Monday, March 20, 2023

Creating a detective story through art.

Here's an interesting project: artist Daniel Moore is creating a detective story through the use of public domain images such as 1920s movie stills.

Monday, March 13, 2023

New mystery audiobooks from Librivox.

Librivox, which marshals volunteer readers to produce free audiobooks of works in the public domain, has some new mystery-related offerings:

Want to volunteer as a reader? Visit this webpage

Monday, March 06, 2023

Grants for academic research, Sisters in Crime.

Sisters in Crime is offering grants of $500 to those working on research projects that contribute to understanding of the role of women or underrepresented groups in crime fiction. The funds may be used to purchase books. US citizens or legal residents as well as those conducting research on US authors are eligible to apply. The application deadline is April 15, 2023. 

Interested in projects of previous recipients? Go here.

Monday, February 27, 2023

Online TCU exhibition on dime novels.

Texas Christian University's Mary Couts Burnett Library has the online exhibition "A Riotous Imagination; or, Dime Novels in America," which looks at the inexpensive and often lurid tales of adventure, mystery, horror, and romance that emerged in the nineteenth century. Sections of the exhibition include "Cowboys and Detectives," "Investigating Crime," and "Rise of the Pulps."

Monday, February 20, 2023

The agonies of the agony column.

The Ciphers of The Times project at McGill University (headed by Nathalie Cooke) explores the Victorian agony column in the Times of London that often involved messages from criminals and detectives, including ways that messages in this column were encoded. The project includes an online interactive game where a person can play detective by following clues in a sample column. There also are discussion and data regarding "newspaper novels" (those that involve newspapers in their plots) such as The Female Detective (1864) by Andrew Forrester (aka James Redding Ware) and Lady Audley's Secret (1862) by Mary Elizabeth Braddon. An additional resource is the accompanying exhibition "News and Novel Sensations."

Monday, February 13, 2023

Ruh-roh: Scooby-Doo exhibition.

Running through April 9, 2023, is "Scooby-Doo Mansion Mayhem" exhibition at the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation, in Dearborn, Michigan, where visitors can solve mysteries alongside Scooby, Shaggy, and gang.

Monday, February 06, 2023

Clues CFP: BIPOC female detectives.

Seeking to illuminate an often marginalized space, this Clues theme issue will focus on female detectives who are BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color); span eras, genres, and geographical locations; and appear in texts, TV programs, films, and other media. Of particular interest are intersections among race, indigeneity, gender, age, class, or sexuality in these works, as well as projects that center BIPOC authorship and scholarship. 

Some Suggested Topics:  

  • BIPOC female detective figures in African and Asian crime fiction, such as in works by Leye Adenle, Oyinkan Braithwaite, Angela Makholwa, and Jane De Suza. 
  • BIPOC female detectives in hard-boiled and traditional mysteries that might include characters such as Carolina Garcia-Aguilera’s Lupe Solano, Eleanor Taylor Bland’s Marti MacAlister, Leslie Glass’s April Woo, Sujata Massey’s Rei Shimura and Perveen Mistry, Marcia Muller’s Sharon McCone, BarbaraNeely’s Blanche White, S. J. Rozan’s Lydia Chin, Valerie Wilson Wesley’s Tamara Hayle and Odessa Jones, and Paula L. Woods’s Charlotte Justice. 
  • BIPOC female detectives in film and television series such as Get Christie Love! (1974–75, TV movie 2018), Angie Tribeca (2016), and Black Earth Rising (2018). 
  • BIPOC female detectives in comics/graphic novels such as Storm and Misty Knight of Marvel Comics, Martha Washington of Dark Horse Comics, and Vixen of DC Comics. 
  • BIPOC female sidekicks such as Janet Evanovich’s Lula, Elementary’s Joan H. Watson, or BIPOC detecting teams such as those in Cheryl Head’s Charlie Mack series or Ausmat Zehanat Khan’s Inaya Rahman series. 
  • BIPOC female detectives of male authors such as Kwei Quartey, Deon Meyer, and Alexander McCall Smith. 
  • Analyses of historical BIPOC female detectives in crime fiction such as in Fergus Hume’s Hagar of the Pawnshop (1898) and Pauline E. Hopkins’s Hagar’s Daughter (1901). 
  • Analyses that queer the BIPOC female detective, or examine the intersections between gender and sexuality in these works. 
  • Relationships between BIPOC female detectives and criminals/criminality. 

