Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Bullet Points: Agatha in Bronze Edition

• There are a couple of interesting items contained in author Max Allan Collins’ latest blog post. First off, he says he’s “setting out to do a podcast series based on the Nathan Heller novels. Each multi-episode podcast would take on a single book. I will write these adaptations myself.” Expect to see the announcement of a crowd-funding campaign to get the initial podcast in that series going. Second, despite what Collins has previously termed a “disappointing lack of any support from Greenlight Iowa” to produce a film based on his A Christmas Carol-inspired short story, “Blue Christmas,” the author did succeed in raising $6,375 through an Indiegogo effort (perhaps $13,000+ short of what he says will ultimately be needed), and is in the process of “serious pre-production now.” He reports that actor Gary Sandy, with whom he has worked before, is his top pick to assume the lead role of Jake Marley, and “we are having auditions this week for the rest of the Blue Christmas cast … [T]he shoot is toward the end of October.” Oh, and that same blog post features a quite enjoyable video interview Titan Books’ Andrew Sumner did with Collins about the new Mike Hammer yarn, Dig Two Graves, the 14th Hammer novel he’s penned using material left behind by Spillane, after he died in 2006.

• In time for holiday gift buying: When The Art of Ron Lesser Volume 1: Deadly Dames and Sexy Sirens was first published several months ago, it existed only in hardcover. But now that book on which I worked with Robert Deis and Bill Cunningham boasts a paperback edition, as well. It’s equally beautiful, but $17 less expensive!

• First, some good TV news (from In Reference to Murder): “Masterpiece on PBS has announced the premiere date and released first look images for the upcoming season of Miss Scarlet and the Duke, which returns on January 7, 2024, for its fourth season. In the new season, Eliza (Kate Phillips) has taken over the business of detective agency Nash & Sons, and things are not going entirely smoothly, although help comes from some familiar sources. Outside of work, her relationship with William Wellington, a gruff Scottish detective inspector of Scotland Yard (the ‘Duke,’ played by Stuart Martin) builds towards a looming decision that will shape both their lives.” I’ve much enjoyed this historical mystery series.

Now the bad news: “The premiere of HBO’s anticipated True Detective: Night Country has been pushed back and is now listed as January of 2024 (the exact day is unknown). In Night Country, when the long winter night falls in Ennis, Alaska, the eight men who operate the Tsalal Arctic Research Station vanish without a trace. To solve the case, detectives Liz Danvers (Jodie Foster) and Evangeline Navarro (Kali Reis) must confront their pasts and the dark truths lying underneath the Arctic ice. John Hawkes, Christopher Eccleston, Fiona Shaw, Finn Bennett, Anna Lambe, Aka Niviâna, Isabella Star Lablanc, and Joel D. Montgrand also star.”

• For what it’s worth, Amazon appears to have updated its list of the “best mysteries and thrillers of 2023 so far.” It’s already crowning S.A. Cosby’s All the Sinners Bleed (Flatiron) as this year’s top choice, but also applauds Dennis Lehane’s Small Mercies (Harper), Jesse Q. Sutanto’s Vera Wong's Unsolicited Advice for Murderers (Berkley), Thomas Perry’s Murder Book (‎Mysterious Press), Jacqueline Winspear’s The White Lady (Harper), Charlie Donlea’s Those Empty Eyes (Kensington), T.J. Newman’s Drowning (‎Avid Reader Press), and 13 other works—only a few of which I’ve yet read.

• With the Bloody Scotland crime-writing festival set to begin just two days from now in the central Scottish town of Stirling, take a moment to check out the Nordic Noir blog’s choices of the best events on the festival’s program. Meanwhile, Live and Deadly highlights the ways Bloody Scotland supports writers new to this genre.

• As might have been predicted, opinions are divided on the artistic results here: “A life-sized bronze statue of Agatha Christie has been unveiled in the Oxfordshire town of Wallingford, near where the detective novelist resided for more than 40 years,” The Guardian reports. “The statue depicts the writer holding a book and seated on a bench overlooking the Kinecroft, an area of open grassland. Sculptor Ben Twiston-Davies—who also designed the Agatha Christie memorial in London—said in a YouTube video about the statue that it shows her ‘looking out as if she’s seen a clue for one of her stories.’”

• Southern California author-screenwriter Lee Goldberg is always an entertaining guest speaker, as I was reminded during the recent Bouchercon in San Diego. He demonstrates his humor again in two recent interviews on the subject of his brand-new thriller novel, Malibu Burning (Thomas & Mercer): this one with Murder by the Book’s Sara DiVello, and this other one with Story Blender’s Steven James.

• Another writer who has been receiving widespread attention is UK mystery-maker/TV show host Richard Osman, whose fourth and latest entry in his Thursday Murder Club series, The Last Devil to Die, should be out this week from Viking. The Guardian’s Charlotte Edwardes profiles him here, while The New York Times’ Sarah Weinman composed this story about him for Esquire magazine.

• If you didn’t snag a copy of William Link’s The Columbo Collection 13 years ago, when it debuted, you now have another chance. Publisher Crippen & Landru has announced that the book, which contains 12 original stories featuring television detective Lieutenant Columbo—all written by his co-creator—is back in stock after a long absence. And still available at the 2010 paperback price of $18.

• Finally, a sad note: Eighty-year-old writing teacher/coach, former U.S. Navy cryptographer, and fictionist Les Edgerton died in Fort Wayne, Indiana, on August 31 after “a short battle with COVID 19,” according to his funeral home obituary. With more than 20 books to his credit, including the novels Adrenaline Junkie and The Genuine, Imitation, Plastic Kidnapping, as well as the 2007 writer's resource Hooked: Write Fiction That Grabs Readers at Page One and Never Lets Them Go, Edgerton had been nominated for a wide variety of prizes, from the O. Henry Award to the Edgar Award for Best Short Story. Not long before his passing, he had won the Killer Nashville convention’s Claymore Award with the opening 50 pages of an unpublished manuscript, Francois Roberge—The Fixer.

1 comment:

Kevin R. Tipple said...

That award win at Killer Nashville was where he contracted Covid. My good friend, Jim Nesbitt, and a number of folks all got it there and were sick afterwards.