Apr 302012
 
REVIEWED BY MICHAEL SHONK SHOTGUN SLADE. Revue Studios/MCA TV. Syndicated, 1959-61, 78 episodes. Created by Frank Gruber. Executive Producer: Nat Holt. Cast: Scott Brady as “Shotgun” Slade.     “Shotgun” Slade (his first name was never mentioned) was the lone member of the Slade Detective Agency, with his office in Denver. He traveled all over the [...]
Apr 302012
 
A weekly alert for followers of crime, mystery, and thriller fiction.

The Solitary House, by Lynn Shepherd (Delacorte Press):
Carrying on from her initial work of historical suspense, 2010’s Murder at Mansfield Park (yes, that’s a witty reworking of Jane Austen’s 1814 novel), British writer Shepherd this time presents a haunting literary homage to both Charles Dickens’ Bleak House and Wilkie Collins’ The Woman in White. The year is 1850. The place, London. Charles Maddox, recently expelled from the Metropolitan Police force for insubordination, has taken up a far less steady career as a private inquiry agent, with help from his great-uncle, a renowned “thief-taker” of the same name (who, by the way, was the detective hero of Murder at Mansfield Park). In The Solitary House, the former copper is hired by Edward Tulkinghorn, one of the city’s most intimidating attorneys, who wants him to put a quick end to a stream of menacing missives sent to financier Sir Julius Cremorne. Maddox, however, is also occupied with a second case, involving the grandchild of a man who long ago booted his pregnant daughter from his life. As Maddox struggles with these tasks--assignments made all the more daunting when he encounters difficulty in gaining access to Victorian power brokers, and when his efforts on Tulkinghorn’s behalf appear to leave corpses in their wake--he realizes that he can depend on his great-uncle’s help only so far, for the elder Maddox is slipping into age-associated mental illness. Shepherd’s representation of mid-19th-century London is fascinating and often frightening, and one needn’t be a Dickens scholar to appreciate The Solitary House (UK title: Tom-All-Alone’s).

Two other new mystery titles to keep an eye out for this week: The Lola Quartet, by Emily St. John Mandel (Unbridled Books), about a film-noir-obsessed young journalist who returns to his Florida hometown in search of a 10-year-old who may be his daughter by his high-school girlfriend; and The Stonecutter, by Swedish author Camilla Läckberg (Pegasus), in which Detective Patrik Hedström probes the tragic case of a small girl found in a fisherman’s net, whose death throws a sinister light on an isolated resort town.

GREAT FREDRIC BROWN NEWS

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Apr 302012
 

GREAT FREDRIC BROWN NEWS

FB1-new

www.haffnerpress.com/


Murder Draws a Crowd: The Collected Fredric Brown, Volume OneFredric BrownEdited by Stephen Haffner
ISBN-13 9781893887787
600+ pages$40.00

“. . . enough good people put Brown on their must-read lists and then become evangelists to keep his name alive on the same high shelf as Hammett, Thompson, Ross Macdonald and other crime icons. Somewhere up in literary heaven, I hope he’s looking down, sipping a beer, playing his flute and smiling.”—Dick Adler, Chicago Tribune.

While the editor of this series only recently came upon the above quote from 2008, these eyes read no truer words.

Work has been underway for nearly a year on assembling the first two volumes of a series provisionally titledLOADED: THE COLLECTED FREDRIC BROWN. Now is your chance to get in on the ground floor of what is hoped to be the definitive collection of Fredric Brown sans his science fiction works. Assembled in chronological order of publication, this set will contain all the short fiction (of all genres: mystery, horror, noir, western, detection, etc.) and all of Brown’s novels (again, excepting his sf works). You’ll be able to enjoy Fredric Brown at his longer lengths fromThe Fabulous Clipjoint and Night of the Jabberwock to The Lenient Beast andMrs. Murphy’s Underpants. Assisting with this effort have been Brown bibliographer Phil Stephensen-Payne and Brown biographer Jack Seabrook. This massive undertaking could not have been accomplished without their help.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

