Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Remembering Patrick Macnee:
Rehearsal for Murder (1982).

Patrick Macnee, left, with
Jeff Goldblum in
Rehearsal for Murder
Although Patrick Macnee, who died at age 93 on June 25, is beloved for his role as the dapper John Steed in The Avengers, he made some memorable mystery appearances (such as Sherlock Holmes in The Hound of London and Dr. Watson in Sherlock Holmes in New York,  Sherlock Holmes and the Leading Lady, and Incident at Victoria Falls, the latter two opposite his old friend, Sir Christopher Lee. I also recall that Lee and Macnee are two of the betters against Pierce Brosnan's Phileas Fogg in a TV movie version of Around the World in Eighty Days).

Another mystery credit is Macnee's role as an actor in Rehearsal for Murder, penned by the dynamic duo of Richard Levinson and William Link (Ellery Queen, Columbo, Mannix, etc.). Costarring Robert Preston, Lynn Redgrave, Lawrence Pressman, Jeff Goldblum, and William Daniels, this TV movie features a playwright who wishes to trap the murderer of his fiancee.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Lilly Library exhibition:
"The Weird Side of Detective Fiction."

Edgar Wallace. 
Painting by Philip
Tennyson Cole, which
appears in Wallace's
My Hollywood Diary (1932)
Indiana University's Lilly Library has a new summer exhibition, "Death by Gimmick! The Weird Side of Detective Fiction," which features the work of Edgar Wallace, Harry Stephen Keeler, and paperback publishers.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Clouded Yellow (1950).

Trevor Howard in
The Clouded Yellow
In The Clouded Yellow, former secret agent Trevor Howard and Jean Simmons go on the run when the latter is accused of murder. Costars include Kenneth More and Andre Morell. The film is based on a story and screenplay by Janet Green (see last week's Cast a Dark Shadow).

Monday, June 22, 2015

See H. Rider Haggard in his study and garden.

H. Rider Haggard, c. 1905.
Library of Congress,
Prints and Photographs Div.

For today's 159th birthday of author Sir Henry Rider Haggard (King Solomon's Mines, She, etc.), you can watch 1923 footage of him working in his elegant Norfolk study, walking in his garden, and patting his dog.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Cast a Dark Shadow (1955).

Dirk Bogarde in
Cast a Dark Shadow
In Cast a Dark Shadow, Dirk Bogarde has a penchant for seeking spouses who appear to be wealthy and then dispatching them. Margaret Lockwood and Kay Walsh co-star. The film was adapted from the play "Murder Mistaken" by Janet Green.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Tom Nolan on Ross Macdonald.

Meanwhile There Are Letters:
The Correspondence of Eudora Welty
and Ross Macdonald 

(ed. Marrs and Nolan, July 2015)
On the Library of America blog Reader's Almanac Tom Nolan posts part 2 of his series on the life and work of Lew Archer creator Ross Macdonald (aka Kenneth Millar). Part 2 discusses the Canadian-influenced Millar's view of California, the state where he elected to live and set his work. Part 1 deals with the relationship of Dashiell Hammett's and Raymond Chandler's work to Macdonald's.

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

A Gentleman after Dark (1942).

Richard Washburn Child, 1924.
Library of Congress,
Prints and Photographs Div.
In A Gentleman after Dark thief Brian Donlevy breaks out of prison to thwart the blackmail plans of his wife, Miriam Hopkins, and protect his daughter. The film is based on "A Whiff of Heliotrope" by Richard Washburn Child, whose occupations included magazine editor, presidential campaign writer for Warren G. Harding, chair of the National Crime Commission, U.S. ambassador to Italy, and ghostwriter for Benito Mussolini.

Monday, June 08, 2015

Drood exhibition, Dickens Museum.

Ad for The Mystery of
Edwin Drood
(1935)
On view until November 22 at London's Charles Dickens Museum is the exhibition "A Dickens Whodunit: Solving The Mystery of Edwin Drood," which is curated by Clues contributor and Dickens specialist Pete Orford (University of Buckingham). It features clips from  adaptations and discussions of various theories about the perpetrator in Dickens's unfinished work. Visitors can also see the desk on which Dickens wrote Drood.

Orford is also involved in The Drood Inquiry, an interactive investigation into Dickens's mystery.

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Another Man's Poison (1951).

Gary Merrill and Bette Davis
in Another Man's Poison
In Another Man's Poison, Bette Davis is a mystery writer juggling an inconvenient husband, a lover, a blackmailer (Davis's then-husband, Gary Merrill), and a nosy veterinarian (Emlyn Williams). The film, produced by Douglas Fairbanks Jr., is based on the play "Deadlock" by Leslie Sands, with a screenplay by Val Guest.

Monday, June 01, 2015

John Curran talks about Agatha Christie.

Agatha Christie in Nederland (detectiveschrijfster), bij aankomst op Schiphol me…
Agatha Christie at Schiphol Airport, The Netherlands,
17 Sept. 1964. Dutch National Archives
On RTE (Ireland)'s Arena program John Curran (author of Agatha Christie's Secret Notebooks) talks about Christie's childhood, her short stories and plays, her 1926 disappearance, and the genesis of Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple.