Saturday, October 23, 2021

Bullet Points: Saturday Sampler Edition

• Looking for another crime-writing contest? According to a press release, the Glencairn Glass—touted as “the world’s favourite whisky glass”—has launched “its very own crime short-story competition, in partnership with Scottish Field magazine. … The competition opens for entries on 20th October and runs until 31st December, inviting all budding crime writers to build their stories around the theme ‘A Crystal-Clear Crime’ in no more than 2,000 words.” A trio of cash prizes is being offered: first place fetching £1,000, while two runners-up will each receive £250. “All three winners,” the media notice explains, “will also receive a set of six bespoke engraved Glencairn Glasses to enjoy their favourite dram with. The overall winning entry will be published by Scottish Field in spring 2022 as well as on the Glencairn Glass website.” Among the judges of this contest is Peter Ranscombe, drinks columnist at Scottish Field and author of a historical thriller titled Hare, about which I wrote half a dozen years ago. For more entry details, click here.

• Provided there are no disastrous flare-ups of COVID-19 in the near future, CrimeFest should return next year as an in-person event. It’s currently scheduled to take place in Bristol, England, from May 12 to 15. Mystery Fanfare brings word that author Ann Cleeves will be among 2022’s featured guests. Diamond Dagger recipients Martin Edwards and Robert Goddard are both set to be interviewed during the weekend, and Dick Francis will be celebrated as the convention’s first “Ghost of Honor.” (Click here for a list of other participating authors.) Finally, the Crime Writers’ Association is expected to resume its annual tradition of announcing its Dagger Awards shortlists during a Friday-night reception at CrimeFest. Tickets are already on sale here, with an Early Bird rate of £145 ending on Monday, November 1—so you’d best not delay if you hope to take advantage of that discount.

• Speaking of crime-fiction gatherings, here are the events arranged for this year’s online-only Midwest Mystery Conference (November 5-6). Registration is required, but will set you back only $25.

• And of course, Iceland Noir will return next month for the first time since 2018! “[C]o-founded in 2013 by Quentin Bates, Ragnar Jónasson and Yrsa Sigurðardóttir …,” writes Abby Endler in Crime by the Book, “the festival typically takes place every other year in Reykjavik (though of course, the 2020 festival was cancelled [due to the pandemic]), and includes a whole variety of fantastic author events (panels, spotlight interviews, and more) as well as fun special events for festival attendees, too!” This year’s festival will run from Wednesday, November 17, through Saturday, November 20. Featured guests are to include Ian Rankin, Anthony Horowitz, Sara Blædel, Emelie Schepp, Yrsa Sigurdardottir, Ragnar Jónasson, and Eva Bjorg Aegisdottir. Tickets can be purchased here. For scheduling details and updates, refer to Iceland Noir’s Twitter page.

• TV viewers in the UK, take note: Dalgliesh, a six-episode crime drama set in the 1970s and based on P.D. James’ beloved Adam Dalgliesh mysteries, will debut on Channel 5 come Thursday, November 4, with the second half of that two-part episode to be broadcast the following night, November 5. A blog called The British TV Place says three of James’ novels have been adapted for this new series: Shroud for a Nightingale, The Black Tower, and A Taste for Death. Bertie Carvel portrays “the titular, enigmatic detective and poet,” while Jerry Irvine has been cast as his partner, Detective Sergeant Charles Masterson. The U.S. streaming service Acorn TV is bringing Dalgliesh across the pond, reportedly beginning on November 1.

• Actress Emma Corrin, who shone in Pennyworth and as Princess Diana in The Crown, has been recruited to star in a new limited series for pay channel FX-TV. Titled Retreat, the project comes from Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij (creators of The OA) and finds Corrin in the role of “‘Gen Z amateur sleuth’ Darby Hart …, who is ‘invited by a reclusive billionaire to participate in a Retreat at a remote and dazzling location,’” according to The Wrap. “When one of the other guests is found dead, Darby must fight to prove it was murder against a tide of competing interests and before the killer takes another life.” The Internet Movie Database (IMDb) has Retreat’s debut slated for 2022.

• Included in The New York Times Book Review’s jam-packed 125th-anniversary “keepsake edition”—available in print this Sunday, but already to be found online—are the newspaper’s 1912 review of Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World and a selection of vintage comments addressing such crime-fiction favorites as Agatha Christie’s The Mysterious Affair at Styles, Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon, Ellery Queen’s The Dutch Shoe Mystery, Margery Allingham’s The Death of a Ghost, S.S. Van Dine’s The Kidnap Murder Case, and Ngaio Marsh’s Death and the Dancing Footman.

• Well, this is a pleasant surprise: “Though the pandemic caused financial hardship for many independent bookstores,” explains Publishers Weekly, “particularly those in cities and states that forced retailers to close their doors for months, it has also paved the way for a mini-boom of bookstore openings.”

• I wasn’t even aware that Britain’s Telos Publishing has, for the last several years, been reissuing the mid-20th-century hard-boiled detective novels credited to “Hank Janson.” But Shotsmag Confidential now reports the imminent appearance of two further reprints: Milady Took the Rap (1951), and The Jane with Green Eyes (1950), both expected back in print next month. We’re also told to be on watch, in December, for Hank Janson Under Cover, “a sumptuous large-format, full colour, guide to every cover that the Hank Janson books have enjoyed world-wide, including many rarities and hard-to-find editions.” For readers who don’t know, the Janson yarns were actually produced by London-born clerk-turned-journalist Stephen Daniel Frances. “[S]tarring the Chicago Chronicle reporter Hank Janson,” Shotsmag Confidential explains, “the books sold in their millions back in the day, and were also subject to various 'obscenity' trials and court cases for their content and 'salacious' covers.”

• The blog Paperback Warrior has posted an “extensive” backgrounder on Orrie Hitt (1916-1975), “a suburban family man in upper New York who was quietly one of the most successful creators of sleaze paperbacks in the 1950s and 1960s.”

• Carole Nelson Douglas, a former journalist with the St. Paul Pioneer Press who went on to compose more than 60 novels across a range of genres (including mystery), passed away on October 20—just a month shy of her 77th birthday. Wikipedia says Douglas “began writing fiction in the late 1970s,” becoming a full-time author in 1984, after she moved to Texas. She started out crafting fantasy novels such as Amberleigh (1980), but in the early ’90s launched what turned out to be a very successful succession of mysteries starring “a feline supersleuth” named Midnight Louise (Catnap, Pussyfoot, Cat on a Blue Monday, etc.). Douglas also published Good Night, Mr. Holmes (1990), the first of what would be eight novels starring Irene Adler, the American adventuress who bested Sherlock Holmes and thereby won his admiration (in Arthur Conan Doyle’s “A Scandal in Bohemia”); I reviewed the sixth of those, 2002’s Castle Rouge, in the old Rap Sheet newsletter. Douglas was born in Everett, Washington, in 1944. Her friend and fellow fictionist, Jean Marie Ward, posted on Twitter that Douglas died “after an illness following hip surgery.”

• Finally, we bid good-bye to Leslie Bricusse, “a prolific songwriter whose work included some of the best-known songs of the 1960s spy craze …,” according to The Spy Command. “He collaborated with composer John Barry and wrote the lyrics to two of the most famous James Bond songs, Goldfinger (with Anthony Newley) and You Only Live Twice.” Bricusse was 90 years old at the time of his demise.

1 comment:

Elizabeth Foxwell said...

I was saddened to see the news of the death of Carole Nelson Douglas, who was a very talented writer and a lively presence at mystery conventions. I'm pretty sure Carole wrote an article (although the title is currently escaping me) about being a winner in a Vogue college writing competition; another winner of the competition was Marcia Muller.