Tuesday, March 29, 2016

"Laura" (with George Sanders and Robert Stack, 1955).

Dana Wynter in "Laura" (1955)
One of four screen adaptations of Vera Caspary's Laura is a 1955 TV version for the 20th Century-Fox Hour (also known as "A Portrait of Murder.") It features George Sanders as columnist Waldo Lydecker, Dana Wynter as advertising executive Laura Howe (rather than Hunt), and Robert Stack as detective Mark McPherson.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Conan Doyle's "The Field Bazaar" (1896).

Illustration by Sidney Paget for
The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. Wellcome Library, London
I fear that my good nature in giving explanations
has seriously compromised my reputation.
—Sherlock Holmes, "The Field Bazaar" (1896)
In "The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes: The Field Bazaar (Illustrated)" for The Green Bag Almanac & Reader, lawyer David Hutchinson and George Mason University law professor Ross E. Davies team up for a presentation of "The Field Bazaar," a lighthearted Holmes-Watson outing by Arthur Conan Doyle that appeared in the 20 Nov. 1896 issue of The Student magazine of Edinburgh University (Conan Doyle's alma mater). Hutchinson provides some Sidney Paget-like illustrations for the piece. (thanks to Law & Humanities blog)

Friday, March 25, 2016

Rudolph receives 2016 Dove Award.

The latest recipient of the George N. Dove Award for contributions to the serious study of mystery, detective, and crime fiction is Janet Rudolph, editor of Mystery Readers Journal and founder of Mystery Readers International. The award will be presented today by the Detective/Mystery Caucus of the Popular Culture Association; the chair of the Dove Award Committee is Rachel Schaffer (Montana State University Billings). Past Dove recipients include Frankie Y. Bailey (University at Albany, SUNY), Douglas G. Greene, P. D. James, H. R. F. Keating, Maureen Reddy (Rhode Island College), J. K. Van Dover (Lincoln University), and yours truly.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Asimov's The Caves of Steel (1964).

Isaac Asimov.
Library of Congress,
Prints and Photographs Div.
Among the vast oeuvre of Isaac Asimov are mysteries with the futuristic detective Elijah Baley and his robot partner R. Daneel Olivaw. One is The Caves of Steel (1953), which was adapted for British television in 1964. Here are some tantalizing (if low-budget) clips from the episode for Story Parade, which include a glimpse of Peter Cushing.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Police vehicles through history.

New York mayor Fiorello LaGuardia (back seat, right) takes a spin
in a New York World's Fair police car, ca. 1939–40. NYPL.
Tokyo's Police Museum has just opened a "history of police vehicles" exhibition, but those not in Japan can view modes of transportation for law enforcement in other places:

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The Ghost Breakers (1940).

Bob Hope and Paulette Goddard follow up The Cat and the Canary with this film in which Hope is a radio commentator and Goddard inherits a castle near Cuba plagued by all sorts of spooky occurrences.

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

"Detective's Holiday" (dir. Blake Edwards, 1954).

Publicity shot of
Dick Powell, 1937.
In "Detective's Holiday," vacationing detective Dave Robinson (Dick Powell) thinks he may have come across a suspect in a robbery. This episode of Four Star Playhouse is directed by Blake Edwards and based on a story of the same name by Octavus Roy Cohen (repr. Reader's Digest Teenage Treasury, Vol. 2: Endeavor, 1957 and Great True Stories of Crime, Mystery, and Detection, from the Reader's Digest, 1965). Twilight Zone fans will spot Barney Phillips as Robinson's detective partner.

Monday, March 07, 2016

BBC Radio 4 Extra:
Collins's "Who Killed Zebedee?"

Going into the room, I saw something rolled up perpendicularly in the bed curtains. Miss Mybus had made herself modestly invisible in that way.
—Wilkie Collins, "Mr. Policeman and the Cook"
Wilkie Collins, NYPL
This week BBC Radio 4 Extra offers a two-part version of Wilkie Collins's "Who Killed Zebedee?" (aka "Mr. Policeman and the Cook," 1881) read by Ronald Pickup. In this short story, a police officer with an uneasy conscience looks back on the murder of a lodger in a boardinghouse. Those who would like to read the story can do so here.

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

The Unguarded Hour (1936).

Franchot Tone, left, and Roland Young
in The Unguarded Hour
In The Unguarded Hour, Lady Helen Dearden faces a tough situation: if she testifies in a murder trial, the career of her barrister husband will be ruined. But if she doesn't, an innocent man will be convicted. Further complications include the implication of her husband in another murder and the threats of a blackmailer. Based on a play by Ladislas Fodor and directed by Sam Wood, the film stars Loretta Young, Franchot Tone, Roland Young, and Henry Daniell.

There also are some radio versions: a 1944 Lux Radio Theater production with Robert Montgomery, Loraine Day, and a reprise by Roland Young, plus a 1952 Theatre Guild on the Air version with Nina Foch and Michael Redgrave.