Monday, April 19, 2021

Just Trying to Stay on Top of Things

• For the second year in a row, the Mystery Writers of America will announce the winners of its latest Edgar Allan Poe Awards via a Zoom Webcast. Those ceremonies are scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. EDT on Thursday, April 29. Click here to register as a participant. If you’ve forgotten which books are authors have been nominated for commendation, that information is here.

• CrimeReads’ Olivia Rutigliano tells me something I didn’t know before. As the headline on her story reads, “Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Sign of the Four and Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray Were Commissioned at the Same Dinner Party.”

• Tatiana Maslany, who played evangelical preacher Sister Alice McKeegan in Season 1 of HBO-TV’s Perry Mason series, will apparently not reprise that role during the show’s sophomore season. As reports, “Maslany’s exit … comes on the heels of [her] officially signing on for the lead role in Marvel Studios’ She-Hulk series, which may have also affected her schedule for Perry Mason. Production on the Disney+ series is expected to start soon.”

• Jason Diamond writes in GQ magazine that Peter Falk’s Columbo series has become “an unlikely quarantine hit.”

• Just a couple of months ago, I observed that the odds against there being a Season 3 of McDonald & Dodds, the ITV-TV crime drama starring Tala Gouveia and Jason Watkins, seemed terribly high. But wonders never cease, and The Killing Times now brings word that a third series of McDonald & Dodds has indeed been commissioned.

In Reference to Murder says that “James Ellroy, the ‘Demon Dog’ of American literature, is teaming up with the podcast firm, Audio Up, for a five-part podcast series to launch in August. The author of L.A. Confidential and The Black Dahlia will produce and narrate the podcast, titled Hollywood Death Trip, which takes listeners on a nocturnal tour of murder and mayhem in Los Angeles with period music, archival radio, and cinematic sound design.” CrimeReads adds, “the podcast will be released shortly after Ellroy’s new novel, Widespread Panic, which will be published on June 15, 2021, [by] Alfred A. Knopf. Widespread Panic is the third novel in Ellroy’s ‘Second L.A. Quartet,’ following Perfidia and This Storm.”

How would you like to live in Agatha Christie’s old home?

• Earlier this month, blogger and Mystery Scene columnist Ben Boulden released an interesting e-book titled Killers, Crooks & Spies: Jack Bickham’s Fiction. If you aren’t familiar with Bickham (1930-1997), Boulden notes that he “wrote in every popular genre, except horror and romance (although he did write a few ‘sleaze’ novels for Midwood that may be a touch romantic). He started in Westerns in 1958, and finished with a posthumously published traditional mystery in 1998. Bickham wrote The Apple Dumpling Gang, which Disney translated into a 1975 box office hit. He wrote six espionage thrillers, featuring aging tennis pro Brad Smith, and so much more.” I can’t say I invest much in e-books, but after having come across Bickham’s novels in used bookshops many times over the years, Boulden’s overview of his life and writing career seemed worth having.

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