Friday, March 06, 2015

Top Bond Ratings

Time Out New York takes a shot (one of many, it should be noted) at ranking the best James Bond films of all time. Personally, my top picks remain Goldfinger (starring Sean Connery), GoldenEye (which introduced Pierce Brosnan in the lead role), and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (the only time George Lazenby stepped into Agent 007’s shoes). But I certainly agree that the latest Casino Royale, with Daniel Craig and the radiant Eva Green, is a close rival to those.

Good Company for Prize Rivals

Five crime and mystery novels, first published in 2014, are battling it out for top honors in this year’s Los Angeles Times Book Prize competition. The winner in the Mystery/Thriller category, as well as nine others, will be announced on Saturday, April 18, during the L.A. Times Festival of Books. The Mystery/Thriller nominees are:

Dry Bones in the Valley, by Tom Bouman (Norton)
The Painter, by Peter Heller (Knopf)
After I’m Gone, by Laura Lippman (Morrow)
Sins of Our Fathers, by Shawn Lawrence Otto (Milkweed)
The Girl with a Clock for a Heart, by Peter Swanson (Morrow)

Sadly, I have read only two of the five novels mentioned here: After I’m Gone (which I chose as one of my favorite crime novels of 2014) and The Girl with Clock for a Heart, which I found intriguing but ultimately rather unsatisfying.

Click here to see all of this year’s Times Book Prize nominees.

(Hat tip to The Gumshoe Site.)

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

How About Some Crime with Your Sunshine?

By now you have probably already seen my latest Kirkus Revews column, which showcases half a dozen new crime, mystery, and thriller novels due out in the States this spring. But as I note in that piece, there are oodles more genre works worth anticipating between now and the close of May. I recently pulled together the titles of spring crime-fiction releases that interest me most, and counted more than 275 works slated for publication on both sides of the Atlantic.

You can look over that lengthy compilation below. Although most of the March works were mentioned in my early January post about crime fiction to come, I have made so many additions to that month’s offerings, they need posting again.

Among the selections here are David Morrell’s Inspector of the Dead, his sequel to the Thomas De Quincey mystery Murder As a Fine Art; Adrian McKinty’s fourth novel featuring Irish detective Sean Duffy, Gun Street Girl; Jacqueline Winspear’s latest Maisie Dobbs novel, A Dangerous Place; Max Allan Collins’ most recent posthumous collaboration with Mickey Spillane, Kill Me, Darling; a fresh Bruno, Chief of Police, novel from Martin Walker, The Children Return (published in the UK as Children of War); Cara Black’s new case for Parisian sleuth Aimée Leduc, Murder on the Champ de Mars; a long-awaited re-release of Ted Lewis’ 1980 “masterpiece,” GBH; Bruce DeSilva’s fourth Liam Mulligan outing, A Scourge of Vipers; The Ghost Fields. the seventh Ruth Galloway mystery from Elly Griffiths (aka Domenica de Rosa); another promising yarn from David Corbett, The Mercy of the Night; the comeback of maverick Scottish ex-cop Quint Dalrymple in Paul Johnston’s Head or Hearts; John Connolly’s new Charlie Parker thriller, A Song of Shadows; Lyndsay Faye’s The Fatal Flame, her third investigation for mid-19th-century New York City “copper star,” Timothy Wilde; Ace Atkins’ latest continuation of Robert B. Parker’s Spenser private-eye series, Kickback; the unexpected but welcome reappearance of Canadian author John Farrow’s self-righteous Detective-Sergeant Emile Cinq-Mars in The Storm Murders; and a “terrifying” new novella from Minette Walters, The Cellar. Also worth mentioning, though it isn’t a novel, is The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook, edited by Kate White, which features recipes from such notables as Sue Grafton, Bill Pronzini, Scott Turow, S.J. Rozan, Raymond Benson, Gayle Lynds, Laura Lippman, and Felix Francis.

Undoubtedly, as your pour through the list below, you will discover other imminent releases worth watching for.