Submissions should include a proposal of approximately 250 words and a brief biosketch. Proposals due: April 30, 2023. Submit proposals to: Prof. Sam Naidu, email: s.naidu <at> Full manuscripts of approximately 6,000 words based on an accepted proposal will be due by September 30, 2023.

Monday, January 30, 2023

Henry Mancini and Alfred Hitchcock's Frenzy.

As Scott Bettencourt discusses in Film Score Monthly, Quartet Records has issued on CD the score to Alfred Hitchcock's Frenzy (1972), which includes the version by Ron Goodwin and the version by Henry Mancini that was rejected by Hitchcock. Visit Quartet Records to listen to some clips from both scores.

Monday, January 23, 2023

Shirley Jackson panel.

If you missed the online symposium Reading Shirley Jackson in the 21st Century, you can now watch the panel with Jackson's sons and grandchildren as well as Jackson scholar Bernice M. Murphy.

Monday, January 16, 2023

Sherlock Holmes items from Guymon collection at California Antiquarian Book Fair.

Ned Guymon with his
first wife, Ernestine, in 1923.
There will be an exhibition featuring Sherlock Holmes materials from Occidental College's Ned Guymon Collection of Mystery and Detective Fiction during the 55th California International Antiquarian Book Fair on February 10–12, 2023, in Pasadena. The collection is composed of some 16,000 items; one item is an 1887 copy of A Study in Scarlet (also includes Guymon's bookplate).

 There also is a Guymon collection at Bowling Green State University.

Monday, January 09, 2023

Upcoming classic thrillers, Library of America.

On January 3, the Library of America announced some of its fall 2023 releases, which included the following:

(1) Five Classic Thrillers 1961–1964 (The Murderers by Fredric Brown, The Name of the Game Is Death by Dan J. Marlowe, Dead Calm by Charles Williams, The Expendable Man by Dorothy B. Hughes, The Score by Richard Stark [Donald Westlake])

(2) Four Classic Thrillers 1964–1969 (The Fiend by Margaret Millar, Doll by Ed McBain [Evan Hunter], Run Man Run by Chester Himes, The Tremor of Forgery by Patricia Highsmith)

Below are some critics' reactions to the works in these volumes.

Re Brown's The Murderers: Sgt. Cuff [John Winterich] in 30 Sept. 1961 Saturday Review dubbed it "highly amative."

Re Highsmith's Tremor of Forgery: Terrence Rafferty in the 4 Jan. 1988 New Yorker dubbed the book "nihilistic."

Re Himes's Run Man Run: Sgt. Cuff in the 31 Dec. 1966 Saturday Review regarded this as a "[t]aut, devilish, ably-written slice of life—and death."

Re Hughes's Expendable Man (Edgar nominee, Best Novel): Kirkus lauded its "savage momentum."

Re Marlowe's The Name of the Game Is Death: Anthony Boucher in the 11 Feb 1962 New York Times believed that Marlowe had reached "an impressive new high."

Monday, January 02, 2023

The latest from John Straley.

Radio station KCAW in Sitka, Alaska, caught up with author John Straley (long based in Sitka, but he has moved to California), discussing topics such as the role of the Trappist monk Thomas Merton (probably best known for The Seven Storey Mountain) in Blown by the Same Wind, Straley's new mystery set in the fictional town of Cold Storage, Alaska.

Monday, December 26, 2022

Shirley Jackson, department store clerk.

The New England Historical Society writes about Shirley Jackson's short stint as a worker at Macy's (which includes a link to Jackson's short story "My Life with R.H. Macy").

Monday, December 19, 2022

Foxwell ebooks sale.

Get 25% off my two ebooks until January 1 with the sale at Smashwords. No Man's Land & Other Stories collects my mostly historical mystery stories (including two award winners); In Their Own Words offers first-person accounts by US women who served in World War I. 

