Tuesday, January 22, 2019

The Unfaithful (1947).

Zachary Scott, Ann Sheridan, and Lew Ayres
in The Unfaithful (1947)
In The Unfaithful, Ann Sheridan claims that she killed an intruder in self-defense, but evidence emerges that she was more than well acquainted with the dead man. Lew Ayres, Zachary Scott, Eve Arden, and Jerome Cowan costar. The film is based on "The Letter" by Somerset Maugham (compare with the Bette Davis version), with a screenplay by David Goodis.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

"Her Last Adventure" (1952).

Based on the 1925 story of the same name by Marie Belloc Lowndes (The Lodger, etc.), this 19 August 1952 episode of Suspense features a wealthy bride beginning to wonder about the fate of her husband's prior fiance. Costars are Arlene Francis and Lloyd Bridges. Steve Haste states in Criminal Sentences that the Patrick Mahon case is the basis for the story; the married Mahon killed his pregnant girlfriend Emily Kaye in 1924 and was hanged.

Note that there is a new collection of Lowndes's short stories, A Monstrous Regiment of Women, that is edited by past Clues contributor Elyssa Warkentin and is published by Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Green's The Step on the Stair enters the public domain.

House diagram from The Step on the Stair
The Tisch Library of Tufts University notes that one of the books that entered the public domain on 1 January 2019 is The Step on the Stair by Anna Katharine Green, which involves the murder of a wealthy man and a hidden will. "Admirable craftsmanship," deemed the World's News of Sydney, Australia.

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

"Lullaby" (1953).

In this 3 October 1953 episode of Revlon Mirror Theatre adapted from "The Hummingbird Comes Home" by Cornell Woolrich, a blind woman (Agnes Moorehead, in her TV debut) suspects her son (Tom Drake) of involvement in robbery and manslaughter. Lee Marvin costars.

Monday, January 07, 2019

Paretsky to receive Fuller Award.

On May 9 at the Newberry Library, Sara Paretsky will receive the Fuller Award for lifetime achievement from the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame. The event is free and open to the public.

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

Charlie McCarthy, Detective (1939).

Edgar Bergen, Constance Moore, and Charlie McCarthy
in Charlie McCarthy, Detective
In the comic Charlie McCarthy, Detective, Charlie McCarthy, Mortimer Snerd, and Edgar Bergen are on the case when shady magazine publisher Louis Calhern is murdered. Robert Cummings costars. Charlie sings, "I'm Charlie McCarthy, Detective . . . they call me the Slap-Happy Sleuth." Despite Charlie's assertions, it's Edgar who does most of the detecting in the film.

Monday, December 31, 2018

Students create a class murder-mystery game.

Students in the Texts and Gender, Detective Fiction course (ENG 3250), taught by Angela Gili at Hawai'i Pacific University, served as investigators in the fictional murder of Poppy Body, lead editor at Pandora Press. Faculty and staff members as well as administrators were suspects and witnesses. Drawing on various subgenres of mystery covered in class, students created game characters and developed clues. Read more here on the course and the game.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Mapping detective fiction.

The project Digital Cartographies of Spanish Detective Fiction at Grinnell College of assistant professor of Spanish Nick Phillips and undergraduate student Margaret Giles involves creating visual representations of investigations in Spanish detective fiction via the mapmaking program Carto. Authors covered include Carme Riera, Manuel Vázquez Montalbán, Juan José Millás, and Julio Muñoz Gijón.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Experiment Perilous (1944).

In Experiment Perilous, psychiatrist George Brent begins to ask questions after his traveling companion turns up dead, and a wife (Hedy Lamarr) is suspected of being unbalanced.  The film is directed by Jacques Tourneur, and costars include Paul Lukas.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Spain's Holmes society celebrates 25 years.

El Periódico notes the 25th birthday of El Círculo Holmes, the Sherlock Holmes society based in Barcelona.

Illustration by Sidney Paget from The Memoirs of Sherlock
Wellcome Collection

Monday, December 10, 2018

Japan's contributions to the mystery genre.

