I am late in pointing out that Mike Ripley is back with his monthly column, "Getting Away With Murder," in the Shots ezine. It's the usual mix of criticism, gossip, and general good will. Among the current topics, is a rather remarkable display of some books allegedly written by Jack Higgins, though probably not the thriller writer by that name...
Hangin' out with the squid this week - Calamari Crime, this year's Left Coast Crime conference kicks off this morning in Monterey, California. There will be about 800 people here - mystery authors and hundreds of their fans. These are people who read mysteries, lots of mysteries ofall types, and love to talk about them.
The book room (the dealers to us book addicts) was only open for five minutes before I had picked up two treasures: one non-fiction: The Fiction of Ruth Rendell: Ancient Tragedy and the Modern Family, by Barbara Fass Leavy, who will be on a panel with me on Saturday to discuss the books we read and why we read them; and John Dickson Carr's long out of print second novel, The Lost Gallows, a 1931 classic which I haven't read in several decades, featuring his first series detective, Bencolin. I snatched that one off the table of one of the used book dealers here, shouting "MINE! MINE!" and nobody thought I was at all strange...
If you've never been to a mystery conference and love to read mysteries of any kind and talk about them, you are missing a chance to have a wonderful time. Keep that in mind, particularly for Bouchercon, in November this year. I'd love to see you there.
Love mysteries - any and all genres - and looking for new ones to read and enjoy? The latest bi-monthly edition of the I Love a Mystery Newsletter has been posted by editor Sally Powers. It includes (by my count) 94 separate reviews of new or newly-reissued mysteries. There's something here for just about any taste.
Yes, I have some reviews there as well - three of them this time, all grouped together in the Classic Corner section of the newsletter. If you haven't visited yet, use one of the links. It's free, and you're almost certain to find a new mystery and/or new author who would appeal to you. Please give it a try!
Dorothy Salisbury Davis is a first-rate American author - one who, happily, is nearing her 98th birthday. The e-book publishers at Open Road Integrated Media just announced that 22 books by Davis - 21 novels and an anthology of short stories - are being made available as e-books.
I am not all that familiar with Davis's work - much of it done in the 1950s and 1960s - but she is very widely regarded as one of the leading American mystery writers, having received the Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America, not to mention lifetime achievement Anthony and Agatha awards from Bouchercon and Malice Domestic respectively.
The one work of hers that I have read recently is the short story "Lost Generation," which was included in Sarah Weinman's recent anthology, Troubled Daughters, Twisted Wives. It is a profoundly disturbing and powerful story, and I do recommend it. I believe it is also contained in the anthology, Tales of a Stormy Night, which is one of the books being republished by Open Road. You can find most of them on her Open Road author page.
I have said many times that one of the things I hope will be accomplished by the widening availability and acceptance of e-books is the return to "print" of a great many fine authors in all mystery genres, for the enjoyment of a new generation of readers. It's a goal I'm happy to see being achieved by Open Road.
TomCat, a.k.a. Last Century Detective, who blogs at Beneath the Stains of Time, has posted a first-rate rant about the sorry state of too much academic discussion about detective fiction. The title of the post, appropriately enough, is The Problem of the ivory Tower, and I commend it to you - it is well-written and makes, I think, some excellent points about the too-often slovenly way some researchers look at Golden Age mysteries in particular. There's also a lively discussion under way at that post, and I invite you to join in.
By the way if Beneath the Stains of Time isn't on your regular visiting list...it should be...
It's the start of a new month, and Mike Ripley (who has been dominating my discussions here this past week!) has a new "Getting Away with Murder" column out for the Shots Crime & Thriller eZine. As usual, you'll find a status report on the mystery scene in the UK and elsewhere, written with considerable wit. Go enjoy.
As I mentioned earlier, the company that hosted my podcast for the past nearly-seven years has decided to close up. As a result, I've been relocating my podcast files - and you may discover that your computer has "lost" the regular weekly updates and new audio reviews. (This blog, happily, is not affected.)
So far, I think, iTunes has redirected itself to my new host, so if that's how you get the podcasts, you should be fine. I don't seem to be able (so far) to redirect any other users to the new home. So if you need to paste the new information into your reader or collection program, copy-and-paste this link and everything should work. You can always find the latest podcasts, of course, in the list on the right side of this page.
I'm leaving this post at the top of the blog for a few weeks, to catch any stragglers and help them find the new location. If you still have a problem, please leave a comment below, and I'll try to help.
I have written here about the new mystery featuring Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin, written by Robert Goldsborough, called "Murder in the Ball Park," which will be published officially next week.
Over at The Rap Sheet blog, Jeff Pierce has published an interview which he conducted via email with Goldsborough, talking about the new book and also about some of Goldsborough's books which are not continuations of the Nero Wolfe series, featuring a Chicago police reporter named Snap Malek. It's an interesting interview, and I think you'll enjoy reading it. Among other points, Goldsborough says that his favorite among the original Nero Wolfe books is The League of Frightened Men, a book which is also among my favorites - I think it's one of the best of the very early books in the series.
By the way, The Rap Sheet ought to be on your regular checklist for staying up with news from the broader world of mystery fiction.
Houston, we have a problem.
The place that has hosted the Classic Mysteries podcasts and the linked audio files since we started these podcasts nearly seven years ago is shutting down.
That means I need to find a new host for the audio files and make sure that everything still works.
Which is going to take some doing.
I hope most of this will be transparent to you all - that links will be properly redirected. I'm pretty sure that will happen fairly quickly and, I hope, smoothly and invisibly for the 50 podcasts linked from the right hand side of this page.
I am less sanguine about the backlist page, which - due to technical restrictions - may take a few months to recreate properly.
I'd suggest that all my visitors take a moment to check out the existing backlist page in the next week or so - and download anything you think might interest you. When the page does close down, I'll be working to try to restore everything as quickly as possible, and I'll reopen alphabetical sections of the backlist page as they are switched over.
My apologies, and I do hope you'll bear with me. We'll still have a brand new podcast each week. But please accept my apologies in advance for any rough edges.
Okay. We're in a holiday period, with Chanukah behind us, Christmas coming up, etc. etc. It's a good time to step back and take a breath.
So - for the first time in roughly 6 1/2 years - I will NOT be publishing a podcast and blog post this coming Monday, December 23. Instead, my wife and I will be out celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary.
I'll try to look in from time to time - but the next podcast/post will appear on Monday, December 30, when we'll be discussing Erle Stanley Gardner's first Perry Mason book, The Case of the Velvet Claws.
See you then. Wishing you all wonderful holidays. And play nice while I'm gone.