Sunday, November 30, 2014

Presidential mistress and spy?

Carrie Fulton Phillips, LOC
The Prologue blog of the National Archives discusses whether Carrie Fulton Phillips, recipient of racy love letters from Senator (later president) Warren G. Harding, was a German spy, including intelligence and Department of Justice reports.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Exhibition: "Mystery Writers Past and Present."

Frances Fyfield
There is a photographic exhibition from UK's National Portrait Gallery, "Mystery Writers Past and Present," on view at Darlington's Head of Steam Museum until December 14. The photos feature contemporary writers such as P. D. James taken by Nicola Kurtz as well as Victorian photos of authors such as Arthur Conan Doyle and Charles Dickens. The list of Kurtz's photographic subjects in the gallery's collection includes Clare Curzon, Stella Duffy, Frances Fyfield, the late H. R. F. Keating, Val McDermid, Andrew Taylor, and Minette Walters.

A similar 2002 exhibition included photos of Colin Dexter and Ian Rankin.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

"The Long Count" (1955).

In this March 1955 episode of Stage 7, a private eye believes more lies behind a boxer's hit-and-run accident than meets the eye.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

TLS recalls Jesse's A Pin to See the Peepshow.

F. Tennyson Jesse
The Times Literary Supplement has posted Orlo Williams's 1934 TLS review of F. Tennyson Jesse's A Pin to See the Peepshow (based on the Thompson-Bywaters case of 1922). He lauds "the solidness of Miss Tennyson Jesse’s construction, her intense sympathy with her characters, and the vividness with which she paints the scene of London life during the present century." Jesse—the great-niece of Alfred, Lord Tennyson—is also known for her plays, her volumes in the Notable British Trials series, and her psychic detective Solange Fontaine.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

"Should women serve on juries?" (1918).

After women in New York obtained the vote in 1917, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle published a January 1918 article discussing the question of whether women should serve on juries as part of their civic duty. Some interesting quotes from the piece:
"in many things women could render a verdict more logical and more consistent than that of men."—Harry E. Lewis, district attorney, Kings County (NY); later presiding justice, New York State Supreme Court

"there are many cases where the intuition and experience of a woman would lead to the rendering of a better verdict than is sometimes rendered under the present system"—Russell Benedict, justice, New York State Supreme Court
Helen P. McCormick
(later married Patrick Toole,
but kept her maiden name)
"with votes for women goes jury duty for women"—Alice Hill Chittenden, former president, New York State Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage

"There has been the point raised, I know, as to whether women can stand the nervous tension. Personally I think it rather absurd..."—Helen P. McCormick, asst district attorney, Brooklyn; first female asst district attorney in any U.S. city

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Armchair Theatre:
"The Criminals" (with Stanley Baker, 1958).

In this Dec 1958 episode of the British anthology series Armchair Theatre, the charismatic Stanley Baker (Hell Is a City, The Guns of Navarone, etc.) is one of several men forced to rob a bank.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Academe: Still more notable espionage novels.

Wright State University's Martin Kich has finished his series on "National (In)Security: Fifty Notable American Espionage Novels" on the Academe blog. Some of the latest entries:
Upton Sinclair, ca. 1906. NYPL
• Holly Roth, The Content Assignment (aka The Shocking Secret, 1954). When a female CIA agent disappears, a British journalist sets out to find her. Sadly, Roth died at age 48 after falling off a boat.
• Upton Sinclair, World's End (1940). The first in a series with spy Lanny Budd by the author of The Jungle.
• Ross Thomas,  The Cold-War Swap (1966). Thomas's Edgar-winning debut.

• Trevanian, The Eiger Sanction (1972; film 1975). The first in a series with assassin Jonathan Hemlock.
• Leon Uris, Topaz (1967, Hitchcock film 1969). A Soviet spymaster defects.
All of the posts can be found here.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

New releases: Poe, Woolrich film scores.

Clues 26.4 (2008), w/Barbara Stanwyck
and John Lund from No Man of Her Own
Scott Bettancourt of Film Score Monthly highlights the following new releases:
  • Hugo Friedhofer's score for No Man of Her Own (film with Barbara Stanwyck based on I Married a Dead Man by William Irish, aka Cornell Woolrich)

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Green Glove (aka The White Road, 1952).

For Veterans Day: The Green Glove (with story and screenplay by frequent Hitchcock collaborator Charles Bennett) stars Glenn Ford as a former paratrooper seeking a valuable medieval artifact in France (along with more avaricious adversaries). The film also features Geraldine Brooks and Cedric Hardwicke.

The Canadian-born Ford served in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve during World War II and joined the Naval Reserve in 1958, eventually attaining the rank of captain.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Guy Noir: Dancing detective?

Garrison Keillor's Midwestern private eye Guy Noir from Prairie Home Companion is now featured in a ballet by James Sewell Ballet in the Twin Cities.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Nefarious professors:
BYU's guide to (fictional) campus crime.

Edith (Lent) Taylor,
Buffalo creative writing teacher
and author of
The Serpent under It

Swarthmore Class of 1935
Brigham Young University's Harold B. Lee Library has just updated its annotated bibliography on "colleges, universities or professors in murder mystery fiction." Although limited at present to materials available at BYU that were published before 2001, it may be useful to those who enjoy mysteries set in academia.

The expected authors are covered (e.g., Robert Barnard, Amanda Cross, Helen Eustis, Michael Innes, Jane Langton, Dorothy L. Sayers), as well as lesser known names and authors with unexpected academic milieus (e.g., Helen McCloy, David Frome, Emma Lathen, Richard and Frances Lockridge, Peter Lovesey, Gladys Mitchell, S. S. Van Dine, Hillary Waugh).

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

A Life at Stake (1954).

In A Life at Stake, an architect (Keith Andes), attracted to wealthy— and married—Doris Hillman (Angela Lansbury), finds that a large life insurance policy has ramifications for himself and others.

Monday, November 03, 2014

BBC Radio's focus on SH, the gothic.

BBC Radio 4 Extra hauls out of its vault a series of programs (dubbed "the Holmes Service") that feature various incarnations of the Great Detective. These include:
Horace Walpole, NYPL
A separate series of programs focuses on the gothic, which includes: