Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Unholy Four aka The Stranger Came Home (1954).

Stark House Press ed.
of Stranger at Home
Based on Stranger at Home ghosted for actor George Sanders by noted sci-fi writer and Big Sleep screenwriter Leigh Brackett, The Unholy Four features a man with amnesia seeking to discover which of his friends tried to kill him. Paulette Goddard stars.

Monday, December 28, 2015

The Christie tapes.

Agatha Christie, 17 Sept 1964.
Photo by Joop van Bilson, Anefo.
Dutch Natl Archives
BBC Radio 4 Extra is beginning to air excerpts from tapes made by Agatha Christie as she prepared her autobiography. The first episode is "The Semi-Pro" in which she discusses the creation of Miss Marple and also states: "I was eminently a writer for entertainment."

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

They Met in the Dark (1943).

James Mason in
They Met in the Dark
Based on The Vanishing Corpse (1941) by the Detection Club's Anthony Gilbert, They Met in the Dark features James Mason, Joyce Howard, and David Farrar in a tale of a disgraced naval officer, murder, and wartime espionage.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Meyer on The Seven Per-Cent Solution.

In this thoughtful 1981 event of the Writers Guild Foundation focused on adaptation, director-writer Nicholas Meyer discusses issues encountered in adapting his novel The Seven Per-Cent Solution to the screen. There also is interesting coverage of the novel versus film of Brian Garfield's Death Wish and Meyer's film Time After Time that pitted H.G. Wells against Jack the Ripper. Says Meyer:
I feel that if you are taking the life of someone famous as being worthy of making a film about, he or she is worth making an accurate film about. It is peculiarly revolting to me to watch biographical films that have felt the irresistible need to improve the lives of their subjects in order to render them sufficiently palatable or entertaining to an audience.
Meyer also states, "I am troubled by the fact that we now place more emphasis and importance on packaging than what is being packaged
. . . . Where does dramatic license end and vandalism begin?"

Of related interest: I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere podcast interview with Meyer

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

"A Study in Panic" (1954).

In this episode from Four Star Playhouse, Dick Powell is a self-satisfied newspaper columnist who writes about panic, which triggers a threat to his life. Dorothy Malone co-stars as a copyeditor with a background in psychology.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Christie in Mesopotamia.

The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology uncovered a photo in its archives of a "Mrs. Mallowan"; archivists realized that she was known better by another name: Agatha Christie. Christie was visiting a UChicago-Penn excavation at Nippur in Mesopotamia with her second husband, archaeologist Max Mallowan, ca. late 1940s/early 1950s.

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Fugitives for a Night (1938).

Frank Albertson in
Fugitives for a Night
An actor is suspected of murdering a producer in this film scripted by famous blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo (whose 110th birthday falls on December 9).

See the trailer.

Monday, December 07, 2015

70 years of Gallimard's Serie Noire.

French publisher Gallimard has published C'est l'histoire de la Série Noire (1945–2015) to mark the 70th anniversary of its crime fiction series Série Noire. Founded by Marcel Duhamel, Série Noire was instrumental in establishing the literary reputation of hardboiled authors such as Chester Himes (e.g., Coffin Ed Johnson/Grave Digger Jones series) and Charles Williams (e.g., Dead Calm). The Bibliothèque des littératures policière (Bilipo) in Paris is hosting an exhibition in conjunction with the book.

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

The Wall Street Mystery (1931).

In this short film based on a short story by S. S. Van Dine, Stagecoach's Donald Meek (as the sleuthing Dr. Crabtree) and Superman's John Hamilton (as Inspector Carr) investigate when two stockbrokers are found shot to death. Modern audiences may dislike the stereotyped portrayal of a black elevator operator.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Arthur Conan Doyle and Fulton Oursler.

