Monday, September 20, 2021

Radio show, Christie's The Secret of Chimneys.

During September, actors from the Albany Civic Theater in Albany, OR, are performing a radio-play version of Agatha Christie's The Secret of Chimneys (1925), which involves a country house, a secret society, blackmail, and murder. Three episodes are currently available.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

The return of F. Tennyson Jesse.

F. Tennyson Jesse
In October, the British Library will reprint F. Tennyson Jesse's A Pin to See the Peepshow (1934) as part of its Women Writers series. The novel is based on the Thompson-Bywaters murder case of 1922–23. Jesse—the great-niece of Alfred, Lord Tennyson and a war correspondent, playwright, screenwriter, and novelist—was known for involvement in the series on notable British trials as well as her works with female detective Solange Fontaine.

Monday, September 06, 2021

The illustrated Raymond Chandler.

On Creative Boom, Emily Gosling discusses an illustrated Chinese edition of Raymond Chandler's The Long Goodbye (some illustrations from the book included in the post). The artist is Klaus Kremmerz.

Monday, August 30, 2021

The England of Agatha Christie.

Shedunnit podcaster Caroline Crampton has produced Agatha Christie's England, a new map and guide to British locations in the Christie canon.

Monday, August 23, 2021

Reading group on Caspary, Highsmith, Hughes, Millar.

Edgar nominee Frankie Y. Bailey (University at Albany, SUNY) will be facilitating a Zoom reading group from late September to December for the Center for Fiction on "Women Crime Fiction Writers of the 1940s and '50s."  Books covered will be Laura by Vera Caspary, Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith, In a Lonely Place by Dorothy B. Hughes, and Beast in View by Margaret Millar.

Monday, August 16, 2021

New Conan Doyle Society seeks nominations.

Arthur Conan Doyle. NYPL
The new Arthur Conan Doyle Society (spearheaded by George Mason University's Ross Davies) is devoted to the study and enjoyment of the works of Conan Doyle. It is accepting nominations until November 1, 2021, for the best scholarly writing on Conan Doyle's works or life that was published in 2020–21.

Monday, August 09, 2021

The Doc Savage film that wasn't.

Lester Dent. The Dux, Chillicothe
(MO) Business College yearbook,
1923, p. 106
Over on ThePulp.Net, William Lampkin discusses a TV movie featuring Lester Dent's multifaceted man of action Doc Savage that was proposed for production in 1978 and did not happen.

Monday, August 02, 2021

New CFP for Clues: "Borders and Detective Fiction."

There's a new call for proposals for a theme issue of Clues: A Journal of Detection: "Borders and Detective Fiction" (guest edited by Manina Jones, University of Western Ontario). Proposals are sought from a wide variety of critical, national, and cultural perspectives addressing how and why borders are represented in detective fiction, film,television, or other media (e.g., computer games, graphic novels, radio drama, podcasts).

Proposals are due November 1, 2021.

Monday, July 26, 2021

Doggone lit.

"The Dog Show: Two Centuries of Canine Cartoons" exhibition at Ohio State University's Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum includes such sleuthhounds as Scooby-Doo and Dick Tracy's Mugg. The exhibition will be on display until October 31, 2021.

Monday, July 19, 2021

The multiple sides of Erskine Childers.

The book club of Bromley House Library in the United Kingdom posted an appreciation of author Erskine Childers's classic espionage novel The Riddle of the Sands (1903; part of the Haycraft-Queen Cornerstones list): "funny and exciting and very atmospheric." It also includes details on Childers's interesting life and premature death (executed during the struggle for Irish independence).

Monday, July 12, 2021

The Skull Murder Mystery (1932).

In the Skull Murder Mystery, criminologist Dr. Crabtree (Donald Meek) and Inspector Carr (John Hamilton) need to deduce who has been murdered when a box of bones is discovered.

This is part of the series of short films produced from source material written by S. S. Van Dine and featuring Crabtree and Carr; see the previous blog posts on The Wall Street Mystery and The Trans-Atlantic Mystery.

Monday, July 05, 2021

Christie's wartime flat.

Photo of Isokon Bldg by Yuriy Akopov. 2015.

 The modernist landmark Isokon Building—aka London's Lawn Road Flats—offers a short film on Agatha Christie's residence there from 1941 to 1947 (see below). It also is presenting an exhibition on Christie in its gallery. Christie lived and wrote there while her second husband, Max Mallowan, was on assignment in the Middle East and while she was working in the dispensary of University College Hospital.

Further reading: David Burke, The Lawn Road Flats: Spies, Writers and Artists

Monday, June 28, 2021

Christie radio plays.

The Artists' Ensemble Theater (IL) performed a radio-play version of Agatha Christie's "The Curse of the Western Star," which can be heard here. The theater also offers a podcast of short radio plays, Mysterious Journey, that includes episodes featuring Christie's "The Man in the Brown Suit."

In other radio-play news, the Greenbelt (MD) Arts Center will hold auditions via Zoom on June 30 and July 1 for a virtual production of the Christie radio play "The ABC Murders" (audition sign-ups close today).

