• In the latest installment of her fine newsletter, The Crime Lady (now available online, not just to e-mail subscribers, it seems), critic Sarah Weinman relates a very uncomfortable moment during last weekend’s Left Coast Crime convention in Portland.
• As you might expect, I already own all six seasons of James Garner’s renowned private-eye series, The Rockford Files, on DVD, and have managed over the years to find most of the subsequent teleflicks on YouTube. But word has finally come down that Universal Studios Home Entertainment will release The Rockford Files: The Complete Series--a 34-disc anthology including 120 episodes and all eight TV films--on May 26. Retail cost: $149.98. On that very same day, says TV Shows on DVD, Universal will put on sale a DVD set of the last four Rockford movies, those that weren’t featured in The Rockford Files: Movie Collection--Volume 1, which hit shelves back in 2009. The Rockford Files: Movie Collection--Volume 2 will reportedly retail for $26.98. If you’ve been waiting for the right moment to add Rockford to your DVD-viewing diet, now might be the perfect time.
• Also worth watching for is the release, on June 16, of The Bold Ones: The Senator. Starring Hal Holbrook, that 1970-1971 NBC-TV political drama was one of several series rotating under the umbrella title The Bold Ones. Only nine episodes (plus a pilot film) of The Senator were made, yet it won five Emmys, including one for Holbrook himself. TV Shows on DVD offers this program synopsis:
In this gripping drama, Senator Hays Stowe [Holbrook] … works tirelessly to serve his constituents, and the American people as a whole. Exploring the issues facing our nation, The Senator received praise for its intelligent portrayal of the challenges and responsibilities inherent in one of the most sacred duties imaginable.The Bold Ones: The Senator--The Complete Series will be a three-disc offering produced by Timeless Media Group, a division of Shout! Factory. It will set you back $49.97.
Co-starring Sharon Acker and Michael Tolan, and featuring guest appearances by Randolph Mantooth and Burgess Meredith, The Bold Ones: The Senator is a fascinating look back at the ideals held within our political system and a program whose themes still resonate today.
• Have you ever seen Harry Houdini’s 1926 death certificate?
• We already knew that Christian Bale was slated to star as Florida “salvage consultant”-cum-private eye Travis McGee in a film adaptation of John D. Macdonald’s 1964 novel, The Deep Blue Good-by, and that Rosamund Pike would play the female lead in that picture. Now, though, I hear Game of Thrones star Peter Dinklage has been cast as McGee’s brainier-than-thou sidekick, Meyer, in this story that sends McGee “on the trail of stolen sapphires, which leads to a sadistic torturer.” Meanwhile, the lovely 20-year-old actress Nicola Peltz (Transformers: Age of Extinction) “will play a woman who acts older than she is, knows more about the sapphires than she lets on, hires McGee to find them, and ends up on the wrong side of the torturer.” This big-screener is currently scheduled for a 2016 debut. Oh, and did I mention that author Dennis Lehane is working on its screenplay?
• Lehane, whose new novel, World Gone By, has just seen print, is certainly a busy guy these days. As fellow author Craig Mcdonald writes: “Word on the street is Dennis Lehane is mounting a TV series about [former Untouchables investigator Eliot] Ness that will presumably come closer to the real and ‘touchable’ Ness than previous incarnations ever contemplated.” Ohio’s Cleveland Plain Dealer explains that Lehane is putting together a program “based on Douglas Perry’s 2014 biography, Eliot Ness: The Rise and Fall of an American Hero. The series will focus on the crime-fighter’s post-Untouchables years [in Cleveland] as public safety director, mayoral candidate, society swell, and alcoholic. Don’t get too excited, though,” remarks the newspaper’s book editor, Joanna Connors. “As Lehane cautioned last week, in a phone interview, the show still has many steps to take before you add it to your DVR lineup.”
• And before we leave the subject of John D. MacDonald, here’s a link to a post Peter Quinones wrote about the women appearing in the first four Travis McGee novels.
• The new James Bond film poster is downright uninspiring.
• Stephen King’s novel Joyland has already won a good deal of publicity, including critic Ali Karim’s choice of it, in January Magazine, as one of the best crime novels of 2013. However, paperback publisher Hard Case Crime--which previously also issued a hardcover limited edition of Joyland, with new frontal art by Robert McGinnis--has still more plans for King’s popular book. HCC announced yesterday that it will release an illustrated edition of Joyland in September 2015.
