Tuesday, January 19, 2021

"Farewell, My Lovely Appetizer."

S. J. Perelman, 1973,
by Jill Krementz. NYPL.
Cleo Zani of the Eventide Theatre Company (Dennis, MA) performs "Farewell, My Lovely Appetizer," S. J. Perelman's 1944 spoof of hard-boiled detective fiction: "Her bosom was heaving and looked even better that way." Originally published in the New Yorker, it is included in this anthology.

Monday, January 11, 2021

"The father of Russian detective fiction."

In "E. A. Poe and A. A. Shklharevskij" in the Dec. 2020 SIC: Journal of Literature, Culture and Literary Translation, Maja Pandzic (University of Zadar, Croatia) discusses the connections among Edgar Allan Poe, Emile Gaboriau, Fyodor Dostoevsky, and Aleksandr Andreevich Skljarevski (the last dubbed here "the father of Russian detective fiction").

Monday, January 04, 2021

Turkey's first detective TV series.

 Read more about Alef, Turkey's first detective TV series.

Monday, December 28, 2020

Journalist, socialite, spy.

On the Spycast podcast of DC's Spy Museum, museum historian and curator Andrew Hammond and author Elizabeth Atwood discuss the life of US journalist, socialite, and spy Marguerite Harrison.

Monday, December 21, 2020

An honor to California Detective Fiction Collection librarian.

Anthony Boucher, an author in the California Detective Fiction Collection
On December 10, Randal Brandt, curator of the California Detective Fiction Collection at UC Berkeley's Bancroft Library, received the Distinguished Librarian Award from the Librarians Association of the University of California’s Berkeley chapter. In this interview, he talks about his job, his favorite type of crime fiction, and the California Detective Fiction Collection (view a few collection highlights).

Monday, December 14, 2020

Situating Sherlock.

cover of British Detective Fiction 1891-1901 with illustration of Sherlock Holmes and Prof. Moriarty at Reichenbach Falls
The Long Room Hub Arts and Humanities Research Institute of Trinity College Dublin profiles faculty member Clare Clarke—guest editor of the upcoming Clues on domestic noir; author of the new British Detective Fiction, 1891–1901: The Successors to Sherlock Holmes; and leader of a new project that will map locations in the Sherlock Holmes canon.

Monday, December 07, 2020

Ray Bradbury's mystery fiction.

In the LA Review of Books, Cullen Gallagher reviews Killer, Come Back to Me, a new collection published by Hard Case Crime of Ray Bradbury's crime stories. Although Bradbury did not think much of his abilities as a mystery writer, Gallagher believes he was being too tough on himself.

Monday, November 30, 2020

Starrett spoofs Christie.

Vincent Starrett
On the Studies in Starrett blog, Ray Betzner discusses "The Other Woman," Vincent Starrett's 1927 parody of Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot. In it, Alexandre Dulau attempts to help Mrs. Hopewell Grange, whose husband is behaving oddly.  Says Dulau, "It is possible I have done Mr. Hopewell Grange a great disservice. On the other hand, it is possible that I have acted with my usual intelligence."

Monday, November 23, 2020

Erle Stanley Gardner and the wrongly convicted Native American.

Erle Stanley Gardner
In the December 2020 Smithsonian Magazine, Jack El-Hai discusses author Erle Stanley Gardner's taking up the case in the 1950s of Silas John Edwards, a member of the White Apache tribe who was convicted of killing his wife. It was consistent with the lawyer Gardner's concern with injustice (such as his Court of Last Resort).

Monday, November 16, 2020

Rex Stout and radio.

Rex Stout by Arnold Genthe, 1931.
Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Div.