The Moon For A Nickel Detective Story Magazine Mar. 38

The Cheese on Stilts, Thrilling Detective Jan. 39
Blood of the Dragon, Variety Detective Feb. 39
There Are Bloodstains in the Alley, Detective Yarns Feb. 39
Murder at 10:15, Clues Detective Stories May 39
The Prehistoric Clue, Ten Detective Aces Jul. 40
Trouble in a Teacup, Detective Fiction Weekly Jul-13-1940
Murder Draws a Crowd, Detective Fiction Weekly Jul-27-1940
Footprints on the Ceiling, Ten Detective Aces Sep. 40
The Little Green Men, The Masked Detective Fall 1940
Town Wanted, Detective Fiction Weekly Sep-7-1940
Herbie Rides His Hunch, Detective Fiction Weekly Oct-19-1940
The Stranger from Trouble Valley, Western Short Stories Nov. 40
The Strange Sisters Strange, Detective Fiction Weekly Dec-28-1940
How Tagrid Got There, unpublished until 1986
Fugitive Imposter, Ten Detective Aces Jan. 41
The King Comes Home, Thrilling Detective Jan. 41
Big-Top Doom, Ten Detective Aces Mar 41
The Discontented Cows, G-Men Detective Mar. 41
Life and Fire, Detective Fiction Weekly Mar-22-1941
Big-League Larceny, Ten Detective Aces Apr. 41 {as by Jack Hobart}
Selling Death Short, Ten Detective Aces Apr. 41
Client Unknown, The Phantom Detective Apr. 41
Your Name in Gold, The Phantom Detective Jun. 41
Here Comes the Hearse, 10-Story Detective Jul. 41 {as by Allen Morse}
Six-Gun Song, 10-Story Detective Jul. 41
Star-Spangled Night, Coronet Jul. 41
Wheels Across the Night, G-Men Detective Jul. 41
Little Boy Lost, Detective Fiction Weekly Aug-2-1941
Bullet for Bullet, Western Short Stories Oct. 41
Listen to the Mocking Bird (NT) G-Men Detective Nov. 41

www.haffnerpress.com

FB2-new


Death in the Dark: The Collected Fredric Brown, Volume TwoFredric BrownEdited by Stephen Haffner
ISBN-13 9781893887800
600+ page Hardcover$40

“. . . enough good people put Brown on their must-read lists and then become evangelists to keep his name alive on the same high shelf as Hammett, Thompson, Ross Macdonald and other crime icons. Somewhere up in literary heaven, I hope he’s looking down, sipping a beer, playing his flute and smiling.”—Dick Adler, Chicago Tribune

While the editor of this series only recently came upon the aboe quote from 2008, these eyes read no truer words. Work has been underway for nearly a year on assembling the first two volumes of a series provisionally titled LOADED: THE COLLECTED FREDRIC BROWN. Now is your chance to get in on the ground floor of what is hoped to be the definitive collection of Fredric Brown sans his science fiction works. Assembled in chronological order of publication, this set will contain all the short fiction (of all genres: mystery, horror, noir, western, detection, etc.) and all of Brown’s novels (again, excepting his sf works). You’ll be able to enjoy Fredric Brown at his longer lengths from The Fabulous Clipjoint and Night of the Jabberwock to The Lenient Beast and Mrs. Murphy’s Underpants. Assisting with this effort have been Brown bibliographer Phil Stephensen-Payne and Brown biographer Jack Seabrook. This massive undertaking could not have been accomplished without their help.