Ad for Fulton Oursler's Behold This Dreamer (1924)
Note blurb from Conan Doyle
This Forbes article on "Imponderable"—a new exhibition of work by artist Tony Oursler at LUMA Westbau (Zurich)—notes one source: a debate on spiritualism between Oursler's grandfather, Charles Fulton Oursler (Reader's Digest editor, author of The Greatest Story Ever Told, and mystery writer Anthony Abbot, 1893–1952), and fellow writer Arthur Conan Doyle.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Black Friday (1940).

Complications ensue when a criminal's brain is transplanted into a professor. Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi star, and Curt Siodmak (brother of The Spiral Staircase's Robert Siodmak) is one of the screenwriters.

Monday, November 23, 2015

NMU commemorates Anatomy of a Murder.

Via various items posted online, the Northern Michigan University archives are commemorating Anatomy of a Murder by attorney, writer, fisherman, and Michigan Supreme Court justice John D. Voelker (1903–91). Voelker successfully defended Army lieutenant Coleman Peterson, who was accused of killing tavern owner Mike Chenoweth in 1952. Voelker then turned the case into fiction; the book was published by St. Martin's Press in January 1958 under Voelker's pseudonym, Robert Traver. It became a well-regarded film in 1959 with Jimmy Stewart, Lee Remick, Ben Gazzara, and George C. Scott. In 2013 ABA Journal selected Anatomy of a Murder as one of 25 greatest law novels.

NMU online materials:
• Read transcripts from the Peterson trial
• See photos of principals such as Voelker and Peterson
Listen to interview with juror Max Muelle

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Cat and the Canary (1939).

Paulette Goddard encounters
something unexpected in
The Cat and the Canary
In The Cat and the Canary, Paulette Goddard will inherit a sizable fortune if she does not go mad within a month, and relatives are intent on helping that along. Bob Hope and Gale Sondergaard also star. Based on a play by John Willard, it previously was adapted as a 1927 silent film and subsequently as a 1978 film with Honor Blackman, Edward Fox, and Wendy Hiller.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Ernest A. Young, detective dime novelist.

Ad including books by
Harry Rockwood, pseudonym
of Ernest A. Young
Brandeis Special Collections highlights its newly acquired papers of Massachusetts resident Ernest A. Young (1858–1936), who was known for his detective dime novels under pseudonyms such as Harry Rockwood. His works include Harry Pinkurten, the King of Detectives (1882) and Clarice Dyke, the Female Detective (1883). 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Kid Glove Killer (1942).

In Kid Glove Killer, police lab chief Van Heflin analyzes crime scene evidence from the murder of the city mayor, abetted by a lively Marsha Hunt. Fred Zinnemann (High Noon, From Here to Eternity) directed the film.

Monday, November 09, 2015

The return of pioneering PI Race Williams.

Altus Press has issued Them That Lives by Their Guns: The Collected Hard-Boiled Stories of Race Williams, vol. 1, with an introduction by Clues contributor Brooks Hefner. The creator of Williams, Carroll John Daly, launched the hard-boiled style with such stories as "The False Burton Combs" (1922) and "It's All in the Game" (1923). "Burton Combs" predates Dashiell Hammett's first story for Black Mask by several months.

Perhaps this collection of 16 stories can help refute the jaw-dropping assertion in the BBC Radio 4 program A Coat, a Hat, and a Gun (hosted by Harriett Gilbert, daughter of British mystery author Michael Gilbert) that the hard-boiled "genre was really invented by ... Hemingway with a short story in 1928 called 'The Killers.'" In fact, "The Killers" is a March 1927 Scribner's magazine short story, which appeared several years after Daly's groundbreaking work.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Ten Years of The Bunburyist.

Elizabeth Foxwell in an investigative mode.
It's hard to believe that 10 years ago today, I clicked the "Publish" button, and this blog began. I thought a blog could provide visitors with a way to learn about the contents of Clues: A Journal of Detection; read about neglected mystery works; and find links to interesting aspects involving the history of mystery, detective, and crime fiction—especially vintage audio and video. Although I tend not to receive a lot of comments, people seem to like what they see. Statistics indicate that the blog receives more than 5000 hits a month and has 59 loyal followers.

