Oct 012014
 
• The best news of the day (so far): The British crime drama Inspector Lewis will return to PBS-TV’s Masterpiece Mystery! series this coming Sunday night, offering the first of three new episodes. The plot of that October 5 installment, “Entry Wounds,” is described this way: “Faced with a crime that bridges the worlds of neurosurgery, blood sports and animal rights, [newly promoted Detective Inspector James] Hathaway works his first case as DI with the help of his new partner, DS Lizzie Maddox [played by Angela Griffin]. [Robbie] Lewis, struggling to adapt to retired life, jumps at the chance to rejoin the force when Chief Superintendent Innocent seeks his help.” The program will begin at 9 p.m. Word is that this is the final season for Inspector Lewis, which means fans like me must appreciate it all the more. Learn more and watch a preview here.

• And it should be noted that following the run of those three Inspector Lewisepisodes, Masterpiece Mystery! will present Death Comes to Pemberley, a two-part adaptation of P.D. James’ novel of the same name. Wikipedia offers this synopsis of the show:
It is October, 1803, six years after the events in [Jane Austen’s] Pride and Prejudice which resulted in the marriage of Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy and Miss Elizabeth Bennet. One evening, on their way to Pemberley for a ball, an argument breaks out between George Wickham and Captain Denny in the carriage, with Wickham’s wife (and Elizabeth’s sister), Lydia, also present. The two leave the carriage in anger and disappear into the woodland, where two gunshots are heard. Upon hearing the news, Darcy sends out a search party and Wickham is found distraught and hysterical holding Denny’s body, blaming himself for his murder.
Death Comes to Pemberley will air on successive Sundays, October 26 and November 2, both nights beginning at 9 p.m. on PBS.

• Back in April I mentioned that publisher Titan was working on a handsome new volume highlighting the work of artist Robert McGinnnis. Well, that book--The Art of Robert E. McGinnis--is slated for release on October 28. In advance of that, I’m highlighting a month’s work of my favorite McGinnis paperback fronts in my Killer Covers blog. You can enjoy the series’ opening entry here.

• Anthony Horowitz, who has a new Sherlock Holmes novel, Moriarty, due out in Britain in October, has also been recruited to compose ‘the next adult James Bond continuation novel … The new book by Horowitz--a lifelong fan of Ian Fleming--will be set in the 1950s and will be unique among the modern James Bond novels, in that a section will contain previously unseen material written by [Ian] Fleming to which Horowitz has had exclusive access.” The book is due for worldwide release in September 2015.

• Mike Ripley is out with his latest “Getting Away with Murder” column for Shots. This month he writes about new novels by Martina Cole, C.J. Sansom, Colin Bateman, and Sergey Kuznetsov; a coming BBC-TV series featuring Agatha Christie’s Tommy and Tuppence; a new collection of short stories from Catherine Aird, and much more. Clickety-clack here to find all of Ripley’s news and drollery.

• I missed mentioning, on September 16, that it had been 30 years since the debut of the groundbreaking “TV cops” show, Miami Vice.

• In addition to the 50th anniversary of The Man from U.N.C.L.E.’s debut--a landmark celebrated right here--last week brought with it several events of particular interest to fans of that spy drama, all recapped in this post from The HMSS Weblog.

• Speaking of that blog, it has officially gone out on its own--with a brand-new logo--after half a dozen years of affiliation with the now-defunct Webzine Her Majesty’s Secret Servant. I’d like to wish managing editor Bill Koenig and his crew the best of luck with this next phase of their venture.

• Via Facebook comes the news that Seattle-area author Bernadette Pajer, who writes the Professor Bradshaw Mysteries, “has been awarded the M & M Grand Prize for Mystery & Mayhem Awards, a division of Chanticleer Blue Ribbon Writing Competitions.”

• Congratulations to Colin Dexter! The author of the Inspector Morse mysteries turned 84 years old this last Monday, September 29.

• As In Reference to Murder reports, the streaming video service Hulu “gave a straight-to-order series thumbs-up to an adaptation of Stephen King's time-travel thriller, 11/22/63, which offers up an alternate-reality take on the JFK assassination.”

• News has been trickling in all month about who will star in the second season of HBO-TV’s popular True Detective series. We heard first about Colin Ferrell and the perpetually goofy Vince Vaughn (an odd choice, if ever there was one) being signed to the project. More recently, Variety declared that lovely Rachel McAdams would join True Detective as well, along with Taylor Kitsch. Variety explains that next season’s episodes will be “set in California and [revolve] around three police officers and a career criminal who navigate a web of conspiracy in the aftermath of a murder. McAdams and Kitsch are expected to play cops alongside Farrell, while Vaughn plays the crime boss whose empire is threatened when his partner is murdered.”

