Monday, August 08, 2022

New Foxwell ebooks: WWI and short story collections.

I have new ebooks available of two of my books:

In Their Own Words: American Women in World War I presents first-person accounts by American women who served in World War I. Combating restrictions on the duties they could undertake, these women often faced discrimination, danger, and even death in their desire to serve their country, the men in combat, and the civilians suffering the effects of war. Their roles included ambulance driver, canteen worker, clerk, entertainer, fingerprint expert, librarian, nurse, physician, relief worker, reporter, stenographer, and switchboard operator. Cover design by Karen Jackson.

No Man's Land and Other Stories is a collection of my (mostly historical) mystery short stories (although it does include an affectionate pastiche of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson). It includes "No Man's Land" (Agatha winner, Macavity nominee) and "Keeper of the Flame" (first-prize winner, 2003 Cape Fear Crime Festival Short Story Contest). Settings range from the Civil War and the Titanic to World War I and the 1918 flu pandemic, including figures such as Dorothea Dix, Alice Roosevelt Longworth, and Oscar Wilde. Cover design by Karen Jackson.


Monday, August 01, 2022

Philby and Cold War intelligence.

On the International Spy Museum's SpyCast podcast, museum curators Andrew Hammond and Alexis Albion discuss Kim Philby (1912–88), a member of the notorious Cambridge Spy Ring, and his effect on Cold War intelligence.

Monday, July 25, 2022

Poe and Conan Doyle exhibition.

The Hower House Museum at the University of Akron (OH) will be offering the exhibition "Poe & Doyle: Victorian Crime Fiction" in September and October 2022. It will explore Edgar Allan Poe's techniques that formed the basis for the detective narrative and ways that Arthur Conan Doyle applied these techniques to create Sherlock Holmes.

Monday, July 18, 2022

Even more on Simenon, Maigret, etc.

As I noted in 2019, a writer in the Budapest Times (now identified as Christopher Osterberg) has been working his way methodically through the large oeuvre of Georges Simenon and publishing reviews of these works. The latest entries:

Want to check out Osterberg's Simenon reviews published in 2020 and later? Go here. The reviews from earlier dates are no longer available on the Budapest Times website, but I've updated the links in my original post with archived links.

Monday, July 11, 2022

Remembering Larry Storch.

Larry Storch in "The Mystery of the Silent Scream"

Although Larry Storch, who passed away at age 99 on July 8, may be best remembered for his role as Corporal Agarn on F Troop (with his often repeated refrain, "Who says I'm dumb?"), he had some memorable mystery-related appearances such as the following:

  • "An Out for Oscar" (1963) on The Alfred Hitchcock Hour 
  • "The Jack Is High" (1964) on Kraft Suspense Theater (involving an armored car robbery investigated by an inspector played by Pat O'Brien)
  • "Negative Reaction" (1974, featuring Dick Van Dyke) on Columbo
  • "The Mystery of the Silent Scream" (1977) on The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries

Monday, July 04, 2022

P.D. James as Christian novelist.

Over on Public Discourse, the journal of the nonprofit Witherspoon Institute in Princeton, Ralph Wood (former University Professor of Theology and Literature at Baylor University) discusses P. D. James as a Christian novelist and even compares her to George Eliot in her "moral critique of society." He writes, "In our unsettled and uncertain times, James’s novels offer important insights that speak to our concerns about the morality and rationality of the universe, as well as the capacity of humans to solve problems and secure justice and peace."

Monday, June 27, 2022

My latest publications:
Pioneer aviator Ruth Bancroft Law, flight attendants book review.

 My latest publications are in the autumn 2022 issue of Aviation History magazine:

"125 Pounds of Nerve and Pluck" is a short article on pioneer aviator Ruth Bancroft Law (1887–1970), who waged a campaign to fly with the Army Signal Corps in World War I. The sixth woman to earn a US pilot's license, the first US female flight instructor, and the first to fly airmail in the Philippines (among other milestone-setting), Law also became a part of Dodgers lore with her participation in an infamous grapefruit stunt.

Update, 7-16-22: HistoryNet has posted my article online (under the title "Female Flyers: Meet the Woman Who Strapped Her Feet to a Plane")


 I review The Great Stewardess Rebellion by Nell McShane Wulfhart, which focuses on key flight attendants who fought sexual discrimination and harassment, advancing equity in the workplace.