Aftershock, by Philip Donlay (Oceanview)
All the Old Knives, by Olen Steinhauer (Minotaur)
All the Wrong Places, by Lisa Lieberman (Five Star)
An Anecdotal Death, by Kinley Roby (Five Star)
The Angel Court Affair, by Anne Perry (Ballantine)
Archie in the Crosshairs, by Robert Goldsborough (Mysterious Press/Open Road)
Asylum, by Jeannette de Beauvoir (Minotaur)
Bone Gap, by Laura Ruby (Balzer & Bray)
The Cheapside Corpse, by Susanna Gregory (Little, Brown)
Cry Wolf, by Michael Gregorio (Severn House)
Cuba Straits, by Randy Wayne White (Putnam)
A Dangerous Place, by Jacqueline Winspear (Harper)
Dark Rooms, by Lili Anolik (Morrow)
The Dead Key, by D.M. Pulley (Thomas & Mercer)
The Devil’s Detective, by Simon Kurt Unsworth (Doubleday)
Down Don’t Bother Me, by Jason Miller (Bourbon Street)
Due for Discard, by Sharon St. George (Camel Press)
Edge, by Nick Oldham (Severn House)
The Edge of Dreams, by Rhys Bowen (Minotaur)
Endangered, by C.J. Box (Putnam)
The Fifth Heart, by Dan Simmons (Little, Brown)
The Figaro Murders, by Laura Lebow (Minotaur)
Firebreak, by Tricia Fields (Minotaur)
Fractured, by Kate Watterson (Forge)
The Friendship of Criminals, by Robert Glinski (Minotaur)
Gun Street Girl, by Adrian McKinty (Seventh Street)
Harder Ground, by Joseph Heywood (Lyons Press)
The Harder They Come, by T.C. Boyle (Ecco)
The Hidden Man, by Robin Blake (Minotaur)
The House of Wolfe, by James Carlos Blake (Mysterious Press)
Impasse, by Royce Scott Buckingham (Thomas Dunne)
Inspector of the Dead, by David Morrell (Mulholland)
Kill Me, Darling, by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins (Titan)
Lacy Eye, by Jessica Treadway (Grand Central)
Leaving Berlin, by Joseph Kanon (Atria)
Life or Death, by Michael Robotham (Mulholland)
Love’s Alchemy, by Bryan Crockett (Five Star)
The Lost and the Blind, by Declan Burke (Severn House)
A Man’s Word, by Martin Jensen (AmazonCrossing)
Meadowlands, by Elizabeth Jeffrey (Severn House)
The Mouth of the Crocodile, by Michael Pearce (Severn House)
Murder Boy, by Bryon Quertermous (Polis)
Murder in Hindsight, by Anne Cleeland (Kensington)
Murder on the Champ de Mars, by Cara Black (Soho Crime)
The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook, edited by Kate White (Quirk)
Night Night, Sleep Tight, by Hallie Ephron (Morrow)
Past Crimes, by Glen Erik Hamilton (Morrow)
The Patriot Threat, by Steve Berry (Minotaur)
The Perfect Game, by Leslie Kirby (Poisoned Pen Press)
The Pocket Wife, by Susan Crawford (Morrow)
The Prince, by Vito Bruschini (Atria)
Pursuit in Provence, by Phyllis Gobbell (Five Star)
Season of Fear, by Brian Freeman (Quercus)
Shadow Ritual, by Éric Giacometti and Jacques Ravenne (Le French)
Side Trip to Kathmandu, by Marie Moore (Camel Press)
Signature Kill, by David Levien (Doubleday)
Soil, by Jamie Kornegay (Simon & Schuster)
Spring Remains, by Mons Kallentoft (Atria/Emily Bestler)
The Stolen Ones, by Owen Laukkanen (Putnam)
The Stranger, by Harlan Coben (Dutton)
The Strangler Vine, by M.J. Carter (Putnam)
Suitcase City, by Sterling Watson (Akashic)
The Tapestry, by Nancy Bilyeau (Touchstone)
The Tomb in Turkey, by Simon Brett (Crème de la Crime)
Too Bad to Die, by Francine Mathews (Riverhead)
12 Rose Street, by Gail Bowen (McClelland & Stewart)
Under the Channel, by Gilles Petel (Gallic)
The Unraveling of Mercy Louis, by Keija Parssinen (Harper)
Viper, by Maurizio de Giovanni (Europa Editions)
The Washington Lawyer, by Allan Topol (SelectBooks)
Werewolf Cop, by Andrew Klavan (Pegasus)
What the Fly Saw, by Frankie Y. Bailey (Minotaur)
Who Buries the Dead, by C.S. Harris (NAL)
The World Before Us, by Aislinn Hunter (Hogarth)
World Gone By, by Dennis Lehane (Morrow)