Sadly I have needed to reduce the number of posts per month because of my publishing and job commitments, as well as the work entailed for my new blog on American women in World War I.

The following are the top 10 posts of The Bunburyist based on views. Do you have other favorites?

The Top 10 Posts on The Bunburyist, 2005–15:

10. "Fri Forgotten Books: Charlotte Armstrong's The Chocolate Cobweb (1948)"

9. "Clues 31.2: Collins, Harvey, Highsmith, Parker, South African and Spanish crime fiction"

8. "Cornerstone: The Horizontal Man, by Helen Eustis"

7. "Fri Forgotten Books: The Mystery of Central Park, by Nellie Bly (1889)." After I posted about this rare book and mentioned it on a women's studies listserve, the Library of Congress digitized its copy and made it available via the Internet Archive.

6. "A Jury of Her Peers" (on the first U.S. female jurors)

5. "Dr. Barbara Mertz, Trailblazer"

4. "The Dude Abides: The Big Lebowski and The Big Sleep"

3.  "Cornerstone: Re-Enter Sir John (1932)"

2. "'The Grave Grass Quivers,' by MacKinlay Kantor (1931)"

1. "Dozen Best Detective Stories Ever Written"

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

The Senator Was Indiscreet (1947).

A film for Election Day: The Senator Was Indiscreet, in which politician William Powell eyes the presidency, promises health legislation guaranteeing that everyone will have a normal temperature, and causes consternation for his party when his imprudent diary goes missing. The film was directed by George S. Kaufman (The Man Who Came to Dinner), with The Front Page's Charles MacArthur as screenwriter.

Monday, November 02, 2015

Europe's public libraries and refugees.

Poster from the Austrian Library
Association "Welcome" campaign
The Public Libraries Section of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions presents a roundup of ways in which public libraries in Europe are reaching out to refugees. For example, the Cologne Public Library has an intercultural library forum that offers, among other services, readings in multiple languages for refugee children.

The Cologne Public Library also has the "Krimiautomat" in the metro system, where commuting library patrons can borrow crime fiction titles.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Soundtrack, An Inspector Calls.

Silva Screen Records has released the soundtrack by Dominik Scherrer to the recent BBC adaptation of J. B. Priestley's An Inspector Calls, in which a mysterious inspector appears after a girl's suicide to question the Birling family.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Chalk Garden (1964).

For today's 126th birthday of Enid Bagnold, author of works such as National Velvet and A Diary Without Dates, a WWI memoir that embroiled her in trouble, here is the adaptation of her play The Chalk Garden. Deborah Kerr plays a mysterious governess who seeks to help troubled Hayley Mills.

Bagnold's great-granddaughter is Samantha Cameron, wife of British prime minister David Cameron.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Clues vol. 33 now in Kindle format.

For those with e-readers: Clues 33.1 and Clues 33.2 (Patricia Highsmith issue) are now available in Kindle format.

Clues 33.1 (2015)
Kindle version
Abstracts

Clues 33.2 (2015; theme issue on Patricia Highsmith, with new revelations about Per Wahlöö)

Kindle version
Abstracts

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Three Stooges: Detectives?

Disorder in the Court (1936) features Larry, Moe, and Curly as witnesses in a court case who uncover the perpetrator of a murder.

Monday, October 19, 2015

New Crime Uncovered series.

Intellect Books in the UK will launch a new nonfiction series, Crime Uncovered, in November, which seeks to "explor[e the] genre in an intelligent, critical and accessible manner." Its first two volumes will be on the antihero (ed. Bath Spa University's Fiona Peters and Rebecca Stewart) and the detective (ed. Crime Time's Barry Forshaw). In March will be a volume on the private investigator (ed. University of Newcastle's Alistair Rolls and Rachel Franks).

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Murder by Invitation (1941).

