Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Remembering Richard Attenborough:
Seance on a Wet Afternoon (1964).

Among the many distinguished performances of Richard Attenborough, who died at age 90 on August 24, was in Seance on a Wet Afternoon with Kim Stanley (1964, dir. Bryan Forbes). It was based on the novel Seance by Australian Mark McShane, which Anthony Boucher considered one of the best debut mysteries of 1962.

Monday, August 25, 2014

A look at a Victorian murder case.

In this podcast from the UK National Archives, Kate Colquhoun (author of Murder in the First-Class Carriage: The First Victorian Railway Killing) discusses the case of the American Florence Maybrick, convicted of murdering her British husband in 1889. Colquhoun has written a book on the case: Did She Kill Him? A Victorian Tale of Deception, Adultery, and Arsenic (due out in the United States in October). Marie Belloc Lowndes's The Story of Ivy is a fictional take on the case.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

UM: Literary maps (including mystery authors).

T. S. Stribling
The Century, Oct. 1921
The Clark Library at the University of Michigan is featuring literary maps of the United States in an online exhibition, including the following:

• "Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles" (want to see where Philip Marlowe lives?)

• The Southern map includes Truman Capote, William Faulkner, Edgar Allan Poe, and T. S. Stribling

• The Michigan map includes Charlotte Armstrong, Loren Estleman, Steve Hamilton, and Elmore Leonard

• Links to interactive maps include Brooklyn, Detroit, Manhattan, and San Francisco

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Ira Levin's "The Pattern" (1951).

In "The Pattern," a May 1951 episode of Lights Out, a man is haunted by an incident during World War II when he could not prevent the bombing of an army barracks. The episode, written by Ira Levin (A Kiss before Dying, The Stepford Wives, Rosemary's Baby, Deathtrap), features John Forsythe and Rita Gam.

Monday, August 18, 2014

BFI hunts for missing A Study in Scarlet (1914).

Ad for the 1914 American version of
A Study in Scarlet, starring Francis Ford
As the British Film Institute noted on August 15, it is calling on the public for assistance in locating a print of A Study in Scarlet, a 1914 silent-film adaptation directed by George Pearson that is an early screen portrayal of Sherlock Holmes. Also missing is the 1914 American version (starring Francis Ford, brother of the director John Ford), as well as Pearson's version of The Valley of Fear (1916).

BFI also has reported on its successes in locating missing films, including the country-house mystery Three Steps in the Dark (1953).

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Poe mural, UK.

With a Pentel ballpoint pen, artist Wayne Mitchelson created this cool mural inspired by the work of Edgar Allan Poe. It is slated to go on display at UK's Loughborough Library. More on the work and the artist here.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

James Hilton's "The Mallet" (Suspense, 1950).

In "The Mallet," a man hawking questionable medicines believes he has the formula to commit the perfect murder. Walter Slezak made his TV debut in this Dec. 1950 Suspense episode based on a 1929 story of the same name by Lost Horizon's James Hilton, who sometimes moonlighted in mystery.

Monday, August 11, 2014

"Forensic Chemistry in Golden-Age Detective Fiction."

In the summer 2014 issue of Chemical Heritage Magazine, Lee Sullivan Berry discusses "Forensic Chemistry in Golden-Age Detective Fiction: Dorothy L. Sayers and the CSI Effect," which touches on forensics in the works of Arthur Conan Doyle and R. Austin Freeman but concentrates on forensic aspects of Sayers's Whose Body?, Clouds of Witness, The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club, Strong Poison, and The Documents in the Case (coauthored with Robert Eustace, aka Dr. Eustace Robert Barton).

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

British spies in World War II.

On the International Spy Museum's SpyCast, Michael Goodwin (King's College London) talks about the formation of the British Joint Intelligence Committee.

Faber has launched a new nonfiction blog called The Curious Files. Its podcasts include historian Roderick Bailey on British spies in World War II Italy and Matthew Sweet on still more World War II spies running around London's West End hotels. 

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Remembering Dorothy Salisbury Davis:
"House of Masks" (1952).

MWA Grand Master Dorothy Salisbury Davis died on August 3 at age 98. The June 1952 Suspense episode "House of Masks" (based, I think, on Davis's A Town of Masks) features Geraldine Fitzgerald resenting the interference of her sister in her life and promoting the presence of a shady gardener.

With the passing of Davis, there remains only one living writer on the Haycraft-Queen Cornerstone List: Helen Eustis.