England, would soon return with a second season. Radio Times now brings word that the first of three new two-hour-long McDonald & Dodds episodes will show in the UK on Sunday, February 28, beginning at 8 p.m. Guest stars this season include Rupert Graves, Doctor Who’s Natalie Gumede, and Saira Choudhry. Radio Times provides cursory synopses of each installment’s storyline. It also frets that “these three episodes could be McDonald & Dodds’ last, since DCI McDonald [Gouveia] firmly stated in the previous series that she would only stay in Bath for two years tops.” But hey, we’re dealing here with a work of pure fiction, and if this ITV program continues to pull in audiences, can we not expect someone in charge to contrive a semi-logical excuse for extending its storyline?

• Shortly in advance of the coronavirus pandemic shutting down movie and television production a year ago, British TV channel BBC One announced that it had greenlighted two additional seasons—Series 6 and 7—of the Scottish crime drama Shetland, starring Douglas Henshall. But only now, says The Killing Times, is work on those fresh episodes finally resuming. Beginning in April, it explains, back-to-back series of the show (six episodes apiece) will commence shooting on the subarctic archipelago that gives this prize-winning drama its name. “Both series will be written and created by David Kane (Stonemouth, The Field of Blood), who originated the first series of Shetland and has written on every series since. The islands’ local newspaper, The Shetland Times, reported that producer Louise Say promised ‘absolutely riveting’ and ‘hard-hitting’ storylines.”

• This will likely be worth watching. B.V. Lawson tells us that “Benedict Cumberbatch will star in a limited series update of the classic thriller, The 39 Steps, inspired by John Buchan’s novel, which was turned into the 1935 film classic by Alfred Hitchcock. The TV project of The 39 Steps is being described as ‘a provocative, action-packed conspiracy thriller series that updates the classic novel for our times. An ordinary man, Richard Hannay, becomes an unwitting pawn in a vast, global conspiracy to reset the world order.’”

• Even before TV writer and producer William Link’s death in December, I had been trying to catch up with the proliferation of small-screen movies he developed with his writing partner of 43 years, Richard Levinson. I’ve found a variety of them on YouTube, and bought DVDs of some others online. However, I was in the dark about their 1986 mystery Vanishing Act, until Mystery*File reminded me of its existence. As Steve Lewis relates, it finds “Harry Kenyon (Mike Farrell) … on his honeymoon in the Rocky Mountains after a whirlwind romance in Las Vegas with a woman named Christine Prescott. But their wedded bliss is soon interrupted and Harry reports her disappearance to Lieutenant Rudameyer (Elliott Gould), a New Yorker more interested in eating a corned beef sandwich specially imported from a delicatessen on West 87th Street. It seems to be a fuss over nothing as Christine (Margot Kidder) is quickly found--only Harry doesn’t recognize her and refuses to believe she’s his wife!” At least for the present moment, you can watch that full picture here.

Shoot! We almost got to watch a Wild Wild West reboot.

• Thirty-nine-year-old Morven Christie (formerly of Grantchester) has quit her role as a detective sergeant family liaison officer on The Bay, making way for actress Marsha Thomason to lead the cast in Series 3 of that British crime drama. Understandably, Christie’s sudden departure has fomented speculation about why she gave up that plum part. The Killing Times thinks it may have a clue.

• Holmes and Watson—villains? That’s just one of the twists in a new, eight-episode horror series debuting on March 26. Writes Olivia Rutigliano: “The Baker Street Irregulars, Sherlock Holmes’s organization of motley street urchins, are going to get their own Netflix series. It’s a dark show, full of supernatural mysteries, but the paranormal activity is not the only modification to the Sherlockian world you know and love. The program, titled The Irregulars, posits that the group is manipulated into solving dangerous supernatural crimes by Dr. Watson (who is evil)—feats for which his sketchy business partner Sherlock Holmes gets all the renown.”

• In Reference to Murder reports that among the among the 25 categories of finalists for this year’s Audie Awards, announced this week by the Audio Publishers Association, are two of potentially special interest to Rap Sheet readers: Mystery and Thriller/Suspense. Below are the five Mystery contenders:
A Bad Day for Sunshine, by Darynda Jones, narrated by Lorelei King (Macmillan Audio)
Confessions on the 7:45, by Lisa Unger, narrated by Vivienne Leheny (HarperAudio)
Fair Warning, by Michael Connelly, narrated by Peter Giles and Zach Villa (Hachette Audio)
The Guest List, by Lucy Foley, narrated by Chloe Massey, Olivia Dowd, Sarah Ovens, Rich Keeble, Aoife McMahon, and Jot Davies (HarperAudio)
Trouble Is What I Do, by Walter Mosley, narrated by Dion Graham (Hachette Audio)
The full list of 2021 Audie nominees is here. Winners are to be announced during a virtual “gala” on March 22. The festivities are set to start at 9 p.m. EST, and can be streamed live at this link.

• Blogger Evan Lewis has generously taken the time to dig up, from the deep recesses of the Web, as many publicity materials as he could find related to the 1946 Humphrey Bogart/Lauren Bacall film, The Big Sleep. Look for them in two separate posts, here and here.

• Left Coast Crime already rescheduled its 2021 convention for 2022, due to the worldwide spread of COVID-19. And now Malice Domestic is doing the same. “After careful consideration,” its board of directors declared in a news release, “we have decided to postpone Malice 32/33 to 2022. … Instead of a live event in 2021, we are excited to announce More Than Malice, a virtual (online) festival. More Than Malice will be held on July 14-17, 2021, and will feature special guests, unique panels, and the Agatha Awards. We will have much more exciting information for you in the coming days and weeks.” Everyone who’s currently registered for Malice 2021 should receive an Agatha Award nomination form soon. Keep up with developments by following the Malice Twitter page.

• In CrimeReads, editor Dwyer Murphy ponders that immortal question, Why was Raymond Chandler so venomous in attacking Alfred Hitchcock’s 1951 psychological thriller, Strangers on a Train?

How did Victorian homes “go from celebrated to creepy?”

• Excellent news! UK author Martin Edwards spent his weeks in pandemic lockdown researching and penning a third Rachel Savernake/Jacob Flint historical mystery (following Gallows Court and Mortmain Hall). He writes in his blog that it should be published “early next year,” with a fourth installment to follow in 2023.

• Only days ago I recommended that readers check out—with warranted dispatch—the complete, one-season run of NBC-TV’s City of Angels on YouTube. Now comes Steve Aldous with a short review of that show’s three-part first episode, “The November Plan.” He remarks: “The promise on show here would occasionally surface over the series’ next ten episodes before it was cancelled due to low ratings just as it was building a head of steam.”

Why the Titanic’s 1912 sinking still makes for a good story.

• And it’s true: Director Tim Burton is set to shoot a live-action, young-adult series for Netflix about Wednesday Addams, the wonderfully creepy little girl familiar from small- and big-screen versions of The Addams Family. Variety describes Wednesday as “a sleuthing, supernaturally infused mystery charting Wednesday Addams’ years as a student at Nevermore Academy. She attempts to master her emerging psychic ability, thwart a monstrous killing spree that has terrorized the local town, and solve the supernatural mystery that embroiled her parents 25 years ago—all while navigating her new and very tangled relationships at Nevermore.” says there is “no official word on the casting yet, but given how sadly awful the last Addams film was (the animated one from 2019, not the gems we got in the ’90s), this might be a slight improvement?”

1 comment:

HonoluLou said...

"Shoot!...Wild Wild West reboot" And I'll add "DAGNABIT!"