Wealthy woman, scheming relatives, occasional corpses. And you know you want to "jump with jitters!"

Monday, October 12, 2015

The art of the steal.

"Confidence Man: I seen him first, Joe.
His Pal: Let's toss for him."
Life
12 Aug. 1915. NYPL
Jean Brauscher and Barack Orbach provide a fascinating discussion of the confidence man in "Scamming: The Misunderstood Confidence Man" (Yale Journal of Law and the Humanities, 27, 2015), including the shady nineteenth-century activities of Samuel Thompson, the man who gave rise to the term. (Thanks to Law & Humanities blog)

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Foxwell on WAMU's Metro Connection, Oct 9.

I'm appearing on WAMU's Metro Connection at 1 pm on Fri, Oct. 9, to talk about the local women who appear in my new collection In Their Own Words: American Women in World War I. Here I am with Metro Connection host Rebecca Sheir (right) at the DC World War I Memorial.


Update. Link to the interview and my reading of an excerpt from the collection by Walter Reed librarian Gertrude Thiebaud.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Foxwell talk/signing, Oct 13.

One More Page Books in Arlington, VA, will be hosting me for a talk/signing of In Their Own Words: American Women in World War I on Tuesday, Oct 13, from 7–8 pm. My friend Daniel Stashower (The Hour of Peril, Teller of Tales: The Life of Arthur Conan Doyle, The Beautiful Cigar Girl, etc.) will be introducing me.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Pacific Blackout (1941).

Ad for Pacific Blackout (1941)
Framed by a nightclub singer for the murder of a coworker, Robert Preston also must thwart attempted sabotage by enemy agents in Pacific Blackout. One of the writers is Curt Siodmak (brother of Spiral Staircase director Robert Siodmak).

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Fast and Loose (1939).

In Fast and Loose, Robert Montgomery and Rosalind Russell are husband-and-wife booksellers on the trail of rare book thieves. Other films in this series are Fast Company (with Melvyn Douglas, 1938) and Fast and Furious (with Franchot Tone and Ann Sothern, 1939).

Monday, September 28, 2015

Early Hitchcock.

Ad for Three Live Ghosts (1922)
Henry K. Miller in the BFI's Sight & Sound magazine discusses recently discovered Hitchcock silent film work—The Man from Home (1922) and Three Live Ghosts (1922)—but the versions found bear evidence of hands other than Hitchcock's.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

"Age of Peril" (1952).

In this February 1952 episode of Tales of Tomorrow adapted from "Crisis 1999" (EQMM, Aug 1949) by mystery-sci fi author Fredric Brown, an agent (character actor Dennis Patrick) sets out to discover who is leaking classified defense secrets. Phyllis Kirk co-stars.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Results from Sept 10 Bloomsbury auction.

Graham Greene
Some results of interest from the Sept 10 bibliophile auction at Bloomsbury:

Black Plumes (1940) by Margery Allingham, 1st ed., £260 (approx US$404).

From Russia with Love (1957) by Ian Fleming, 1st ed., £200 (approx US$311).

The Fallen Idol, Our Man in Havana, Stamboul Train, The Third Man, and 12 other 1st eds. by Graham Greene, £420 (approx US$652).

Brighton Rock (1938) by Graham Greene,  1st ed., £300 (approx US$466).

Unnatural Causes (1967) by P. D. James, 1st ed., £220 (approx US$342).

The Spy Who Came in from the Cold and The Looking-Glass War by John le Carre, 1st eds., £280 (approx $435).

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Clues 33.2: Patricia Highsmith, Per Wahlöö.

In honor of the 20th anniversary of Patricia Highsmith's death and the 40th anniversary of Per Wahlöö's death, Clues 33.2 (2015) has been published. It is a theme issue on the work of Highsmith, plus reveals Wahlöö's plans for another Martin Beck novel near the end of his life. Abstracts follow below. Contact McFarland to order the issue or to subscribe to the journal.