Monday, June 20, 2022

Margery Allingham's cricket parties.

Courtesy of the East Anglian Film Archive, you can view footage from cricket parties hosted by Margery Allingham and her husband, Philip Youngman Carter, that was shot by Joyce Allingham, Margery's sister, in the period 1937–50. There are some good shots of Margery.

Monday, June 13, 2022

Kickstarter campaign to re-record Bernard Herrmann.

As Scott Bettencourt notes in Film Score Monthly, Intrada has launched a Kickstarter campaign to support a re-recording by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra of Bernard Herrmann's scores to Nicholas Ray's On Dangerous Ground and Alfred Hitchcock's The Man Who Knew Too Much

Monday, June 06, 2022

Gay pulp fiction exhibition, Emory University.

On view until October 7, 2022, at Emory University's Rose Library is the exhibition "Forbidden Loves and Secret Lusts: Selections from the Golden Age of Queer Pulp Fiction, which draws from the library's hundreds of such novels that were published from the 1950s to the 1970s.

Also, the library has added to its collection of Victorian yellowbacks.

Monday, May 30, 2022

Dorothy L. Sayers as anthologist.

In the latest issue of Literature & History, past Clues contributor and guest editor Victoria Stewart (University of Leicester) delves into Dorothy L. Sayers's role as anthologist, such as her celebrated role as editor of the Great Short Stories of Detection, Mystery and Horror series for Gollancz (US title: Omnibus of Crime). Stewart argues that Sayers's selections pointed to a focus on a historical overview of the detective story form, reflected her perceptions of the most outstanding stories of the genre, and enabled connections to mystery writers of the day.

Monday, May 23, 2022

The work of Mary Elizabeth Braddon.

Dover ed. of Braddon's
Lady Audley's Secret
Over at the journal Women's Writing, there is a special issue on the work of sensation author Mary Elizabeth Braddon (1835–1915), guest edited by Janine Hatter (University of Hull) and Braddon companion author Anne-Marie Beller (Loughborough University). It offers analyses of works such as Aurora Floyd, The Fatal Three, Lady Audley's Secret, and Three Times Dead as well as an exploration of Braddon's gothics and an intriguing theory regarding Braddon providing a new take on Dumas' The Three Musketeers.

Monday, May 16, 2022

Using mystery to teach professional skills.

In the journal Medical Teacher, Rachel Kavanaugh and colleagues discuss the activity "Who Killed Mr. Brown?", which is designed as a murder mystery to teach pharmacy, critical thinking, and other skills at the Medical College of Wisconsin.

Monday, May 09, 2022

Spotlighting the work of female Irish mystery writers.

In the student newspaper Trinity [College] News, Elaine McHale spotlights the work of some female Irish mystery writers: Andrea Carter, Jane Casey, Patricia Gibney, Martina Murphy, Liz Nugent, Louise Phillips, and Jo Spain.

Monday, May 02, 2022

The pioneers: early female fictional detectives.

In conjunction with a new exhibition on Women in Policing at the Prison & Police Museum in Ripon, UK, Solvig Choi discusses early fictional female detectives: Mrs. Paschal in Revelations of a Lady Detective (attributed to William Stephens Hayward, 1864), Miss G in The Female Detective (by Andrew Forrester, revealed by Judith Flanders to be J. Redding Ware, 1864), and Mr. Bazalgette’s Agent by former actor Leonard Merrick, 1888).

Monday, April 25, 2022

When Rex Stout met John le Carré.

The Spy Writes blog discusses the interview of John le Carré by Rex Stout for Mademoiselle's July 1964 mystery issue. Stout calls le Carré "unobtrusively handsome" and covers le Carré's revision process; le Carré thinks his own strongest quality is his "critical faculty" (61).

Bonuses for Nancy Drew and Patricia Moyes fans: There's a piece on the girl sleuth plus Moyes's novel Falling Star in the issue. Also, pp. 62–63 features a photo that includes Edgar awardees of that year and other MWA members. Among the luminaries, one can spot Clayton Rawson, Hillary Waugh, and Lawrence Treat in the back; Stout and Dorothy Salisbury Davis in the middle; Howard Haycraft in the front row at left; and Phyllis Whitney in the front row at right.

