I'm hosting Friday's Forgotten Books today so that Patti Abbott can spend the week working on the copy edits for her new novel Concrete Angel, to be published by Polis Books later this year. At the end of this post, you'll find all the links for the other FFB offerings from around the blogosphere today.
But first, a look at English mystery writer William Edward Vickers (1889-1965), who was best known under his pen name Roy Vickers, although he also wrote under the names David Durham, Sefton Kyle, and John Spencer. Biographical details are a bit sketchy, but Vickers worked as a salesman, court reporter and magazine editor in addition to penning nonfiction articles. He also found some success as a ghostwriter and as a crime reporter for a newspaper.
He found his literary stride when he published his short story, "The Rubber Trumpet," the first of over three dozen stories originally published in Pearson's Magazine and featuring the fictitious Department of Dead Ends division of Scotland Yard (a precursor to TV's Cold Case, if you will). Many of these are inverted mysteries, with the crime and perpetrators being known and the crime solved as much by luck and perseverance than brilliant detection. He also edited several anthologies for the Crime Writers' Association.
The central sleuth in Vickers' Department of Dead Ends stories started as being Superintendent Tarrant and in the later stories switched to Inspector Rason. However, Vickers also wrote eight novels in a more traditional procedural style featuring Detective-Inspector Peter Curwen. Find the Innocent was the final Curwen installment, published in 1959. He's described by one character as being "large, rotund and homely, looking like a successful local auctioneer who contemplates retirement."
Three scientists, Eddis, Stranack and Canvey, are all suspects in the murder of their employer, Mr. "WillyBee" Brengast, who had refused to grant them royalties on their inventions. The trio work and live together at WillyBee Products Ltd., yet they detest one another. Each man gives the same story to the police—each claims the same alibi, that he was the one to stay behind alone with the victim while the other two men went into town together. It's obvious to Inspector Curwen that one man must be guilty and the other two abetting, but which is which? Complicating matters are the victim's beautiful young widow whose one-night stand with one of the scientists plays a key role, and the victim's brainy niece who "helps" Inspector Curwen while falling for another of the suspects.
I've not read much of Vickers' output, but I came across one criticism that his novels paled in comparison to his stories, and I think I can understand why that might be the case. The premise of Find the Innocent is promising—three suspects who give the same story with little or no evidence to prove or disprove which one is guilty—but I think the novel (novella, actually, as it's on the short side) would have worked even better as a shorter story.
Vickers ultimately wrote close to 70 novels under his various pseudonyms, as well as the dozens of stories published in Pearson's and in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine. He was inducted in Britain's famed The Detection Club in 1955. Unfortunately very few of his works are in print today. The Black Dagger Crime Series reprinted Find the Innocent in 2001, but it's hard to find a copy of the 1959 original, unless you're willing to fork over $275 or more for a first edition online.
THIS WEEK'S FFB LINKS:
Les Blatt – At 1:30 by Isabel Ostrander (1915)
David Cranmer – Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov (1962)
Bill Crider – The Star Treasure by Keith Laumer (1971)
Jose Cruz and Peter Enfantino – The Pre-Code Horror Comics Volume Two
Martin Edwards – Criminal Sentences by Steve Haste (1997)
Barry Ergang via Kevin Tipple – Wicked Women ed. Lee Wright (1960)
Curt Evans – Goddess of Death by Michael Underwood (1982)
Shonna Froebel – The Sacred Cut by David Hewson (2006)
Glenn Harper – Two Soldiers by Anders Roslund and Borge Hellström (2012; English 2014)
Rich Horton – A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs (1912)
Jerry House – Jonah Hex: Riders of the Worm and Such by Joe R. Lansdale (1995)
Randy Johnson – The Bedroom Bolero by Michael Avallone (1963)
TracyK – Villain by Shuichi Yoshida (2007)
George Kelley – Triplanetary by E.E. Smith (1934)
Margo Kinberg – The Killing of Emma Gross by Damien Seaman (2013)
Rob Kitchin – My Soul to Take by Yrsa Sigurðardóttir (2009)
Kate Laity - Ride the Pink Horse by Dorothy B. Hughes (1946)
Evan Lewis – The Evil Star by John Spain a/k/a Cleve F. Adams (1944)
Nik Morton - Mission by Patrick Tilley (1981)
Steve Nester via The Rap Sheet – Epitaph For A Dead Beat, by David Markson (1972)