After the Crash, by Michel Bussi (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)
A Bed of Scorpions, by Judith Flanders (Allison & Busby)
Black Wood, by S.J.I. Holliday (Black and White)
Bryant & May: The Burning Man, by Christopher Fowler (Doubleday)
Capital Crimes: London Mysteries, edited by Martin Edwards (British Library Crime Classics)
The Case of the “Hail Mary” Celeste, by Malcolm Pryce (Bloomsbury)
A Cold Killing, by Anna Smith (Quercus)
Cold Revenge, by Alex Howard (Head of Zeus)
Death in Devon, by Ian Sansom (4th Estate)
Death Under a Tuscan Sun, by Michele Giuttari (Little, Brown)
The Defence, by Steve Cavanagh (Orion)
The Dove’s Necklace, Raja Alem (Overlook Press)
Fixer, by P.F. Lennon (Hodder
& Stoughton)
The Ghost Fields, by Elly Griffiths (Quercus)
Into the Night, by Jake Woodhouse (Penguin)
The Jackdaw, by Luke Delaney (HarperCollins)
Keep the Midnight Out, by Alex Gray (Sphere)
A Line of Blood, by Ben McPherson (HarperCollins)
The Missing and the Dead, by Stuart MacBride (HarperCollins)
The Raven’s Head, by Karen Maitland (Headline Review)
The Scrivener, by Robin Blake (Constable)
The Shut Eye, by Belinda Bauer (Bantam Press)
The Tears of Dark Water, by Corban Addison (Quercus)
Toxic, by Jamie Doward (Constable)
Walking by Night, by Kate Ellis (Creme de la Crime)
The Whitstable Pearl Mystery, by Julie Wassmer (Constable)
You Belong to Me, by Samantha Hayes (Century)