The Early Cases of Akechi Kogoro
by Edogawa Rampo
(pseud. of Taro Hirai), 2014
In the Japan Times, Mark Schreiber discusses the contributions of Japanese writers to the mystery genre, including Edogawa Rampo, Seishi Yokomizo (covered in Clues 32.2, 2014), and Seicho Matsumoto, and some fascinating precursors such as Honcho Oin Hiji (Parallel Cases from under the Cherry Tree, 1689) that describes the cases of prominent judge Itakura Shigemune.

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

"Who Killed Julie Greer?" (1961).

In this episode of the Dick Powell Show written by Frank Gilroy, Powell stars as millionaire inspector Amos Burke (see Gilroy's later Burke's Law with Gene Barry), who investigates the murder of dancer-model Julie Greer (Carolyn Jones). The rest of the cast includes Ralph Bellamy, Edgar Bergen, Lloyd Bridges, Jack Carson, Dean Jones, Edward Platt, Ronald Reagan, Mickey Rooney, and Kay Thompson (known for Funny Face and her Eloise children's books).

Monday, December 03, 2018

"The Story of All Writers."

Mary Roberts Rinehart, 1926. Library
of Congress, Prints and Photographs Div.
You can read Mary Roberts Rinehart's "Writing Is Work" on the Saturday Evening Post Web site, which she published in the 11 March 1939 issue. Despite her long success as an author, Rinehart wrote, "Even today my wastebasket sees far more words of mine than the public ever does, and it is only twelve years since, with a novel half completed, I walked downstairs to the furnace and burned the whole thing. . . . .At the end of a nine-hour day . . . I may have to soak my right hand in hot water for some time, and my head feels as though it is filled with mush."

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

"Detective Waiting" (1971).

In this 14 September 1971 episode of Armchair Theatre, unpopular young detective Lewis (Richard Beckinsale, father of Kate) has a lot to prove to his skeptical colleagues when he is assigned the task of getting the goods on a slippery criminal. The screenwriter is Ian Kennedy Martin (The Saint, The Sweeney).

Monday, November 26, 2018

Pinkerton in illustration.

Jeremy Holmes (West Chester University) is one of the participating artists in the Society of Illustrators exhibition "The Original Art" at the Museum of American Illustration in New York City. The exhibition includes his illustrations for the children's book by Marissa Moss, The Eye That Never Sleeps: How Detective Pinkerton Saved President Lincoln (2018). Some of Holmes's illustrations for the book can be seen here.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Mary Ryan, Detective (1949).

In Mary Ryan, Detective, detective Marsha Hunt goes undercover to nab a gang of jewel thieves.

Monday, November 19, 2018

The best of Grant Allen.

Grant Allen.
Author Brian Busby, series editor for Canada's Ricochet Books that is reissuing vintage noir works by Canadian writers, discusses his choices for the best books of Canadian-born mystery author Grant Allen (1848–99), who was attended on his deathbed by physician friend and neighbor Arthur Conan Doyle. Calling Allen "a writer of great imagination . . . [with] memorable characters and . . . a dab hand at clever, intricate plots," Busby acknowledges that he is still working his way through Allen's oeuvre. However, some of his picks are The Devil's Die (1888), the prize-winning What's Bred in the Bone (1891), and Hilda Wade (1900, Allen's work with a nurse sleuth completed posthumously by Conan Doyle).

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The Guilty (1947).

Based on the story "He Looked Like Murder" (1941) by Cornell Woolrich, The Guilty features Bonita Granville as twins; a murder; and suspects that include the other twin, a veteran, and a lodger in the home of the women's mother.

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Foxwell presentation, Nov 13.

Nurse Sallie Marshall Jeffries.
On November 13 at 7 pm at the Lyceum in Alexandria, VA, I’ll be speaking on “‘The Glorious Undying Spirit of Pluck’: Alexandria Women in World War I.” I also will be signing copies of my book In Their Own Words: American Women in World War I (sold by Alexandria’s bookstore Hooray for Books). Tickets are $10 (including wine/dessert reception), available here.