Matt Barton, curator of the Library of Congress' Recorded Sound Section, discusses author Rex Stout's roles on the radio that are reflected in more than 40 LOC holdings. These encompass various incarnations of Stout's sleuth Nero Wolfe, Stout's appearances on Information Please, his hosting duties for Speaking of Liberty, and his participation in an episode about the detective story on the NBC program Conversation with critics Clifton Fadiman and Jacques Barzun. Said Stout in the Conversation program, "They're pretty bum stories, the Sherlock Holmes stories. . . . at least two thirds are pretty doggone silly." (It should be noted that Stout wrote the infamous essay "Watson Was a Woman.")

Monday, November 09, 2020

Penumbra debuts.

Gertrude Atherton, ca. 1906–12.
Library of Congress, Prints and
Photographs Div.

S. T. Joshi, known for his work on H. P. Lovecraft, recently announced the debut of Penumbra, a new annual journal on weird fiction that features fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. The first issue includes a reprint of Gertrude Atherton's "The Caves of Death" (1886) and articles such as the following:

• "The Terror of Solitude": The Supernatural Fiction of Edith Wharton
by John C. Tibbetts

• Finding Sherlock Holmes in Weird Fiction by Nancy Holder

• "The Weird Dominions of the Infinite": Edgar Allan Poe and the Scientific Gothic by Sorina Higgins

Monday, November 02, 2020

The real-life Marie Roget.

"Mary Rogers, The Cigar Girl." NYPL

On Nov 7 at 4 pm, the Hoboken Historical Museum will host a virtual presentation by Montclair State University professor emerita Amy Gilman Srebnick on "The Mysterious Death of Mary Rogers,” the case that inspired Edgar Allan Poe's "The Mystery of Marie Roget."

Monday, October 26, 2020

Mystery tropes of the Golden Age.

On the latest episode of the podcast In GAD We Trust, James Scott Byrnside and the podcast host discuss mystery tropes of the Golden Age such as "the dying message," "the false solution," and "the seance." Authors singled out for particular praise include Christianna Brand and Anthony Berkeley Cox, whereas G. K. Chesterton and Ellery Queen come in for some criticism.

Monday, October 19, 2020

Coming in January: Lupin.

On Gizmodo, Charles Pulliam-Moore discusses Lupin, the latest incarnation of Maurice Leblanc's legendary gentleman thief that will be aired on Netflix.

Monday, October 12, 2020

Recent radio production of Sorry, Wrong Number


Lucille Fletcher, ca. 1948

You can catch Bay Area Radio Drama's June production of Lucille Fletcher's Sorry, Wrong Number, here.

Monday, October 05, 2020

Notre Dame's London Book Club:
"Hitchcock in London"

Oscar Homolka and Sylvia
Sidney in Hitchcock's Sabotage

The virtual London Book Club of the University of Notre Dame is currently covering "Hitchcock in London." The episodes include discussions of works adapted for Alfred Hitchcock films such as Marie Belloc Lowndes's The Lodger and Joseph Conrad's The Secret Agent. Catch up with episodes here.

Monday, September 28, 2020

Oct 1 virtual reading of Glaspell's "Trifles."

A scene from Susan Glaspell's "Trifles," n.d. NYPL

Shadowpath Theatre and Newmarket Public Library in Ontario, Canada, will be offering a free virtual reading of Susan Glaspell's "Trifles" (which is the earlier play version of her famous 1917 short story "A Jury of Her Peers"). In the play, two women solve a murder that baffles male investigators. The reading will take place on October 1 at 7 pm EDT. Register here for the event.

Update, October 5, 2020. Watch the play reading below.

Monday, September 21, 2020

Hard-boiled detectives and libraries.

Philip Marlowe (Humphrey Bogart)
meets a librarian from the Hollywood Public
Library (Carole Douglas) in the trailer to
The Big Sleep (1946)

Peter Igelström, librarian at Linköping University's Valla Library, takes an entertaining look at the relationship of hardboiled detectives to libraries and librarians. "One wonders why the library is a potential stigma to a hard-boiled detective," he states.

Monday, September 14, 2020

The challenges of mystery translations.