The Alchemist’s Daughter, by Mary Lawrence (Kensington)
Antiques Swap, by Barbara Allan (Kensington)
The A26, by Pascal Garnier (Gallic)
Aunt Dimity and the Summer King, by Nancy Atherton (Viking)
Basic Law, by J. Sydney Jones (Mysterious Press/Open Road)
Black Run, by Antonio Manzini (Harper)
Blood on Snow, by Jo Nesbø (Knopf)
Blood Sweep, by Steven Havill (Poisoned Pen Press)
The Bone Tree, by Greg Iles (Morrow)
Bye, Bye Love, by K.J. Larsen (Poisoned Pen Press)
The Children Return, by Martin Walker (Knopf)
Circling the Runway, by J.L. Abramo (Down & Out -- e-book)
Compulsion, by Allison Brennan (Minotaur)
The Dead Lands, by Benjamin Percy (Grand Central)
A Deadly Affair at Bobtail Ridge, by Terry Shames (Seventh Street)
The Doll Maker, by Richard Montanari (Mulholland)
Duet in Beirut, by Mishka Ben-David (Overlook)
Every Fifteen Minutes, by Lisa Scottoline (St. Martin’s Press)
Falling in Love, by Donna Leon (Atlantic Monthly Press)
Fallout, by Paul Thomas (Bitter Lemon Press)
False Tongues, by Kate Charles (Poisoned Pen Press)
Fox Is Framed, by Lachlan Smith (Mysterious Press)
Gathering Prey, by John Sandford (Putnam)
GBH, by Ted Lewis (Soho Crime)
Ghost Image, by Ellen Crosby (Scribner)
Grave Consequences, by David and Aimée Thurlo (Minotaur)
Grave on Grand Avenue, by Naomi Hirahara (Berkley)
Hot Pursuit, by Stuart Woods (Putnam)
House of Echoes, by Brendan Duffy (Ballantine)
Innocent Damage, by Robert K. Lewis (Midnight Ink)
The Invention of Fire, by Bruce Holsinger (Morrow)
The Lady from Zagreb, by Philip Kerr (Putnam)
The Language of the Dead, by Stephen Kelly (Pegasus)
The Legend of Caleb York, by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins (Kensington)
Lincoln’s Bodyguard, by T.J. Turner (Oceanview)
Losing Faith, by Adam Mitzner (Gallery)
The Masque of a Murderer, by Susanna Calkins (Minotaur)
Memory Man, by David Baldacci (Grand Central)
The Mercy of the Night, by David Corbett (Thomas & Mercer)
Normal, by Graeme Cameron (Mira)
One Mile Under, by Andrew Gross (Morrow)
Painted Black, by Greg Kihn (Open Road)
A Palette for Murder, by Vanessa A. Ryan (Five Star)
Pleasantville, by Attica Locke (Harper)
The Ravens, by Vidar Sundstøl (University of Minnesota Press)
Revenge of the Kremlin, by Gérard de Villiers (Vintage)
Reykjavik Nights, by Arnaldur Indridason (Minotaur)
The Russian Bride, by Ed Kovacs (Minotaur)
A Scourge of Vipers, by Bruce DeSilva (Forge)
Slow Burn, by Andrew Welsh-Huggins (Swallow Press)
Snake Pass, by Colin Campbell (Midnight Ink)
Snared, by Ed James (Thomas & Mercer)
Solitude Creek, by Jeffery Deaver (Grand Central)
A Stitch in Crime, by Ann Yost (Five Star)
Swansong, by Damien Boyd (Thomas & Mercer)
Tattered Legacy, by Shannon Baker (Midnight Ink)
Thanksgiving Angels, by Alice Duncan (Five Star)
Thieves Fall Out, by Gore Vidal (Hard Case Crime)
Ties That Blind, by Zachary Klein (Polis)
Threshold, by G.M. Ford (Thomas & Mercer)
Twisted, by Andrew E. Kaufman (Thomas & Mercer)
What You Left Behind, by Samantha Hayes (Crown)
Whispering Shadows, by Jan-Philipp Sendker (Atria)
You Can Trust Me, by Sophie McKenzie (St. Martin’s Press)
You Will Never Find Me, by Robert Wilson (Europa Editions)
Your Next Breath, by Iris Johansen (St. Martin’s Press)

Corridors of the Night, by Anne Perry (Headline)
Cuckold Point, by Patrick Easter (Quercus)
Dead and Gone, by Bill Kitson (Robert Hale)
Deadly Election, by Lindsey Davis (Hodder & Stoughton)
Death in the Rainy Season, by Anna Jaquiery (Mantle)
The Detective’s Secret, by Lesley Thomson (Head of Zeus)
Double Mortice, by Bill Daly (Old Street)
Head or Hearts, by Paul Johnston (Severn House)
Hidden, by Emma Kavanagh (Century)
The Infidel Stain, by M.J. Carter (Fig Tree)
The Invisible Guardian, by Dolores Redondo (HarperCollins)
Last Resort, by Quintin Jardine (Headline)
Mrs. Pargeter’s Principle, by Simon Brett (Creme de la Crime)
The Novel Habits of Happiness, by Alexander McCall Smith (Little, Brown)
Orkney Twilight, by Clare Carson
(Head of Zeus)
Red Icon, by Sam Eastland (Faber & Faber)
The Serpentine Road, by Paul Mendelson (Constable)
Silver Bullets, by Élmer Mendoza (MacLehose Press)
Sleeping Dogs, by Thomas Mogford (Bloomsbury)
A Song of Shadows, by John Connolly (Hodder & Stoughton)
The Third Sin, by Aline Templeton (Allison & Busby)
22 Dead Little Bodies, by Stuart MacBride (HarperCollins)
What She Left, by T.R. Richmond (Michael Joseph)