John F. Norris - Darkest Death by Ralph Stevenson (1964)
Erica Obey – Darkness at Pemberley by T.H. White (1932)
John O’Neil – Galaxy Science Fiction, June 1952
James Reasoner – The Man from Scotland Yard by Maxwell Grant a/k/a Walter B. Gibson (1935)
Richard Robinson – A Six-Letter Word for Death by Patricia Moyes (1983)
Peter Rozovsky – Hot Rock by Donald Westlake (2001)
R.T. – Dekok and the Dead Harlequin by A.C. Baantjer (2009)
Ron Scheer - Texas Showdown by Elmer Skelton (2007 reissue)
Bill Selnes - The Mao Case by Qiu Xiaolong (2010)
Craig Sisterson – The Silent Hour by Michael Koryta (2009)
Kerrie Smith – Closed for Winter by Jørn Lier Horst (2011)
TomCat – Alias Basil Willing by Helen McCloy (1951)
David Vineyard via Steve Lewis – I’ll Call Every Monday by Orrie Hitt (1954)
Rich Westwood – The Hand in the Dark by Arthur J. Rees (1920)
James Winter – Calypso and Ghosts by Ed McBain (1979, 1980)
Left Coast Crime 2015 announced the nominees in four categories that will be handed out at the 25th annual LCC convention in Portland in mid-March, including The Lefty for best humorous mystery novel, a tradition since 1996. Others this year include the Bruce Alexander Memorial Historical Mystery Award, The Rose, for the best mystery novel set in the LCC region, and The Rosebud, for the best first mystery novel set anywhere in the world.
If you're in London on February 5, you'll have an opportunity to attend The Guardian Book Club event featuring Booker winning novelist John Banville discussing Raymond Chandler’s iconic private detective, Philip Marlowe.
The latest Mystery Writers of America University heads to Boston on Valentine's Day, only this event is the first ever "2.0 Version," a new format designed for people who've already completed the original MWAU program or anyone wanting a bigger challenge. Jess Lourey will teach a class on the special problems of writing genre fiction; Louis Bayard has tips on handling backstory and multiple timelines; Julie Hyzy bring ideas for creating unforgettable supporting characters; and Allison Gaylin has the secret to creating suspense. In the afternoon, editors, agents, and authors will lead small-group critiques. For more information, check out the MWA website. Registration is limited to the first 100 people who register.
More sad news to report, with the passing of the prolific Scottish mystery writer Gerald Hammond. Paul Bishop has a remembrance of the author best known for his two mystery series characters: Gunsmith Keith Calder, and Three Oaks dog kennel owner John Cunningham.
The folks behind the Killer Nashville conference are set to launch a new monthly international online magazine in February, which is described as a "magazine by writers as a voice for writers."
Publishers Weekly reported on "The Hottest (and Coldest) Book Categories of 2014," taken from a survey of print books at outlets that report to Nielsen BookScan. Although Mystery/Detective and Suspense/Thrillers had small decreases (4%, 9%), they were still among the top bestselling categories in adult print fiction.
Criminal Elements makes note of the early 20th-century actor who saved Sherlock Holmes, and no, it's not Basil Rathbone.
The new edition of Crime Review this week includes 16 reviews and Simon Kernick in the Countdown interview hot seat.
The latest crime poem at the 5-2 is "The Great Steak Heist at Trenton High" by Nancy Scott.
Need something to keep you warm and entertained during winter weather? Bookriot has a variety of "books and tea inspired swag that will make your heart go all soft and fuzzy."
In the Q&A roundup this week, Omnimystery News welcomes cozy mystery author Dianne Harman, procedural writer Valeria Wenderoth, and former police officer/author BJ Bourg; Lee Matthew Goldberg takes Paul D. Brazill's "Short, Sharp Interview" challenge to discuss his debut novel Slow Down, just published by New Pulp Press; Zoe Sharp and Antti Tuomainen both stopped by Crime Watch for a 9mm Interview; Lisa Gardner explained to the Huffington Post how she got started writing at such a young age; Swedish crime writer Hakan Nesser spoke bout why why he is not a political writer and why turning to the real life crime in Sweden for ideas is futile; and Craig Johnson was roped in by The Mystery People.
Congratulations to all the film and television winners of the Screen Actors Guild Awards handed out last night in Los Angeles. For the complete list, check out the SAG awards website.
The complete version of a rare narrative film from 1919 starring fabled escape artist Harry Houdini has been rescued and restored and will soon see the light of day on Turner Classic Movies. Titled The Grim Game, Houdini plays a young man who is framed for murder, escapes from the police and goes after the gang of men who framed him.