TABLE OF CONTENTS REVIEWS EXCERPTS

Little Apple Hard to Peel, Detective Tales Feb. 42

Death in the Dark, Dime Mystery Mar. 42
The Incredible Bomber, G-Men Detective Mar. 42
Pardon My Ghoulish Laughter, Strange Detective Mysteries Mar. 42
Twice-Killed Corpse, Ten Detective Aces Mar. 42
A Cat Walks, Detective Story Magazine Apr. 42
Mad Dog!, Detective Book Magazine Spring 1942
Moon Over Murder, The Masked Detective Spring 1942
"Who Did I Murder?", Detective Short Stories Apr. 42
Murder in Furs, Thrilling Detective May 42
Suite for Flute and Tommy Gun, Detective Story Magazine Jun. 42
Three-Corpse Parlay, Popular Detective Jun. 42
A Date to Die, Strange Detective Mysteries Jul. 42
Red is the Hue of Hell, Strange Detective Mysteries Jul. 42 {as by Felix Graham}
Two Biers for Two, Clues Detective Stories Jul. 42
"You'll Die Before Dawn", Mystery Magazine Jul. 42
Get Out of Town, Thrilling Detective Sep. 42
A Little White Lye, Ten Detective Aces Sep. 42
The Men Who Went Nowhere, Dime Mystery Sep. 42
Nothing Sinister, Mystery Magazine Sep. 42
The Numberless Shadows, Detective Story Magazine Sep. 42
Satan's Search Warrant, 10-Story Detective Sep. 42
Where There's Smoke, Black Book Detective Sep. 42
Boner, Popular Detective Oct. 42
Legacy of Murder, Exciting Mystery Oct. 42
The Santa Claus Murders, Detective Story Magazine Oct. 42
Double Murder, Thrilling Detective Nov. 42 {as by John S. Endicott}
A Fine Night for Murder, Detective Tales Nov. 42
Heil, Werewolf!, Dime Mystery Nov. 42 {as by Felix Graham}
I'll See You at Midnight, Clues Detective Stories Nov. 42
The Monkey Angle, Thrilling Detective Nov. 42
Satan One-and-a-H

Apr 302012
 

With trouble like this,
there's only one man to call:
Matt Helm

1984 Ballantine Edition
Matt Helm #13
This one was murder from the start. A lovely red-haired lass whose amateur standing as a secret agent had been cut short by some very professional killers. The strange part of it was that she had not been on assignment. Nobody had a clue as to what she had found. But obviously she  had found something. Something very gig and very bad. Too much for her, but just the right size for Matt Helm.

13th Printing
Printing History
Written by Donald Hamilton (1916-2006)

Fawcett Gold Medal Books
March 1971
ISBN 449 14163

11th Printing
Ballantine Books
June 1984
ISBN 449 12693
 Posted by at 9:17 pm

Once Around the Blog Block

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Apr 302012
 
• This is the final day of Gerald So’s “30 Days of the 5-2 Blog Tour,” which has been celebrating National Poetry Month, crime-fiction-oriented verse, and So’s own blog, The 5-2, ever since the beginning of April. If you haven’t been following closely, rest assured: You can find links to all of the associated posts here.

• Check out The Thrilling Detective’s list of 14 “brilliant but cancelled” TV private-eye TV series, which includes The Outsider, City of Angels, Leg Work, and Tenspeed and Brown Shoe.

Mr. Poe’s deservedly forgotten mystery?

• What a funny and downright wonderful idea for a blog: The “Blog” of “Unnecessary” Quotation Marks. I wish I’d thought of it.

Turning murder into a tourism draw.

• I’d wondered what ever became of Edgar Award winner Wendy Hornsby ... It seems all five of her Maggie MacGowen novels and two of her Kate and Tejeda books have recently been re-released as e-books by The Mysterious Press.

• And at the Mysterious Press site, Gary Phillips recalls what led him to write Violent Springs (1994), his first Ivan Monk novel.

• This last weekend brought the 45th anniversary of Expo 67, the often elegantly designed Montreal world’s fair that first got me interested in such events--both modern and historical.

Still holding out for that storied Matt Helm movie ...

• The latest issue of Mystery Readers Journal focuses on stories set in France, and includes an essay by J. Robert Janes, whose long-awaited 13 book featuring World War II-era investigators Herman Kohler and Jean-Louis St.-Cyr, Bellringer, is set to be released on June 5. Kohler and St.-Cyr first appeared in Mayhem (1992).

“The most belligerent newspaper apology ever?”

• For the Mystery*File blog, Josef Hoffmann chooses what he says are “the 12 best essays on crime fiction.” They include Raymond Chandler’s “The Simple Art of Murder,” Ross Macdonald’s “The Writer As Detective Hero,” and Stephen King’s “Warning! Warning! Hitchhikers May Be Escaped Lunatics!” (that last piece being a “very direct and frank, rather personal, full insight into Jim Thompson’s work from the viewpoint of a famous storyteller”).

Investigating Nancy Drew’s late mother.