Monday, April 18, 2022

A new female sleuth.

Over on The Wrap, Ross A. Lincoln talks about the film Sally Floss: Digital Detective, directed by James Cullen Brassack, which is due out this summer. In the film, the smart Sally starts an internet-based detective agency when her family faces financial hardship. The cast includes Tara Reid, Eric Roberts, and Lindsay Elston. You can watch a trailer for the film at The Wrap's website.

Monday, April 11, 2022

Clues 40.1: Historical crime fiction.

Volume 40, no. 1 (2022) of Clues: A Journal of Detection—a theme issue on historical crime fiction guest edited by Rosemary Erickson Johnsen—has been published. The issue abstracts follow below; contact McFarland to order a print copy. 

Update, May 1, 2022. The ebook versions of the issue are now available: Kindle, Nook, Google Play

We are happy to have the essay of professor emeritus Fred Erisman, who was a contributor to the first issue of Clues in 1980. Unfortunately, I do not have an update on our Ukrainian contributor who had to flee her town due to Russian bombing.

Historical Crime Fiction: A Cushion on the Seat
The guest editor of Clues 40.1 on historical crime fiction provides a brief history of related scholarship and discusses post–WWI India-set series by Massey and Mukherjee as representative of emerging trends. She previews the issue's articles on mysteries set in China, India, Latin America, Ukraine, and the United States.

Editor’s Note
CAROLINE REITZ (John Jay College of Criminal Justice–CUNY/CUNY Graduate Center)

Caroline Reitz, the executive editor of Clues, discusses two essays that appear in Clues 40.1 and a new call for submissions on pedagogy.

Rebecca Harding Davis and Early Women’s Detective Fiction
ALICIA MISCHA RENFROE (Middle Tennessee State Univ)

In Peterson’s Magazine, Rebecca Harding Davis developed one of American fiction’s earliest recurring detective figures in several mysteries that foreground the antebellum South as a historical setting. These stories illustrate the genre’s productive intersection with the gothic, destabilize narratives of the past, and complicate the detective’s traditional role in restoring social order. 

Hardball Speaks to Our Hard Times

The settings of Sara Paretsky’s Hardball are Chicago’s glittering but decrepit political scene in the late 2000s and an open housing march led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1966 that became volatile and violent. Hardball’s instructional text shows the contemporary consequences of systemic racism stemming from Jim Crow laws, the development of police power, and waves of immigration.

Investigating Mexico’s History with Paco Ignacio Taibo II and Detective Héctor Belascoarán Shayne: On Which Side Are You?
PATRICIA VARAS (Willamette Univ)

This essay examines Paco Ignacio Taibo II’s approach to history as an effort to capture or rewrite well-known yet forgotten episodes in Mexican history. By retelling the 1971 Corpus Christi student massacre, channeling Pancho Villa’s ghost, and recovering Aztec artifacts in his novels, he ensures that his readers will not forget this history, providing a controversial insight into today’s Mexico.

Ukrainian Hero and the Habsburg Monarchy:
Retro Visions in Contemporary Ukrainian Historical Detective Fiction
SOFIYA FILONENKO (Berdyansk State Pedagogical Univ)

The series by contemporary Ukrainian writer Bogdan Kolomiychuk presents the adventures of police officer Adam Vistovych in Lviv (aka Lemberg). The author’s depiction of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the early-twentieth century and its colony—Ukraine—highlights the social, political, national, and historical aspects of the mystery genre.

“The Truth Is Rarely Pure and Never Simple”: 
The Kidnapping of Charley Ross in Fact and Fiction
PHYLLIS M. BETZ (La Salle Univ)

This article compares the differences between Carrie Hagen’s nonfiction reconstruction of the 1874 kidnapping of Charley Ross and Mark Graham’s use of this event in his historical mystery. The main emphasis is how details of the actual event are altered to fit the requirements of each narrative form.

The Transcultural Construction of a Historical Chinese Murder Case: The Ninefold Murder
SABRINA YUAN HAO (Guangdong Univ of Foreign Studies)

This article explores the cross-cultural adaptations of a historical Chinese murder case. Focusing on three key texts published by An He in 1809, Wu Jianren in 1904, and Robert van Gulik in 1958, it investigates the potential of historicity to be used by authors of crime fiction to address concerns of their own times.