The podcast In GAD We Trust hosts translator Louise Heal Kawai, who worked on the 2019 translations of The Honjin Murders (1946) by eminent Japanese mystery author Seishi Yokomizo and Murder in the Crooked House (1982) by Soji Shimada. She describes the challenges of the translator such as trying to convey cultural facets that may not be familiar to the reader.

Monday, September 07, 2020

The Hesse crown jewels case.

Among the projects on which the National Archives is requesting volunteer transcribing assistance are court-martial case files of Army Colonel Jack W. Durant and his wife, Captain Kathleen Nash Durant, who were convicted (along with co-conspirator David Watson) of stealing the House of Hesse crown jewels after World War II (Countess Margaret of Hesse-Kassel was a granddaughter of Queen Victoria, and the Duke of Edinburgh's sister Sophie married into the family). For discussions of the case, see Geoffrey E. Duin's article on HistoryNet and Fred L. Borch III's article in The Army Lawyer.

For details on the Citizen Archivist projects at the National Archives, go here.

Monday, August 31, 2020

Online museum exhibition: "Nancy Drew at 90."

Due to COVID-19, the Museum of Childhood Ireland was unable to launch its exhibition "Nancy Drew at 90" in Dun Lagohaire, so it is online instead. It includes details on the cover illustrators and some fascinating international editions such as Alice et les trois clefs (aka The Clue of the Black Keys).

Monday, August 24, 2020

Clues 38.2: Genre b(l)ending.

Volume 38, number 2 of Clues: A Journal of Detection, guest edited by Maurizio Ascari (University of Bologna), has been published on the theme "Genre B(l)ending: Crime's Hybrid Forms." Below are the abstracts for the issue. Contact McFarland to order the issue or a Clues subscription. 

Update, 9-14-20. The ebook versions are now available: Google Play, Kindle, Nook.

Introduction: Make It New, but Don’t Forget / MAURIZIO ASCARI (University of Bologna)

G. K. Chesterton’s Postmodern Anti-Detective Story: Generic Innovation and Transgression in “The White Pillars Murder” / NILS CLAUSSON (University of Regina, Canada)
G. K. Chesterton’s undervalued story “The White Pillars Murder” anticipates the postmodern anti-detective story in the way it transgresses the conventions of the Holmes-style analytic detective story and subversively introduces political critique into a genre, the Golden Age country house mystery, widely regarded as either apolitical or conservative. 

Murder, Mayhem, and Madness: John Dickson Carr’s Gothic Detective Stories / STEFANO SERAFINI (University of Toronto)
This essay investigates the contact zones between gothic and detective fiction within the early work of the significant yet largely neglected author John Dickson Carr. By revealing the transgressive and contaminated character of his narratives, this essay also provides a more nuanced picture of interwar crime-writing, the literary boundaries of which were constantly violated and renegotiated. 

The Cowboy and the Detective: The Case of Craig Johnson / ANTOINE DECHÊNE
This essay focuses on Craig Johnson’s charismatic protagonist Walt Longmire, the county sheriff of Absaroka, Wyoming. A cowboy-detective par excellence, Longmire embodies the interrelationship between the Western and detective fiction while offering a good example of “glocal literature”—that is, a form of literature that is both global and local. 

James Church’s A Corpse in the Koryo and His Inspector O Series: A Noir/Spy Thriller Hybrid Set in North Korea / DAVID C. WRIGHT JR. (Misericordia University)
Analysis of A Corpse in the Koryo, the first book in the Inspector O series by James Church, shows that this series featuring a North Korean detective constitutes a successful genre hybrid: a hard-boiled detective thriller, à la Raymond Chandler, combined with a spy novel in the style of John le Carré. 

Monday, August 17, 2020

Seattle Public Library's Thrilling Tales podcast.

