Jan 222015
William F. Deeck

ZELDA POPKIN – Death Wears a White Gardenia. J. B. Lippincott, hardcover, 1938. Red Arrow Books #5, digest-sized paperback. 1939. Dell #13, paperback, 1943.

   Mary Carner, department-store detective, appeared in five books, of which this is the first. At least in this novel, the store is Jeremiah Blankfort and Company in New York City, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary with an appearance by the Governor’s wife.

   Also adding to the festivities is the discovery of a corpse that turns out to have been Andrew McAndrew, credit manager of Blankfort’s and a chap, it would appear, given to blackmailing married customers who charge items for their girl friends. He also had his own girl friends, one of whom is carrying his child.

   The suspects are limited to those who were working in the store the previous evening before the anniversary celebration, but that is nonetheless a rather large number. McAndrew’s fed-up wife and brother-in-law and a junky but talented shoplifter add to the total.

   Mary Carner is convinced that the murder was committed by an employee of Blankfort’s. That part of the investigation is stymied since the store’s owner will not allow the employees to be questioned until the sale day is over. This is, after all, still in the depths of the Depression, and the department store’s finances are rather rocky.

   Better than Spencer Dean’s department-store mysteries, but not much better. One hopes that Popkin improved in her later novels.

— Reprinted from The MYSTERY FANcier, Vol. 12, No. 1, Winter 1990.

       The Mary Carner (Whittaker) series –

Death Wears a White Gardenia. Lippincott, 1938.
Murder in the Mist. Lippincott, 1940.

Time Off for Murder. Lippincott, 1940.
Dead Man’s Gift. Lippincott, 1941.

No Crime for a Lady. Lippincott, 1942.

   Zelda Popkn wrote two other works of crime fiction, So Much Blood (Lippincott, 1944), and A Death of Innocence (Lippincott, 1971) which was the basis of a TV movie of the same title. (CBS, 1971 with Shelley Winters and Arthur Kennedy).

   For more on the author herself, here’s a link to her Wikipedia page.

 Posted by at 9:25 pm
Jan 222015

Click on the image above to find a pretty cool graphic showing how Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous fictional sleuth, Sherlock Holmes, has been presented--in print, as well as on stage screen--over the last 128 years. The illustration was prepared for The Doyle Collection of international hotels to celebrate the Museum of London’s Holmes exhibition, on display until April 12, 2015.

No, I am not copying Jeff.

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Jan 222015

1. I will not follow your cat.

2. I will not follow you just because you follow me.

3. I will feel free to post about my authors and their books.

4. I assume you will feel free to ignore me if you don't want to read stuff like that.

5. I will use attempt to use Twitter occasionally.

6. I post about my kids a lot. And food. Cause those two things are very important to me. Picture day boys

7. I will block you if you are rude to me, or only friend request me so that you can submit a manuscript. (If you don’t have an agent, you cannot submit to me unless I have met you at a conference and I have asked you to send me your ms.)

8. I don’t always understand satire and where the line is drawn. Too often it’s just plain hurtful.

9. I didn’t watch the state of the union because politics tend to get me all riled up. Besides, I had my kids and we watched Mr Peabody and Sherman, a movie I absolutely love.

10. I have not seen Selma yet, but I am sure I will.

11. I WILL follow some people I know to be fictional, if they're entertaining about it.

12. I love baseball, but don’t post about it much.

13. I love snow days and spending time on the couch reading or watching movies.  

14. I will post about television, movies, sports, the Green Bay Packers, depression, LGBT issues, current events, and things other than my authors. If you don’t like it, go away. It’s ok. I don’t mind at all. 517

15. I am excited for May so I can see Pitch Perfect 2, Spy, and Avengers 2.

16. I will check my Twitter account once or twice a month. Unless I am at a conference.

17. I don’t understand Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited and I don’t want to. It still irks me that when you buy and ebook, you don’t actually own it.

18. Sometimes I swear. A lot.

19. I will try to remember to blog every Thursday… but I do have a terrible memory.

20. I do not pay much attention to the number of followers I have. I actively unfollow people whom I do not know personally.

21. Did I mention that I like to promote my authors? Because I do that. A lot.

22. I don’t get a chance to read for pleasure these days. When I do, I am either reading classics (Patricia Highsmith) or non-fiction.

23. I sometimes cry at work. Mostly because I am reading a manuscript and the author has sucked me in and manipulated my emotions.

24. I think that books make the best presents ever. Well, books and vodka. Wait, books and vodka and cookies. Yeah, that’s a great gift basket.

25. No. I'm still not following your cat.

pattinase 2015-01-22 16:20:00

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Jan 222015

HomeAnti-Heroes: A panel discussion with Adam Sternbergh, Emily Nussbaum, A.O Scott, and Megan Abbott

01/27/2015 7:00 pm 
Former New York Magazine Culture Editor Adam Sternbergh will celebrate the release of NEAR ENEMY, the dynamite follow-up to his beloved debut SHOVEL READY, and another  lean noir thriller which returns us to a half-deserted New York dystopia, to the adventures of garbage-man turned unvarnished psychopath, Spademan, and to a corrupt, crime-ridden vision of the future far more plausible than we might think.

