Monday, August 31, 2009

From the BBC Archives:
Guy Burgess and the Cambridge spy ring.

From the BBC archives, documents pertaining to the BBC career of Cambridge spy ring member Guy Burgess, including a letter from Burgess to Anthony Blunt and Burgess's memo about a conversation he had with Winston Churchill.

About the image: Cambridge spy ring member
Kim Philby, 1955.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Edinburgh Book Festival:
Kate Summerscale.

From this month's Edinburgh Book Festival: An interview with Kate Summerscale, author of The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher, which focuses on the Constance Kent case. Go here for the audio.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Happy birthday, Lady Antonia Fraser.

Lady Antonia Fraser, writer of historical nonfiction (The Gunpowder Plot, Mary Queen of Scots, The Warrior Queens, etc.) as well as the creator of reporter-sleuth Jemima Shore, was born today in London in 1932. Jemima debuted in Quiet as a Nun (1977), followed by several more books and a TV series. Alas, we have not seen Jemima since Tartan Tragedy (2006).

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

James tops Greene in Bloomsbury auction.

Mystery offerings were few in Bloomsbury's August 20th bibliophile auction, but here are some pertinent results:
  • Arthur Conan Doyle, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (2nd ed., 1893; along with Strand Magazine version of The Hound of the Baskervilles, 1901–02; and The Adventures and Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, colonial ed., 1894), £180 (approx. US$297)
  • Graham Greene, Stamboul Train (1st ed., 1932; along with Heart of the Matter, 1st ed., 1948; and The End of the Affair, 1st ed., 1951), £150 (approx. US$248)
Leslie Charteris's Meet the Tiger and Conan Doyle's The Hound of the Baskervilles went unsold.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Underappreciated novels: Izzi, Gruber, et al.

Robert Birnbaum of the Morning News recently listed his picks for underappreciated novels, including the following mystery- or thriller-related titles:

• Gil Adamson, The Outlander (2008)

• Michael Gruber, Night of the Jaguar (2006), Tropic of Night (2003), Valley of Bones (2005)

• Eugene Izzi, The Criminalist (1998)

• Philip Kerr, A Philosophical Investigation (1993)

• Ron Rash, One Foot in Eden (2002)

• Don Winslow, The Power of the Dog (2004)

(Hat tip to the Neglected Books blog)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Gladys Mitchell, John Harvey this week on
BBC Radio 7.

This week on BBC Radio 7, Gladys Mitchell's Golden Age sleuth Mrs. Bradley appears in The Mystery of a Butcher's Shop (1929), and John Harvey's Inspector Resnick appears in Wasted Years (1993). Go here for the schedule or to listen.

About the image: Diana Rigg as Gladys Mitchell's Mrs. Bradley, The Mrs. Bradley Mysteries, Mystery!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Founding Father Murder.

C-Span talks to Bruce Chadwick, whose new book I Am Murdered: George Wythe, Thomas Jefferson, and the Killing that Shocked a New Nation discusses the slaying of Judge George Wythe, a Virginia signer of the Declaration of Independence—and that Wythe knew that he had been poisoned.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Geezer alert: The Beloit College
Mindset List.

Inside Higher Ed provides Beloit College's latest Mindset List—provided annually to tell us all what incoming freshman do and don't know. A few highlights:

--They have never used a card catalog to find a book
--Babies have always had a social security number
--They have always been able to read books on an electronic screen
--They have never understood the meaning of RSVP

Hey, I remember computer keypunch cards, which probably places me in the prehistoric realm...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Alcatraz at age 75.

The University of California Press blog looks at Alcatraz, which marks its 75th year in 2009.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Fergus Hume's The Mystery of a Hansom Cab on ABC's Book Show.

In its series on Australian classics, the Australian Broadcasting Co.'s Book Show looks at The Mystery of a Hansom Cab (1886) by British-born Fergusson Wright Hume, which, according to Christopher Pittard's Clues 26.1 article, was the sensation of 1887 London—selling more than 30,000 copies in under 6 months. Guests on the program include Clues editorial board member Stephen Knight (Cardiff University) and University of Melbourne's Lucy Sussex, who wrote on Edward Bulwer Lytton in Clues 26.1.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Happy birthday, Steve Hockensmith.

Steve Hockensmith, creator of Western brothers Otto and Gustav Amlingmeyer who believe that they can give that "deducifyin'" Mr. Holmes a run for his money, turns 41 today. The latest work in his series is The Crack in the Lens.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Judy Woodruff likes Daniel Silva.

PBS's Judy Woodruff reports that Daniel Silva's The Defector is on her summer reading list, but also confesses to bias: She previously worked with him at CNN.

BTW, I'm home from surgery and doing okay.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A short hiatus for The Bunburyist.

I'm having surgery this week, so The Bunburyist must take a short vacation. Hope to be back in form sometime next week.

Read some good books while I'm away...

Monday, August 10, 2009

Neglected Books looks at Elliott Chaze's Wettermark (1969).

The Neglected Books blog discusses Wettermark (1969) by journalist Elliott Chaze (1915–90), mentioning the admiration of Bill Pronzini and Ed Gorman for this exploration of an impending bank heist. Ed has mentioned with particular favor Chaze's Black Wings Has My Angel (1953), now back in print.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Richard Matheson's "Duel" this week on
BBC Radio 7.

Richard Matheson's "Duel," in which a trucker terrorizes a motorist, is featured this week on BBC Radio 7. Go here for the schedule or to listen.

About the image: Dennis Weaver doesn't like what he sees in the rearview mirror in Duel (dir. Steven Spielberg, 1971).

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Shirley Jackson.

Obit Magazine notes that today marks the death of Shirley Jackson at age 48 in 1965. Best known for "The Lottery" (1948), The Haunting of Hill House (1959), and We Have Always Lived in the Castle (1962), Jackson, in Jonathan Lethem's words, "wrote about the mundane evils hidden in everyday life." She received a posthumous Edgar Award for her short story "The Possibility of Evil."

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

US steals march on British with
Colin Watson.

Faber Finds has reprinted several of ex-journalist Colin Watson's rollicking mysteries—Coffin, Scarcely Used (1958); Bump in the Night (1960); the Silver Dagger-winning Hopjoy Was Here (1962) and Lonelyheart 4122 (1967); Charity Ends at Home (1968); The Flaxborough Crab (1969); and Broomsticks over Flaxborough (1972)—as well as his critical work on British mysteries, Snobbery with Violence (1971).

But last year Colorado-based Rue Morgue Press beat FF to the Watsonfest with its more inexpensive editions of Coffin, Scarcely Used and Bump in the Night.

About the images: British publisher Faber and US publisher Rue Morgue Press go mano a mano with dueling editions of Colin Watson.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

My 2 minutes of fame.

I was a bit startled to see that, uploaded on the Library of Congress's YouTube Channel, is the Center for the Book presentation by Sara Paretsky that coincided with the winter 2007 Clues theme issue on her work. Yours truly shows up at the end.

(Also check out this LOC presentation by Washington Post Book World columnist Michael Dirda. Dirda is a big fan of, among others, John Dickson Carr, H. Rider Haggard, Georgette Heyer, and Philip K. Dick.)

Monday, August 03, 2009

Michael Bond this week on BBC Radio 7.

Monsieur Pamplemousse, the hapless sleuth-Guide Michelin critic of Paddington creator Michael Bond who is ably assisted by his dog Pommes Frites, is featured this week on BBC Radio 7 in "Monsieur Pamplemousse Investigates." Go here for the schedule or to listen.