Starz Digital Media has acquired all North American rights to Jay Martin’s crime thriller 7 Minutes, to be released this summer. Starring Luke Mitchell, Jason Ritter, Leven Rambin (The Hunger Games), Kris Kristofferson and Zane Holtz, the film follows three men forced by circumstance to commit a brazen robbery. But as each minute of the event unfolds, their simple plan goes awry and becomes a dangerous game of life and death.
The distributor Kino Lorber has acquired North American rights to the South Korean thriller A Hard Day. According to Deadline, the film centers on homicide detective Geon-soo Go who receives a divorce notice from his wife, his mother passes away, and he becomes the focus of a police investigation over alleged embezzlement, all within 24 hours. On his way to his mother’s funeral, he commits a fatal hit and run and then tries to cover it up by hiding the man’s corpse in his deceased mother’s coffin. But when he gets a mysterious call from a person claiming to be the sole witness of the crime, he realizes someone has been watching him all along.
A trailer was released for Michael Almereyda's film Anarchy, described as a a modern-day adaptation of William Shakespeare's Cymbeline. The film is set in contemporary Americand and stars Milla Jovovich, Ed Harris, Dakota Johnson, Penn Badgley, Anton Yelchin, Ethan Hawke, John Leguizamo and Bill Pullman in a battle between dirty cops and a drug dealing biker gang.
PBS announced a couple of additional new offerings for 2015, including Arthur & George, which stars Martin Clunes (Doc Martin) as world-famous author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The three-part adaptation of Julian Barnes’ acclaimed novel will follows the separate but intersecting lives of two very different men: a half-Indian son of a vicar who is framed for a crime he may or may not have committed, and Doyle, who investigates the case.
Fans of Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch series, who've been (not so patiently) waiting for Amazon Prime's television adaptation, don't have to wait much longer. The series starring Titus Welliver as Bosch will premiere February 13 on Amazon Prime Instant Video in the USA, the UK, and Germany. (Hat tip to Crimespree.)
Harlan Coben is set to write his first original TV script, The Five, which follows a circle of friends and their shared experience of a tragic accident. It's slated to air on the British network Sky Living in late 2015.
Fox has hired Richard Shepard to direct Rosewood, a procedural written/executive produced by Todd Harthan (Psych). The show follows brilliant Dr. Beaumont Rosewood, Jr., the top private pathologist in Miami who owns one of most sophisticated, state-of-the-art independent labs in the country and finds secrets in bodies others usually miss.
Emmy Award-winning writer/showrunner René Balcer (Law & Order: Criminal Intent) is spearheading a new project titled The Council. The one-hour international thriller for the CBC woven around a murder in a remote Canadian Arctic town that turns into an international conspiracy to control the vast natural resources of the Arctic.
Showtime is developing a crime drama titled Lonely Hearts Killers, based on the true story of a 1940s sexy, violent grifter and a quiet, love starved Dairy Plant employee on a cross-country crime spree, seducing and murdering as many as 20 women.
NBC gave the go-ahead to the pilot Game Of Silence, from Carol Mendelsohn (CSI). Based on the Turkish drama Suskunlar, it's about a rising attorney on the brink of success who could lose his perfectly crafted life when long-lost childhood friends threaten to expose a dark secret from their violent past.
In more pilot news from the Peacock Network, NBC handed out a pilot order to the drama Endgame, described as a high-octane thriller set in the high stakes world of Las Vegas where a former sniper turned security expert gets drawn into a mysterious conspiracy; and also Blindspot, centering on a beautiful woman with amnesia found naked in Times Square, her body fully covered in intricate tattoos, which leads the FBI to use the road map on her body to reveal a larger criminal conspiracy.
Meanwhile, ABC's new pilot orders include Quantico, described as "Grey's Anatomy meets Homeland"; Runner, which centers on the traditionally masculine world of arms dealing through the unexpected lens of a woman; and L.A. Crime, a true-crime procedural "that explores sex, politics and popular culture across various noteworthy eras in L.A. history."
Fox greenlighted a pilot for an American remake of the popular BBC procedural Luther, which originally starred Idris Elba, who will executive-produce the pilot.
If it worked once, do it again - following November's three-way crossover episode between Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D. and Law & Order: SVU, the three NBC dramas will be joining forces again later this season. Chicago Fire/P.D. showrunner Matt Olmstead teased a few details: "There's a Ted Bundy-esque character who hunted in New York and hunted in Chicago, and it's the pursuit of a character like that."