Update. Issue is now available on Nook and Kindle 

Introduction: Re-Evaluating Patricia Highsmith
FIONA PETERS (Bath Spa Univ, UK)

Conformity and Singularity in Patricia Highsmith’s Early Novels
FIONA PETERS
This essay explores Highsmith’s critique of the American suburbs in the novels of the 1950s and early 1960s. It focuses on This Sweet Sickness, highlighting not only Highsmith’s critique of conformity but also her recognition of the threat of psychic breakdown for those who resisted cultural norms.

“Sooner or later most of us get hooked”:
The Question of Insanity in Patricia Highsmith’s Strangers on a Train and The Talented Mr. Ripley

SAMANTHA WALTON (Bath Spa Univ, UK)
This article considers constructions of insanity in Strangers on a Train and The Talented Mr. Ripley in the context of historical understandings of psychopathy and sociopathic personality disturbance. It examines Patricia Highsmith’s psychological influences and assesses how her novels have been read in relation to changing notions of criminal insanity in psychiatry, law, and culture.

Under an Atomic Sky: Patricia Highsmith, Fyodor Dostoevsky, and the Apocalyptic Imagination
ILSE SCHRYNEMAKERS (Queensboro Community College, NY)
This essay contextualizes Patricia Highsmith’s crime fiction within the ethos of a world with the atomic bomb, examining how her characters fit the prototype of Americans striving for and achieving a comfortable life. It also explores the significance of characters in such a world committing seemingly irrational actions.

Living “As If”: Ripley’s Imaginary and the Problem of Other People in The Talented Mr. Ripley
BRUCE WYSE (Wilfrid Laurier Univ, Canada)
In Patricia Highsmith’s The Talented Mr. Ripley, Tom Ripley finds reading people a challenge but copes through a form of everyday detection. The author argues that Ripley is an “as-if” character who passes for “normal” until his fantasized rapport with Dickie collapses. Through Dickie’s murder, he recaptures this imaginary bond.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Foxwell on Femmes Fatales blog.

I'm the guest today on the Femmes Fatales blog, talking about my anthology In Their Own Words: American Women in World War I, which will be published September 25. The post includes a photo of the "fingerprint girls" of the war.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The Evil Mind (aka The Clairvoyant, 1934).

Claude Rains plays a con artist who finds that his mind-reading act is resulting in real predictions of the future. Fay Wray co-stars. Screenplay contributors include Charles Bennett (Blackmail, Foreign Correspondent) and Bryan Edgar Wallace (son of Edgar Wallace).

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

An early ghostly turn by Agatha Christie.

Agatha Christie, 1964.
Dutch National Archives
A child ghost is featured in Agatha Christie's "The Lamp" (1933) that is part of the BBC Radio 4 Extra series Haunted.


Tuesday, September 08, 2015

The Suspect (dir. Robert Siodmak, 1944).

Directed by Robert Siodmak (The Spiral Staircase), The Suspect is based on James Ronald's novel This Way Out (which fictionalized the Dr. Crippen case). It features Charles Laughton, Ella Raines, and Henry Daniell.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

A Slight Case of Murder (1938).

Based on a play by Damon Runyon, A Slight Case of Murder features Edward G. Robinson as a former bootlegger trying to make a splash in high society but facing complications when four corpses show up in his house.

Monday, August 31, 2015

BBC's Great Lives: P. D. James.

I was late in finding this, but this BBC Radio 4 Great Lives program on P. D. James features author Val McDermid speaking eloquently about the work and sometimes tough life of the late mystery writer. As McDermid recalls, "She was quite mischievous . . . she notably said that she believed the day should start by saying four or five politically incorrect things before breakfast." McDermid also reads a chilling excerpt from A Shroud for a Nightingale.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Foxwell on American women in World War I.