Monday, June 21, 2021

Sisters in Crime grants for academic research.

Sisters in Crime is offering grants of $500 to those working on research projects that contribute to understanding of the role of women or underrepresented groups in crime fiction. The funds may be used to purchase books. The application deadline is July 15, 2021.

Monday, June 14, 2021

Anna Katharine Green: NYS Writers Hall of Fame inductee.

On June 8, mystery pioneer Anna Katharine Green was inducted into the New York State Writers Hall of Fame. Watch the video of the virtual festivities below; the Green portion begins approximately at 1 hour 2 seconds, with a presentation by my co-nominator Clare Meldrum on Green's life and work, followed by an appearance by Rebecca Crozier, Green's great-great granddaughter. Crozier tells an interesting anecdote about Green's reputed response to being barred from a courtroom. 

Want to read works by Green?

Tuesday, June 08, 2021

Another award nomination for the Ian Rankin Companion.

Ian Rankin: A Companion to the Mystery Fiction by Erin E. MacDonald and edited by me has been nominated for a Macavity Award in the Best Mystery Critical/Biographical category. This follows MacDonald's Edgar Award nomination for the same book and marks the sixth award nomination for the McFarland Companions to Mystery Fiction series.

Monday, June 07, 2021

Literature & Film in Lockdown: Rear Window.


Thelma Ritter, James Stewart, and Grace Kelly in Rear Window (1954).

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Notre Dame's Kylemore Book Club conducted the virtual series "Literature & Film in Lockdown," with one episode on Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window as "a film about being in lockdown."

Monday, May 31, 2021

Available for preorder: Dorothy L. Sayers companion.

Cover of Dorothy L. Sayers: A Companion to the Mystery Series with photos of Ian Carmichael as Lord Peter Wimsey, Big Ben, and a building
The next volume in the McFarland Companions to Mystery Fiction series that I edit is now available for preorder. Dorothy L. Sayers: A Companion to the Mystery Fiction by Eric Sandberg (no. 11 in the series) looks at the life and work of the creator of sleuths Lord Peter Wimsey and Montague Egg.

The series has garnered Edgar nominations (Ellroy companion, Rankin companion), an Agatha nomination (Paretsky companion), and a Macavity Award (Paretsky companion).

Monday, May 24, 2021

Leslie Charteris in California.

The Desert Sun newspaper looks at the role of Palm Springs in the life and work of Saint creator Leslie Charteris, including the difficulties he experienced because of the Chinese Exclusion Act (Charteris had Chinese and British heritage).

Monday, May 17, 2021

Sherlock Holmes and the Supreme Court.

In a new paper, Ross E. Davies (George Mason University School of Law) looks at connections between Sherlock Holmes and Supreme Court justices such as Louis Brandeis, Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., and Charles Evans Hughes. (thanks to the Law & Humanities Blog)

Top, left to right: Louis Brandeis, ca. 1915-21; Charles Evans Hughes, n.d. Bottom: Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., ca. 1932-33. Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

Monday, May 10, 2021

The return of Batya Gur.

In the Tel Aviv Review of Books, Liam Hoare discusses the reissue of the mysteries of Batya Gur (1947–2005) and assesses her place in Israeli literature.

Monday, May 03, 2021

The French Embassy's film noir series.

Out of the Past (1947).
Until July 5, the French Embassy in New York is hosting the series "Out of the Dark: The Mystery of Film Noir" for both in-person and virtual viewing. The films include Rififi (1955), Daybreak (1939), Out of the Past (1947), Nightfall (1956), Two Men in Manhattan (1959), Elevator to the Gallows (1958), Pepe le Moko (1937), Diabolique (1955), Breathless (1959), and Tirez sur le pianiste (Shoot the Piano Player, 1960).

Monday, April 26, 2021

Flashback: Sue Grafton.

Two interviews with Sue Grafton can be seen via the Internet Archive.

"G Is for Grafton" (TV Santa Barbara, 2008). In a short clip, Grafton talks about how she started writing.

"Kinsey and Sue: An Interview with Sue Grafton" (Maryville Talks Books, Maryville University/Left Bank Books/St. Louis Public Radio/Higher Education Channel Television, 2014, coinciding with the release of Grafton's W Is for Wasted and Kinsey and Me). In addition to talking about these works, she discusses the three mysteries of her lawyer father, C. W. Grafton, and the travails of Hollywood.

Monday, April 19, 2021

Virtual mystery plays from the Jewel Theatre Co.

The Jewel Theatre Company in Santa Cruz has been performing virtual radio plays. Some of the mystery-related ones:

"The Hitch-Hiker" by Lucille Fletcher (a man driving cross-country keeps seeing the same mysterious man)

The Whistler: Stranger in the House (a man comes home after six years, but is he who he says he is?) 


The Mysterious Traveler: The Good Die Young by Robert Arthur and David Kogan (all is not well between a girl and her new stepmother)

Monday, April 12, 2021

Houdini's mystery tale.

