In her 67 years, California author Elizabeth Linington wrote some 82 crime fiction novels, published between 1955 and 1990, under her own name as well as the pen names Anne Blaisdell, Lesley Egan, Egan O'Neill and Dell Shannon. She started out writing radio and stage dramas in the 1940s, switched to historical novels and finally to mysteries in 1960, winning three Edgar Award nominations almost back to back, in 1960, 1962, and 1963.
Perhaps it was due to her own family's 19th-century Irish immigrant background that many of her protagonists had strong ethnic identities, including an Italian rose-fancier, Glendale police Detective Vic Varallo; New England Sergeant Andrew Clock of the LADP and his sidekick, the Jewish lawyer and amateur detective Jesse Falkenstein, who quotes the Talmud; and Sergeant Ivor Maddox, a Welsh bachelor assigned to Hollywood's Wilcox Avenue station.
Her most successful creation was written under her Dell Shannon name—the dapper Mexican-American LAPD Lieutenant Luis Mendoza, who first appeared in Case Pending, as well as one of her other Edgar-nominated works, Knave of Hearts. Sometimes called the "Queen of the Procedurals," Lininger/Shannon among the first women to write in the police procedural genre, as well as one of the first to feature a Latino police officer.
Some critics have pointed out that Linington/Shannon's earliest works were her best, with more attention to detail and craft, but as she started cranking out as many as four books a year, the quality began to suffer, throwing in more cliches and pot-boiler touches. George N. Dove, author of such nonfiction books as The Reader and the Detective Story, pointed out that Linington/Shannon eventually settled down into a formula characterized by a remarkable number of story lines representing the number of cases on which her police officers like Mendoza are employed (as many as 24 in Spring of Violence), with one main case surrounded by the other unrelated ones in various stages of investigation.
Mendoza is a single detective, just shy of middle age, when he makes his first appearance in Case Pending, but his character is developed throughout the thirty-eight books published over twenty-seven years. He has an inexplicable attraction to women, since he's not unusually handsome, and often finds their attention to be a personal and professional nuisance. He grew up poor and became a gambler to survive before he ultimately joined the police and was surprised by inherited wealth from his miser grandfather. He has a fondness for racy cars, high-stakes poker, and his Abyssinian cat, Bast, eventually settling down to marry Alison Weir in the early novels (Shannon wasn't shy about killing off characters, so suffice it to say, the cast of characters surrounding him tends to change).
In Death of a Busybody (first published in 1963, but reissued as a Mystery Guild selection by Doubleday in 1988), Margaret Chadwick is the snoop in question, a serious flaw for someone who had money and a pedigree. When she turns up dead, no one seems to care, something Mendoza begins to understand more clearly as he realizes the extent of the damage this one women did—pitting husbands against wives, children against parents, and sewing seeds of jealousy, suspicion and hatred like other people sew tulips and daffofils. But when a second body turns up, killed on the same night in the same way, things get a little murkier. Unlike her later "formulaic" novels, Busybody focuses on one case only, and even has Mendoza pull the main players together at the end for the "reveal," deciding he "wants to handle it the way they do in the detective novels."
Shannon may have been called the "Queen of the Procedurals" and compared to masters such as Ed McBain and John Creasey, but by her own admission, she based her knowledge of police routine and law not on direct experience but on the basic texts used by police departments themselves and took plots from detective magazines. By today's standards, that makes for a more genteel investigation, but she manages some interesting character development and snappy dialogue. It's interesting to see her multi-layered handling of racial, gender and sexual prejudices and roles, themes that are just as prevalent and volatile today as they were back when she was writing this, almost fifty years ago in 1962-63.
(Note: this is a "classic" FFB repost from 2010)
The ebook service Kobo launched its inaugural Kobo Emerging Writer Awards for Canadian authors this year, and the names on the mystery shortlist include A Quiet Kill by Janet Brons; The Monarch, a thriller by Jack Soren; Cipher by John Jantunen; A Siege of Bitterns by Steve Burrows; and The Last of the Independents by Sam Wiebe. (HT to Crime Fiction Lover.)