MAY (U.S.):
The Altar Girl, by Orest Stelmach (Thomas & Mercer)
Anatomy of Evil, by Will Thomas (Minotaur)
And Sometimes I Wonder About You, by Walter Mosley (Doubleday)
Benefit of the Doubt, by Neal Griffin (Forge)
Blanche Cleans Up, by Barbara Neely (Brash Books)
Blood Ties, by Nicholas Guild (Forge)
The Book of Stone, by Jonathan Papernick (Fig Tree)
The Border, by Robert McCammon (Subterranean)
Bubba Done It, by Maggie Toussaint (Five Star)
Burnt River, by Karin Salvalaggio (Minotaur)
Camille, by Pierre Lemaitre (MacLehose Press)
The Corpse with the Sapphire Eyes, by Cathy Ace (TouchWood)
Dead Girl Walking, by Christopher Brookmyre (Atlantic Monthly Press)
Death Ex Machina, by Gary Corby (Soho Crime)
Death of a Bride and Groom, by Allan J. Emerson (Five Star)
The Devil’s Making, by Seán Haldane (Minotaur)
Disclaimer, by Renée Knight (Harper)
Dry Bones, by Craig Johnson (Viking)
The Enemy Inside, by Steve Martini (Morrow)
The Fatal Flame, by Lyndsay Faye (Putnam)
15 Minutes to Live, by Phoef Sutton (Brash Books)
Flame Out, by M.P. Cooley (Morrow)
The Forgotten Room, by Lincoln Child (Doubleday)
The Ghost Fields, by Elly Griffiths (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Hail Storme, by W.L. Ripley (Brash Books)
The Harvest Man, by Alex Grecian (Putnam)
Housebreaking, by Dan Pope (Simon & Schuster)
The Ice Twins, by S.K. Tremayne (Grand Central)
Independence Day, by Ben Coes (St. Martin’s Press)
Innocent Blood, by Michael Lister (Pulpwood Press)
I, Ripper, by Stephen Hunter (Simon & Schuster)
Jack of Spades, by Joyce Carol Oates (Mysterious Press)
Killing Frost, by Ron Tierney (Severn House)
The Last Four Days of Paddy Buckley, by Jeremy Massey (Riverhead)
Little Black Lies, by Sharon Bolton (Minotaur)
Little Men, Big World /Vanity Row, by W.R. Burnett
(Stark House Press)
Liz/Syndicate Girl, by Frank Kane (Stark House Press)
Mañana, by William Hjortsberg (Open Road)
A Man of Some Repute, by Elizabeth Edmondson (Thomas & Mercer)
Memphis Ribs, by Gerald Duff (Brash Books)
Missing, by Sam Hawken (Serpent’s Tail)
Murder with a Twist, by Tracy Kiely (Midnight Ink)
The Night Game, by Frank Golden (Salmon Poetry)
Only the Brave, by Mel Sherratt (Thomas & Mercer)
The Organ Broker, by Stu Strumwasser (Arcade)
Orient, by Christopher Bollen (Harper)
Paris Ransom, by Charles Rosenberg (Thomas & Mercer)
Pinnacle Event, by Richard A. Clarke (Thomas Dunne)
A Promise to Die For, by Jacqueline Pelham (Five Star)
Radiant Angel, by Nelson DeMille (Grand Central)
The Return of the Fallen Angels Book Club, by R. Franklin James (Camel Press)
Robert B. Parker’s Kickback, by Ace Atkins (Putnam)
Rock with Wings, by Anne Hillerman (Harper)
Ruins of War, by John A. Connell (Berkley)
The Scarlet Gospels, by Clive Barker (St. Martin’s Press)
Secrets of State, by Matthew Palmer (Putnam)
Sidney Chambers and the Forgiveness of Sins, by James Runcie (Bloomsbury)
Six and a Half Deadly Sins, by Colin Cotterill (Soho Crime)
Solitude Creek, by Jeffery Deaver (Grand Central)
Stone Cold Dead, by James W. Ziskin (Seventh Street)
The Storm Murders, by John Farrow (Minotaur)
Susanna Screaming, by Carolyn Weston
The Teller, by Jonathan Stone (Thomas & Mercer)
Thin Air, by Ann Cleeves (Minotaur)
Tin Sky, by Ben Pastor (Bitter Lemon Press)
Traitor’s Gate, by Charlie Newton (Thomas & Mercer)
Trident Code, by Thomas Waite (47North)
The Underwriting, by Michelle Miller (Putnam)
Vanishing, by Gerard Woodward (Pegasus)
The Water Knife, by Paolo Bacigalupi (Knopf)
What Lies Behind, by J.T. Ellison (Mira)
When Somebody Kills You, by Robert J. Randisi (Severn House)
Yesterday Is Dead, by Jack Lynch (Brash Books)

