Monday, December 27, 2021
Monday, December 20, 2021
• Letters and an "idea book" from Arthur Conan Doyle
• A handwritten speech with Conan Doyle's explanation for killing off Holmes
• Original artwork of Holmes by British and US illustrators
• A pirated edition of The Sign of the Four
An exhibition catalog is available.
Monday, December 13, 2021
Monday, December 06, 2021
Monday, November 29, 2021
|Sketch of William Burke. From George MacGregor, The History of Burke and Hare and of the Resurrectionist Times (1884) |
Tuesday, November 23, 2021
Monday, November 15, 2021
|Panek's last book|
His last book is the newly published Nineteenth Century Detective Fiction: An Analytical History. His other works include the following:
• The American Police Novel: A History (Edgar nominee)
• Early American Detective Stories: An Anthology (ed. with Mary Bendel-Simso)
• The Essential Elements of the Detective Story, 1820–1891 (coauthored with Bendel-Simso)
• Introduction to the Detective Story (Edgar winner)
Panek's Westminster Detective Library (a project with Bendel-Simso) is an invaluable online repository of short detective works published in the United States prior to 1891.
Monday, November 08, 2021
|"These two figures crossed the floor diagonally." Illustration from Sheridan Le Fanu's "Mr. Justice Harbottle," Harper's Bazaar, February 1872. NYPL|
Catching up with the blog on the Wordsworth Editions website:
- David Stuart Davies discusses the career of Wilkie Collins: "Remarkably, The Moonstone received a somewhat cool reception from
the critics. Even Collins’s friend Dickens was of the opinion that,
‘The construction is wearisome beyond endurance, and there is a vein of
obstinate conceit in it that makes enemies of the readers.'"
- Stephen Carter examines the work of legendary Irish ghost story writer Sheridan Le Fanu: "Le Fanu’s reputation was crowded out of Victorian literature by his contemporaries, Dickens, Thackeray, Wilkie Collins, and the Brontës; all of whom he in some form influenced and whose sales he frequently rivalled."
I'm looking forward to Davies's upcoming post on Edgar Wallace.
Monday, November 01, 2021
West Virginia University's Downtown Library is offering the new online exhibition "American Dime Novel: Racialization/Erasure" that focuses on ethnic and racial stereotypes in dime novels. Mystery-related items include the following:
- Tiger Dick, the Faro King; or, The Cashier's Crime (1878) by Philip S. Warne (the mixed-race Warne may be the earliest African American mystery writer)
- Darkie Dan, the Colored Detective (1881) by Prentiss Ingraham
- Chin Chin the Chinese Detective; or, the Dark Work of the Black Hand (1887) by Albert W. Aiken
- Nick Carter's Well Laid Plot (1909)
- The Black Hand Nemesis (1909)
Also included: Maum Guinea and Her Plantation Children (1861) by Metta Fuller Victor, which had a similar effect in Britain about the evils of slavery that Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin had in the United States. Victor wrote the first U.S. detective novel: The Dead Letter (1864).
Nancy Caronia, the curator of the exhibition and a teaching associate professor in WVU's Department of English, will be giving a free, virtual presentation about the exhibition on November 4.
Monday, October 25, 2021
|Margaret Lewis's biography of Edith Pargeter/Ellis Peters|
Monday, October 18, 2021
|Agatha Christie, 1964. Dutch Nat Archives |
Monday, October 11, 2021
Volume 39, no. 2 (2021) of Clues: A Journal of Detection has been published. The issue abstracts follow below; contact McFarland to order a print copy.
Introduction: So Many Books, So Little Time
CAROLINE REITZ (John Jay College of Criminal Justice-CUNY/CUNY Graduate Center)
Caroline Reitz, the new executive editor of Clues, provides an overview of the issue, including articles on authors such as Lois Austen-Leigh, Raymond Chandler, Agatha Christie, Didier Daeninckx, Fergus Hume, Philip Kerr, Peter Robinson, and Arthur Upfield.