The acclaimed coming-of-age story set in a possibly haunted small-town amusement park spent more than 25 weeks on the New York Times Best-Seller List in paperback and e-book format. Aside from certain extremely limited editions for collectors, however, no hardcover edition of the book has ever been published. The new edition will feature a brand-new cover painting by popular Hard Case Crime artist Glen Orbik, whose other covers for the series include books by Gore Vidal and Michael Crichton; a map of the Joyland amusement park illustrated in the classic “mapback” style by Susan Hunt Yule; and more than twenty interior illustrations by acclaimed artists Robert McGinnis, Mark Summers, and Pat Kinsella.• Was Arthur Conan Doyle the victim of a police conspiracy?
• Paula Hawkins, author of the much talked-about novel The Girl on the Train, dropped a few hints to Entertainment Weekly about her next project: “It’s a similar genre [as that of Train] and it’s also going to be narrated by women, but a very different book. I haven’t really talked about this much because it’s quite a difficult thing to explain. Because it sounds weird. It’s got quite a gothic feel to it. It’s not about witch-hunting, I can tell you this. However, I wanted there to be something about women being accused of witchcraft. That didn’t happen much in the south of England. Mostly that happened in Scotland and the north. That part of England really lends itself to a dark and gothic and brooding novel, so it worked out. I’m not at the point where I’ve got an elevator pitch, as you can tell! But I’m working on it and I think that [the novel] will be out next year.”
• Since I recently interviewed novelist David Morrell for Kirkus Reviews (with part of our e-mail exchange spilling over into The Rap Sheet), my radar is still quite sensitive to stories about his work. So it was to be expected that I’d catch mention on Facebook of a forthcoming collector’s edition of First Blood, his 1972 debut novel and the story that introduced resourceful Vietnam War veteran John Rambo. On his Facebook author page, Morrell writes that Gauntlet Press will issue “a numbered edition of 500 signed copies and a lettered edition of 52 signed copies. The lettered edition includes everything that’s in the numbered edition, but it also has additional items: manuscript pages, research photographs, and 1972 publicity materials.” Gauntlet’s own site adds that, along with Borderlands Press, it “will publish special editions of the entire Rambo trilogy over the next three years.” Something to look forward to, indeed.
• So, as it turns out, I’ve been loading toilet paper the wrong my whole life. Inventor Seth Wheeler apparently had specific ideas about this when he applied for his patent in 1891.
• I’d pretty much forgotten the one-season TV spinoff, Law & Order: Los Angeles. But then Mystery*File reminded me of its passing.
• This is a most promising development: Publisher Altus Press has announced the premiere of its new line, The Argosy Library series, which will resurrect fiction originally featured in Argosy magazine (one of my grandfather’s favorite publications) or its sister periodicals, The All-Story, Flynn’s Detective Fiction Weekly, and others. Ten books at a time are set to be brought to market (in hardcover, paperback, and e-book versions), with the initial batch coming in May. As the press release for this venture phrases it, “The Argosy Library expects to showcase the varied mix of genres that made Argosy one of the most popular pulps of all time, and Series 1 does just that by showcasing adventure, mystery, Western, science fiction, fantasy, and crime stories by … authors such as Lester Dent, W. Wirt, Otis Adelbert Kline, W.C. Tuttle, George F. Worts, and Theodore Roscoe …” Click here to find the covers and write-ups about each volume.
• With his first book, On the Road With Del and Louise: A Novel in Stories, coming out this fall from Henery Press, Virginia author Art Taylor explores the “novel in stories” concept in this piece for the Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine blog.
• Who remembers Robert Loggia’s T.H.E. Cat?
• After revisiting the 1974-1975 ABC-TV crime drama Get Christie Love! during last month’s Classic Detective TV Blogathon (see his post here), Hal Horn of The Horn Section has apparently decided to stay on the GCL beat at least a while longer. Go here to read his review of the November 13, 1974, episode, “Downbeat for a Dead Man.” Personally, I’d be happy to see him write about all 24 regular episodes of that Teresa Graves series, though since there’s been no DVD release of the show, I suspect they’re hard to locate.
• Director Guy Ritchie’s big-screen version of The Man from U.N.C.L.E.--set to premiere this coming August--has evidently fiddled a bit with the back story of American secret agent Napoleon Solo (portrayed in the original 1960s TV series by Robert Vaughn). The Spy Command has that story.
• I’m intrigued to read that Portland, Oregon, author Evan Lewis has resurrected Dashiell Hammett’s The Continental Op for a story--the first in a new series--being published in the May 2015 edition of Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine. More here.
• Finally, it seems Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, who play Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson, respectively, in the BBC One TV series Sherlock, will--by some strange alchemy of storytelling--be sent back to Victorian England (Holmes’ traditional milieu) for a holiday special “likely set to air next Christmas.”