The American Bar Association's ABA Journal and the University of Alabama Law School announced the finalists for the 2015 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction, handed out to “a book-length fictional work that best exemplifies the role of lawyers in society, and their power to effect change." The honorees include: My Sister’s Grave, by Robert Dugoni; Terminal City, by Linda Fairstein; and The Secret of Magic, by Deborah Johnson. (HT to Mystery Fanfare.) The public is invited to cast their vote for their favorite, with the audience vote counting as a "fifth judge" in addition to the four judges on the awards panel.
This year's Deadly Ink Conference in New Jersey will include a one-day Deadly Ink Academy, held on Friday August 7th in New Brunswick. Instructors will include S.W. Hubbard, leading a workshop title "Plot Your Way to Success," in the morning, and in the afternoon, Kathryn Johnson will talk about "The Extreme Novelist: The No-Time-To-Write Method for Drafting your Novel in 8 Weeks." The public is welcome to register for the workshop as an add-on to the conference or can attend the conference on its own.
If you happen to be in delightful Dublin tomorrow (May 28), author Dennis Lehane will join Declan Burke in conversation at the Irish Writers Centre.
A "major collection" of letters, photos and publications of the late crime fiction author Dashiell Hammett has been acquired by the University of South Carolina, with the institution planning on making the materials available to students and scholars within the coming year. The collection includes hundreds of family letters, photographs, personal effects and documents from Hammett's daughter Josephine, 89, and two of his grandchildren, 300+ Hammett books and rare first editions, and dozens of screenplays, files, documents and serialized magazines compiled by Hammett biographer and Columbia publisher Richard Layman.
Mysterious Press announced the release of two new short story collections in paperback and eBook from two masters of the crime genre: The Complete Crime Stories of James M. Cain, and The Last Drive and Other Stories by Rex Stout.
The Malice Domestic Conference announced a change to their William F. Deeck-Malice Domestic Grants Program for Unpublished Writers. The award will now be given to one individual instead of two, but the grant will increase to $2,500 plus a comprehensive registration for the upcoming convention and two nights’ lodging at the convention hotel. Applicants can send along a plot synopsis of no more than 300 words and three consecutive chapters of the writer’s Malice Domestic genre work-in-progress before the deadline of November.
Thuglit has a revamped website and has upped the payment for accepted stories. As always, they're seeking short crime fiction between 3,000-6,000 words.
Author Sophie Hannah (who published a Hercule Poirot continuation novel) wrote an essay for The Guardian titled "No one should condescend to Agatha Christie – she's a genius." Hannah notes that while Christie is consistently dismissed as merely a brilliant plotter of mysteries, she's "so much more than that."
The Guardian also profiled Agatha Christie's "forgotten" Syrian memoir that recounts travels with her archaeologist husband after the second world war and features little-seen photographs. HarperCollins will publish the memoir, title Come, Tell Me How You Live, this August.
Agatha Christie was known for using poisons in her mystery novels, and WaPo rcently took a look at the ancient art of poisoning, which seems to be making a comeback.
David Prestidge at the Crime Fiction Lover blog posted some of the latest crime fiction titles including Mr. Campion’s Fox by Mike Ripley. Ripley has been commissioned by the Margery Allingham estate to continue Allingham's popular Albert Campion series with a brand new case set in the world of London’s diplomatic circles. Ripley previously completed Allingham’s Mr. Campion’s Farewell, left unfinished at the time of her death in 1966.
The Daily Beast re-published an article by Ross Macdonald on "How America Fell for the Private Eye," where the late author talks about the origins of Sam Spade, Philip Marlowe and his own Lew Archer.
Students at a primary school in Donnybrook, Dublin, have written and published their very own mystery novel to benefit charity. Each student wrote a chapter, complete with illustrations, to create the 140-page book, and regular votes were taken to decide the direction the story should take. All proceeds raised with go to the Irish Cancer Society and Down Syndrome Ireland.
Futures Mysterious Anthology Magazine (FMAM) was founded by Babs Lakey, who published many excellent crime fiction short stories during the magazine's tenure, and received an award for “Supporting the Writing and Publishing of Works of Fiction in their community" from the city of Minneapolis in 2002. But Lakey developed serious health and financial problems and is now in danger of losing her senior housing, something that has prompted a Go Fund Me campaign. If you'd like to contribute, you can do so by name or anonymously.