Australian Rules: Forensic Culture in the Fiction of Arthur W. Upfield
BETTY J. BRUTHER
Four novels in Arthur W. Upfield’s Napoleon Bonaparte series—Winds of Evil (1937), Death of a Swagman (1946), The Widows of Broome (1950), and The Bachelors of Broken Hill (1950)—deal with multiple murders committed by a single individual in the outback. Each novel reveals the forensic culture of Australia: common investigative techniques, criminal profiling, forensic psychology, and the examination and interpretation of temporary trace evidence on the landscape.
Murder Most Incidental: Arthur Upfield’s Death of a Lake (1954)
RACHEL FRANKS AND ALISTAIR ROLLS (University of Newcastle)
Arthur Upfield is well-known for positioning an Aboriginal detective, Inspector Napoleon “Bony” Bonaparte, as the protagonist for his series. In Death of a Lake (1954), Upfield challenges the conventions of mid-twentieth-century Australian crime stories not only through privileging an Indigenous man but also through disregarding the central concept of the modern crime novel: murder.
The Mysteries of the Colonial Metropolis: Fergus Hume’s The Mystery of a Hansom Cab and Donald Cameron’s Mysteries of Melbourne Life
ORLA DONNELLY ((Trinity College Dublin)
Fergus Hume’s The Mystery of a Hansom Cab (1886) and Donald Cameron’s Mysteries of Melbourne Life (1873) follow the tradition of urban crime writing. This essay examines three essential elements in these Melbourne crime novels: the treatment of crime and detection, the themes of physical and social mobility, and the exoticized images of urban street folk.
Death in a Literary Context: Detective Novels of the Golden Age as Enacted Criticism
ANDREW GREEN (Brunel University)
This article explores the nature of Golden Age crime narrative. It argues that the works of these authors are “enacted criticism”—creative acts that are fundamentally critical responses to genre—that can be read as mutually constitutive meaning-making “spaces”—texts within which form is constantly renegotiated within a literary context.
Clue-Burying and Misdirection-Making in Peter Robinson’s When the Music’s Over (2016)
CHRISTIANA GREGORIOU (University of Leeds)
Close stylistic inspection of detective novel writing can shed light on the skill of weighing up interpretations. In When the Music’s Over, Robinson relies on readers’ schematic expectations, stereotypes, and prejudices to generate false leads and bury a killer into the narrative background until his significance needs to be foregrounded.
Writing History into Fiction in Didier Daeninckx’s Meurtres pour mémoire
This article demonstrates Didier Daeninckx’s unique blending of historical fact and fiction, particularly the use of state archives in his breakthrough novel Meurtres pour mémoire (1984). It also examines intertextual references to nineteenth-century writers and the French New Wave cinema that expand the traditional boundaries of the genre.
History Detective: Reading the Weimar Republic in Philip Kerr’s Last Novel Metropolis (2019)
NEIL H. DONAHUE (Hofstra University)
Philip Kerr’s last novel Metropolis (2019) returns his detective, Bernie Gunther, to 1928 as both prequel and epilogue to his series of 14 novels. This essay locates the key to Gunther’s identity and actions in his relation to arch-Nazi Arthur Nebe.
Monday, October 04, 2021
I'm always interested in receiving proposals for the Mystery Companion series; prospective subjects should have a substantial body of work (loosely defined as a minimum of 25 books or a substantial combination of books, short stories, and other mystery-related works). For further details on submitting a proposal, contact me.
Monday, September 20, 2021
Tuesday, September 14, 2021
|F. Tennyson Jesse|
Monday, September 06, 2021
Monday, August 30, 2021
Monday, August 23, 2021
Monday, August 16, 2021
|Arthur Conan Doyle. NYPL|
Monday, August 09, 2021
|Lester Dent. The Dux, Chillicothe |
(MO) Business College yearbook,
1923, p. 106
Monday, August 02, 2021
There's a new call for proposals for a theme issue of Clues: A Journal of Detection: "Borders and Detective Fiction" (guest edited by Manina Jones, University of Western Ontario). Proposals are sought from a wide variety of critical, national, and cultural perspectives addressing how and why borders are represented in detective fiction, film,television, or other media (e.g., computer games, graphic novels, radio drama, podcasts).
Proposals are due November 1, 2021.
