Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Bullet Points: On the Mend Edition

After spending most of the last two weeks under the weather, it appears I am finally on the rocky road to recovery. My recent decimation of the world’s Kleenex supply has diminished significantly, and I am no longer coughing my way through whatever program happens to be playing on television any given night. I would say these are favorable signs. Maybe I can get back to a more regular schedule of blog writing soon. For the time being, though, here are a few odds and ends drawn from my file of recent crime-fiction news bits.

• Blogger Gerald So, a member of the Short Mystery Fiction Society, has posted brief, formatted interviews with all 19 of the finalists for this year’s Derringer Awards. The winners of those commendations, in four categories, will be chosen through an online vote of eligible SMFS members (polls to remain open through April 29), with the names of this year’s prize recipients to be declared on May 1.

• Organizers of Bouchercon 2017 have announced the roster of authors whose work will appear in the Passport to Murder Anthology, scheduled to be available for advance ordering this coming summer and on hand for purchase during the Toronto convention in October. Among the 22 honored fictionists are Craig Fautus Buck, Hilary Davidson, Gary Phillips, and Chris Grabenstein.

• Speaking of Bouchercon, anyone who is eligible to nominate this year’s Anthony Awards contenders but has not yet filled out the survey (which should have been sent via e-mail) should remember that the deadline is April 30!

• Here’s a gift opportunity to keep in mind when shopping for Agent 007 fans: The Complete James Bond: Goldfinger—The Classic Comic Strip Collection, 1960-66, released this month by Titan Books. The blog Spy Vibe points out that this is the third in Titan’s series of volumes collecting Bond comic strips that were originally syndicated in British newspapers from 1958 to 1983. Those strips covered 52 story arcs, the earliest ones being based on Ian Fleming’s stories. “The new hardcover edition,” says Spy Vibe, “includes strips from 1960-1966: Goldfinger, Risico, From a View to a Kill, For Your Eyes Only, The Man with the Golden Gun, and The Living Daylights.” The two previous volumes, issued last year, were James Bond: Spectre: The Complete Comic Strip Collection and The Complete James Bond: Dr No—The Classic Comic Strip Collection 1958-60. Amazon shows a fourth book, The Complete James Bond: The Hildebrand Rarity—The Classic Comic Strip Collection 1966-69, as due for release this coming November.

• By the way, From Russia with Love—Fleming’s fifth Bond escapade—celebrated its 60th anniversary earlier this month. As The Book Bond notes, the book was first published on April 8, 1957.

• Happy birthday also to Grauman’s Chinese Theatre! That famous Hollywood Boulevard landmark, now known as the TCL Chinese Theatre, opened on May 18, 1927—meaning it commemorates its 90th anniversary of operation today.

• Smithsonian.com supplies some context to America’s early 20th-century “movie palace” boom.

• Having greatly enjoyed 2015’s The Man from U.N.C.L.E., I am pleased to read that a sequel might finally be in the works. In its post about this, though, The Spy Command cautions that the plan is still in its infancy, and “studios and production offices are littered with scripts that were never made into films.” I’ll keep my eye on this.

• Huh. I hadn’t heard this before. According to Sergio Angelini at Tipping My Fedora, screenwriter Howard Rodman’s “unlikely inspiration” for the 1974 TV film Smile Jenny, You’re Dead—the second of two feature-length pilots for Harry O, the often-underrated 1974-1976 ABC private-eye series—“was Harry Greener, the aged ex-vaudevillian in Nathanael West’s The Day of the Locust reduced to peddling ‘Miracle Solvent’ silver polish door-to-door until he finally keels over and dies. That book’s feeling for California’s alienated and disenfranchised also comes through in the romantic and mytho-poetic undercurrent to this vehicle for David Janssen.”