In the Q&A roundup, journalist and author Ace Atkins chats with Huffpo about continuing Robert B. Parker's Spenser series; Omnimystery News wecomed author Rio Ramirez to discuss his new crime series featuring small town hitman Tommy Darlington; Peter James got the Q&A rubber-hose treatment from Declan Burke; Craig Faustus Buck talks with the Examiner about novel Go Down Hard and other works; Crime Fiction Lover interviewed Quentin Bates about writing and living in Iceland; and the Mystery People spoke with George Wier about his pulp-influenced stories and grilled Joseph Kanon about his spy novels.
Broad Green Pictures acquired U.S. film rights to Brad Furman’s adaption of The Infiltrator, the true story of one of history’s largest and most elaborate stings in the 1980’s with undercover US Customs agent Robert Mazur (played by Bryan Cranston).
The adaptation of Paula Hawkins' novel The Girl on the Train has signed its director, Tate Taylor (The Help).
Paramount and Skydance have hired Ed Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz to pen the screenplay for Jack Reacher 2, based on Lee Child's novel Never Go Back. Christopher McQuarrie will not be returning to direct the sequel, however, with Zwick stepping in for that role.
Mission Impossible 5 has yet to hit the theaters, but apparently installment #6 is already in the planning stages at Paramount. Tom Cruise, David Ellison, Dana Goldberg and J.J. Abrams are returning to produce, with Don Granger and Matt Grimm set to serve as exec producers.
Mr. Holmes, the film based on the elderly version of Sherlock created in Mitch Cullen's novel, has run into a legal roadblock after the Conan Doyle estate sued the author and the producers for copyright and trademark infringement. However, given recent court battles the estate has lost, the legal challenges may not be enough to halt the movie's release.
Aaron Paul is in negotiations to join the cast of the dramedy Central Intelligence, which stars Kevin Hart as a boring accountant who reconnects with an old school chum (Dwayne Johnson) who has morphed from nerd to rogue spy. Paul will play Johnson's CIA partner.
Michael Nyqvist has joined the cast of I.T., the indie revenge thriller from Pierce Brosnan, who produces and stars, along with Stefanie Scott, James Frechville and Anna Friel. Brosnan plays a man who had it all until his I.T. consultant starts threatening his family, business, and his life.
T.R. Knight has joined the cast of the Hulu series 11/22/63. The drama is based on Stephen King’s novel of the same title and stars James Franco as an English teacher that time travels back to 1958 and tries to prevent the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
David Oyelowo (Selma) is set to co-star with Luke Evans (Furious 7, The Hobbit) in the upcoming big screen thriller Three Seconds, an adaptation of the bestselling Swedish novel by authors Anders Roslund and Borge Hellstrom. The plot centers on an undercover prison assignment that goes terribly wrong, with Evans playing the protagonist, an ex-con who poses as a prison inmate as part of an FBI operation, and Oyelowo playing an anti-social N.Y.P.D. detective who catches on to the FBI mission after a fellow officer is murdered.
Tony winner John Gallagher, Jr. will play a lead role in The Belko Experiment, the new thriller from The Guardians of the Galaxy writer and director James Gunn, about a group of American expats in South America who are caught up in a dangerous experiment on morality.
Lake Bell and Benjamin Bratt have joined the cast of the thriller Shot Caller, about a gangster who gets released from prison and is forced by the leaders of his gang to orchestrate a major crime with a brutal rival gang in Southern California.
Tomorrow evening, the Hallmark Channel will broadcast Murder, She Baked: A Chocolate Chip Cookie Mystery adapted from the first in the popular series of mysteries by Joanne Fluke featuring baker Hannah Swensen.
Bruce Greenwood has been added to the A-list cast of the FX series American Crime Story: The People V OJ Simpson, playing Gil Garcetti, the Los Angeles district county prosecutor on the Simpson trial.
Viacom's premium network Epix is getting into scripted programming, including the espionage drama Berlin Station, written and executive produced by spy novelist Olen Steinhauer, with fellow exec producer and director Michael Roskam (The Drop) also on board. The plot centers on a new CIA case officer in Berlin, Daniel Meyer, who is on a secret mission to find who leaked information to a now-famous whistleblower, a quest that leads back to Washington.
An extended trailer and behind-the-scenes interviews with the cast was released ahead of the new season of Hannibal.
Mystery Writer John Sandford appeared on public radio station WABE to talk about his long-running book series featuring Minnesota cop Lucas Davenport.
On the latest Crime and Science Radio: "Investigating the Criminal Mind with Author Alan Jacobson."
