Shelly Dickson Carr provides insight on her blog about the life of her grandfather, locked room mystery master John Dickson Carr, on today's anniversary of his death (see below for the trailer to Dangerous Crossing , based on Carr's radio play "Cabin B-13").
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Monday, February 25, 2013
|Mata Hari, NYPL|
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
At the Mercantile Library's Center for Fiction, Charlaine Harris talked about her approach to writing fiction, particularly regarding True Blood's Sookie Stackhouse and the initial resistance to selling the first book in the series, Dead until Dark. On keeping a series fresh, Harris noted, "There should be a constant stream of . . . exposing layers of the character."
Sunday, February 17, 2013
|Portraits of Nicholas Longworth and Alice Roosevelt|
in heart-shaped frames, Palestine [TX] Daily Herald
Feb. 10, 1906
Friday, February 15, 2013
He was questioned why he used the definite article instead of the indefinite in answering the officer's question.In The Mystery of Central Park, lazy man-about-town Richard "Dick" Treadwell must prove his worth to prospective fiancee Penelope (and clear his name) by discovering who killed a young woman in Central Park. Dick finds that he is being followed as his investigation leads him into less savory areas of New York. Bly's interest in portraying the plight of the working class is evident in Dick's acquaintance with pretty factory worker Dido and her friends who are deprived of a living wage (a relationship not regarded with favor by Penelope).
—Nellie Bly, The Mystery of Central Park
|"Penelope, with calm but serious face, kept close to the |
morgue-keeper." Illustration from The Mystery of
Central Park by Nellie Bly. New York World,
19 July 1889
The modern reader will find it hard to give credence to Dick's chance discoveries of information that prove so crucial to the case, and those with even a passing acquaintance with forensics will loathe the fact that Dick is permitted to take the dead woman's clothes from the morgue (although his reason for doing so shows some logic). The portrait of the Pygmalion-like murderer has some elements of interest. The Mystery of Central Park should perhaps be regarded as a curiosity of a famed journalist's career and a continuation of her focus on progressive issues rather than as a significant contribution to the mystery literature.
|Nellie Bly, ca. 1890.|
Library of Congress,
Prints & Photos Div.
There are only three copies in U.S. libraries of the book version of The Mystery of Central Park. I found the serialized version in the New York World and have uploaded it to my Web site as a resource for readers:
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Monday, February 11, 2013
The Paley Center for Media remembers that today in 1962, a television version of Spellbound aired on Theatre 62 with Maureen O'Hara, Hugh O'Brian, and Oskar Homolka. The source material is The House of Dr. Edwardes by Francis Beeding (aka Hilary St. George Saunders and John Palmer) and the 1945 Hitchcock film.
Monday, February 04, 2013
He had just discovered [E. Phillips] Oppenheim and had been revelling in the world of international intrigue into which Oppenheim had transplanted him.
—1932 research material on Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. by Mark DeWolfe Howe
|Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.,|
ca. 1924. Library of Congress,
Prints and Photographs Div.
Some of Holmes's friends were equally enthusiastic about mysteries. In one letter, his British Marxist-socialist friend Harold Laski notes Freeman Wills Crofts's Inspector French's Greatest Case (1925), "which I commend warmly to you if it comes your way" and later urges Holmes to read Crofts's The Cask (1920; both books are on the Haycraft-Queen list). In another letter, Laski expresses appreciation for Mary Davies and the Manor of Ebury by Charles T. Gatty; in yet another letter, he recommends Philip MacDonald's The White Crow (1928) and The Rasp (1924; the latter is on the Haycraft-Queen list).
Pollock sent Holmes a list of his recommended detective stories, with a note by the names of Sayers and Agatha Christie that stated, "anything by either of these writers may be presumed to be good." Pollock's list included Margery Allingham, G. D. H. Cole, R. Austin Freeman, Ronald A. Knox, Anthony Rolls, Henry Wade, and Victor L. Whitechurch. It appears that Holmes did not need Pollock's prompting regarding Christie, as evidenced by the following passage from Some Table Talk of Mr. Justice Holmes and the Mrs. (1935): "Mrs. Agatha Christie may be pleased some day to know that at this moment [May 1933] she was sharing his attention and his praise with Aristotle."