Monday, December 12, 2022

Second Oddest Book Title Award for McFarland.

For the second year in a row, McFarland has nabbed the Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title administered by The Bookseller with RuPedagogies of Realness: Essays on Teaching and Learning with RuPaul’s Drag Race, edited by Lindsay Bryde and Tommy Mayberry. Last year's winner was Is Superman Circumcised? The Complete Jewish History of the World's Greatest Hero by Roy Schwartz.

Monday, December 05, 2022

Lady Audley in the dock.

As the Law and Humanities blog mentions, Robert E. Rains (Penn State Dickinson Law) discusses in a new article the many crimes of Mary Elizabeth Braddon's Lady Audley of Lady Audley's Secret (1862) from a legal perspective. The charges that he believes "a crusading prosecutor might have leveled against Lady A" include arson, attempted murder, bigamy, and manslaughter, and he criticizes the "rather slow" and "lazy" barrister Sir Robert Audley.

Monday, November 28, 2022

A Bunburyist milestone.


A milestone sneaked up on me: The Bunburyist has passed its 1 millionth view. When I began this blog in November 2005, I really had no idea if anyone would be interested in my posts (visitors probably have noticed that I am particularly fond of archival mystery goodies and exhibitions on mysteries, as I think these can tend to be overlooked and are valuable resources). In recent years, I've had to cut back on blogging because of work and writing commitments and the addition of my blog on US women in World War I—even wondering at times if I should end this blog. So, if you've ever stopped by, thanks. 

Here are the top-10 posts with the most views:

Eugène François Vidocq,
from Memoires de Vidocq,
Chef de la Police de Sureté
Jusqu'en 1827
. Paris, 1828–29.
10. The First 100 Years of Detective Fiction.  "...[T"he Lilly Library of Indiana University's online version of its 1973 exhibition 'The First Hundred Years of Detective Fiction, 1841–1941' ... provides a useful history of the genre through the works selected"

9. Remembering Adam West: The Detectives. Although Adam West probably is best known as the titular character in the TV series Batman, he previously played Detective Sergeant Steve Nelson in the TV series The Detectives.

8. Shoot to Kill (film noir, 1947). A murder involves a gangster, a DA, a DA's wife/secretary, and a reporter.

7. "Iniquity is catching": Frank R. Stockton's The Stories of the Three Burglars (1889). Burglars bargain with a wronged homeowner in this work by the author of "The Lady, or the Tiger?"

6. "Security Risk" (GE True, 1963). A tale of espionage narrated by Jack Webb, directed by William Conrad, and starring Charles Aickman.

5. "Iconic detectives" exhibition at Ohio State. Library exhibition that featured "detectives from dime novels, young adult books, comic books, films, and manga."

4.  Hidden Fear (film, 1957). US cop John Payne works in Denmark to clear his sister of a murder charge.

3. "The Grave Grass Quivers," by MacKinlay Kantor. The poignant 1931 story by a Pulitzer Prize winner of a doctor who seeks to learn the fate of his long-missing father and brother. 

2. "Committed" (with Alan Ladd, 1954). In this episode of GE Theater, a writer is framed for murder and confined to an asylum.

1. The dozen best detective short stories ever written. Selected by author-critics such as Anthony Boucher, John Dickson Carr, August Derleth, Howard Haycraft, Ellery Queen, James Sandoe, and Vincent Starrett.

Friday, November 25, 2022

McFarland's 40% off sale.

McFarland is having a 40% off sale on all its titles until Nov 28 with coupon code HOLIDAY22. It's a good time to stock up on the McFarland Companions to Mystery Fiction that I edit; check out the full companion lineup.

Monday, November 21, 2022

A friend of Sherlock Holmes.

Irving Bacheller, from his
1917 passport application
In a blog post, Greenwich [CT] Historical Society curator Christopher Shields discusses the important role of journalist and novelist Irving Bacheller (1859–1950) in introducing Sherlock Holmes and other fictional figures to US readers.

Monday, November 14, 2022

New: The Crime World of Michael Connelly.