Showtime Networks bought the rights to Dreamcatcher, the Sundance premiere documentary about former Chicago prostitute-turned-advocate Brenda Myers-Powell and her efforts to fight the sexual exploitation of at-risk youth.
A trailer was released for the third season of Hannibal, with Will (Hugh Dancy) desperately tracking the whereabouts of Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen).
NPR reporter Martin Scholz talked with internationally best-selling author Henning Mankell (of the Wallander series) about his writing and the "catastrophe of cancer" in his battle with the disease.
Open Road Media posted a video of Rand Lee, son of Manfred Lee, talking about his famous father who was one half of the creative team behind Ellery Queen.
Henry Slesar (1927-2002) was an American author, playwright, and copywriter, and I think it's say to say he was prolific. Around 1955, he started to write short stories while working as a copywriter and eventually created 500 stories for magazines like Playboy, Imaginative Tales, and Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine. The latter was particularly appropriate, becasue Slesar went on to become a frequent contributor to the popular Alfred Hitchcock Presents TV series. He also served as head writer for CBS Daytime's The Edge of Night, for which he won an Emmy in 1974, and penned scripts for The Twilight Zone, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and Batman.
It wasn't until 1959 that he tried his hand at a novel, The Grey Flannel Shroud, an effort that turned out to be as successful as his many other endeavors, receiving the Edgar Award for Best First Novel in 1960. Slesar was an experienced ad man, credited with being the brains behind McGraw-Hill's extremely popular "The Man in the Chair" advertising campaign, as well as coining the phrase "coffee break." Thus it's no surprise that advertising is at the heart of the plot in The Grey Flannel Shroud.
In the novel, Dave Robbins is a a handsome young account manager at a small Madison Avenue agency who is put in charge of the prestigious Burke Baby Food account. He'd only gotten the job due to a colleague's heart attack and now he finds himself fending off the unwelcome attentions of an influential client and the scorn of the head of the Burke empire. Things take a turn for the bizzare when people connected to the Burke Baby account begin to die in strange ways. Dave soon worries he's next, a suspicion given weight by a near-fatal push off a train platform and poisoned medication.
Aided by a reporter friend/drinking buddy and Dave's clever and gutsy girlfriend, Janey Hagerty, an art director at the agency, Dave tries to navigate his complicated love life and the promising Burke account career-booster, while trying to figure out why the boss's confidential files include an unexplained and large payment to the mysterious "A.G." And why being put in charge of the Burke account may end up being the very last thing he ever does.
The Grey Flannel Shroud isn't heavy on the sleuthing, but if you're a fan of Mad Men, you'll see a lot of the essence of that era in the advertising world in this novel. There's plenty of character development and also whimsy—such as the chapter headings, all of which are taken from famous advertising campaigns.
Mystery Writers of America just announced the nominees for the 2015 Edgar Allan Poe Awards, honoring the best in mystery fiction, non-fiction and television. The Edgar® Awards will be presented to the winners at the 69th Gala Banquet, April 29, 2015 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, New York City.
BEST FIRST NOVEL BY AN AMERICAN AUTHOR
BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINAL
BEST FACT CRIME
BEST SHORT STORY
BEST YOUNG ADULT
BEST TELEVISION EPISODE TELEPLAY
ROBERT L. FISH MEMORIAL AWARD
"Getaway Girl" – Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine By Zoë Z. Dean (Dell Magazines)
ELLERY QUEEN AWARD
Charles Ardai, Editor & Founder, Hard Case Crime
THE SIMON & SCHUSTER - MARY HIGGINS CLARK AWARD
The Love is Murder conference announced the finalists of the Lovey Awards in various categories. Janet Rudolph posted an at-a-glance listing on Mystery Fanfare.
The application deadline for the Helen McCloy/MWA scholarship is coming up on February 28. The award is intended to nurture talent in mystery writing (fiction, nonfiction, playwriting and screenwriting) and to offset tuition and fees for writing classes, seminars and writing programs. You don't have to be a member of MWA to apply. For more information and how to apply, check out the Mystery Writers of American website.
The Guardian's Book Club will feature novelist John Banville discussing Raymond Chandler’s iconic private detective, Philip Marlowe on February 5 at London's The Tabernacle.
Peter Porco, writing for the Alaska Dispatch News, penned an essay about a then-Cpl. Dashiell Hammett during WWII and his time spent in the Aluetians working on the newspaper The Adakian for the troops. His paper "gave its readers more news of the war than military readers at other posts got and delivered it to them a lot sooner."
