Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Bibliography, early occult detectives in fiction.

Willa Cather, NYPL
In time for Halloween, Clues contributor Tim Prchal (under his pseudonym Tim Prasil) is compiling a "chronological bibliography of early occult detectives" that begins in 1817 with Doktor K in E. T. A. Hoffman's "Das oede Haus" and runs to 1938 with Judge Keith Hillary Pursuivant in works by Gans T. Field. Authors include Alice and Claude Askew, Willa Cather, Arthur Conan Doyle, F. Tennyson Jesse, Arthur Machen, Sax Rohmer, and the obligatory Bram Stoker.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Shadows on the Stairs (1941).

Frank Vosper
In Shadows on the Stairs, a London boardinghouse is the site of murder. The basis for the film is the play "Murder on the Second Floor" by actor-playwright Frank Vosper (The Man Who Knew Too Much; adaptation of Agatha Christie's "Philomel Cottage" as Love from a Stranger). He died at age 37 in 1937 when he fell from the liner Paris after a party. The death was ruled accidental.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Rathbone, Colman, Marshall, Rains:
WWI regiment fellows.

"There's an east wind coming,
Watson": Basil Rathbone, left,
and Nigel Bruce in
Sherlock Holmes and
the Voice of Terror
Using primary documents, James Cronan discusses on the UK National Archives blog the WWI service records of actors Ronald Colman (injured by an exploding shell), Herbert Marshall (lost a leg), Claude Rains (gassed), and Basil Rathbone (decorated). They served in the same regiment, albeit at different times. The comments mention the war records of Nigel Bruce (Rath-bone's Watson) and Victor McLaglen.

Part 1 of the blog post (Colman, Rathbone)
Part 2 of the blog post (Rains, Marshall)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Alley Oop and his legacy.

Alley Oop: The Complete Sundays (vol. 1)
Dark Horse Comics
There is an online exhibition on cartoonist V. T. Hamlin at the Univ of Missouri Libraries' Rare Books and Special Collections, which shows the influence of his caveman comic "Alley Oop" (chosen as a mascot by the Army Air Corps' 92nd Bomb Group and adapted as board games and a hit song). It mentions Frank Miller's noir comic "Sin City" (first published in 1991, adapted as a film in 2005).

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

"The Case of the Screaming Bishop" (1944).

In this Sherlock Holmes parody, Hairlock Combs is on the trail of a missing dinosaur skeleton.

Monday, October 20, 2014

From the Vault: Sorry, Wrong Number.

Ad for 1948 film Sorry, Wrong Number
The archival program From the Vault of Pacifica Radio Archives offers an episode from 2003 on Sorry, Wrong Number; Shirley Knight and Ed Asner star in Lucille Fletcher's classic radio drama about a woman who overhears a murder plot that hits close to home. The program includes background on Fletcher (the first wife of film composer Bernard Herrmann), a clip from the first broadcast (in 1943) featuring Agnes Moorehead, and a discussion with Knight.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Van Dine's Calling Philo Vance (1940).

Clues 30.1, with Brooks Hefner article
on S. S. Van Dine
Willard Huntington Wright, aka Philo Vance creator S. S. Van Dine, was born on October 15, 1887, in Charlottesville, VA. Calling Philo Vance was adapted from Van Dine's The Kennel Murder Case (1933).

Monday, October 13, 2014

Great Lives: Dorothy L. Sayers.

A recent episode of BBC Radio 4's series Great Lives focused on Dorothy L. Sayers, selected by ex-MI5 chief turned novelist Stella Rimington and discussed by Sayers Society chair Seona Ford. Subjects covered include the obligatory Lord Peter Wimsey and the controversial series of radio plays penned by Sayers, The Man Who Would be King.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

"The Deceiving Eye" (TV, 1955).

In this episode from Stage 7, a criminology professor teaches about the unreliability of eyewitness testimony, only to find himself accused of murder.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Ed McBain speaks.

Evan Hunter, NYPL
In November 2001, the radio program Focus 580 from Illinois Public Media featured Ed McBain (aka Evan Hunter, 1926–2005) discussing his early career and his pseudonyms; his writing routine; his series with his "conglomerate hero," the 87th Precinct (including Money Money Money); his aborted book tour in the wake of 9/11; and his differences in approach between McBain and Hunter works. During the program the granddaughter of mystery author Craig Rice calls in; McBain finished Rice's The April Robin Murders after her death, and he explains how he came to be involved with the book.

Listen to the program here.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

T. S. Eliot in publishing (at age 10).

T. S. Eliot, ca. 1923
Harvard's Houghton Library blog displays T. S. Eliot's charming attempt at age 10 to publish a magazine and his foray into theater criticism: "Theatre. Nothing good."

Perhaps things picked up for him when he joined Faber in 1925...

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

BackStory: History of the police.

The history radio program BackStory discusses the development of law enforcement in the United States from an ad hoc configuration of sheriffs and constables into a professional force. Discussion includes the LA police and a case that appears in James Ellroy's LA Confidential.