Abir Mukherjee’s Historical Crime Novels and the Contemporary Postcolonial
MOLLY SLAVIN (Georgia Inst of Technology)

Abir Mukherjee’s historical crime novels set in the British Raj interrogate colonial structures of violence. The author argues that Mukherjee uses these novels to riff on Golden Age detective novel tropes and communicate knowledge about imperialism, history, and postcolonialism to mass market detective novel readers in the twenty-first-century.

The Cultural Ideology of the Great War–Haunted British Detective in Historical Crime Fiction

This article examines the cultural ideology underlying the constructions of the war-haunted detective in the historical crime fiction series by Rennie Airth, Jonathan Hicks, Charles Todd, and Jacqueline Winspear. These (re)imaginings of the Great War demonstrate the capacity of this literary genre to perpetuate the futility myth in the contemporary cultural memory of the 1914–18 British experience.

Time and Detective Novels: Exploring the Past and the Night in Ian Rankin’s John Rebus Series

IAN R. COOK (Northumbia Univ)
Given that time is an important theme within detective novels, this article explores the portrayal of time in Ian Rankin’s John Rebus series. More precisely, it draws on the concepts of temporality and relationality to critically examine two important temporal dimensions in the series: the past and the night.

Dick Francis and the Fine Arts
FRED ERISMAN (Texas Christian Univ)
Apart from P. D. James with Adam Dalgleish, mystery authors have rarely used an artist as their protagonist. Between 1972 and 2000, Dick Francis wrote seven such books, contrasting the artist’s world with the professional detective’s and exploring ways in which art equips the amateur to be as effective a crime-solving entity as the professional.

Donald K. Hartman, Ed. The Hypno-Ripper
 (Univ of Manitoba)

Steven Powell, Ed. The Big Somewhere: Essays on James Ellroy’s Noir World
 (Virginia Commonwealth Univ)

Janice Allan, Jesper Gulddal, Stewart King, and Andrew Pepper, Eds. The Routledge Companion to Crime Fiction

Phyllis M. Betz, Ed. Reading the Cozy Mystery: Critical Essays on an Underappreciated Subgenre
 PAMELA BEDORE (Univ of Connecticut–Avery Point)

Monday, April 04, 2022

Online exhibition, Teaching with Mass-Market Paperbacks.

The Phantom of the Opera by
Gaston Leroux, part of the
UNC Libraries exhibition
The UNC Libraries online exhibition "Teaching with Mass-Market Paperbacks" draws on the paperback collection of UNC Chapel Hill to assist instructors who wish to use such works in their classroom. Some sample lesson plans are provided. Mystery books include assorted works by Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler; The Blue Geranium by Dolan Birkley (aka Dolores Hitchens); The Couch by Robert Bloch; Honeymoon in Hell by Frederic Brown; Cassidy's Girl by David Goodis; A Taste for Honey by H. F. Heard; I Married a Dead Man and other works by William Irish (aka Cornell Woolrich); and Sorry, Wrong Number by Allan Ullman and Lucille Fletcher (as the cover notes: "She Dialed .. D-E-A-T-H").

Monday, March 28, 2022

Covers by Tom Adams of Raymond Chandler.

Bookmaven on tumblr features 1970s covers by artist Tom Adams of various works by Raymond Chandler. Adams (1926–2019) was also known for his covers of Agatha Christie titles.

A 2016 collection of Tom Adams covers

Cover by Tom Adams of
Chandler's Pickup on Noon Street

Monday, March 21, 2022

Coming soon: Golden Age mystery map.

Coming in April is This Deadly Isle: A Golden Age Mystery Map, created by author Martin Edwards, which provides a map and guide to more than 50 locations from Golden Age mysteries. Authors covered include Margery Allingham, Agatha Christie, Anthony Berkeley Cox, Ngaio Marsh, Dorothy L. Sayers, and others.

The Golden Age map joins Agatha Christie's England by Shedunnit's Caroline Crampton, and The Hardboiled Apple by Jon Hammer and Karen McBurnie, with art by Andy Gregg.

Monday, March 14, 2022

New film score releases.

In film score news: Silva Screen Records reports that the John Barry-composed score of the spy film The Tamarind Seed will be out in April—something of a triumph, as apparently the master tapes were not complete. The 1974 film, directed by Blake Edwards, stars Julie Andrews and Omar Sharif, and is based on the novel by Evelyn Anthony.