Monday, July 26, 2021
Monday, July 19, 2021
Monday, July 12, 2021
This is part of the series of short films produced from source material written by S. S. Van Dine and featuring Crabtree and Carr; see the previous blog posts on The Wall Street Mystery and The Trans-Atlantic Mystery.
Monday, July 05, 2021
|Photo of Isokon Bldg by Yuriy Akopov. 2015.|
The modernist landmark Isokon Building—aka London's Lawn Road Flats—offers a short film on Agatha Christie's residence there from 1941 to 1947 (see below). It also is presenting an exhibition on Christie in its gallery. Christie lived and wrote there while her second husband, Max Mallowan, was on assignment in the Middle East and while she was working in the dispensary of University College Hospital.
Further reading: David Burke, The Lawn Road Flats: Spies, Writers and Artists
Monday, June 28, 2021
The Artists' Ensemble Theater (IL) performed a radio-play version of Agatha Christie's "The Curse of the Western Star," which can be heard here. The theater also offers a podcast of short radio plays, Mysterious Journey, that includes episodes featuring Christie's "The Man in the Brown Suit."
In other radio-play news, the Greenbelt (MD) Arts Center will hold auditions via Zoom on June 30 and July 1 for a virtual production of the Christie radio play "The ABC Murders" (audition sign-ups close today).
Monday, June 21, 2021
Sisters in Crime is offering grants of $500 to those working on research projects that
contribute to understanding of the role of women or underrepresented
groups in crime fiction. The funds may be used to purchase books. The application deadline is July 15, 2021.
Monday, June 14, 2021
On June 8, mystery pioneer Anna Katharine Green was inducted into the New York State Writers Hall of Fame. Watch the video of the virtual festivities below; the Green portion begins approximately at 1 hour 2 seconds, with a presentation by my co-nominator Clare Meldrum on Green's life and work, followed by an appearance by Rebecca Crozier, Green's great-great granddaughter. Crozier tells an interesting anecdote about Green's reputed response to being barred from a courtroom.
Want to read works by Green?
Tuesday, June 08, 2021
Monday, June 07, 2021
|Thelma Ritter, James Stewart, and Grace Kelly in Rear Window (1954).|
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Notre Dame's Kylemore Book Club conducted the virtual series "Literature & Film in Lockdown," with one episode on Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window as "a film about being in lockdown."
Monday, May 31, 2021
Monday, May 24, 2021
Monday, May 17, 2021
In a new paper, Ross E. Davies (George Mason University School of Law) looks at connections between Sherlock Holmes and Supreme Court justices such as Louis Brandeis, Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., and Charles Evans Hughes. (thanks to the Law & Humanities Blog)
Monday, May 10, 2021
Monday, May 03, 2021
|Out of the Past (1947).|
Monday, April 26, 2021
"G Is for Grafton" (TV Santa Barbara, 2008). In a short clip, Grafton talks about how she started writing.
"Kinsey and Sue: An Interview with Sue Grafton" (Maryville Talks Books, Maryville University/Left Bank Books/St. Louis Public Radio/Higher Education Channel Television, 2014, coinciding with the release of Grafton's W Is for Wasted and Kinsey and Me). In addition to talking about these works, she discusses the three mysteries of her lawyer father, C. W. Grafton, and the travails of Hollywood.
Monday, April 19, 2021
The Jewel Theatre Company in Santa Cruz has been performing virtual radio plays. Some of the mystery-related ones:
"The Hitch-Hiker" by Lucille Fletcher (a man driving cross-country keeps seeing the same mysterious man)
The Whistler: Stranger in the House (a man comes home after six years, but is he who he says he is?)
The Mysterious Traveler: The Good Die Young by Robert Arthur and David Kogan (all is not well between a girl and her new stepmother)
Monday, April 12, 2021
|Harry Houdini. NYPL.|
Monday, April 05, 2021
A new online offering from the University of Delaware Library, Museums, and Press is the exhibition "Agatha Christie's Poirot" that draws from collections of materials on the iconic Belgian detective. It is presented in conjunction with the radio productions by the Resident Ensemble Players of Christie's "King of Clubs" (freely available until May 21) and "The Cornish Mystery" (freely available starting April 23).