Margaret Nolan, the now 70-year-old actress who played the role of Dink, James Bond’s masseuse, in the 1964 film Goldfinger--and also features in the distinctive opening sequence to that motion picture--is interviewed briefly by Peter Lorenz of the blog Illustrated 007, while SpyVibe focuses on her images from the film.

• While yet another new U.S. TV season is still rolling out, the terrific Web site Television Obscurities looks back at the series pilot projects--successful and not so--from 40 years ago, the 1974 season. Its list is broken down between the then Big 3 networks: ABC, CBS, and NBC. In addition to the shows that made it onto the air that year, such as The Rockford Files, Harry O, and Sons and Daughters, I remember hearing about--or better yet, seeing--many of the failed pilots, including those for Doctor Domingo, starring Desi Arnez; The Law, with Judd Hirsch; Honky Tonk, featuring Richard Crenna; Purvis, G-Man, starring Dale Robertson; McNeill, with Andy Griffith; and Planet Earth, headlined by John Saxon. Television has changed tremendously since that time, not always for the better. I used to enthusiastically keep track of what programs were in the works. Now I just find myself overwhelmed by too many viewing choices, a good number of which strive to insult my intelligence. Was television-watching better in ’74? Maybe, maybe not. But it was certainly simpler.

• The American Culture Web site features a fine look at Soho Syndicate’s reissuing of Ted Lewis’ three Jack Carter novels, including the 1970 classic Get Carter.

• I look forward to reading J. Sydney Jones’ forthcoming World War I thriller, The German Agent. It’s scheduled for publication on January 1 of next year--though because it’s coming from Severn House, it could be released anytime during December.

The sad case of literary critic Ed Champion.

This first trailer from the forthcoming movie Inherent Vice makes it look just as pleasantly weird as Thomas Pynchon’s 2009 novel of the same name. One reader of the book told me a while back that “it’s the only story I’ve ever read and felt stoned by the last page.” Inherent Vice hits theaters on December 12.

• Learn more about Inherent Vice from The Dissolve.

• Here are three interviews worth reading: Craig Sisterson talks with Aussie Garry Disher; Ben Boulden quizzes Ed Gorman about his Sam McCain series (Riders on the Storm); and Steve Hockensmith chit-chats with blogger Jen Forbus.

• It’s appalling to me that today’s Republicans appear determined to do whatever they can to steal affordable health-care insurance from millions of Americans in need, simply for ideological reasons.

• Well, how about that? “A nearly 100-year-old silent film version of ‘Sherlock Holmes’ starring famed Holmes thespian and American actor William Gillette has been discovered at the Cinémathèque Française, the French film archive announced Wednesday.”

• As part of its just-concluded series, “Classics in September,” the blog Crime Fiction Lover offered its choices of the best Sherlock Holmes novels not penned by Arthur Conan Doyle. Works by Nicholas Meyer, Michael Kurland, and Loren D. Estleman are included. If you missed checking out all of that blog’s month-long “Classics” series, you can still catch up with it here.

• And UK mystery-fiction authority Barry Forshaw profiles, if only briefly, the half-dozen authors who will be added as “Living Legends” this year to the Crime Writers’ Association’s Hall of Fame. I’m led to believe that a formal announcement of these inductions will be made during the Specsavers Crime Thriller Awards ceremony on Friday, October 24, in London.
Mar 032012
 

Whoops. I fell asleep thinking about a topic for today’s post. That doesn’t sound promising, does it? So. It’s late and I’ll be brief. And appropriately, I’ll take about midnight inspiration.

Most of us keep an ink pen and paper on the nightstand next to a phone in order to write down a message for someone else or a reminder or a telephone number. It’s a holdover from a bygone, primitive age, but it’s still a handy one. And for writers, it’s a method by which we can preserve that random idea, that bit of dream world flotsam or jetsam, which we write down at 3:16 AM, when it seems so clear, so brilliant, so worthy of preserving, an transform it the next day into what will no doubt become the spring board for a franchise on the order of Spenser or Dave Robicheaux or Raylan Givens. The problem which occurs more often than not, however, is that upon awakening, one discovers that the phrase, hurriedly scrawled on that piece of paper, turns out to be something on the order of “guy robs bank.”

If dream ideas worked, I would be James Patterson or something like them. I have heard apocryphal tales of unnamed authors who transformed such hastily scribbled nocturnal notes into literary gold. I’m not sure if they are true. Michael Mann, the story goes, was wide awake in his office, seated at his desk, when he wrote down the phrase “MTV COPS” on a notepad. It was the beginning of Miami Vice. I’ve written down such gems as “nosebleed” and “empty rooms” and “she’s a rabbit.” When I turn one of those feathers into gold, you’ll hear about it here first.

So…have you ever written anything down into the dead of night that turned into a novel or story over the course of the following several weeks and months? If not, can and will you share some of the phrases that seemed like such a great idea in the dead of night, but could not withstand the light of day?