Join Sternbergh for a discussion of  the role and relevance of the anti-hero in fiction and TV—with Emily Nussbaum (New Yorker TV critic), A.O. Scott (NYT film critic), and author Megan Abbott (The Fever).


Now available: How the West Was Written, Vol. 2 (1907-1915)

How the West Was Written continues the chronology of western writers that began in the first volume with Mary Hallock Foote's The Led-Horse Claim (1883). Here is a short description of the new volume from its introduction: 

During the years 1907–1915, frontier fiction boomed with new writers, and the success of Owen Wister’s The Virginian (1902) began to make itself felt in their work. That novel had made the bestseller lists for two years running. With the continued popularity of Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West show, and the appearance of one-reeler westerns on movie screens, many featuring the adventures of Bronco Billy Anderson, the cowboy hero was becoming an established mythic figure in the public imagination. 

New writers capitalizing on this interest begin to emerge in numbers and include Zane Grey, Dane Coolidge, Charles Alden Seltzer, William MacLeod Raine, and Eugene Manlove Rhodes. Fans of cowboy westerns will find this book's discussion of these storytellers of particular interest.
Meanwhile, for writers of popular fiction, the frontier was also a subject for exploring ideas drawn from current public discourse—ideas about character and villainy, women’s rights, romance and marriage, democracy and government, capitalism, race and social boundaries, and the West itself. With each new publication, they participated as well in an ongoing forum for how to write about the West and how to tell western stories.
Taken together, the chapters of this book describe for modern-day readers and writers the origins of frontier fiction and the rich legacy it has left us as a genre. It is also a portal into the past, for it offers a history of ideas as preserved in popular culture of a century ago that continues to claim an audience today.

Currently available at amazon for kindle and in paperback. Also in paper at Createspace. Order both volumes from amazon here.
Jan 222015
Mutants Amok #3: Rebel Attack, by Mark Grant June, 1991  Avon Books The Mutants Amok series continues to be a gross-out splatterfest of gore, projectile vomiting, explicit sex, and literal shit eating with this third volume, which once again sees author David Bischoff (ie “Mark Grant”) not taking his material seriously in the least. Rebel Attack picks up soon after the previous volume, but
Jan 222015

WILLIAM HEUMAN – The Range Buster. Gold Medal 429. Paperback original; 1st printing, 1954; 2nd printing, Gold Medal 944, 1959.

   Sometimes it is difficult to find a hook with which to start a review, and this is one of those times. The Range Buster is a totally average western, but one that starts with a bang — Cole Faraday, fresh up from Texas to claim his dead brother’s ranch, is shot at from the house by someone inside with a rifle — and never really lets up until it’s over, with Cole having just prevailed over the bad guys — at great physical damage to himself — and getting the girl he never knew he was dreaming of all those years he making a living alone.

   What he finds that he’s walking into is a situation that always seems to arise when two big ranchers are competing for a smaller piece of land that has steady source of water — his brother’s — a feud that threatens all of the other smaller ranchers farther down the valley.

   Cole Faraday, skilled with a gun as well as mightily laconic with words, could be played by Clint Eastwood. The owner of one of the big ranches could be played by Lee J. Cobb, while the boss of the Pine Tree, Thalia Mulvane — a tough-minded but outwardly honest woman — well, if Ava Gardner ever was a blonde, she’d fit the part perfectly.

   Playing the gunhand who seems to have a grudge against Cole from the start, none other than Lee Marvin. The other girl, young and wholesome, whom Cole is attracted to, perhaps Gloria Talbot, while Stub McKay, the only remaining cowboy on Cole’s brother’s ranch, well why not Stubby Kaye

   Besides a western, and a solid one at that, William Heuman’s story is also both a romance (see above) and a detective story. Who killed Cole’s brother, or rather, perhaps, who was he working for? The result is not spectacular in any sense, but as you can tell, it might make for a fairly good movie.

Bibliographic Notes:   William Heuman’s career in writing western fiction began with the pulp magazines, circa 1944, but when the pulps began to die out and Gold Medal came along, offering writers a new option, the paperback original, Heuman jumped on board almost immediately.

   Here’s tentative list of his work for Gold Medal:

Guns at Broken Bow, 1950.
Hunt the Man Down, 1951.
Roll the Wagons, 1951.
Red Runs the River, 1951.
Secret of Death Valley, 1952.
Keelboats North, 1953.
On to Santa Fe, 1953.
The Range Buster, 1954.
Ride for Texas, 1954.
Wagon Train West, 1955.
Stagecoach West, 1957.
Violence Valley, 1957.
Heller from Texas, 1957.

   Following and during his output from Gold Medal, Heuman continued writing westerns in paperback for Ace and Avon along with hardcovers for Avalon, many of those probably reprinted in paperback also.