To mark Arthur Conan Doyle's 156th birthday last week, Elizabeth Foxwell pointed out some 1930 sound files of Doyle speaking, via Centre for History and Analysis of Recorded Music, King's College London.
Illionois' Marriott Theatre (outside Chicago) is currently staging the six-time Tony Award-winning musical City of Angels through August. The production is described as a "deliciously funny celebration of the decade's film noir genre and dark detective fiction, with a liberal touch of femme fatale."
Mary Theresa Coolican Kelly was born in London in 1927, but ended up a Scotland gal, receiving an M.A. degree from University of Edinburgh in 1951, marrying Dennis Charles Kelly in 1950, and becoming a teacher. Her first mystery series featured Inspector Brett Nightingale of Scotland, starting with A Cold Coming in 1956. But after only three entries in that series, she switched to a series with freelance detective Hedley Nicholson as protagonist, with the first installment, The Spoilt Kill, earning the Gold Dagger Award from the British Crime Writers Association in 1961. She was also a member of the Detection Club and served as secretary.
Apparently, starting on a new literary track worked well for her, because after only two books in the Hedley Nicholson series, she switched to standalone novels, the first three (beginning with March to the Gallows) all nominated for the Gold Dagger in 1964, 1966 and 1969. She also tried her hand at a short story in 1971, "Judgment," chosen for inclusion in 1984's anthology The Best Crime Stories published by Hamlyn, putting in her the same company as Edgar Allan Poe, Arthur Conan Doyle amd Agatha Christie. Unfortunately, in 1974 she stopped writing for good.
In The Spoilt Kill, P.I. Nicholson is hired to discover who is copying new pottery designs from the Shentall Pottery Company of Stoke-on-Trent and selling them to foreign competitors. It seems fairly straightforward until a body is found in a closed "kill" (local dialect for "kiln") filled with liquid clay. Nicholson soon finds himself falling for the chief suspect in both crimes, talented designer Corina Wakefield, the only employee not native to the area—who also has a drinking problem and a failed marriage that turns out to be relevant to the case.
Kelly structures the plot to start off with the discovery of the body in the first section ("What Happened"), just one chapter, in essence a prologue, then doubles back to a prequel of events ("What Happened Before") in the middle section, before returning to the denouement in part three's "What Happened After." The author does a nice job of immersing the reader into the atmospheric setting of the industrial area in the Midlands and of the pottery world, with passages such as the following:
"...A row of bottle kilns blocking the gap between blackened brick buildings, and beyond them a factory chimney and the peak of a slag heap, wraiths even in the middle distance. There was no far distance, only a grey blankness of cleaned smoke mixed with the drizzle that seeped from low-lying clouds."
Kelly had a foot in the very end of the Golden Age of detective fiction, and was a somewhat rare example of a female British writer penning a professional male private eye. As such, Spoilt Kill has the feel of a hybrid cozy/traditional mystery blended with the P.I. form. Some may quibble that Kelly doesn't quite nail the male first-person POV all the time, and the ending a tad telescoped, but the characters are well drawn and engaging, and the true mystery Kelly portrays is the psychological puzzle underlying human relationships.
(Note: this is a "classic" FFB reprint from 2010)
Crime fiction is growing in popularity around the world, and the recent burst of Scandinavian crime fiction on the bestseller lists is yet another marker of that growth. So it only makes sense that the academic world is taking notice, spearheaded in Europe by the International Crime Fiction Group based at Queen’s University of Belfast. The group brings together scholars from disciplines such as literature, film studies and cultural history in a series of initiatives to study various aspect of the genre.
Recently, they sponsored a symposium at the British Library titled "Towards a Digital Atlas of European Crime Fiction?", investigating how to harvest the catalogs of the 48 European national libraries to analyze the transnational spread of crime fiction (including books, covers, authors, films, etc.) with the help of maps and graphs. Hopefully, this will not only help the libraries involved create virtual as well as physical exhibitions based on their collections, including book covers and illustrations, it will benefit crime fiction authors, too, thanks to online resources coming soon.
There's already a strong scholarly crime fiction presence in Europe, including such institutions as the Library of Crime Literature (Bilipo) a Parisian public library exclusively concerned with crime-themed publications (which journalist Brad Spurgeon discusses in this blog post). And, if you happen to be in London early this summer, check out the London exhibition "Forensics: The anatomy of crime" at the Wellcome Collection through June 21.
