Mar 232014
 
We are coming close to the end of Murder In March Madness. Today is the 23rd day of the the event where I highlight a title, either book or movie, with the word "murder" or a variant in it. Today's title is the classic American noir film Murder, My Sweet from 1944.

Murder My Sweet (1944)
Written by Raymond Chandler



Detective Philip Marlowe is hired by Moose Malloy to locate his old girlfriend Velma, whom he lost track of while serving time in prison. As he follows his leads, Marlowe encounters lies, larceny, perjury, theft, and a beautiful femme fatale.

Directed by Edward Dmytryk

Cast
Dick Powell as Philip Marlowe
Claire Trevor as Helen Grayle/Velma Valento
Anne Shirley as Ann Grayle
Otto Kruger as Jules Amthor
Mike Mazurki as Moose Malloy
Miles Mander as Mr. Grayle

Trivia
This film was based on Raymond Chandler's 1940 novel Farewell, My Lovely
 Posted by at 1:30 pm
Sep 042012
 
Another week gone by and another letter in the Crime Fiction Alphabet meme sponsored over at Kerrie's blog at Mysteries in Paradise. The rules are simple. Our posts must be related to either the first letter of a book's title, the first letter of an author's first name, or the first letter of the author's surname, or even maybe a crime fiction "topic". So this week my contribution will be................Perry Mason and Phillip Marlowe. This week I could not decide what to post. But over the long weekend I watched a lot of Perry Mason made for TV movies and today I watched Dick Powell as Phillip Marlowe in Murder, My Sweet from 1944.So I decided to do a double entry of two of the memorable characters in crime fiction.

P is for Phillip and Perry

Philip Marlowe is a fictional character created by Raymond Chandler in a series of novels from 1939 to the author’s death in 1959. Marlowe first appeared under that name in The Big Sleep published in 1939. Chandler's early short stories, published in pulp magazines like Black Maskand Dime Detective, featured similar characters with names like "Carmady" and "John Dalmas". Some of those short stories were later combined and expanded into novels featuring Marlowe. Philip Marlowe's character is foremost within the genre of hardboiled crime fiction that originated in the 1920s in which Dashiell Hammett's The Continental Op and Sam Spade first appeared. Chandler's treatment of the detective novel exhibits an effort to develop the form. His first full length book, The Big Sleep, was published when Chandler was 51, his last, Playback at 70. Seven novels were produced in the last two decades of his life, with an eighth being posthumously completed by Robert B. Parker and published in 1989.

The Novels
The Big Sleep (1939)....
Farewell, My Lovely (1940).
The High Window (1942)...
The Lady in the Lake (1943)...
The Little Sister (1949)...
The Long Goodbye (1953)...
Playback (1958)...
Poodle Springs (1959/1989 (completed by Robert B. Parker)



 Perry Mason is a fictional character, a defense attorney, authored by Erle Stanley Gardner. Perry Mason was featured in more than 80 novels and short stories, most of which had a plot involving his client's murder trial. Typically, Mason was able to establish his client's innocence by implicating another character, who then confessed. Gardner had over 135 million copies of his books in print in America alone in the year of his death in 1969, made him one of the bestselling authors of all time. The character of Perry Mason was portrayed each weekday on a long-running radio series, followed by well-known depictions on film and television, including Television’s most successful and longest-running lawyer series from 1957 to 1966 starring Raymond Burr.