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Backlash (1947).

In Backlash, the murder of a leading criminal attorney causes the police to look at the dead man's wife.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Nocturne (1946).

George Raft in Nocturne (1946)
In Nocturne, detective George Raft doubts that a composer has committed suicide.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase (1939).

Bonita Granville
Bonita Granville stars in the fourth film featuring the intrepid girl detective, looking into skullduggery involving the residence of two elderly sisters.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Jim Thompson and the WPA.

Jim Thompson in
Farewell, My Lovely (1975)
This Tahlequah Daily Press article on the WPA Writers Project in Oklahoma mentions the role of future hardboiled writer Jim Thompson, who supervised fellow writer Louis L'Amour on the project.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Friday's Forgotten Books:
The Hidden Wrath by Stella Phillips (1968).

What am I supposed to do with them, send them round the doors asking "Does your daughter, lodger, neighbour have homicidal tendencies?"
—Inspector Furnival, The Hidden Wrath 99
In The Hidden Wrath, a college library community confronts the murder of the chief cataloguer of the county library who was spearheading the cataloguing of its collection and was "gauche, earnest, a bit of a bore" (6). So why was she a threat? Inspector Matthew Furnival and Sergeant Reg King must sort through a plethora of suspects. Is it the warden or his wife? Is it the college secretary, who had dark secrets in his past and a crush on the victim? Is it the secretary's spouse, who doubles as college housekeeper, is weary of her husband's serial infatuations, and chafes at village life? Is it a volunteer cataloguer who yearns to break free of her querulous invalid father? Is it the new college graduate at a bit of a loose end? Is it the scion of a distinguished family? Is it the jaded director of a production of the Scottish play? Or is it someone else?

This novel is ideal for bibliomystery fans, featuring passages of exquisite writing, superb portrayals of characters' lives, and hints of disquiet at home for Furnival.

Retired librarian Stella Phillips (1927–?) wrote eight novels. The Hidden Wrath is the second featuring Furnival and King. The others are Down to Death (1967), Death in Arcady (1969), Death Makes the Scene (1970), Death in Sheep's Clothing (1971), and Three May Keep a Secret (2004). Novels outside the series include Dear Brother, Here Departed (1975) and Yet She Must Die (1973). (see photo of Stella Phillips)

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The Long Memory (1953).

In The Long Memory, John Mills seeks revenge on witnesses who lied during his trial and sent him to prison for a murder he did not commit. The film is based on the novel by screenwriter-author Howard Clewes.

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

The Strange Case of the End of Civilization as We Know It (1977)

In The Strange Case of the End of Civilization as We Know It, John Cleese stars as the grandson of Sherlock Holmes, enlisted to thwart the nefarious plans of a descendant of Professor Moriarty. Costars include Joss Ackland, Connie Booth, Denholm Elliott, Arthur Lowe, and Ron Moody.

Monday, October 01, 2018

Deadline approaches for Clues issue on interwar mysteries.

A reminder that the manuscript submission deadline for the Clues: A Journal of Detection issue "Interwar Mysteries: The Golden Age and Beyond" is October 12. The issue is guest edited by Victoria Stewart (University of Leicester). Manuscripts may be submitted to Janice M. Allan, Clues executive editor.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Laura (1962).

This German version of Vera Caspary's novel features Anton Walbrook as Waldo Lydecker, Hildegard Knef as Laura Hunt, and John Van Dreelen as Shelby Carpenter.

Monday, September 24, 2018

The fictional detective that inspired Isaac Bashevis Singer.

In the fall 2018 issue of PaknTreger of the Yiddish Book Center, David Mazower, Elissa Sperling, and Michael Yashinsky discuss Yoyne (Jonas) Kreppel's Max Spitzkopf—the "Viennese Sherlock Holmes" that inspired Isaac Bashevis Singer: "These are not just detective stories but tales of Jewish ingenuity featuring an armed Jewish superhero." Kreppel died at Buchenwald in 1940.