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.

Monday, July 23, 2018

The Great Detective film series in Australia.

Michael Redgrave and
Margaret Lockwood in
The Lady Vanishes (1938)
Envy the lucky Australians who can attend The Great Detective, a series showcasing mystery films at Australian Cinémathèque, Gallery of Modern Art, Queensland Art Gallery, until September 2. Films include the following:
  • Sherlock Holmes (1916)
  • Sherlock Jr. (1924)
  • The Lady Vanishes (1938)
  • And Then There Were None (1945)
  • Rear Window (1954)
  • Witness for the Prosecution (1957)
  • Vertigo (1958)
  • Charade (1963)
  • A Shot in the Dark (1964)
  • Dirty Harry (1971)
  • Death on the Nile (1978)
  • The Mirror Crack'd (1980)
  • Evil under the Sun (1982)
  • Erin Brockovich (2000)
  • Mystic River (2003)
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Hammett's Woman in the Dark (1934).

Based on the novella "Woman in the Dark" (1933) by Dashiell Hammett, this film features Fay Wray on the run from villain Melvyn Douglas, entangling ex-con Ralph Bellamy along the way.

Monday, July 16, 2018

The game is afoot.

Mention of the Parker Brothers game Sherlock Holmes
in Life 3 Dec. 1904: 586

The Law & Humanities blog features the article by Ross E. Davies (George Mason University) "A Grand Game Introduction, or the Rise and Demise of 'Sherlock Holmes,'" which traces the short-lived history of the Parker Brothers game Sherlock Holmes.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Decoy: "Stranglehold" (1957).

1958 ad for Decoy
This pilot episode of the TV series Decoy features Beverly Garland as undercover policewoman Casey Jones, whose assignment is to get close to a murder suspect's girlfriend (Joanne Linville, who is known for her role as a Romulan commander on Star Trek) in an effort to find the suspect.

Monday, July 09, 2018

Abstract portal opens,
2019 Popular Culture Assn conference.

The next Popular Culture Association conference will take place on April 17–20, 2019, at the Marriott Wardman Park in Washington, DC. The portal for abstract submissions is now open through October 1, 2018 (must register for an account to access the portal). The PCA's Mystery and Detective Fiction Area has always been very active; first-time presenters are eligible for the Earl Bargainnier Award (named for a distinguished mystery scholar). Please encourage undergraduate and graduate students to submit paper proposals; members of the Mystery/Detective Fiction Area always have been interested in nurturing the next generation of mystery scholars.

Can't make it to DC? Check out the regional Popular Culture Association conferences.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

The Spy in Black (1939).

In The Spy in Black, British agents attempt to thwart a German plan to sink British ships in 1917. Stars include Conrad Veidt, Valerie Hobson, Marius Goring, and June Duprez. Based on the book by J. Storer Clouston, the film is directed by Michael Powell, the screenplay is by Powell's Archers partner Emeric Pressburger, and the scenario is by Roland Pertwee (the father of Dr. Who's Jon Pertwee).

Monday, June 25, 2018

Martin Edwards on locked room mysteries.

On The Men Who Explain Miracles podcast, Detection Club President Martin Edwards talks about locked-room mysteries such as Murder of a Lady (1931) by Anthony Wynne and other titles in the British Library Crime Classics series for which he serves as a consultant.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Forbidden Cargo (1954).

In Forbidden Cargo, a customs officer (Nigel Patrick) is on the trail of drug smugglers, assisted by an aristocratic birdwatcher (Joyce Grenfell). Jack Warner, Elizabeth Sellars, Greta Gynt, Theodore Bikel, and Michael Hordern costar.

Monday, June 18, 2018

The career of Edward Stratemeyer.

Edward Stratemeyer.
The New Antiquarian blog of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America looks at the career of Edward Stratemeyer (1862–1930), who launched the Stratemeyer Syndicate that published the Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, and countless other children's series.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Murder on the Campus (1933).

Charles Starrett, ca. 1931
In Murder on the Campus, a reporter (Charles Starrett) seeks to exonerate his coed girlfriend (Shirley Grey), who is accused of murder. The film is based on The Campanile Murders (1933) by author-screenwriter Whitman Chambers (thanks to Mystery*File for link to serial version of The Campanile Murders).

Monday, June 11, 2018

Clues CFP: "Interwar Mysteries"
(deadline Oct 12, 2018).

The Bat (1926), adapted
from the play by
Mary Roberts Rinehart
and Avery Hopwood
A new Call for Papers has been posted for a theme issue of Clues: A Journal of Detection on "Interwar Mysteries: The Golden Age and Beyond." It will be guest edited by University of Leicester's Victoria Stewart (author, Crime Writing in Interwar Britain: Fact and Fiction in the Golden Age, and a previous contributor to Clues). Although the period between the World Wars is known as the Golden Age of traditional mystery fiction, other literary forms such as the hard-boiled subgenre, true crime, and noir emerged that often reflected a grimmer reality. Articles of between 3300 and 6000 words are sought that examine this important crossroads in mystery, detective, and crime fiction, with a deadline of Oct 12, 2018.

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

The Hand (1960).

In The Hand, an inspector learns that the murder of a one-handed man has roots in a POW camp in Burma.

Monday, June 04, 2018

Simenon exhibition opens in China.

Georges Simenon,
10 May 1965.
Anefo, Dutch Nat Archives
The exhibition "Simenon, auteur belge a multi-facettes” (Simenon, multifaceted Belgian author) opened in Guangzhou Library's Multiculture Library on May 13 and will be displayed until June 8. It features details on Georges Simenon's life and work, as well as posters of film adaptations of Simenon's books. Cosponsors are the library, the Consulate General of Belgium, and Wallonie-Bruxelles Internationale. Guangzhou Library holds both French editions and Chinese translations of Simenon's works.