Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Dead of Night (1945).

In Dead of Night, a man fears that his recurring dream foretells dire events to come. Michael Redgrave (as a disturbed ventriloquist), Googie Withers, and Miles Malleson star.

Monday, September 16, 2019

FSU mystery exhibition curated by 12-year-old.

Joseph, a 12-year-old mystery enthusiast and scholar-in-residence, has curated the exhibition "A Century of Mystery and Intrigue" at Florida State University Library's Special Collections and Archives, which involves trains and includes such works as Freeman Wills Crofts's Inspector French and the Starvel Hollow Tragedy (1927). Joseph writes here about the exhibition, which will remain on view until December 20, 2019. Questions about the exhibition (and perhaps Joseph's work at the library) can be directed to preservation librarian Hannah Wiatt Davis.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

The Trans-Atlantic Mystery (1932).

This short-film follow-up to The Wall-Street Mystery once again is written by S. S. Van Dine and features Donald Meek as criminologist Dr. Crabtree and John Hamilton as Inspector Carr. This time, they contend with stolen gems and two deaths.

Monday, September 09, 2019

The talents of Charles Altamont Doyle.

Through September 23, the Huntington Library is featuring an exhibition of work by Charles Altamont Doyle, the troubled artist father of Arthur Conan Doyle. The Doyle family had significant artistic talent: Charles's father, John, was a political cartoonist; his brother, Richard, was an illustrator; and his son, Conan Doyle, showed substantial ability in his own sketches. Given Conan Doyle's belief in fairies, the fairy subject matter of several of his father's works may be of interest.

"Hutton—The Bookseller." Illustration by
Charles Altamont Doyle for James Hogg's
Men Who Have Risen

Tuesday, September 03, 2019

Dual Alibi (1947).

In Dual Alibi, Herbert Lom plays twin trapeze artists who compete for the same woman and become entangled in murder.

Monday, September 02, 2019

Clues 37.2: Interwar mysteries.

Clues 37.2 (2019)
The volume 37, no. 2 (2019) issue of Clues has been published, which is a theme issue on interwar mysteries guest edited by Victoria Stewart (University of Leicester, UK). See below for the abstracts. To order the issue, contact McFarland (this post will be updated once the e-versions are available from amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Google Play).

Introduction / VICTORIA STEWART. The guest editor of Clues 37.2 on interwar mysteries discusses its contents, including articles on Agatha Christie, Mary Fitt. Ngaio Marsh, Clifford Orr, Raymond Postgate, Dorothy L. Sayers, and Josephine Tey.

Detecting Histories, Detecting Genealogies: The Origins of Golden Age Detective Fiction / STACY GILLIS (University of Newcastle, UK). This article traces interwar attempts to define detective fiction, with an emphasis on how critics such as Dorothy L. Sayers, H. Douglas Thomson, and T. S. Eliot traced its origins in classical, biblical, and more recent texts. It argues that this demonstrates an anxiety relating to conceptions of literary taste on the part of these commentators.

“The Ghost of Dr. Freud Haunts Everything Today”:
Criminal Minds in the Golden-Age Psychological Thriller / STEFANO SERAFINI (Royal Holloway, University of London). This essay provides new insights into the development of interwar crime fiction by investigating how, and to what extent, two such apparently irreconcilable subgenres as the classic detective story and the psychological thriller interact and intertwine in the work of often-neglected Golden Age writers.

Killing Innocence: Obstructions of Justice in Late-Interwar British Crime Fiction / J. C. BERNTHAL (University of Cambridge). This article analyzes Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None and Raymond Postgate’s Verdict of Twelve, both written toward the end of the interwar period and published at the outset of World War II. Christie and Postgate interrogate ethics in the British criminal justice system, using the figure of the child-victim to complicate interwar constructions of innocence.

Capital Punishment and Women in the British Police Procedural: Josephine Tey’s A Shilling for Candles and To Love and Be Wise / EVIE JEFFREY (University of Newcastle, UK). This article considers Josephine Tey’s engagement with contemporary capital punishment debates through considering the phenomenon of the “wrongful” arrest. It argues that women are central to the exploration of these debates, particularly when reading the novels as part of the subgenre of police procedurals within the Golden Age of detective fiction.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

The Shadow Man (aka Street of Shadows, 1953).

