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.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

The Last Alarm (1940).

Polly Ann Young and
J. Farrell MacDonald in
The Last Alarm
In The Last Alarm, a retired firefighter (J. Farrell MacDonald), his daughter (Polly Ann Young, sister of Loretta Young), and her fiance (Warren Hull) team up to track down the arsonist who has killed the firefighter's best friend.

Monday, September 17, 2018

The Thin Man opens in Canada.

Ad for After the Thin Man (1936)
The Thin Man has opened at Calgary's Vertigo Theatre and will run until October 14. There is an interview with the playwright, Lucia Frangione: "Nick and Nora are surrounded by a gaggle of hilarious and volatile personalities."

The Thin Man is part of a BD&P Mystery Theatre Series that will include Ira Levin's Deathtrap and Might as Well Be Dead: A Nero Wolfe Mystery (adapted by Joseph Goodrich from the novel by Rex Stout).

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

The Judge (1949).

In The Judge, an attorney feels remorse for the criminals freed by his defense work and seeks revenge on a police psychiatrist, who had an affair with his wife.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Mystery and 19C periodicals.

Vanity Fair cartoon of Wilkie
Collins by Adriano Cecioni,
Feb. 1872
"All the Year Round: Exploring the Nineteenth-Century Periodical," an online exhibition from the University of Otago in New Zealand, includes an 1872 tribute in Vanity Fair to Wilkie Collins for his role in the rise of sensation literature , as well as Arthur Conan Doyle's "The Adventure of the Speckled Band" and The Hound of the Baskervilles from the Strand Magazine (1892, 1902).

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

The Steel Trap (1952).

Joseph Cotten and Teresa Wright in The Steel Trap
In The Steel Trap, Joseph Cotten steals $1 million from the bank that employs him and is en route to Brazil with his ill-gotten gains when his wife (Teresa Wright) leaves him for his actions. Can he return the money before the bank reopens? This film marks a reunion for Cotten and Wright after Alfred Hitchcock's Shadow of a Doubt.

Monday, September 03, 2018

Conan Doyle and ectoplasm.

Arthur Conan Doyle. NYPL
The Bowery Boys podcast looks at Arthur Conan Doyle's 1922 lectures on ectoplasm, the substance supposedly emitted by mediums during seances. The post states, "Others blamed a series of mysterious murders and suicides in New York City during this time period on Conan Doyle’s disturbing lectures."

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Back-Room Boy (1942).

In Back-Room Boy, a BBC employee sent to a remote Scottish island faces an influx of models and Nazi spies.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Clues 36.2: Atkinson, Conan Doyle, Chandler, Hammett, Macdonald, and a noir graphic novel.

Vol. 36, no. 2 (2018), of Clues: A Journal of Detection has been published. Contact McFarland to order the issue or a subscription. For e-versions: visit the Kindle link, the Nook link, or the Google Play link).

To keep up to date on Clues, subscribe to the new RSS feed for the Clues tables of contents, or visit the Clues website. There is currently a call for papers on interwar mysteries (submission deadline: October 12, 2018).

Introduction  JANICE M. ALLAN (Univ of Salford)

Transvestism and Transgender in the Crime Fiction of Andrea G. Pinketts BARBARA PEZZOTTI (Monash Univ)
This article focuses on the figure of the transvestite and the treatment of transgender in the novels of Italian crime writer Andrea G. Pinketts. The aim is to determine whether Pinketts’s highly entertaining, parodic hard-boiled series succeeds in subverting a traditional discourse on transvestism and transgender in Italian crime fiction.

Bending the Genre: Portraying the Genders of Harriet Vane and Lord Peter Wimsey in the Detective Fiction of Dorothy L. Sayers SALLY BERESFORD-SHERIDAN (Univ of Waterloo)
This essay explores how the fictional female detective of Dorothy L. Sayers works outside normative gender conventions of the interwar years. By positing a female character who can become a detective, Sayers allows both Harriet Vane and Peter Wimsey to break and redefine social expectations of masculine behaviors, feminine behaviors, and gender stereotypes.

Cherchez la Femme: A Good Woman’s Place in Hard-Boiled Detective Fiction KELI MASTEN (Western Michigan Univ)
Hard-boiled detective fiction often limits women to the roles of femme fatale or love interest of the detective. However, Effie Perine (Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon) and Anne Riordan (Raymond Chandler’s Farewell, My Lovely) embody the femme fiable (“dependable woman”), a survivor who goes where the detective cannot and avoids the fate of the femme fatale.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Scotland Yard Investigator (1946).

In Scotland Yard Investigator, a German collector plans a heist when the Mona Lisa is moved to England for safekeeping during World War II. C. Aubrey Smith, Erich von Stroheim, and Stephanie Bachelor costar.

Monday, August 20, 2018

ABA Journal's 25 greatest legal movies.

As the Law & Humanities blog highlights, the ABA Journal has selected the 25 Greatest Legal Movies. Its choices include Criminal Court (1946), The Lincoln Lawyer (based on the book by Michael Connelly, 2011), Loving (2016), Michael Clayton (2007), The Post (2017), Spotlight (2015), and 12 Angry Men (1957).

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Bedelia (writ. Vera Caspary, 1946).

In Bedelia, a new bride (Margaret Lockwood) is suspected of bumping off her previous husbands for their insurance money, and the question is whether current husband Ian Hunter is at risk. Vera Caspary wrote the novel and collaborated on the screenplay. Jill Esmond (the first wife of Laurence Olivier) costars.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Taipei's mystery bookstore.

This article in China Daily discusses Murder Ink, one of the small number of bookstores in Taiwan that focuses primarily on detective novels. Despite the enthusiasm of owner and translator Tommy Tan, his store only serves a few customers per day.

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Inquest (1939).

When a woman is accused of killing her husband, a courtroom battle ensues between her barrister and the coroner. Directed by Ray Boulting, the film is based on the play of the same name by Michael Barringer.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

The Man in the Net (1959).

Directed by Michael Curtiz with a screenplay by Reginald Rose (Twelve Angry Men, etc.) and based on the novel by Hugh Callingham Wheeler (aka Patrick Quentin), The Man in the Net features Alan Ladd as a former advertising agency artist who is suspected of foul play when his wife (Carolyn Jones) disappears.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Charlotte Perkins Gilman's Unpunished.

Charlotte Perkins Gilman.
Library of Congress, Prints &
Photographs Division
Harvard's Houghton Library recently transitioned from its Oasis catalog to one called Hollis, and one of the goodies I found is the corrected typewritten manuscript of Unpunished, the only mystery novel of feminist icon Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1860–1935). Unpunished, thought to have been written in the 1920s, was not published until 1997, when the Feminist Press edition was issued.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Nancy Drew exhibition, UNCG.

Special Collections and University Archives at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro's Jackson Library is hosting the exhibition "Nancy Drew: Girl Detective and Cultural Icon" that includes books and artifacts from the archives (such as The Nancy Drew Mystery Game and lunchbox).

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Crown v. Stevens (1936).

In this film directed by Michael Powell (Black Narcissus, The Red Shoes, etc.), a young man (Patric Knowles) becomes entangled in the murder of a moneylender and the schemes of his employer's wife (Beatrix Thompson) to inherit her husband's estate early. The film is based on Laurence Meynell's Third Time Unlucky.

Link to clips at tcm.com.