Monday, April 24, 2023

Columbo exhibition.

Columbo exhibition artwork by
Jam Bookshop owner and illustrator
David Ziggy Green
Jam Bookshop in Hackney, London, plans the upcoming exhibition "Just One More Thing," which will be composed of artworks from the public that salute Richard Levinson and William Link's rumpled yet shrewd detective. The exhibition will run May 4–21, 2023. More here (including some sample drawings).

Monday, April 17, 2023

Anne Perry, 1938–2023.

Anne Perry, left, and Elizabeth Foxwell.
Photo by Dean James.
Last week I learned that Anne Perry, author of numerous mysteries and other books, had passed away at age 84. Many of the obituary treatments, in my view, failed to provide a true depiction of Anne's life and work (including one that referred to Anne as "matronly." Anne took care of herself and delighted in clothes; she was always a stylish figure, and I speak as one who once acted as her personal shopper). Although trying to accurately capture a multifaceted career in a brief space is always daunting, I attempt this below.

Anne and I were friends for some 30 years, stemming from early Malice Domestic conventions (she introduced the Malice Domestic 6 anthology and contributed to Murder, They Wrote II, both of which I coedited). I was a devoted fan of her Victorian mysteries with Thomas and Charlotte Pitt, as well as her other Victorian series with eventual private inquiry agent/river police officer William Monk and nurse Hester Latterly (I presented a paper on Hester at a Popular Culture Assn conference that was eventually published in Clues 22.2, 2001). We also shared an interest in World War I (she wrote five mysteries set during the war—one character, Joseph Reavley, was based on her grandfather, who had been a military chaplain during the war). Always up for new challenges, she also penned two fantasy novels, Tathea and Come Armegeddon; the novel The Sheen on the Silk set in 13th-century Constantinople; a series with photographer and spy Elena Standish; a series with the Pitts' son Daniel; and annual mysteries set around Christmas. In recent years, she was living in Los Angeles, because she was learning about screenwriting and was interested in seeing more of her works on screen after The Cater Street Hangman, the first in the Thomas and Charlotte Pitt series, was adapted and shown in the UK and on A&E in the US in 1998. It starred Eoin McCarthy, Keeley Hawes, and John Castle. Anne appears in a cameo role—look for her in a scene set outside of a church. She told me that donning the various layers of Victorian garments was an educational experience. Although Anne hoped that this production would lead to further adaptations of other novels in the Pitt series, this did not occur. Over the years, there were nibbles about adaptations of the Monk series—Anne was especially excited about the prospect of Gabriel Byrne playing Monk, and she thought the actor Jonathan Hyde would make a fine Monk—but these did not pan out.


Anne, right, in The Cater Street Hangman.

Monday, April 10, 2023

Chandler's CA locations.

Security Pacific Bank Building, Hollywood Blvd., California
The Security Pacific Bank Bldg, which
housed Marlowe's office as the
"Cahuenga Bldg." Wikimedia Commons.

Michele E. Buttelman in Santa Clarita Valley [CA]'s The Signal discusses "California Literary Locations," which include the office site of Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe, Musso & Frank Grill (mentioned in The Long Goodbye), and the Greystone Mansion (possibly the model for General Sternwood's estate in The Big Sleep).

Monday, April 03, 2023

The illustrated Continental Op.

Clover Press has published a new illustrated edition featuring Dashiell Hammett's Continental Op, which includes the stories "Arson Plus" (Oct. 1923), "Crooked Souls" (Oct. 1923), "Slippery Fingers" (Oct. 1923), "It" (Nov. 1923), and "Bodies Piled Up" (Dec. 1923). The artist is John K. Snyder III. View some sample illustrations here.