In The Shadow Man, saloon owner Cesar Romero is framed for murder and must prove that he is innocent. The film is based on The Creaking Chair by Laurence Meynell.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Homes of local mystery writers.

The website DC Writers' Homes—a project of Humanities DC—features residences of such writers as James M. Cain (6707 44th Ave, University Park, MD), Roald Dahl (2136 R St NW in DC), Rudolph Fisher (1607 S St NW in DC), Lucille Fletcher (3435 8th St S, Arlington, VA), Mary Roberts Rinehart (2419 Massachusetts Ave NW and 2660 Woodley Rd in DC), and Manley Wade Wellman (400 Shepherd St NW in DC).

Mary Roberts Rinehart with chauffeur outside her
home at 2419 Massachusetts Ave NW in
Washington, DC (now the Embassy of Zambia).
ca. 1920s-early 1930s. Library of Congress,
Prints and Photographs Division

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Spies of the Air (1939).

In Spies of the Air, British intelligence hunts for the thief of secret airplane plans. Based on the play Official Secret by Jeffrey Dell, the film stars Roger Livesey and Basil Radford, with an interesting name appearing as film editor: future director David Lean.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Exhibition inspired by Hitchcock films.

Beth Accomando on station KPBS discusses an art exhibition based on Hitchcock films that will be on view at San Diego's Subterranean Coffee Boutique until September 6.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Moment of Indiscretion (1958).

In Moment of Indiscretion, a woman faces a murder charge when she will not reveal where she was at the time of the crime.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Avbl for preorder: Companion on Ian Rankin.

Ian Rankin: A Companion to the Mystery Fiction
Now available for preorder is the upcoming volume 10—on the works of John Rebus creator Ian Rankin—in the McFarland Companions to Mystery Fiction series that I edit. Author and Fanshawe College professor Erin E. MacDonald wrote the earlier, well-regarded companion on Ed McBain/Evan Hunter. Volume 10 provides a comprehensive examination of Rankin's writing career, including short stories that the Scottish author had forgotten he had written and interesting sidelights such as the Rebus play Long Shadows.

Tuesday, August 06, 2019

Rough Shoot (1953).

In Rough Shoot (aka Shoot First), former US colonel Joel McCrea becomes entangled with murder and a spy ring in England. The film is based on A Rough Shoot by Geoffrey Household, with a screenplay by Eric Ambler. Costars include Evelyn Keyes, Herbert Lom, and Marius Goring.

Monday, August 05, 2019

New publications on Sayers.

Some new books dealing with Dorothy L. Sayers:
    God, Hitler, and Lord Peter WimseyAnglican Women Novelists

• Tippermuir Books follows up its collection of Sayers book reviews (ed. Martin Edwards) with God, Hitler, and Lord Peter Wimsey, a collection of articles, essays, and speeches by Sayers, including a radio broadcast that has never been published before.

Anglican Woman Novelists from T&T Clark covers Sayers and P. D. James, among other female authors.

• Coming in October from InterVarsity Press: Choosing Community: Action, Faith, and Joy in the Works of Dorothy L. Sayers

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

A Man Betrayed (1941).

In A Man Betrayed, John Wayne is a small-town attorney looking into the suspicious death of a friend and uncovers skullduggery in big-city politics. Frances Dee and Ward Bond costar.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Hillerman biography in progress.

This article in the July 7 Albuquerque Journal on the University of New Mexico's Center for Southwest Research reveals that author James McGrath Morris (Pulitzer: A Life in Politics, Print, and Power) is working on a biography of Tony Hillerman.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

One Body Too Many (1944).

In One Body Too Many, mild-mannered insurance agent Albert Tuttle (Jack Haley) encounters scheming relatives of a recently deceased millionaire who seem intent on doing away with the millionaire's niece (Jean Parker). Bela Lugosi costars.

Monday, July 22, 2019

The nefarious state of Wisconsin.

In the Wisconsin State Journal, several mystery authors (such as Victoria Houston, who writes the Loon Lake mystery series with fly-fishing enthusiast and chief of police Lewellyn Ferris) discuss why the state is such an inviting setting for mystery.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

The Big Frame (aka The Lost Hours, 1952).