E. Phillips Oppenheim. NYPL

The Seattle Public Library offers the Thrilling Tales podcast with short story readings (in both audio and transcription form). One episode features E. Phillips Oppenheim's "The Reckoning with Otto Schreed" (1922), and another has the G. K. Chesterton story "The Hammer of God" (1910) with Father Brown.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Foxwell on Velona Pilcher, Lucy Maud Montgomery.

Velona Pilcher (center) in the Stanford opera
In Dutch. Stanford Quad, 1917, p. 110.
Over on the blog of my publisher Deborah Adams, I talk about World War I Red Cross searcher Velona Pilcher (playwright of the "female 'Journey's End'"), my book on US women in World War I, and author Lucy Maud Montgomery.

Monday, August 03, 2020

Another library podcast with mystery short stories.

William Faulkner by Carl Van Vechten.
Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Div
The Elmhurst (IL) Public Library offers the Storytime for Grown-Ups podcast. The following mystery-related stories have been read on the podcast:
  • "Wasps' Nest" by Agatha Christie
  • "The Landlady" by Roald Dahl (Edgar winner, Best Short Story)
  • "Poison" by Roald Dahl
  • "A Rose for Emily" by William Faulkner
  • "Wikipedia Brown" by B. J. Novak
  • "The Cask of Amontillado" by Edgar Allan Poe
  • "Here Lies Another Blackmailer" by Bill Pronzini
  • "The Hangman" by Ian Rankin

Monday, July 27, 2020

Podcast with Bramah, Morrison, Orczy mysteries.

Author Arthur Morrison
Arthur Morrison. NYPL

Staff of the Saint Paul (MN) Public Library have initiated the Adult Storytime Podcast with the following mystery readings:

• "The Lenten Croft Robberies" by Arthur Morrison (with detective Martin Hewitt, 1894)

Ernest Bramah
Ernest Bramah
• "The Coin of Dionysus" by Ernest Bramah (with blind detective Max Carrados, 1913)

Photo of Baroness Orczy
Baroness Orczy
• "The York Mystery" by Baroness Orczy (with the Old Man in the Corner, 1902)



Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

• Update, September 24, 2020
. Episode 4, "The Horror of the Heights" by Arthur Conan Doyle (1913)

Monday, July 20, 2020

Philip Marlowe via Australia.

A radio series in Australia, Philip Marlowe Investigates, was broadcast in 1953 starring Australian actor-writer-producer Reginald Goldsworthy as Marlowe. Episode 1 was "The Lady in the Lake," and episode 2 was "The High Window." Below is "The Lady in the Lake." The American accents are fairly proficient.

Monday, July 13, 2020

Encouraging new scholars in bibliography.

The New Scholars Program of the Bibliographical Society of America seeks to encourage early-career scholars, graduate students, librarians, booksellers, and collectors in bibliography (defined as any research that deals with the creation, production, publication, distribution, reception, transmission, and subsequent history of textual artifacts). Each year, BSA invites three new scholars to give a 15-minute presentation on their research and offers an honorarium of $1,000. This year, the presentations will be virtual. The application deadline is September 8, 2020. Further details here.

Monday, July 06, 2020

Finding Golden Age gems.

The In GAD We Trust podcast chats with short story sleuth Tony Medawar, who has uncovered unknown or neglected works by authors such as Christianna Brand, John Dickson Carr, Agatha Christie, Anthony Berkeley Cox, Edmund Crispin, Ngaio Marsh, and Dorothy L. Sayers. Medawar talks about his favorite mystery finds and other discoveries he has made. A new volume in Medawar's Bodies from the Library series will be out in October in the United States.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Upcoming online course, African American detective fiction.

Norlisha Crawford, associate professor emerita at University of Wisconsin–Oshkosh who guest edited the Clues theme issue on Chester Himes, will be teaching an online course on African American detective fiction starting in August under the auspices of the Rosenbach in Philadelphia. Authors covered will include Himes, Eleanor Taylor Bland, Walter Mosley, and Nichelle D. Tramble.