 Posted by at 1:12 am
Jan 212015



Ed here: I have a special affection for Cut Me in. I'd been reading a lot of literary writer Harry Crews when I started (and finished) my first mystery novel. Crews said writers should choose a book of the type you're working on and take it apart. Write out the plot, list all the characters and note all the turns and twists. Crews did this with Graham Greene. I used Ed McBain's Cut Me In because I was writing a novel
about murder in an advertising agency. So was McBain. I sold it.
Thanks Harry and thanks Ed. 

Unavailable For More than 50 Years

New York, NY; London, UK (January 21, 2015) – Hard Case Crime, the award-winning line of pulp-styled crime novels from editor Charles Ardai and publisher Titan Books, will publish two lost novels by best-selling crime novelist Ed McBain, creator of the legendary “87th Precinct” series and recipient of the Mystery Writers of America’s prestigious Grand Master Award. Both books were originally published in the 1950s under other names (neither was ever credited to Ed McBain), and both have been unavailable for more than 50 years.
SO NUDE, SO DEAD was McBain’s first crime novel and tells the story of a piano prodigy turned heroin addict who wakes up in a seedy hotel room to find his companion of the night before – a beautiful singer and fellow addict – murdered in bed beside him. On the run from the police and growing desperate for a fix, he has to find the real killer or face a date with the electric chair. 
CUT ME IN is the story of a New York literary agent who is forced to play private detective when his widely loathed, philandering partner is shot to death in his office. Was the killer one of the women the dead man was sleeping with? Or was the motive for his murder tied up with the contract for a lucrative television deal that’s missing from the office safe…? The book offers a dark and sexy crime story mixed with a pull-no-punches satire of the Manhattan business world in the pre-MAD MEN era, informed by McBain’s own personal experiences working in an ethically dubious literary agency early in his career.
Hard Case Crime will publish SO NUDE, SO DEAD July 14, 2015, with a brand new cover painting in the classic pulp style by award-winning illustrator Gregory Manchess. The same month, Hard Case Crime will also re-issue its one previous McBain title, THE GUTTER AND THE GRAVE, for the first time ever in trade paperback format. CUT ME IN is scheduled for a January 12, 2016 publication and will feature a new cover by legendary painter Robert McGinnis.
As a special bonus, each of the three books will also include a long-lost private-eye novelette by McBain starring Matt Cordell, the detective from THE GUTTER AND THE GRAVE. These three novelettes were originally published in pulp magazines of the 1950s and haven’t been seen in more than half a century.
“We were fortunate to get to work with Ed McBain at the very end of his life on THE GUTTER AND THE GRAVE, and we’ve been looking for a way to bring readers more of his work ever since,” said Charles Ardai. “We were thrilled to discover these terrific early works, which essentially no one alive today has ever read. It’s like having two new McBain novels – a huge treat for his millions of fans.”
About Hard Case Crime
Called “the best new American publisher to appear in the last decade” by Neal Pollack in The Stranger, Hard Case Crime has been nominated for and/or won numerous honors since its inception including the Edgar, the Shamus, the Anthony, the Barry, and the Spinetingler Award.  The series’ books have been adapted for television and film, with two features currently in development at Universal Pictures, a TV series based on Max Allan Collins’ Quarry novels in development by Cinemax, and the TV series Haven in its fifth season on SyFy.  Recent Hard Case Crime titles include Stephen King’s #1 New York Times bestseller, Joyland; James M. Cain’s lost final novel, The Cocktail Waitress; a series of eight lost novels written by Michael Crichton under the pseudonym “John Lange”; and Brainquake, the final novel of writer/filmmaker Samuel Fuller. Hard Case Crime is published through a collaboration between Winterfall LLC and Titan Publishing Group. www.hardcasecrime.com
About Titan Publishing Group
Titan Publishing Group is an independently owned publishing company, established in 1981, comprising three divisions: Titan Books, Titan Magazines/Comics and Titan Merchandise.  Titan Books, nominated as Independent Publisher of the Year 2011, has a rapidly growing fiction list encompassing original fiction and reissues, primarily in the areas of science fiction, fantasy, horror, steampunk and crime. Recent crime and thriller acquisitions include Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins’ all-new Mike Hammer novels, the Matt Helm series by Donald Hamilton, and the entire backlist of the Queen of Spy Writers, Helen MacInnes.  Titan Books also has an extensive line of media- and pop culture-related non-fiction, graphic novels, and art and music books. The company is based at offices in London, but operates worldwide, with sales and distribution in the U.S. and Canada being handled by Random House.  www.titanbooks.com  
Katharine Carroll 
Jan 212015
“Boston as a city is not known for being overly kind. It has a hard-knuckled introspective manner to it, uniquely Northeastern. So it’s a perfect place for ambiguity and deception, a locale where corruption and violence can take effect.”

- Douglas Purdy tells us why he and co-writer Thomas O’Malley selected Boston as the setting for their new noir novel, Serpents in the Cold.