Friday, November 30, 2012

Happy centenary, Gordon Parks.

Today marks the centenary of Shaft director and photographer Gordon Parks, who was born today in Fort Scott, KS, in 1912. He died in 2006. The Gordon Parks Foundation has a rundown of various events and exhibitions this year in honor of Parks.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Censoring Evan Hunter.

Evan Hunter, NYPL
Through documentation, British Film Institute senior archivist Jen Evans reveals that the 1955 film of Evan Hunter's Blackboard Jungle initially was rejected by the British Board of Film Censors for its portrayal of "irresponsible juvenile behavior." Once the film was cut, it achieved an X rating.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Household's Deadly Harvest (1972).

In this 1972 TV movie, a California vintner (Richard Boone) learns that he is the target of Soviet agents. It is adapted (not very faithfully) from Watcher in the Shadows by the Detection Club's Geoffrey Household (best known for Rogue Male).

Monday, November 26, 2012

Haycraft-Queen: More titles back in print.

Welcome developments in reprints of titles on the Haycraft-Queen Cornerstone list (those mysteries deemed essential by Howard Haycraft and Ellery Queen):

• Arcturus Crime Classics has reprinted Helen McCloy's Through a Glass, Darkly and Francis Iles's Before the Fact

Bello (an imprint of Macmillan) has reissued Roy Vickers's The Department of Dead Ends

Felony & Mayhem has reprinted Edmund Crispin's The Moving Toyshop

• Ramble House has an edition of Harvey J. O'Higgins's Detective Duff Unravels It

Titan Books has reissued Sax Rohmer's The Mystery of Dr. Fu Manchu

There are new ebook versions of Charlotte Armstrong's The Unsuspected (1947 film available on DVD as well) and Clayton Rawson's Death from a Top Hat

Note that there was a 2011 edition of Helen Eustis's The Horizontal Man in ImPress's Best Mysteries of All Time series, but this is an abridged version, and I believe this series is available only by subscription.

And to recap previous HQ reissues:
• Rue Morgue Press's new editions of Manning Coles's Pray Silence (US title: A Toast to Tomorrow) and John Dickson Carr's The Judas Window and The Crooked Hinge

• Blue Dolphin Publishing's reissue of H. F. Heard's A Taste for Honey

Haycraft-Queen Out-of-Print Titles in the United States (compiled and revised by Elizabeth Foxwell)

Anderson Frederick Irving - The Book of Murder - 1930
Bailey H. C. - The Red Castle - 1932
Benson G. R. - Tracks in the Snow - 1906
Charteris Leslie [Leslie Charles Bowyer Yin]
- Meet the Tiger - 1928
Coates Robert M. - Wisteria Cottage - 1948
Cole G. D. H. [G. D. H. Cole and Margaret Cole] - The Brooklyn Murders - 1923
Dane Clemence [Winifred Ashton] and Helen Simpson - Re-enter Sir John - 1932
Davis Dorothy Salisbury - A Gentle Murderer - 1951
De la Torre Lillian [Lillian McCue] - Dr. Sam Johnson, Detector - 1946
Dickson Carter [John Dickson Carr] - Lord of the Sorcerers - 1946
Dunsany Lord - The Little Tales of Smethers - 1952
Eberhart Mignon G. - The Patient in Room 18 - 1929
Ellin Stanley - Dreadful Summit - 1948
Eustis Helen - The Horizontal Man - 1946
Frome David [Zenith Jones Brown] - The Hammersmith Murders - 1930
Gardner Erle Stanley - The Case of the Sulky Girl - 1933
Halsey Harlan Page - Old Sleuth, the Detective - 1872
Hammett Dashiell - The Adventures of Sam Spade - 1944
Hart Frances Noyes - The Bellamy Trial - 1927
Hughes Dorothy B. - The So Blue Marble - 1940

King Rufus - Murder by the Clock - 1929
Lawrence Hilda - Blood Upon the Snow - 1944
Lipsky Eleazar - The People Against O’Hara - 1950
Lockridge Frances and Richard Lockridge - The Norths Meet Murder - 1940
Lustgarten Edgar - A Case to Answer - 1947
MacDonald Philip - The Rasp - 1924
MacDonald Philip - The Nursemaid Who Disappeared [aka Warrant for X] - 1938
MacHarg William and Edwin Balmer - The Achievements of Luther Trant - 1910
Marquand John P. - No Hero - 1935
Paul Elliot - The Mysterious Mickey Finn - 1939
Piper Evelyn [Merriam Modell] - The Motive - 1950