Monday, March 29, 2021
|Barbara Mertz, by Sue Feder|
Monday, March 22, 2021
Volume 39, no. 1 (2021) of Clues: A Journal of Detection—a theme issue on domestic noir guest edited by Eva Burke and Clare Clarke—has been published. The abstracts follow below. To order the issue or a subscription, contact McFarland.
Introduction: Domestic Noir
EVA BURKE AND CLARE CLARKE (Trinity College Dublin)
The guest editors discuss the development of the domestic noir subgenre and the contents of this theme issue of Clues, including an interview with British author Julia Crouch, who coined the term domestic noir, and articles on Irish and Scandinavian domestic noir; women’s book groups; mid-century antecedents of domestic noir; and authors such as A. J. Finn (aka Dan Mallory), Gillian Flynn, Tana French, Paula Hawkins, and Evelyn Piper (aka Merriam Modell).
At Home in Irish Crime Fiction
BRIAN CLIFF (Trinity College Dublin)
The author discusses the connections among domestic noir, Irish crime fiction, and the wider Irish literature, including examples from works by Jane Casey, Sinéad Crowley, Tana French, Catherine Ryan Howard, and Liz Nugent.
“I Am Not the Girl I Used to Be”: Remembering the Femme Fatale in The Girl on the Train
ROSIE COUCH (Cardiff University)
This article situates Rachel from Paula Hawkins’s novel The Girl on the Train (2015) as a contemporary incarnation of the femme fatale, redeployed within the domestic noir subgenre. The analysis demonstrates how Rachel’s perspective works to enact a feminist backlash against postfeminist rhetoric.
The Girl Who Got Mad: Challenging Psychopathology in Domestic Noir’s Antiheroines via Sarah Vaughan’s Anatomy of a Scandal (2018)
LIZ EVANS (University of Tasmania)
The author argues that Sarah Vaughan’s legal thriller Anatomy of a Scandal (2018) challenges domestic noir’s questionable tendency to pathologize anger and badness in its female protagonists (often depicted as survivors of rape or abuse) while showing how the persistent alignment of negative emotion with psychological instability undermines these central characters by impeding their self-agency.
Smoke and Mirrors: Dan Mallory, A. J. Finn, and The Woman in the Window as Postfeminist Noir Pastiche
ROBERTA GARRETT (University of East London)
The author discusses The Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn (pseudonym of Dan Mallory), examining Finn’s treatment of female characters and the tropes of the noir and domestic noir subgenres through the lens of postfeminist criticism.
“He Had It Coming”: Reading the Revenge Plot in Domestic Noir’s Gone Girl (2012)
KATHARINA HENDRICKX (University of Sussex)
This article examines Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl (2012) and its popularity with female readers. It suggests that female readers are not only interested in the portrayal of women’s experiences but also engage with the depiction of the revenge plot, which allows women readers to negotiate their frustration and anger with the current postfeminist climate.
Monday, March 15, 2021
|Illustration of W. W. Jacobs. NYPL|
- "The False Burton Combs" based on the story by Carroll John Daly
- Lady Molly of Scotland Yard based on the stories by Baroness Orczy
- "The Monkey's Paw" based on the short story by W. W. Jacobs
Monday, March 08, 2021
|Susan Glaspell, NYPL|
Upcoming virtual performances of "Trifles":
• Ankeny Community Theatre (IA), March 28
• University at Buffalo–SUNY, April 9–11
Monday, March 01, 2021
|Chester Himes in 1967. |
Dutch National Archives
Monday, February 22, 2021
|Whitefly, by Abdelilah Hamdouchi|
Monday, February 15, 2021
About the images. Sherlock Holmes by Sidney Paget. "The Boscombe Valley Mystery." The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle (New York, 1892), p. 93. Ebenezer Scrooge by Arthur Rackham. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (Philadelphia, 1843), frontispiece.
Monday, February 08, 2021
|Georges Simenon, |
10 May 1965.
Anefo, Dutch Nat Archives
Monday, February 01, 2021
Monday, January 25, 2021
Tuesday, January 19, 2021
|S. J. Perelman, 1973, |
by Jill Krementz. NYPL.
Monday, January 11, 2021