The Novels
The Case of the Velvet Claws (1933)
The Case of the Sulky Girl (1933)
The Case of the Curious Bride (1934)
The Case of the Howling Dog (1934)
The Case of the Lucky Legs (1934)
The Case of the Caretaker's Cat (1935)
The Case of the Counterfeit Eye (1935)
The Case of the Sleepwalker's Niece (1936)
The Case of the Stuttering Bishop (1936)
The Case of the Dangerous Dowager (1937)
The Case of the Lame Canary (1937)
The Case of the Shoplifter's Shoe (1938)
The Case of the Substitute Face (1938)
The Case of the Perjured Parrot (1939)
The Case of the Rolling Bones (1939)
The Case of the Baited Hook (1940)
The Case of the Silent Partner (1940)
The Case of the Empty Tin (1941)
The Case of the Haunted Husband (1941)
The Case of the Careless Kitten (1942)
The Case of the Drowning Duck (1942)
The Case of the Buried Clock (1943)
The Case of the Drowsy Mosquito (1943)
The Case of the Black-Eyed Blonde (1944)
The Case of the Crooked Candle (1944)
The Case of the Golddigger's Purse (1945)
The Case of the Half-Wakened Wife (1945)
The Case of the Borrowed Brunette (1946)
The Case of the Fan-Dancer's Horse (1947)
The Case of the Lazy Lover (1947)
The Case of the Lonely Heiress (1948)
The Case of the Vagabond Virgin (1948)
The Case of the Cautious Coquette (1949)
The Case of the Dubious Bridegroom (1949)
The Case of the Negligent Nymph (1950)
The Case of the One-Eyed Witness (1950)
The Case of the Angry Mourner (1951)
The Case of the Fiery Fingers (1951)
The Case of the Grinning Gorilla (1952)
The Case of the Moth-Eaten Mink (1952)
The Case of the Green-Eyed Sister (1953)
The Case of the Hesitant Hostess (1953)
The Case of the Fugitive Nurse (1954)
The Case of the Restless Redhead (1954)
The Case of the Runaway Corpse (1954)
The Case of the Glamorous Ghost (1955)..
The Case of the Nervous Accomplice (1955)
The Case of the Sun Bather's Diary (1955)..
The Case of the Demure Defendant (1956; AKA The Case of the Missing Poison)
The Case of the Gilded Lily (1956)
The Case of the Terrified Typist (1956)
The Case of the Daring Decoy (1957)
The Case of the Lucky Loser (1957)
The Case of the Screaming Woman (1957)
The Case of the Calendar Girl (1958)
The Case of the Footloose Doll (1958)
The Case of the Long-Legged Models (1958; AKA The Case of the Dead Man's Daughters
The Case of the Deadly Toy (1959; AKA The Case of the Greedy Grandpa)
The Case of the Mythical Monkeys (1959)
The Case of the Singing Skirt (1959)
The Case of the Waylaid Wolf (1959)
The Case of the Duplicate Daughter (1960)
The Case of the Shapely Shadow (1960)
The Case of the Bigamous Spouse (1961)
The Case of the Spurious Spinster (1961)
The Case of the Blonde Bonanza (1962)
The Case of the Ice-Cold Hands (1962)
The Case of the Reluctant Model (1962)
The Case of the Amorous Aunt (1963)
The Case of the Mischievous Doll (1963)
The Case of the Step-Daughter's Secret (1963)
The Case of the Daring Divorcee (1964)
The Case of the Horrified Heirs (1964)
The Case of the Phantom Fortune (1964)
The Case of the Beautiful Beggar (1965)
The Case of the Troubled Trustee (1965)
The Case of the Worried Waitress (1966)
The Case of the Queenly Contestant (1967)
The Case of the Careless Cupid (1968)
The Case of the Fabulous Fake (1969)...
The Case of the Crimson Kiss (1970)
The Case of the Crying Swallow (1971)
The Case of the Fenced-In Woman (1972)
The Case of the Irate Witness (1972)
The Case of the Postponed Murder (1973)
 




 Posted by at 7:46 pm
Feb 192012
 



Today's post is brought to you by my new boxing story, "King Crush," now available for 99¢ exclusively for Kindle. And, as a special inducement, for a limited time the first story, "Iron Hands," is available FREE. 

Today I have a question: What do you like to see in a series character? The same "feel" over and over, or deepening and changing?

There are two schools of thought on this.

Lee Child once remarked that he loves Dom Perignon champagne and wants each bottle to be the same. He's not looking for a different taste each time out. So it is with his Jack Reacher novels. And millions of fans are tracking right along with him.

There are other enduring series where the character remains roughly static. Phillip Marlowe didn't change all that much until The Long Goodbye. James Bond? Not a whole lot of change going on inside 007.

At the other end of the spectrum are those characters who undergo significant transformation as the series moves along. The best contemporary example of this is, IMO, the Harry Bosch series by Michael Connelly. What he's done with Bosch from book to book is nothing short of astonishing.

Lawrence Block's Matthew Scudder was traipsing along as a pretty standard PI until Block made a conscious decision to kick it up a notch. He did that with Eight Million Ways to Die, a book that knocked me out. Here we have Scudder not just on a new case, but also battling his alcoholism and the existential angst of life in New York City in the early 1980s. By going deeper Block created one of the classics of the genre.

In my Mallory Caine, Zombie-at-Law series (written as K. Bennett) I have a lead character who is a zombie hungering (you'll pardon the phrase) for change. She doesn't want to be what she is. The just released Book 2, The Year of Eating Dangerously, begins with Mallory in the hills looking down at a motorcycle gang and thinking, Lunch. And then reflecting on her damaged soul.

Book 3, due out later this year, begins with Mallory at a ZA meeting—Zombies Anonymous. She is trying to stay off human flesh (substituting calves' brains) but it's not easy. And I say without hesitation that I was inspired by the above mentioned Eight Million Ways to Die.

So here's my series about boxer Irish Jimmy Gallagher. These are short stories, and I'm going for "revealing" more of Jimmy in each one. "Iron Hands" was the intro, giving us Jimmy's world and basic personality. Now comes "King Crush."

The new story takes place in 1955 and revolves around an old carnival attraction they used to have in America, the carny fighter who would take on locals. If the locals stayed with him long enough, they might earn back their five bucks and some more besides. But these carny pugs knew all the dirty tricks, and it was usually the hayseeds who ended up on the canvas.

Jimmy just wants to have a good time at the carnival with his girl, Ruby, and his bulldog, Steve. He's not looking for trouble. But sometimes trouble finds Jimmy Gallagher.

I started writing these stories because there's something in me that wants to know Jimmy Gallagher, what makes him tick. And that's my preference as a writer and a reader of series. I want to go a little deeper each time.

So who is your favorite series character? Is this character basically the same from book to book? Or is there significant change going on?

If you're writing a series, do you have a plan for the development of your character over time? Or is it more a book-to-book thing?

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