In The Big Frame, pilot Mark Stevens quarrels with a friend, waking up the next morning at a unfamiliar hotel as Scotland Yard's top suspect in the friend's murder.

Monday, July 15, 2019

The gifts of Celia Fremlin.

Author Lucy Lethbridge in the July 2019 issue of The Oldie lauds Celia Fremlin's Edgar-winning The Hours Before Dawn (1958) and the skills applied by Fremlin from her time in the British project Mass Observation. Says Lethbridge, "This is a novel about intelligent, frustrated women in the impoverished disappointment of 1950s London."

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

Everything Is Thunder (1936).

Based on the novel by former British Army officer Jocelyn Lee Hardy, Everything Is Thunder features a prostitute (Constance Bennett) who attempts to help a prisoner of war (Douglas Montgomery) escape from Nazi Germany.

Monday, July 08, 2019

A walk with Anthony Boucher.

Jeffrey Marks's Anthony Boucher:
A Biobibliography
Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association has scheduled a July 21 walk of South Berkeley (CA) locations associated with mystery/sci fi author-editor-critic Anthony Boucher (aka William Anthony Parker White). The walk will be guided by Randal Brandt, a librarian who curates the California Detective Fiction Collection at UC Berkeley's Bancroft Library.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

The Deadly Affair (1967).

In this adaptation of John le Carré's Call for the Dead (1961) that is directed by Sidney Lumet, a British agent (James Mason) is suspicious of the suicide of a man he had investigated (Robert Flemyng).

Monday, June 24, 2019

J. S. Fletcher celebrates a centenary.

New HarperCollins edition of Fletcher's
The Middle Temple Murder
In the Oxford Times, Christopher Gray celebrates the centenary of the publication of The Middle Temple Murder (1919) by Yorkshire-born Joseph Smith Fletcher, better known as J. S. Fletcher (1863–1935). Says Gray, "The novel put me very much in mind of John Buchan’s The Thirty-Nine Steps." In the novel (read by presidential mystery fan Woodrow Wilson), a journalist and a Scotland Yard inspector see something more in a violent death than a robbery gone wrong.

More on Fletcher (who apparently also was a friend of T. S. Stribling)

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

"The Last of the Sommervilles" (1961).

In this episode of Thriller directed by Ida Lupino and cowritten by Lupino and her cousin Richard Lupino, a scheming heir plots to eliminate the competition for an inheritance. Phyllis Thaxter and Martita Hunt costar.

Monday, June 17, 2019

German films of Edgar Wallace works.

Edgar Wallace, Der Frosch mit der Maske
(Fellowship of the Frog)
On the Galactic Journey blog, Cora Buhlert discusses the popularity in Germany of film adaptations of the works of Edgar Wallace, including Der Zinker (The Squeaker) with Klaus Kinski.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

They Can't Hang Me (1955).

Adapted and directed by Val Guest from a story by journalist Leonard Mosley, They Can't Hang Me features a convicted civil servant attempting to avoid the hangman's noose by claiming he can identify a spy notorious for disclosing top-secret nuclear information. Andre Morell stars.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Ellery Queen, Rex Stout, and WQXR.

Ad for WQXR, 1963
New York Public Radio archivist Andy Lanset spotlights mentions of WQXR (a well-known classical music station in New York) in books, including those by Ellery Queen and Rex Stout (the latter mentioning the station in four works). Go here for a history of WQXR, including its ownership for nearly 30 years by the New York Times.

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

The Man Who Finally Died (1963).

Stanley Baker gets physical in
The Man Who Finally Died
In The Man Who Finally Died, Stanley Baker sets out on the trail of his father, who supposedly died in World War II. Costars include Peter Cushing and Eric Portman.

Monday, June 03, 2019

Upcoming Ngaio Marsh companion.

This is the upcoming volume 9 in the McFarland Companions to Mystery Fiction series that I edit. It focuses on Ngaio Marsh, creator of well-born Inspector Roderick Alleyn. Marsh joins other subjects John Buchan, E. X. Ferrars, Ed McBain/Evan Hunter, Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Andrea Camilleri, James Ellroy, Sara Paretsky, and P. D. James.