Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Happy centenary, Lucille Fletcher.

Inger Stevens in "The Hitch-Hiker"
Twilight Zone, season 1, 1960
(adapt. of Lucille Fletcher's
radio play)
Suspense writer and playwright Lucille Fletcher—best known for the Edgar-winning Sorry, Wrong Number (play, 1944; novel, 1948; adapted for film and TV, 1946, 1948, 1954, 1957, 1962–64, 1968, 1989)—was born today in Brooklyn, NY, in 1912. She wrote nine novels, three plays, and more than a dozen radio plays that include The Hitch-Hiker (1941; broadcast on the Mercury Theater, 1946). Fletcher, the first wife of Hitchcock composer Bernard Herrmann, died in 2000.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Lee Child on the virtues of telling.

In this March 13 video from the Mercantile Library's Center for Fiction, Lee Child asserts that writers should "Tell, Don't Show: Why Writing Rules Are Mostly Wrong."

Monday, March 26, 2012

Hitchcock's Blackmail (1929).

Hitchcock makes a
cameo appearance in
Blackmail (1929)
BFI Screenonline looks at Alfred Hitchcock's Blackmail (1929), Britain's first full-length sound film. Although the video clips posted cannot be seen outside the United Kingdom, production stills can be viewed (but a sound test for Blackmail with Hitchcock and leading lady Anny Ondra can be seen here).

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Allingham, Marsh on Why I Really Like This Book.

Recent episodes in Kate Macdonald's podcast Why I Really Like This Book address Margery Allingham's Albert Campion novel Coroner's Pidgin (1945) and Ngaio Marsh's Inspector Alleyn novel Death in a White Tie (1938).

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Dean James on diverse characters in mystery.

In this video clip, Dean James (my coauthor on The Robert B. Parker Companion) talks about his gay vampire character Simon Kirby-Jones, which will be part of the discussion during his April 19 panel on "Colorful Crimes: Diverse Characters in Mysteries" at the Texas Library Association meeting.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Sign in, please.

Vincent Starrett, NYPL
The Greenwich Village Bookshop Door exhibition at UT-Austin's Harry Ransom Center shows the signatures of notable visitors to Frank Shay's Bookshop in New York; they signed the door to the bookshop from 1920 to 1925. Among those of interest to mystery fans: Theodore Dreiser, Elisabeth Sanxay Holding, Christopher Morley, and Vincent Starrett.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

St. Lazare's most famous prisoner.

Mata Hari. NYPL.
DePaul University's interesting online exhibition "Saint Lazare as a Women's Prison 1794–1932" includes a section on its most famous prisoner: accused spy Mata Hari.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

For sale: A large collection of Isaac Asimov.

Eureka Books in California is offering for sale a large collection of works by Isaac Asimov. Mystery fans may be interested in the following:

• 1968 hardcover edition of A Whiff of Death, Asimov's first mystery (no. 43, $500)

• Asimov's Mysteries (1968, no 44, $40), a collection of mystery/sci-fi stories

• Copies of More Tales of the Black Widowers (1976, nos. 73–75, signed, $200–$750), Casebook of the Black Widowers (1980, nos. 95–96, $250), and Banquets of the Black Widowers (1984, no. 121, $250). Some of Asimov's wonderful short mysteries in which the quiet waiter Henry always solves the case.

• Murder at the ABA (1976, no. 76, signed, $250)

• The Key Word and Other Mysteries (1977, no. 82, $125)

• Two copies of Asimov's Sherlockian Limericks (1978, nos 85–86, $150–250)

The Union Club Mysteries (1983, no. 112, $250), signed to the late Ellis Peters aficionado Sue Feder

(Hat tip to Fine Books & Collections)

Monday, March 12, 2012

Foxwell at LOC, March 14.

Alice Roosevelt
Longworth, sleuth
in two short stories
by Elizabeth Foxwell
I'm speaking at the Library of Congress's Pickford Theater on Wednesday, March 14 at noon on "My Life in Historical Mystery; or, It's All Elizabeth Peters's Fault." It's part of the Mysteries at Noon series sponsored by the LOC Professional Association. As March is Women's History Month, I will be highlighting the women writers and characters that have influenced my work in mystery fiction and nonfiction.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Foxwell on Zelda Popkin, Jewish Women's Archive.

Zelda Popkin, from
her autobiography
Open Every Door
For Women's History Month, the Jewish Women's Archive asked me to provide a post on mystery author Zelda Popkin (1898–1983) for its tumblr site Jewish Women Inspire. I've previously reviewed Popkin's Death Wears a White Gardenia (1938) and Murder in the Mist (1940) for Patti Abbott's Friday's Forgotten Books on The Bunburyist. Bosun Books has issued ebook editions of Death Wears a White Gardenia and Time Off for Murder; see also the Kirkus reviews of Popkin's So Much Blood (1944) and Dead Man's Gift (1941).

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Happy birthday, William F. Nolan.

William F. Nolan was born today in Kansas City, MO, in 1928. He wrote Dashiell Hammett: A Casebook (1969) and Hammett: A Life at the Edge (1983), as well as paid tribute to Hammett, Chandler,
Michael York in
Logan's Run (1976)
and Gardner with his Black Mask Boys series. His work also crosses genre boundaries, including mystery, horror, western, fantasy, and sci-fi; he was an Edgar nominee for Space for Hire (1971), and he cowrote the sci-fi classic Logan's Run (1967) with George Clayton Johnson.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Mystery goodies on EUscreen.

EUscreen offers free online access to thousands of videos, stills, and other materials from European broadcasters. A quick tiptoe through the archives yielded the following:

• An August 1962 interview with Alfred Hitchcock regarding The Birds (in French and English) in which he refutes the idea of working with Grace Kelly again ("Ce n'est pas possible")

On location in Ireland in 1966 for the film Casino Royale with John Huston and Deborah Kerr

• Two interviews (in French) with Georges Simenon (1959, 1967)

• A July 1958 interview (in French) with Leslie Charteris, creator of the Saint

Still from a 1955 Dutch TV production of Gaslight

(Thanks to Critical Studies in Television)

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Female spies in the Civil War.

S. Emma Edmonds, author of
Nurse and Spy in the
Union Army
(1865). NYPL
Those unable to visit University of Maryland to see its exhibition "Women on the Border: Maryland Perspectives on the Civil War" by July 2012 can peruse it online; of special interest is the section on "Women as Soldiers and Spies."