At CrimeFest this past weekend, the CWA announced the shortlists for the International Dagger Award, the Short Story Dagger, the Non Fiction Dagger, the Endeavour Historical Dagger and the Debut Dagger. For the complete lists of all honorees, check out the official CWA website.
The CrimeFest conference also hosts several awards of its own, with winners announced this past Saturday. The Audible Sounds of Crime Award went to Robert Galbraith for The Silkworm, read by Robert Glenister; the Goldsboro Last Laugh Award was handed out to L. C. Tyler for Crooked Herring; the eDUNNIT AWARD (for best crime fiction ebook first published in the British Isles) went to Charles Cumming for A Colder War; and the H.R.F. Keating Award for the best biography or critical book was awarded to Clare Clarke for Late Victorian Crime Fiction in the Shadows of Sherlock. (Hat tip to Crimespree Magazine.)
One of the more recent honors in the crime fiction community, the Petrona Award, was established in 2013 in memory of the late reviewer and crime fiction advocate Maxine Clarke to honor the best in Scandinavian crime novels. This year's winner is The Silence of the Sea by Yrsa Sigurðardóttir (tr. Victoria Crib).
The International Association of Media Tie-In Writers revealed their finalists for the 2015 Scribe Awards. In the Best Original Novel - General, category, the finalists included Murder She Wrote: Death of a Blue Blood by Don Bain; Mike Hammer: King of the Weeds by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins; Homeland: Saul’s Game by Andrew Kaplan; and The Killing: Uncommon Denominator by Karen Dionne. (Hat tip to Bill Crider.)
Happy 10th Anniversary to the online publication Mysterical-E, founded by editor Joe DeMarco! (Via its media columnist, Gerald So.)
The Deadly Ink Conference taking place in New Brunswick, New Jersey in August, released more details about this year's program, which includes Guest of Honor, Brad Parks, Toastmaster E. F. Watkins (winner of last year's David award), and fan Guest of Honor, Ilene Schneider. Other authors scheduled to attend include Jane Cleland, Roberta Rogow, Patricia Morin, Jane Kelly, Alice Orr, S.W. Hubbard, Annamaria Alfieri, Tim Hall, Mary Perry, R.G. Belsky, S.A. Solomon, with additional panelists Les Blatt (Classic Mysteries blog), Leslie Blatt, Tricia Vanderhoof, Rebecca Mears, In addition, Allison Cohen of The Gersh Agency and other agents will be on hand.
Oldcastle Books is launching a new short story competition for its crime fiction imprint No Exit Press. The competition launches on May 25 and is open to any unpublished writer with a passion for crime fiction of any genre. There is a £5 entry fee and stories must be no longer than 3,000 words and written in English.
Simon & Schuster is partnering with mobile content distribution platform Foli to help deliver specific books or chapters from books to readers on mobile devices in specific locations. The initial push will be to deliver sample chapters to users in hotels, airports, or museums. The first such offering will be David McCullough’s new biography The Wright Brothers, which will be available at National Air and Space Museum and at more than 50 major airports nationwide.
Salon took a look at the crime fiction of Ross Macdonald (the pen name of Kenneth Millar, whose wife was mystery writer Margaret Millar), and the new release from The Library of America, Four Novels of the 1950s, edited by Macdonald biographer Tom Nolan.
CNN had a slide show of Los Angeles crime scenes from 1953 in conjunction with a new book by James Ellroy, LAPD 53, which Ellroy created in partnership with the Las Angeles Police Museum.
Document forensics of the oldest kind: new X-ray technology scans can read letters on documents blackened by Vesuvius from a library at Herculaneum.
The Washington Post looked at "Why the ancient art of poisoning appears to be making a killer comeback," especially in places like Russia. But is there really such a thing as untraceable poison in light of modern technological advances?
You can call him "Dr. MacBride" next month when crime author Stuart MacBride is one of ten leading figures from the worlds of literature, cinema, science and the media who will be honored by the University of Dundee next month with the degree of Doctor of Laws (LLD).
Mental Floss posted a fun list of 17 behind-the-scenes secrets of bookstores, noting that "For book lovers, there's no more magical place than the local bookstore. And while most of us have probably spent a significant amount of time wandering the aisles, few of us know what goes on behind the scenes."