New from McFarland is David Geherin's The Crime World of Michael Connelly, which provides insight into characters such as Harry Bosch and Mickey Haller (aka the Lincoln Lawyer), media adaptations of Connelly's work, Connelly's technique, and Connelly's portrayals of LA and its police. I enjoyed looking at the final proofs of this book.

Monday, November 07, 2022

McFarland nabs 3 nominees for Oddest Book Title.

After last year's triumph with Is Superman Circumcised?, McFarland now has three nominees for this year's Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title:

The other nominees are Frankenstein Was a Vegetarian: Essays on Food Choice, Identity, and Symbolism by Michael Owen Jones (UP of Mississippi); Smuggling Jesus Back into the Church by Andrew Fellows (IVP); and What Nudism Exposes: An Unconventional History of Postwar Canada by Mary-Ann Shantz (U of British Columbia P).

Members of the public may cast their vote for the award (the deadline is November 26).

Update, December 10, 2022. The winning book is McFarland's RuPedagogies of Realness: Essays on Teaching and Learning with RuPaul’s Drag Race, ed. Lindsay Bryde and Tommy Mayberry

Monday, October 31, 2022

"Sherlock Holmes: The Exhibition" in Minnesota.

On view at the Minnesota History Center until April 2, 2023 is the interactive "Sherlock Holmes: The Exhibition," which encompasses forensic science elements that assisted Holmes in solving crimes, the Victorian milieu, and objects from the University of Minnesota's extensive Sherlock Holmes Collections. In connection with the exhibition is the Minnesota Mystery Flash Fiction Contest (submission deadline December 15, 2022).

Monday, October 24, 2022

"Kentish Tales" exhibition.

J.  S. Fletcher
On view until the end of the month at the Augustine House library at Canterbury Christ Church University (UK) is the exhibition "Kentish Tales: Stories of Love, Smuggling, and Murder" that focuses on authors who lived in or wrote about Kent. A mystery-related title in the exhibition is The Passenger to Folkestone (1927) by J. S. Fletcher, in which a murder appears to result from robbery but eventually reveals other facets (the online info on the exhibition includes an audio excerpt from the book). Also included is the comedy The Green Alleys by Eden Phillpotts, who was Agatha Christie's mentor. The exhibition is curated by the digital humanities project Kent Maps Online.

Monday, October 17, 2022

Clues 40.2: Columbo, Chandler, Christie, Dexter, Ms. Fisher, Teaching Forum, and more.

Clues 40.2 (2022) has been published, featuring its first Teaching Forum—this one on teaching crime fiction after Black Lives Matter, engaging with issues such as race, gender, and class. As usual, we are delighted to have contributors from around the world. See below for abstracts. Contact McFarland for subscriptions or a print copy of the journal. 

Update, 12-30-22. The ebook versions of the issue are now available: Kindle, Nook, Google Play

Around the World Backwards and Forwards
CAROLINE REITZ (John Jay College of Criminal Justice-CUNY/CUNY Graduate School)

Caroline Reitz, the executive editor of Clues, provides an overview of the issue, including articles on Agatha Christie, Raymond Chandler, Columbo, Colin Dexter, contemporary European crime narratives, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, forensic psychiatrists in crime fiction, Deon Meyer, Ms. Fisher’s Modern Murder Mysteries, and a forum on teaching crime fiction after Black Lives Matter.

Rethinking Raymond Chandler’s “The Simple Art of Murder” (1944/1946)
STEWART KING (Monash University, Australia)

This review article revisits Raymond Chandler’s essay “The Simple Art of Murder” and examines its ongoing relevance for crime fiction studies. It asks to what extent does Chandler’s iconic essay help us to understand and explain the crime genre, both historically and today.

Intersecting Crime: South African State Capture and the Hero-Criminal Binary in Deon Meyer’s The Last Hunt (2019) / SAM NAIDU (Rhodes University, South Africa)

Deon Meyer’s The Last Hunt can be categorized as African noir in its themes of political disillusionment, corruption, and crimes of the state against its citizens, shedding light on contemporary African-European relations. The article examines the novel’s intersections of time, space, national, and transnational with criminal and detective characters, and the blurriness of the hero-criminal binary.