Author and librarian Rob Lopresti has started a new crime fiction blog he's calling "Today in Mystery History."
The multi-author blog Mystery Lovers Kitchen has added a new blogger to their roster, Leslie Budewitz, who writes the Food Lovers Village Mysteries.
Hat tip to Clare Toohey for taking note of the brand-new anthology 10-CODE, the first collection of stories written by real-life cops honoring officers killed in the line of duty. All proceeds benefit the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund in Washington, D.C.
Marilynne Robinson wrote an essay on Edgar Allan Poe for The New York Review of Books, calling "a turbulence, an anomaly among the major American writers of his period, an anomaly to this day."
James Patterson is offering up a special edition of his new novel Private Vegas: it will include a five-course dinner with the author, gold binoculars – and a very limited time to read it because it will self-destruct 24 hours after the purchaser starts reading. And all you need is to bid on this offer is $300,000.
You can grab the latest issue of All Due Respect for your Kindle. Editors Chris Rhatigan and Mike Monson have gathered new noir stories from Steve Weddle, Joe Sinisi, Paul Brazill, Gabino Iglesias, Angel Luis Colón, Garnett Elliott, and Keith Rawson.
Fans of print books will rejoice to hear a Nielsen BookScan survey found unit sales of print books in the U.S. rose 2.4 percent in 2014, an increase largely driven by retail and club sales, which were up 3.4 percent last year. The UK's Waterstones bookstore chain also reported an increase in print book sales last year.
We lost another mystery author too soon, with the death of Sharon Zukowski, who was only 60. She authored several mystery novels, including a series featuring private investigator Blaine Stewart.
The latest crime poem at the 5-2 is "Up and Down at the Empire State Building" by Bruce Harris.
The Q&A roundup includes W.E.B. Griffin chatting with the Huffington Post, who has published over 40 lilitary and detective fiction novels (under that name), about his latest work The Assassination Option; British poet and mystery novelist Sophie Hannah stopped by the Huffington Post to discuss her latest book The Carrier; other HuffPo guests included Tami Hoag, talking about her new work, Cold Cold Heart, and James Grippando, chatting about his new legal thriller, Cane and Abe; Danish crime writer Jakob Melander stopped by Nordic Style Magazine with a behind-the-scenes look at his debut novel, The House That Jack Built; and Mette Ivie Harrison was snared by The Mystery People to talk about her novel The Bishop’s Wife, which is the MP January Pick of the Month.
Here's the latest news of crime dramas on the screen, on stage, and on air:
The Academy Award nominations included many of the same frontrunners that have percolated through awards season to date. American Sniper, a late-year release was added to the Best Picture category, joining other dramas such as The Imitation Game. Best Actor nods included Steve Carell for Foxcatcher, Bradley Cooper for American Sniper, and Benedict Cumberbatch for Imitation Game. Rosamund Pike was nominated in the Best Actress group for her role in Gone Girl. Other crime dramas up for various awards are The Judge (for Robert Duvall), and Inherent Vice and Nightcrawler (for writing).
The Critics Choice Awards were handed out by the Broadcast Film Critics Association, and you can see all the winners via this link. It was nice to see that Gillian Flynn won Best Adapted Screenplay for her novel Gone Girl, despite being shut out of that category at the Oscars. Best Actor in an Action Movie also went to Bradley Cooper, for American Sniper, one of the few crime drama winners making the list.
Ben Affleck and David Fincher are re-treaming on a Warner Bros remake of the Hitchcock classic thriller Strangers On A Train, with Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl) in talks to write the script.
In more Ben Affleck news, he's taking on the lead role in action-thriller The Accountant, where he'll star as a mild-mannered, socially-weird government accountant who moonlights as a highly trained assassin. Gavin O’Connor is set to direct, with John Lithgow, Anna Kendrick, Jeffrey Tambor, Jon Berthal, Cynthia Addai-Robinson, and J.K. Simmons rounding out the cast.
Fresh off his role in Nightcrawler, Jake Gyllenhaal is in talks to to replace Tom Hardy as Rick Flagg in Suicide Squad after Hardy had to drop out due to schedule conflicts. The Flagg character is the leader of the Suicide Squad, a team of antihero villains who carry out dangerous missions for the U.S. government in exchange for commuted prison sentences.
The official poster was released for the crime thriller The Gunman. Penn stars as an ex-special ops soldier who’s pitted against his former organization that is looking to silence him for good. The cast also includes Javier Bardem, Idris Elba, Ray Winstone and Mark Rylance.