• Screen Daily reports that “principal photography has wrapped in Sudbury, Ontario, on Never Saw It Coming,” a suspense film based on Linwood Barclay’s 2013 novel of the same name. The site explains that the story focuses on “a young woman who passes herself off as a psychic. When the charlatan targets the family of a missing woman, she becomes entangled in the dark secrets of the husband and daughter.” The supposed clairvoyant, Keisha Ceylon, is being played on-screen by Montreal-born Emily Hampshire (from the Canadian sitcom Schitt’s Creek); Eric Roberts plays Wendell Garfield, whose wife has gone missing. The Toronto Star says, “the aim is for Never Saw It Coming to be finished by late summer, in time for fall film festivals.”

• Linwood Barclay’s latest thriller, Parting Shot, comes out this week in Great Britain, and Ali Karim had a chance to talk with him for Shotsmag Confidential.

• Elsewhere in that same blog, Ayo Onatade has word of Henning Mankell’s final novel, After the Fire, which is due out on both sides of the Atlantic in October. Here’s the plot brief:
Fredrik Welin is a seventy-year-old retired doctor. Years ago he retreated to the Swedish archipelago, where he lives alone on an island. He swims in the sea every day, cutting a hole in the ice if necessary. He lives a quiet life. Until he wakes up one night to find his house on fire.

Fredrik escapes just in time, wearing two left-footed wellies, as neighboring islanders arrive to help douse the flames. All that remains in the morning is a stinking ruin and evidence of arson. The house that has been in his family for generations and all his worldly belongings are gone. He cannot think who would do such a thing, or why. Without a suspect, the police begin to think he started the fire himself.
Mankell died back in October 2015.

• “CBS Television Studios has pre-emptively bought the rights to Edgar-winning author Meg Gardiner’s forthcoming novel, UNSUB, to adapt for television,” reports In Reference to Murder. “The thriller follows a female detective on the trail of an infamous serial killer—inspired by the still-unsolved Zodiac case—when he breaks his silence and begins killing again. The detective, who grew up watching her father destroy himself and his family chasing the killer, now finds herself facing the same monster.”

• Look for the May 21 premiere of Site Unseen: An Emma Fielding Mystery, a Hallmark Movies & Mysteries TV presentation based on Dana Cameron’s novels. It’s the opening installment in the network’s newest teleflick franchise, Emma Fielding Mysteries. As Mystery Fanfare explains, Courtney Thorne-Smith (formerly of According to Jim and Ally McBeal) will star as Fielding, “a brilliant, dedicated, and driven archaeologist who discovers artifacts that have been lost for hundreds of years—and she's very, very good at it. Emma has recently unearthed evidence of a possible 17th-century coastal Maine settlement that predates Jamestown, one of the most significant archaeological finds in years. But the dead body she uncovers on the site pushes Emma into a different kind of exploration. Her dig site is suddenly in jeopardy of being shut down, due to the meddling of local treasure-hunters and a second suspicious murder. Emma must team with the handsome FBI agent investigating the case to dig up dirt on the killer, before Emma and her excavation are ancient history.”

• I finally caught up with Season 4 of the British TV series Ripper Street on Netflix. (Yeah, I know, I’m a bit late to the party—again.) I’ve mentioned before what a fan I have become of that sometimes brutal but nonetheless elegantly written crime drama, set in London in the aftermath of Jack the Ripper’s 1888 murder spree. But Season 4 really demonstrates this program’s strengths, with plots involving Detective Inspector Bennet Drake’s promotion as commander of Whitechapel’s H Division police force, forensic expert Homer Jackson’s desperate efforts to save his wife (former brothel madam “Long Susan” Hart) from hanging, Edmund Reid’s return to detective duties after a self-imposed exile (with his once-lost daughter, Matilda) on the English seacoast, police corruption, and Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. Oh, and there are rumors of a golem leaping about the rooftops of the East End, biting bloody chunks out of his victims, and a rabbi’s murder may be in need of some further investigation. Believe me, this isn’t a program through which one is likely to sleep. What I hadn’t expected was that Season 4 would conclude with such a shocking cliffhanger! A great set-up for the fifth and perhaps concluding series of Ripper Street, which was already broadcast in Britain last October, but likely won’t make it to Netflix in the States until this coming October. You can watch the trailers for Seasons 4 and 5 here.