Contemporary European Crime Narratives: “Euro-Glocal”?
THEO D’HAEN (University of Leiden, The Netherlands/Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium)

The article makes a case for the emergence of a particularly European brand of crime fiction, film, and television series that fosters a closer European union.

“Mystery” Beyond Reason:
Mr. Quin, a Revealer of the Powers of Fiction According to Agatha Christie?

MARC VERVEL (Université de Paris, France)

The short story collection The Mysterious Mr. Quin has a special place in Agatha Christie’s work. In these stories where rational investigation opens up to the supernatural, Christie theorizes what is at stake in the desire to read and proposes an expanded conception of the detective story.

The Skeptical Poetics of Colin Dexter’s Morse Novels
Michal Sýkora (Palack
University, Czech Republic)

This article argues that Detective Chief Inspector Morse is a different figure in Colin Dexter’s novels than the popular television series. The author locates Dexter’s novels in British postwar crime fiction, with attention to representations of the social reality of Oxford and gender issues, and reads The Wench Is Dead to argue Morse’s hermeneutic approach to investigation reveals an ironic skepticism about truth.

Colin Dexter’s Classicism / MATTHEW WRIGHT (University of Exeter, UK)

Colin Dexter’s Inspector Morse books, unlike any other detective novels, are saturated with references to Greek and Latin language and literature. This article explores the significance of Classics and classical scholarship in Dexter’s world and argues that the novels present a consistent (and consistently troubling) view of education and culture. 

Monday, October 10, 2022

Sherlock Holmes Room in Japan.

The British Antique Museum in Kamakura City, Japan, includes a Sherlock Holmes Room that pays tribute to the Great Detective and features Victorian/Edwardian furnishings. It is modeled after the approach of the Sherlock Holmes Museum in London.

Monday, October 03, 2022

The Thirty-Nine Steps on WWI podcast.

Oh! What a Lovely Podcast (a podcast that focuses on World War I) discusses John Buchan's ever-popular thriller The Thirty-Nine Steps (1915), including burning questions such as why you should never let Richard Hannay drive.

Monday, September 26, 2022

Clues CFP: “Teaching Crime Fiction as Creative Writing.”

As crime fiction continues to dominate sales and its critical reception grows, it has become an increasingly important part of creative writing courses. At the same time, creative writing is going from strength to strength as an academic discipline and a program of study in schools and other learning spaces.

Are you teaching crime, detective, or mystery fiction as a creative discipline? Have you expanded teaching it as a literary or sociological phenomenon to incorporate creative elements? Have you come from a creative background to incorporate the practice of writing crime and detective fiction? What has changed about your approach in recent years, and what changes do you anticipate?

Clues: A Journal of Detection is looking for 500- to 750-word contributions for volume 41.2 (2023). Accounts from all classroom spaces (high school, college, graduate school, prisons, etc.) and teachers at all stages of their careers are welcome. Student voices are also welcome! Submissions are due February 1, 2023. For more information or to submit essays, please contact Jamie Bernthal-Hooker, j.bernthal-hooker [at]

Monday, September 19, 2022

Upcoming Tasmania mystery exhibition.

The Terror Australis Readers and Writers Festival is planning the exhibition "Tasmania: A Century of Mystery" in honor of the centenary of Agatha Christie's visit to Tasmania. The exhibition, which will be on view from October 2–30, 2022, will focus on mysteries written by Tasmanians or set in Tasmania. The webpage also reveals that there will be a new branch of Sisters in Crime in Tasmania.

Monday, September 12, 2022

Sherlock Holmes exhibition redux.

Indiana University Bloomington's Lilly Library is the latest host of the "Sherlock Holmes in 221 Objects" exhibition (originally hosted by the Grolier Club and featuring memorabilia, manuscripts, books, and other items related to the Great Detective). The exhibition will be on view until December 16, 2022.

Monday, September 05, 2022

Oslo exhibition on Jo Nesbø's series.

The National Library of Norway is offering the exhibition "Labyrinth: Tracing Harry Hole," which explores Jo Nesbø's popular series through the device of a labyrinth. Exhibit items include a reader's report on the first book in the series and an unpublished manuscript. The exhibition is on view until November 5, 2022.

Videos related to the exhibition