Harry Houdini. NYPL.
Over on the Harry Houdini Circumstantial Evidence blog, Joe Notaro reproduces parts of the serial The Zanetti Mystery (1925), featuring the "genius faker and arch-rogue" Zanetti (future blog posts will have additional chapters). The tale was published under Houdini's name, but Notaro believes it was ghostwritten by Fulton Oursler (aka mystery author Anthony Abbot).

Monday, April 05, 2021

New U-Del exhibition: "Agatha Christie's Poirot."

A new online offering from the University of Delaware Library, Museums, and Press is the exhibition "Agatha Christie's Poirot" that draws from collections of materials on the iconic Belgian detective. It is presented in conjunction with the radio productions by the Resident Ensemble Players of Christie's "King of Clubs" (freely available until May 21) and "The Cornish Mystery" (freely available starting April 23).

Monday, March 29, 2021

Remembering the founding of Malice Domestic.

Barbara Mertz, by Sue Feder
My friend Dean James (aka Miranda James) and I were invited by Dr. Elizabeth Mertz (daughter of Barbara Mertz/Barbara Michaels/Elizabeth Peters) to reminisce about the founding of the Malice Domestic convention in which her mother played such an integral role.  It's presented in two parts: Part 1, Part 2.

Monday, March 22, 2021

Clues 39.1 published: Domestic noir.

Volume 39, no. 1 (2021) of Clues: A Journal of Detection—a theme issue on domestic noir guest edited by Eva Burke and Clare Clarke—has been published. The abstracts follow below. To order the issue or a subscription, contact McFarland

Update, 5-10-21. This issue is now available on Kindle and Google Play.

Introduction: Domestic Noir

EVA BURKE AND CLARE CLARKE (Trinity College Dublin)
The guest editors discuss the development of the domestic noir subgenre and the contents of this theme issue of Clues, including an interview with British author Julia Crouch, who coined the term domestic noir, and articles on Irish and Scandinavian domestic noir; women’s book groups; mid-century antecedents of domestic noir; and authors such as A. J. Finn (aka Dan Mallory), Gillian Flynn, Tana French, Paula Hawkins, and Evelyn Piper (aka Merriam Modell).

At Home in Irish Crime Fiction
BRIAN CLIFF (Trinity College Dublin)
The author discusses the connections among domestic noir, Irish crime fiction, and the wider Irish literature, including examples from works by Jane Casey, Sinéad Crowley, Tana French, Catherine Ryan Howard, and Liz Nugent.

“I Am Not the Girl I Used to Be”: Remembering the Femme Fatale in The Girl on the Train
ROSIE COUCH (Cardiff University)
This article situates Rachel from Paula Hawkins’s novel The Girl on the Train (2015) as a contemporary incarnation of the femme fatale, redeployed within the domestic noir subgenre. The analysis demonstrates how Rachel’s perspective works to enact a feminist backlash against postfeminist rhetoric.

The Girl Who Got Mad: Challenging Psychopathology in Domestic Noir’s Antiheroines 
via Sarah Vaughan’s Anatomy of a Scandal (2018)

LIZ EVANS (University of Tasmania)
The author argues that Sarah Vaughan’s legal thriller Anatomy of a Scandal (2018) challenges domestic noir’s questionable tendency to pathologize anger and badness in its female protagonists (often depicted as survivors of rape or abuse) while showing how the persistent alignment of negative emotion with psychological instability undermines these central characters by impeding their self-agency.

Smoke and Mirrors: Dan Mallory, A. J. Finn, and The Woman in the Window as Postfeminist Noir Pastiche
ROBERTA GARRETT (University of East London)
The author discusses The Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn (pseudonym of Dan Mallory), examining Finn’s treatment of female characters and the tropes of the noir and domestic noir subgenres through the lens of postfeminist criticism.

“He Had It Coming”: Reading the Revenge Plot in Domestic Noir’s Gone Girl (2012)
KATHARINA HENDRICKX (University of Sussex)
This article examines Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl (2012) and its popularity with female readers. It suggests that female readers are not only interested in the portrayal of women’s experiences but also engage with the depiction of the revenge plot, which allows women readers to negotiate their frustration and anger with the current postfeminist climate.

Monday, March 15, 2021

Mystery radio plays from the Ohio Shakespeare Festival.

Illustration of W. W. Jacobs. NYPL

During the pandemic, the Ohio Shakespeare Festival has been performing original radio plays for at-home listening, including some based on mystery-related works. A few offerings:

Monday, March 08, 2021

New versions of Glaspell's "Trifles."

Susan Glaspell, NYPL
In February, the Deos Contemporary Ballet in Michigan debuted a ballet version of Susan Glaspell's "Trifles" (1916), the play that preceded her well-known short story, "A Jury of Her Peers" (1917), in which the female characters learn more than male law enforcement officials about the murder of a farmer. 

Upcoming virtual performances of "Trifles":

Ankeny Community Theatre (IA), March 28

University at Buffalo–SUNY, April 9–11