• Peter James’ 2014 thriller, Want You Dead—his 10th Brighton-based novel starring Detective Superintendent Roy Grace–has been crowed eBook of the Year by the British supermarket chain Sainsbury’s, reports Shotsmag Confidential.
• Well, this is certainly a surprise! It seems 20th Century Fox has finally released the 1976 TV movie Sherlock Holmes in New York in DVD format. Somehow, I missed spotting this development in August, when the disc originally went on the market. If you are not familiar with the film, let me tell you that it starred Roger Moore (still early in his career playing James Bond) as Holmes, with the delightful Patrick Mcnee (formerly of The Avengers) appearing as Doctor John H. Watson and Charlotte Rampling (who back then was still recognized for her femme fatale turn in Farewell, My Lovely) cast as “the woman,” aka Irene Adler. The New York Times describes this flick’s plot thusly:
There is an affectionate bow to the master sleuth in this lavishly produced original that has Holmes rushing to New York City [in 1901] after discovering that his old nemesis, Moriarty, not only has kidnapped the son of his (Holmes’) long-time love, actress Irene Adler, but also has hatched a scheme to steal the world’s gold supply, squirreled away under Union Square in lower Manhattan.
Oh, I forgot to mention that director-actor John Huston fills the role here of Professor James Moriarty. If you would like to see the opening sequence from Sherlock Holmes in New York, I embedded it in this 2010 post. Needless to say, I have asked Santa for a copy of this picture. You can purchase your own right here.
• David J. Foster had more to say about Sherlock Holmes in New York in this 2012 post from his blog, Permission to Kill.
• While we’re on the subject of Holmes, note that Nick Cardillo has compiled a list of what he says are “The Top 10 Sherlock Holmes Pastiches (of All Time)” in The Consulting Detective. Part I includes Nicholas Meyer’s The Seven-Per-Cent Solution (one of my own favorites), while Part II leads with Edward B. Hanna’s The Whitechapel Horrors (a Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper yarn that I found quite unsatisfying). To each his own, as they say …
• Actor Kiefer Sutherland doesn’t sound at all optimistic about the future of his 24 protagonist, Jack Bauer. “Then again,” observes blogger Tanner, “he’s got a history of being a bit of a downer on the subject.’ So who really knows?
• It’s nice to see Gary Phillips out with a brand-new prose collection of stories featuring Nate Hollis, a Los Angeles private eye born in Phillips’ Vertigo Comics mini-series.
• Being a longtime Alistair MacLean follower, I was very pleased to see Vintage Pop Fictions’ recent look back at that author’s 1971 novel, Bear Island, which the blog says “generally seems to be regarded as the last of his really top-notch thrillers. … [I]t also includes most of the characteristic MacLean signatures.”
• Novelist and film scholar Jake Hinkson has a nice piece in the latest edition of Mystery Scene about sometimes controversial TV producer Roy Huggins, but he also offers up a post in Criminal Element synopsizing seven “noir holiday films.” “I’m not sure why there are so many noirs set around the holidays,” Hinkson writes, “but maybe it has something to do with seasonal depression. We all know that this time of year can be especially hard on people, when our usual American propensity toward surface cheer becomes something of a national obligation. After all, we quite literally force each other to be–or to appear to be–‘merry’ (which, when you think about it, is a weirdly antiquated word that we never use in any other context) and to conform to our national religion of positive thinking. All that forced good cheer just gives some folks the winter blues.”
• Valerie Plame, the CIA operative whose identity was leaked by the George W. Bush administration early in the last decade as part of retaliatory action against her ambassador husband, and has since re-created herself as a novelist (her latest book is Burned), complains to Salon that most of today’s fictional women spies are terrible. “I wanted to develop a strong female CIA character,” Plame says. “Because what’s out there is just insane. It’s just eye-rolling. They’re sexy. They’re eye candy. They’re good with guns. But it has nothing to do with how intelligence is realistically collected.”
• I’m sorry to see International Crime Authors Reality Check closing up shop after more than five years. Fortunately, the blog will remain extant as an accessible archive.
• I also can’t help but shed a tear at the news that legendary Mad magazine cartoonist Jack Davis has finally decided to retire … at age 90. My father was a huge fan of Davis’ work, and I’ve highlighted the cartoonist’s talents at least once in The Rap Sheet. More of his artistic efforts can be enjoyed here. (Hat tip to Illustration Art.)
• Finally, The Huffington Post’s list of 23 classic books that are so short “you have no excuse not to read them” includes Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep, Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles, and Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Phew! Been there, done those.