Boxes, by Pascal Garnier (Gallic)
The Cellar, by Minette Walters (Hammer)
Cocaine, by Massimo Carlotto, Gianrico Carofiglio (Author), and Giancarlo De Cataldo (MacLehose Press)
Fall of Man in Wilmslow, by David Lagercrantz (MacLehose Press)
Going to the Dogs, by Dan Kavanagh (Orion)
Hunted, by Paul Finch (Avon)
The Invisible Man from Salem, by Christoffer Carlsson (Scribe)
Killer Plan, by Leigh Russell (No Exit Press)
The Killing Lessons, by Saul Black (Orion)
The Killing of Bobbi Lomax, by Cal Moriarty (Faber and Faber)
Lives Lost, by Britta Bolt (Mulholland)
Mockingbird Songs, by R.J. Ellory (Orion)
The Seeker, by S.G. MacLean (Quercus)
The Slaughter Man, by Tony Parsons (Century)
The Storm, by Neil Broadfoot (Saraband)
Time of Death, by Mark Billingham (Little, Brown)
You Are Dead, by Peter James (Macmillan)

As I generally do when presenting one of these seasonal book-expectation lists, I ask all of you to let me know what I have missed highlighting. Do you know of other promising works in this genre, due out over the next three months, that should also be mentioned? If so, please drop a note about them into the Comments section at the end of this post. It’d be to our mutual benefit.

Can That Number Be Correct?

We still have a couple more months to go before The Rap Sheet celebrates its ninth anniversary, but this last weekend brought the blog a different sort of milestone. My short item about the 82nd anniversary of attorney Perry Mason’s debut in Erle Stanley Gardner’s 1933 novel The Case of the Velvet Claws was apparently this site’s 6,000th post. Wow! It’s hard to imagine, looking back at my modest goals for the blog in 2006, that its contributors should have been so prolific. Or that, according to Blogger’s statistics-keeping software, the site has already exceeded 3 million pageviews.

Allow me to extend my fervent thanks to all Rap Sheet readers. This blog, though sometimes challenging to keep up, has brought me abundant satisfactions and been a source of numerous rewards at a point in my career where too many other outlets for my work have dried up. It seems I’m destined to be a blogger for years to come. There could certainly be worse fates …

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Loading Up the Derringers

The Short Mystery Fiction Society today announced its nominees for the 2015 Derringer Awards, as follows.