• Did you know that David Simon, creator of the HBO-TV series The Wire (in addition to being author Laura Lippman’s husband), is now composing a blog called The Audacity of Despair?

The 10 most corrupt movie cops?

• Last spring, the blog Tipping My Fedora produced an idiosyncratic list of the top 100 mystery novels of all time. Now, blogger Yvette Banek has published a rundown of “101 Favorite Mysteries and/or Thrillers.” The temptation to assemble my own such list is tempting, but as I’ve written before, it would be no easy task.

• Patrick deWitt’s western-flavored crime novel, The Sisters Brothers, has won this year’s Oregon Book Award for Fiction.

• President Obama learns to make right-wing craziness work for him.

• The Pulp Factory, “an Internet group made up of over one hundred pulp enthusiasts, some professional writers and artists,” handed out its third annual Pulp Factor Awards in Chicago over the weekend.

Here’s the schedule for the 10th Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, slated to take place in Harrogate, England, from July 19 to 22. Sigh ... I wish I could go.

• Jack Balestreri, “believed to have been the last survivor of the thousands of workers who built” San Francisco’s iconic Golden Gate Bridge, died earlier this month at age 95.

• And get those DVD player ready! The complete runs of Yancy Derringer (1958-1959) and 87th Precinct (1961-1962) are both due out in stores this coming August.
Apr 302012
 

While a great many fine authors use humor in their mysteries, often to lighten the mood after (or before) some horrifying event, there are few who write their murder mysteries as out-and-out farces. One who did was Phoebe Atwood Taylor, author under her own name of mysteries featuring Asey Mayo, the New England amateur detective known as the "Codfish Sherlock." But those mysteries are mostly fairly straightforward, although there are some excellent comic elements in many of them.

But Taylor also wrote another series, under the pen name "Alice Tilton" featuring a New England schoolteacher named Leonidas Witherall, whose principal claim to fame is the fact that he strongly resembles playwright William Shakespeare (or at least Shakespearan busts and portraits). And those books are out-and-out farces, racing from cliffhanger to cliffhanger, as Witherall gets himself involved in a murder (often, in fact, he is being framed for one) and must stay a step or two ahead of the police and try to solve the murder before they arrest him.

What kind of farce? Well consider the events in "The Left Leg," first published in 1940. It's the subject of today's review on the Classic Mysteries podcast, and you can listen to the entire review by clicking here. In "The Left Leg," we begin with Witherall being thrown off a local bus, after another passenger, a young woman, makes some very peculiar (and fraudulent) accusations against him. As there is a snowstorm raging, he ducks into a nearby hardware store for shelter. The store appears to be empty - but as Witherall stands there, a man runs in wearing a green top hat and green silk suit and carrying an Irish harp under his arm. The man runs to the cash register, opens it, takes an envelope out of the register, and runs out of the store. Witherall leaves (with the store owner, now returned, insisting that Witherall must have robbed him) and next seeks refuge at the home of his boss, the headmaster of the school where Witherall teaches, only to find the man has been murdered and police are banging on the door. And the headmaster's body is missing a (prosthetic) left leg. And Witherall's galoshes are on the floor near the body.

Complicated enough for you? And that's just the BEGINNING of the novel. It's sort of the literary equivalent of the Three Stooges meet the Keystone Cops. And it is hilarious. Leonidas Witherall - usually called "Bill" by the other characters, because of his resemblance to William Shakespeare - is a more-or-less solid pillar of relative sanity in the midst of a remarkably crazy world. Taylor wrote eight of these wild comedy-mysteries between 1937 and 1947, and some are back in print again. I find these books a good way to refresh my own quirky sense of humor. "The Left Leg" is great fun.

Apr 302012
 
IT IS PURELY MY OPINION Reviews by L. J. Roberts DEBORAH GRABIEN – New Slain Knight. St. Martin’s/Thomas Dunne, hardcover, November 2007. Genre:   Paranormal/Suspense. Leading characters:  Ringan Laine/Penny Wintercraft-Hawkes; 5th in “Haunted Ballad” series. Setting:   England. First Sentence:   In the large upstairs room at the pub called the Duke of Cornwall’s Own, [...]

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