Over on Ed Gorman's blog I discuss my new collection In Their Own Words: American Women in World War I, describing its background, mentioning some of the women featured in it, and discussing their varied roles in the war. As I explain, "I set out to collect first-person accounts of U.S. women that dated from the war period, wanting the immediacy and the 'I was there' point of view." Mystery fans will be pleased to find two pieces by Mary Roberts Rinehart included in the collection (publication date is September 25).

There is an additional resource: my new blog, American Women in World War I, where I cover women for whom I could not find a first-person account.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Upturned Glass (1947).

Ad for The Upturned Glass
James Mason is the star and one of the producers in this tale of a British brain surgeon seeking vengeance after he discovers who is responsible for the death of the woman he loves.

Monday, August 24, 2015

The continuing contribution of Eric Ambler.

Ad for the 1943 film of
Eric Ambler's Background to Danger
John Gray pens an appreciation in the BBC Magazine of the spy novels of Eric Ambler (e.g., Journey into Fear, The Mask of Dimitrios):
The protagonists of Ambler's novels aren't the hearty public school patriots who stride through the pages of John Buchan.
. . . Ambler's novels are unsettling in a number of ways. 
(thanks to the Law & Humanities blog)

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Meet the author:
W. R. Burnett, Dark Hazard (1934).

W. R. Burnett, left, with
Edward G. Robinson and
dog, 1933.
This promotional trailer for Dark Hazard (a film about a gambler) not only features the film's star, Edward G. Robinson, but also the novel's author, W. R. Burnett (Little Caesar, High Sierra, The Asphalt Jungle), and Burnett's dog.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Early U.S. female lawyers.

Edna Rankin, from the 1919
University of Montana Sentinel
University of Montana law professor Bari Burke has initiated the blog "Montana's Early Women Lawyers" that seeks to highlight the contributions of pioneering lawyers such as Edna Rankin McKinnon, sister of Rep. Jeanette Rankin and a birth control activist who worked with Margaret Sanger. Burke also is posting historical newspaper tidbits from around the country pertaining to female attorneys, such as this knee-slapper from 1911:

"What’s the trouble?" inquired the judge.
"This lady lawyer wants to make a motion," explained the clerk, "but her gown is too tight.”
(thanks to the Law & Humanities blog)

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Home at Seven (aka Murder on Monday, 1952).

In this film directed by Ralph Richardson and based on a play by playwright-screenwriter R. C. Sherriff (Journey's End, The White Carnation; screenplays for The Invisible Man; Goodbye, Mr. Chips; No Highway in the Sky; etc.), Richardson is a bank official with a missing day in his life, and signs seem to point to his involvement in theft and murder. Margaret Leighton and Jack Hawkins costar.

Monday, August 10, 2015

New scholarly edition of The Lodger (1911).

On September 1 Cambridge Scholars Publishing will issue a new scholarly edition of The Lodger by Marie Belloc Lowndes—a novel in which a landlady becomes suspicious of the activities of her tenant. It became a noteworthy early film by Alfred Hitchcock. The editor is Elyssa Warkentin (University of Manitoba), who has brought together The Lodger's original 1911 appearance in McClure's magazine and the 1913 novel version. It's an appropriate project for Warkentin, who had an article in Clues about early Jack-the-Ripper fictionalizations.

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Wahloo's The Assignment (1977).

In honor of tomorrow's birthday of Swedish crime writer Per Wahloo (1925–75, best known for the Martin Beck series cowritten with Maj Sjowall), here is the trailer for The Assignment, the film based on his novel of the same name. This tale of South American intrigue stars Christopher Plummer, Carolyn Seymour, and Fernando Rey.

Monday, August 03, 2015

BFI infographic: What makes a film noir?

Jane Greer and Robert Mitchum
in Out of the Past (1947)
This whimsical infographic from BFI attempts to define the elements that compose a film noir such as "script based on American pulp fiction" and posts its finding for "the noirest film ever."

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Judith Flanders's The Invention of Murder on BBC Radio 4.