Best Flash Fiction (up to 1,000 words):
“Because,” by Melissa Yi (Fiction River Special Edition: Crime)
“Sweet Smells,” by Jed Power (Shotgun Honey)
“How Lil Jimmie Beat the Big C,” by Joseph D’Agnese (Shotgun Honey)
“Foodies,” by Rob Hart (Shotgun Honey)
“Knockout,” by Eryk Pruitt (Out of the Gutter)
“Because,” by Travis Richardson (Out of the Gutter)

Best Short Story (1,001-4,000 words):
“The Least of These,” by B.V. Lawson (Plan B Magazine, Vol. III)
“Killing Sam Clemens,” by William Burton McCormick (Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine)
“A Friend in Brown,” by Mary E. Stiba (from Best New England Crime Stories 2015: Rogue Wave, edited by Mark Ammons, Katherine Fast, Barbara Ross, and Leslie Wheeler; Level Best)
“The Bad Son,” by Britni Patterson (from Carolina Crimes: Nineteen Tales of Lust, Love, and Longing, edited by Karen Pullen; Wildside Press)
“The Kaluki Kings of Queens,” by Cathi Stoler (from Murder New York Style: Family Matters, edited by Anita Page; Glenmere Press)

Best Long Story (4,001-8,000 words):
“A Hopeless Case,” by Hilary Davidson (from All Due Respect, Issue #4, edited by Chris Rhatigan and Mike Monson)
“Separation Anxiety,” by Angel Luis Colón (from All Due Respect, Issue #5, edited by Chris Rhatigan and Mike Monson)
“The Ultimate Mystery,” by M.H. Callway (World Enough and Crime, edited by Donna and Alex Carrick; Carrick Publishing)
“The Missing Money,” by James T. Shannon (from Best New England Crime Stories 2015: Rogue Wave)
“Dead Men Tell No Tales,” by Cathy Wiley (from Chesapeake Crimes: Homicidal Holidays, edited by Barb Goffman and Marcia Talley; Wildside Press)

Best Novelette (8,001-20,000 words):
“Hitler’s Dogs,” by Doug Allyn (Fiction River Special Edition: Crime)
“Infernal,” by Trey Dowell (Untreed Reads)
“Busting Red Heads,” by Richard Helms (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, March 2014)
“The Monster in Our Midst,” by Kris Nelscott (Fiction River Special Edition: Crime)
Juba Good, by Vicki Delany (Orca Books Rapid Reads)

Congratulations to all of the contenders!

(Hat tip to My Little Corner.)

UPDATE: On Wednesday, March 4, the following note appeared in The Short Mystery Fiction Society blog:
An eligibility issue was discovered with one of the finalists in our March 1 announcement, delaying the group vote to determine the winners which was to begin March 1. The blog announcement of the finalists has been taken down pending an official decision on the story or its replacement to be posted on Shortmystery and reflected here.
The SMFS has not made clear which of the many stories is under scrutiny here, but once a determination of its eligibility is made, we’ll modify this post accordingly.

Introducing Perry Mason

A good reminder, from Today in Mystery History:
March 1, 1933. On this date The Case of the Velvet Claws was published. Erle Stanley Gardner had been writing stories and novellas at an amazing rate, mostly for Black Mask Magazine, trying to earn enough money to drop being a lawyer and go full-time as an author. It took another lawyer to help him out: the fictional but wildly successful Perry Mason, who premiered in this book. 75 novels and a hit TV show followed.
READ MORE:The Best TV Crime Drama Openers, #9: Perry Mason,” by J. Kingston Pierce (The Rap Sheet).

Friday, February 27, 2015

Just for Openers

I was contacted in mid-January of this year by Adam Thompson, “an editor and writer at The Wall Street Journal,” who told me via e-mail that he was “pondering doing a piece on people who are able to find the most obscure intros to TV shows and put them online.” He was referring to The Rap Sheet’s YouTube page. “I found you after a search for the Scarecrow & Mrs. King intro,” Thompson explained, “and was kind of amazed at the number of intros you’d posted. Would you have a few moments to tell me about this? How many you’ve posted, how long it takes to find these things, whether there’s a missing intro out there that you’re trying especially hard to find, etc.?”