Also out, according to Film Score Daily: the Maurice Jarre-composed score to the spoof Top Secret!.

Monday, March 07, 2022

The career of Len Deighton.

Spyscape looks at the career of spy novelist Len Deighton, including his early work as a bookjacket designer, his intriguing forays into cooking and cookbooks, and the decision to put Michael Caine in glasses for The Ipcress File. Deighton fans no doubt recall a character from Spy Story named Ferdy Foxwell, which came as a surprise to my family.

Monday, February 28, 2022

More Mysterious Journey episodes.

The latest episodes of Mysterious Journey, a podcast of short radio plays produced by the Artists' Ensemble Theater (IL), include the following:

  • The Phantom (based on "The Flaming Phantom" by Jacques Futrelle featuring the Thinking Machine)
  • Poirot and the Egyptian Curse (based on "The Adventure of the Egyptian Tomb" by Agatha Christie)
  • Poirot Makes a Wager (based on "The Disappearance of Mr. Davenheim" by Agatha Christie)
  • The Tenth Clue (based on the Continental Op story by Dashiell Hammett) 
  • Who Killed Bobby Teal? (based on "Who Killed Bob Teal?" by Dashiell Hammett)

Monday, February 21, 2022

"Cowboys, Detectives, and Daredevils" exhibition.

"Rubout" by Allen
Anderson. New Britain
Museum of American Art
Running through August 7, 2022, is the exhibition "Cowboys, Detectives, and Daredevils" at the New Britain [CT] Museum of American Art that features art from pulp genres such as crime and detective, western, science fiction, adventure, and aviation.

Monday, February 14, 2022

Margery Allingham, graphic novel character.

Editions Dargaud has published Cauchemars ex machina (Nightmares Ex Machina) by Thierry Smolderen (text) and Jorge Gonzalez (art), which features mystery author Margery Allingham as a character working for British intelligence during World War II. Visit this link to see a sample, in which Allingham is called "une grande dame de la detection anglaise" (a great lady of English detection).

Monday, February 07, 2022

"Books, Bohemians and Baker Street" exhibition.

The online exhibition "Books, Bohemians and Baker Street: A Study in Sherlock in Special Collections" at University of Delaware Library features items in the library collections related to the Arthur Conan Doyle story "A Scandal in Bohemia," some unusual items pertaining to Sherlock Holmes (such as Julian Symons's speculation, "Did Sherlock Holmes Meet Hercule...?"), and letters from Conan Doyle.

Monday, January 31, 2022

Three mystery exhibitions, Toronto Public Library.

The following exhibitions just opened at the Toronto Public Library:

Poster for Sherlock Holmes
with William Gillette, 1901.
Arthur Conan Doyle Collection,
Toronto Public Library
• "Meddling Kids: A Children's Mystery Book Exhibit" (Osborn Collection of Early Children's Books, Lillian H. Smith Library, Toronto Public Library; runs through April 16, 2022). See digitized items from the collection here.

• "Cracking the Case: Sleuths in Speculative Fiction" (Merril Collection of Science Fiction, Speculation and Fantasy, Lillian H. Smith Library, Toronto Public Library; runs through April 2, 2022). See digitized items from the collection here.

• "A Study in Sherlock and His Creator: 50 Years of the Arthur Conan Doyle Collection" (TD Gallery, Toronto Reference Library). See digitized items from the collection here.

Monday, January 24, 2022

"Mapping Fiction" exhibition, the Huntington.

The "Mapping Fiction" exhibition at Los Angeles' Huntington Library features the role of maps in fiction and is on view until May 2. It includes Loren Latker's "Shamus Town" map of the Raymond Chandler Mystery Map of Los Angeles and an orange crate label from Tarzana Hills (originally named in honor of Edgar Rice Burroughs's Tarzan).

Monday, January 17, 2022

Hornung's John Dollar.

Illustration by Frederic Dorr Steele from "The Physician Who Healed Himself"
by E. W. Hornung. Everybody's Magazine, May 1913, p. 599.

On the Interesting Literature blog, Oliver Tearle (Loughborough University) discusses criminal psychologist John Dollar, created by Arthur Conan Doyle's brother-in-law E. W. Hornung. The Dollar stories can be read here.