Via Atlas Obscura: "The strange afterlife of Edgar Allan Poe's hair."
From the "Seems a Fitting End" department, Italian police are opening a headquarters in a former mafia hideout that once housed Cosa Nostra boss Salvatore “Totò” Riina.
The new crime poem over at the 5-2 is "Ghoul in the Crowd" by Matthew Wilson.
Barbara Fister spoke with Diane Kovacs, founder of the online Dorothy-L crime fiction fan group, which continues to host conversations among over 2,500 members. Kovacs talked about the history of Dorothy-L as well as where she might like to see it head in the future.
The Q&A roundup includes author John Carenen stopping by Omnimystery News to talk about his debut novel; ON also welcomed author Eric Beetner to promote his new crime novel Rumrunners; the Irish Examiner hosted Dennis Lehane, talking about his adaptation of Love/Hate for an American audience; Craig Johnson got roped in by the Mystery People; Huffpo interviewed Alex Grecian, the author of the Scotland Yard Murder Squad novels; and the Mrs. Peabody Investigates blog had a wrap-up of the Q&A between Maj Sjowall and Lee Child at the recent Crimefest.
Roger Herst stops by In Reference to Murder today for some Author R&R. He's an ordained Reform Rabbi with a doctorate in Middle Eastern History who developed a passion for stories while delivering sermons from the pulpit. He's now written nine novels, including the latest, Nunavut: An Arctic Thriller, a David and Goliath story of the Inuit people’s fight to protect their native land and waterways from a Russian conspiracy to steal its resources and wealth for themselves.
Herst talks more about his approach to researching and writing the novel:
As a rabbi I have always been swimming in stories. Jewish tradition is largely about telling and retelling stories, first of our ancestors, then of our brethren and finally about ourselves. My first blush with writing stories was an attempt to flush out the narratives of Genesis, much like Thomas Mann and Leon Feutwanger. I thought I knew these mythological characters, but the Bible only provided skeletons. Yes, it was pure temerity (chutzpah) to tamper with the sacred text. But I was young and bold. When I started delivering these stories in place of normal sermons, the attention of my congregants grew. Some of these stories stuck to their bones for years! They let me know that people learn about themselves through stories about other people.
But I never wanted to be a Jewish novelist, so my first book published by Doubleday was about the crew of a nuclear submarine buried under the polar icepack. Since I had never been on a submarine I needed to rely upon my imagination, which during the creation of this work I learned to respect. Most of the data for the story was then classified by the Navy, thus I had imagine what might be true rather than what I knew to be so. Naval friends read the manuscript and kept me on track. Miraculously, it worked.
Yet my Jewish roots tugged upon me. It is often admonished to write about what you know. But I felt I knew too much about the Jewish community and didn’t want to wash dirty laundry in public. I avoided the subject until my scruples dissipated and I wrote “Rabbi Gabrielle’s Scandal,” about a young, vibrant, ambitious professional who defends a rapist in court and alienates her female friends and imperils her profession. I never started to write a series about Rabbi Gabrielle, but she grew into another story about the illicit gun trade in Washington DC. And that followed by another about an arson and then a robbery, a confrontation with the Vatican over a Dead Sea fragment and finally about launching a peace plan between the Palestinians and Israelis. Having her engaged in romances was tricky because I knew I never really wanted her to get married off, in a situation where the readers would know who she was sleeping with. Nor did I want her to be a goody-goody professional, always on the right side of every issue and always sacrificing her own interests for other. No, Gabrielle had to be a real full-blooded womanin the trenches, giving blows as well as receiving them.
After six such novels, it was time to return to non-Jewish books. “Destiny’s Children” told a tale of an immigrant Chinese laborer who arrives in California to build track for the intercontinental railroad. Far from his home and speaking no English he must make a new life in California and succeeds in a generational saga of two utterly different families who bond during the difficult years of the 1860s.
My soon to be published novel, “Nunavut, an Arctic Thriller,” reflects on the Inuit people who in 1999 were granted by the Canadian government the largest parcel of land and water ever bestowed upon an indigenous population. At the time, who understood the implications of Global Warming on the prospects of extracting Nunavut’s vast mineral resources? The heroine is a female veterinarian who follows the mythic path of Sedna the Inuit goddess of the sea and ministers to sick creatures of the ocean. And in so doing she becomes involved in an international intrigue to challenge this young and inexperienced nation’s survival.