BBC Radio 4's Book of the Week is offering readings of Judith Flanders's The Invention of Murder: How the Victorians Revelled in Death and Detection and Created Modern Crime. I reviewed the book here for the Washington Independent Review of Books.

Of related interest: Readings are starting of Kate Summerscale's The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher (on the Constance Kent case).

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Violent Enemy (1967).

Susan Hampshire in
The Violent Enemy
British thriller author Harry Patterson (aka Jack Higgins) turns 86 today. His novel A Candle for the Dead, written under the pseudonym Hugh Marlowe, was adapted as the film The Violent Enemy (1967). An Irish revolutionary (Tom Bell) breaks out of prison, returns home, and faces pressure from his IRA colleague (Ed Begley) to blow up a factory. Susan Hampshire costars.

Monday, July 27, 2015

The legacy of Joseph Hansen.

The WOW Report pays tribute to Joseph Hansen (1923–2004), creator of groundbreaking gay investigator Dave Brandstetter. His work includes Fadeout (edited by legendary mystery editor Joan Kahn),  The Little Dog Laughed, Shamus nominee Gravedigger, and Lambda winner A Country of Old Men.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Sax Rohmer speaks.

Among the goodies just uploaded to YouTube by British Movietone is footage from 1932 of Fu Manchu creator Sax Rohmer (aka Arthur Henry Sarsfield Ward) talking about the levels of U.S. versus British crime.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Unseen (1945).

Publicity photo for
The Unseen
Ethel Lina White's Her Heart in Her Throat (1942) was adapted as The Unseen, with July 23rd birthday boy Raymond Chandler as a  screenwriter. In The Unseen, governess Gail Russell suspects that nefarious activities are going on in the neighborhood and wonders about the role of her employer, shipbuilder Joel McCrea, in his wife's death. Herbert Marshall and Norman Lloyd costar. The film, an attempt by director Lewis Allen to follow up The Uninvited (1944, also with Russell), has some echoes of Henry James's "The Turn of the Screw."

Monday, July 20, 2015

Honey West cover art.

Anne Francis as Honey West
In their "Whodunit Wednesday" tumblr features, University of North Carolina Greensboro's Special Collections have been highlighting artists who designed Honey West covers that are part of their Robbie Emily Dunn Collection of American Detective Fiction. The latest is R.A. Maguire, who created three Honey West covers: Kiss for a Killer, Dig a Dead Doll, and Blood and Honey. There are previous posts on artist Harry Schaare and Honey West author G. G. Fickling (pseudonym of Gloria and Forest Fickling).

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

"Equal Partners" (1952).

This 12-minute episode of Playhouse 15 (aka Short Short Dramas) features familiar character actor Henry Jones as a realtor pressured by his wife to kill his business partner for the life insurance payout.

Monday, July 13, 2015

New light on codebreaking couple.

Maj. William F. Friedman explains
ciphering machine to Louise Newkirk
16 Aug 1930. Library of Congress
Prints & Photographs Div.
The NSA has declassified 7000 records of William F. Friedman (1891–1969), a U.S. cryptology pioneer inspired by Edgar Allan Poe, and his wife Elizebeth (1892–1980), also a noted codebreaker. This initiative coincides with exhibitions on the Friedmans by the Marshall Foundation and the National Cryptological Museum.

Listen to Friedman's lecture on the Shakespeare ciphers and his 1960 talk about historical efforts in codebreaking  (part 1, part 2, part 3).

Thursday, July 09, 2015

This day in 1951:
Hammett defies U.S. District Court.

Dashiell Hammett
Yank, 30 Nov 1945

Excerpt, Brooklyn
Daily Eagle
acct,
10 Jul 1951, p. 1
Today in 1951, Dashiell Hammett, chair of the Civil Rights Congress' bail committee, refused in New York's US district court to provide the names of those who had posted $80,000 bail for four communists; the latter subsequently failed to appear in court. Convicted of contempt of court, Hammett went to prison in Kentucky and was released in December 1951.