• Criminal defense attorney-turned-author Allen Eskens has won the 2017 Minnesota Book Award, in the Genre Fiction category, for The Heavens May Fall (Seventh Street).

• Donald Trump isn’t an enthusiastic reader, unlike President Barack Obama, his Democratic predecessor. But yesterday, Republican Trump finally took to Twitter to praise a new book. Wouldn’t you know it, though, the work he touted has no words in it.

Raymond Chandler was no fan of the FBI.

But count me as a Mary Ann fan.

• Nancie Clare’s most recent guest on her Speaking of Mysteries podcast is Alex Segura, whose Dangerous Ends—the third novel featuring Miami gumshoe Pete Fernandez—was recently released. You can listen to their exchange here.

• Meanwhile, the third episode of Writer Types, hosted by S.W. Lauden and Eric Beetner, “was mostly recorded on site at the inaugural Murder & Mayhem in Chicago conference and features interviews with none other than Sara Paretsky, William Kent Kreuger, Sean Chercover, Marcus Sakey, Dana Kaye and Lori Rader-Day, among many others.” Click here to hear the whole show.

• And on the latest edition of Two Crime Writers and a Microphone, Steve Cavanagh and Luca Veste talk with Steve Mosby “about his brand-new book, You Can Run, his career so far, the dark side of crime fiction, … [and] whether beards have more fun.”

• Other recent interviews of significance: Jeffery Deaver talks with Crimespree Magazine about his new novel, Burial Hour; Robin Yokum answers questions about A Welcome Murder; Joe Ide speaks with S.W. Lauden about his first Isaiah Quintabe novel, IQ, and its coming sequel; Lori Rader-Day (The Day I Died) submits to at least two sets of questions, one from Chicago Review of Books, the other from Mystery Playground; Crime Fiction Lover asks Mason Cross about his new Carter Blake thriller, Don’t Look for Me; Jenni L. Walsh recounts the background of her Bonnie and Clyde novel, Becoming Bonnie, for the Tor/Forge Blog; the Kirkus Reviews Web site carries a brief exchange with authors Rosemarie and Vince Keenan on the subject of their second Lillian Frost/Edith Head mystery, Dangerous to Know; Megan Miranda offers MysteryPeople some insights into her latest psychological suspense yarn, The Perfect Stranger; and in advance of this year’s Malice Domestic conference (April 28-30), Art Taylor chats with Martin Edwards, winner of the 2017 Poirot Award.

• Crime drama news from TV Shows on DVD: Be on the lookout for the release of Police Story, Season Two on July 25; T.J. Hooker: The Complete Series on July 18; and the re-release of McCloud: Season One on June 13. Oh, and The Rockford Files: The Complete Series will go on sale—in both DVD and Blu-ray formats—in June.

• Finally, Crime Fiction Ireland offers a selection of noteworthy authors slated to take part in this year’s St. Hilda’s Mystery and Crime Conference, scheduled for August 18-20 in Oxford, England. Iceland’s Yrsa Sigurðardóttir is to be the guest of honor.


Art Taylor said...

Glad you're beginning to feel better--and gotta say, for someone who's been under the weather, this is a remarkably good round-up of news!

Dana Cameron said...

Thanks for boosting the signal, and I'm glad you're feeling better!

BVLawson said...

Sorry to hear you were so ill, Jeff. There's a very bad flu running around this season (that wasn't included in the flu vaccine), and it sounds like you fell victim. But I'm glad you're on the mend and back on the beat!

Gerald So said...

Thanks for mentioning my interviews, Jeff. Wishing you a good recovery, and hope to see you at Bouchercon.