Stephen King's novel, Mr. Mercedes, which King describes as his first hard-boiled detective tale about a psychopathic killer, is set to become a limited series for television. David E. Kelley (Ally McBeal, Boston Legal and The Practice) will pen the script, and Jack Bender (Lost and Under the Dome) will direct.
Gary Sinise may have said good-bye to the character of Det. Mac Taylor in CBS' CSI:NY after the show was canceled in 2013, but apparently CBS wants him back. The network has hired him to play Jack Garrett, the leader of a division of the FBI's Analysis Unit in the new internationally-set Criminal Minds spin-off.
CBS has given the go-ahead for a second season of its freshman spinoff series, NCIS New Orleans.
Fox announced it's renewing Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Empire and Gotham. Bones hasn't been slotted for renewal yet, due to "reaching another deal with its stars," while Sleepy Hollow is getting some mid-season tweaks to see if they revive the show's ratings enough for a third season.
In the same Fox publicity release, the network indicated that Wayward Pines, the mystery series by M. Night Shyamalan, about a Secret Service agent (Matt Dillon) who finds himself in a town he can't escape, will be Fox's centerpiece for scripted programming this summer.
Fox is also considering some reboots, including 24 (minus Jack Bauer), Prison Break, and the X-Files. The X-Files reboot is actually looking a lot more likely, with serious talks underway with creator Chris Carter and stars David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson.
Kyle Maclachlan made it official that he will indeed be returning in the Twin Peaks limited-series sequel, playing FBI Agent Dale Cooper. Series mastermind David Lynch has also hired Sheryl Lee and Dana Ashbrook, who played teen lovers Laura Palmer and Bobby Briggs, to participate in the reboot.
Last week, we bid a sad farewell to screenwriter Brian Clemens who died at the age of 83. Clemens was a driving creative force behind The Avengers and co-creator of The Professionals, and wrote for Remington Steele, the Father Dowling Mysteries and Diagnosis Murder, among his many other influential projects.
Jan Burke and DP Lyle welcomed former FBI profiler Mark Safarik on Crime & Science Radio.
Paula Hawkins stopped by NPR to discuss her novel Girl on the Train and why it's being called "the next Gone Girl."
To mark the occasion of the University of South Carolina receiving Elmore Leonard's papers and library, Otto Penzler spoke about his friendship with the author and his contribution to the crime fiction community.
The Arena Stage in Wasington, D.C. is presenting a new play frrom award-winning playwright Ken Ludwig (Lend Me a Tenor), a fast-paced comedy about everyone’s favorite detective solving his most notorious case, the Hound of the Baskervilles. Five actors play Sherlock, Watson, and a total of more than 40 characters.
The Guardian reported on a new improv murder mystery at the speakeasy-style back room of the Wenlock & Essex bar in London. The mystery show Criminal is hosted by Liam Williams and features five comedians improvising the investigation of a crime, inventing dubious alibis and plausible modus operandi for "what’s essentially a macabre, live version of Would I Lie to You?" The show debuted January 17 and will continue at the venue monthly.
Mary Higgins Clark and Thomas Chastain founded the Adams Round Table in 1982, a monthly meeting where author members discuss the writing craft, plot a few literary murders and share writing experiences.
The group expanded to include other authors, and in addition to the over one hundred novels members have published individually, the Round Table has also published at least five anthologies of stories, beginning with Missing in Manhattan in 1986.
Murder on the Run dates from 1998 and features, as you might expect, stories in which the criminal is on the lam or a travel theme is otherwise tied in. There are a few familiar series characters, as well as some standalone creations. The series contributions include Mary Higgins Clark (Alvirah and Willy) where a lottery millionare returns to her humble neighborhood roots to solve a murder (in "Lady Sleuth! Lady Sleuth! Run Away Home"), while Lawrence Block chips in with a tongue-in-cheek story titled "Keller's Choice" about Block's workaholic hitman with too many choices and an ethical dilemma.
Other stories include Dorothy Salisbury Davis's tale of a young man who flees the scene of an accident, titled "The Scream," and Judith Kelman's "Morphing the Millennium," which chronicles a phobic toy inventor's rise, fall and revenge. Warren Murphy's "Another Day, Another Dollar," is particularly touching, in which a black assembly-line worker sets about to solves her brother's murder.
There are 11 stories in all, and while they might not be the best representative work of the authors included, they make for entertaining reading and a way to sample a new-to-you author's writing style, which is one reason I happen to enjoy such anthologies.