Although I thought this was a rather odd subject for the Journal to tackle. I was glad to answer his questions. A month and a half have passed now, though, since I did that, and there’s been no sign of the article Thompson proposed. So I figure his interest has waned. Nonetheless, I put some effort into responding to Thompson’s query; and since I have indeed tried to develop The Rap Sheet’s YouTube page over time, I thought you might be interested in what I told him.
I created that YouTube “channel” you came across as an entertaining supplement to my award-winning crime-fiction blog, The Rap Sheet ( I have long been a fan of vintage TV mystery and crime dramas, and every once in a while I’d come across the main title sequence from one of those shows on YouTube. Finally, in 2010, I decided to collect a few of them. That enterprise grew and grew, until now I have more than 300 such opening sequences posted.

I don’t spend a lot of time trying to expand the offerings on that page, but I have accumulated more than 600 subscribers over the years, so I guess I’m doing enough to please some people. Probably folks much like me, who remember these old shows and get a kick out of seeing at least some portion of them resurrected. I’m not in the questionable business of uploading whole episodes of classic programs onto YouTube; that would seem to be an obvious violation of copyrights. I see what I do as a small tribute to some older shows that many viewers have never heard of, but would do well to investigate further. Use of these clips is for historical and entertainment purposes only, and is not meant to establish ownership of such materials.

As I said, it has taken me years to accumulate all these series intros, but I don’t devote a lot of energy to the game. I check in regularly on YouTube and use Google alerts, looking for the TV intros I remember best and would like to showcase for Rap Sheet readers. By that means I have located most of the entries on my wish list, including the hard-to-find openings from the 1976 private-eye series City of Angels (, the 1982-1983 comedy-drama Tucker’s Witch (, the 2001 cop show Big Apple (, and the 1974-1975 historical crime series, The Manhunter (

There are still a number of main title sequences I’d like to add to my collection. For instance, I haven’t yet managed to dig up the original, 1972-1973 opening from The NBC Wednesday Mystery Movie “wheel series” (with theme music by Quincy Jones) -- though I have posted a later version of that opening ( I’m also still on the hunt for the introductions from Dog and Cat (1977, starring Lou Antonio and Kim Basinger), Chase (1973-1974, starring Mitchell Ryan), Caribe (1975, starring Stacy Keach), Dellaventura (1997-1998, starring Danny Aiello), and Michael Hayes (1997-1998, starring David Caruso). But give me time. I’m patient, and these intros have a tendency to pop up on the Web when you least expect to see them. There always seems to be someone out there with access to old shows and the time to upload them to YouTube.

Thank goodness.
Since I wrote to Thompson, I have managed to locate those hard-to-find openings to Dog and Cat and Dellaventura, but I’m still searching for the rest. Let me know if you spot them.

Good-bye, Leonard Nimoy (1931-2015)

READ MORE:Leonard Nimoy, Spock of Star Trek, Dies at 83,” by Virginia Heffernan (The New York Times); “Star Trek Is Great, and Leonard Nimoy’s Spock Was the Greatest Thing About It,” by Matthew Yglesias (Vox); “Leonard Nimoy, R.I.P.,” by Michael Hadley (It’s About TV!); “Mort: Mr. Spock,” by Don Herron (Up and Down These Mean Streets); “A Word About Leonard Nimoy,” by Jeri Westerson (Getting Medieval); “The Iconic ‘Live Long and Prosper’ Hand Gesture Was Originally a Jewish Sign,” by Daven Hiskey (Today I Found Out); “How Leonard Nimoy Made Spock an American Jewish Icon,” by Matthew Rozsa (Salon); “Leonard Nimoy Dies at 83, Dabbled in Spy Entertainment,” by Bill Koenig (The Spy Command); “R.I.P., Leonard Nimoy: We’ll Always Have Paris,” by Matthew Bradford/Tanner (Double O Section); “Leonard Nimoy, You Will Be Sorely Missed,” by Paul Morris (Little Things); “‘I Have Been--and Always Shall Be--Your Friend,’” by Josh Marshall (Talking Points Memo); “Remembering Leonard Nimoy, 1931-2015” (