Rhode John - The Murders in Praed Street - 1928
Rhode John - The Paddington Mystery - 1925
Rice Craig - Trial by Fury - 1941

Ross Barnaby [Ellery Queen] - The Tragedy of Y - 1932
Seeley Mabel - The Listening House - 1938
Stribling T. S. - Clues of the Caribbees - 1929
Trevor Glen [James Hilton] - Murder at School [aka Was It Murder?] - 1931
Van Dine S. S. [Willard Huntington Wright] - The Benson Murder Case - 1926

Walling R. A. J. - The Fatal Five Minutes - 1932
Walsh Thomas - Nightmare in Manhattan - 1950
Waters [William Russell] - Recollections of a Detective Police Officer - 1856
Wells Carolyn - The Clue - 1909

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Popeye, PI.

In Private Eye Popeye (1954), the spinach-loving shamus is on the trail of Olive Oyl's stolen gem.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Winifred Holtby's "Why Herbert Killed His Mother."

 . . . among the things a Fella does, correct grammar is not necessarily included.
—Winifred Holtby, "Why Herbert Killed His Mother"
Winifred Holtby is probably best known for South Riding (recently shown on PBS) and as the subject of her best friend Vera Brittain's book Testament of Friendship, but for one more week you can listen online to her sly short story "Why Herbert Killed His Mother" (read by Anna Massey) at BBC Radio 4 Extra. Although Holtby considered it a "very poor story" (Selected Letters of Vera Brittain and Winifred Holtby 293), it's been reprinted in at least four anthologies since it first appeared in Holtby's Truth Is Not Sober (1934; see, for example, Bad Behavior and P. G. Wodehouse's A Century of Humour). Sadly, Holtby died in 1935 at age 37 of Bright's disease.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Pulp magazines in "Thrill Seekers" exhibition.

Online items from the exhibition "Thrill Seekers: The Rise of Men's Magazines" (on view until January 4 at the Modern Graphic History Library, Washington University in St. Louis) include some pulp magazines such as The Saint from 1949.

Monday, November 12, 2012

And away we go: Gleason and the paranormal.

Gleason-designed bookplate
from U-Miami's
Jackie Gleason Collection
The University of Miami Library offers an online exhibition of paranormal items from its Jackie Gleason Collection such as an October 1953 cover from Fate Magazine that proclaimed, "Canada Builds Flying Saucer." The comedian, who was very interested in parapsychology, amassed a substantial collection on the subject.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Glimpses of royalty from Marie Belloc Lowndes.

Marie Belloc Lowndes, from
the Evening Public Ledger,
Apr 7, 1917
In letters to Alexander Woollcott now in Harvard's Houghton Library, Marie Belloc Lowndes (author of The Lodger) provided some charming glimpses of the future Queen Elizabeth II and her sister, Princess Margaret.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Lawrence Treat's "The Debt" (1952).

In "The Debt," a May 1952 episode of Suspense, a drifter confronts murder. The episode, which features Conrad Janis and Brian Keith, is adapted from "Twenty-Dollar Debt" by Lawrence Treat—MWA cofounder, Edgar winner, and an important figure in the development of the police procedural.

Monday, November 05, 2012

"... I have been prepared to be shot."

Theodore Roosevelt, NYPL
In this election season, Harvard's Houghton Library blog recounts the 1912 assassination attempt on former president Theodore Roosevelt during his campaign as a third-party presidential candidate, including TR's doughty account of the attempt sent to his son, Kermit, and the bullet-marked copy of TR's speech.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

BBC Radio 4 program on European detectives.

BBC Radio 4 has a new series, Foreign Bodies: An Investigation into European Detectives, that looks at mystery fiction in an international context. The first episode deals with Christie's Poirot and Simenon's Maigret (although I disagree with presenter Mark Lawson's opinion that Christie made Poirot a Belgian to differentiate him from Sherlock Holmes; I thought she did so because she was familiar with the plight of World War I refugees and a detective who was a foreigner reinforced the role of the detective as outsider). The fifth episode focuses on Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo's Martin Beck; the sixth episode on P. D. James's Adam Dalgleish and Ruth Rendell's Reginald Wexford.