One tale seems to engender another. A new character begs for more space, so my journey continues bringing this author much joy.
The Mentalist star Simon Baker is heading home to Australia for his feature film directing debut, the surf-themed thriller Breath. The project is based on the novel by best selling Australian author, Tim Winton, and follows two teenagers in 1970s coastal Australia who form an unlikely bond with a reclusive surfer and his mysterious wife. Baker will also produce alongside Better Call Saul's Mark Johnson and See Pictures’ Jamie Hilton and star as the reclusive surfer.
Warner Bros is developing a new installment of The Fugitive, with the producers from the 1993 film, Arnold and Anne Kopelson, returning for the project. However, the studio didn't say if original stars Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones would be coming back for an encore.
Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina) will star in the tech world drama-thriller The Circle, which is based on Dave Eggers' 2013 novel about a recent college graduate (Vikander) who lands a job at a powerful tech company called The Circle, which is co-owned by a charismatic man (played by Tom Hanks). Vikander is also set to star in Warner Bros.' spy film The Man From U.N.C.L.E. later this year.
Abbie Cornish and Dermot Mulroney will star alongside Diego Klattenhoff (of The Blacklist) in the psychological thriller Lavender, with Ed Gass-Donnelly directing from a script he co-wrote with Colin Frizzell. The plot follows the aftermath of an accident that leaves a photographer (Cornish) struggling with severe memory loss and strange clues among her photos that suggest she may be responsible for the deaths of family members she never knew she had.
Anna Friel and James Frencheville have joined Pierce Brosnan in the cast of the thriller I.T. The plot centers on a publisher who tries to keep his life from completely unraveling after firing an unstable I.T. guy who has gotten too close to his family.
Nicolas Cage is set to play a police officer in the psychological thriller EXIT 147, which follows a group of three people, each in their own stories that intertwine, leading the characters into sadistic mind games. Cage is also on board for Dog Eat Dog, a gritty crime thriller based on the book by Eddie Bunker that will be adapted by screenwriter Paul Schrader (Taxi Driver, Raging Bull). Cage teamed up with Schrader for last year's The Dying of the Light, a film that was allegedly so butchered by producers that both Schrader and Cage consequently disowned the project, but this time Schrader will have complete creative control.
Jamie Foxx has been cast in director Noam Murro’s heist movie Blink, playing a hospital caregiver whose patient is the victim of a bank robbery with ulterior motives.
Liam Neeson is in final negotiations to star in the cat-and-mouse thriller A Willing Patriot, playing a CIA agent who tries to outsmart and capture a terrorist who is planning an attack. A wide domestic release deal of the film is expected to be announced during the Cannes Film Festival.
In what would be a move-against-type for him (except for the mostly-forgotten Number 23 from 2007), Jim Carrey is in talks to star in the indie thriller True Crimes, inspired by David Grann's 2008 New Yorker article "True Crimes – A Post-Modern Murder Mystery." That story hinged on a murder investigation that takes clues found in a crime novelist’s book, which strikes a bizarre resemblance to the case.
Martin Scorsese is taking on Kenneth Branagh's "gritty, immersive" Macbeth stage project, hoping to film a documentary about Branagh's production by reuniting the original cast and filming performances over the course of a few weeks at Leavesden in Hertfordshire.
Dime Crimes #34 is a new short noir film from director Ed Hellman and writer John Michael Wagner. The plot centers on Doll, a homebody with a stash of pulp fiction, who's thrown into the world of her favorite stories when she sees a gun hidden in the waistband of her charming new tenant. Unbeknownst to her apathetic fiancé, Doll debates confronting the man and joining him in a life of adventure. As the tenant’s mystery is exposed, Doll is forced to realize that she alone has the ability to turn her fantasies into a reality. You can catch a trailer for the film on its official website. (Hat tip to James Reasoner.)
ITV3 will screen a repeat of Ruth Rendell’s Inspector Wexford two-part mystery Road Rage on May 23 and May 30 as a tribute to the celebrated writer who died earlier this month. Road Rage, which was originally broadcast in 1998, stars George Baker, who also wrote the screenplay, as Chief Inspector Wexford.
Not only is Twin Peaks getting a reboot, David Lynch is returning to helm the project, following some contractual back-and-forthing that some feared would keep him away. The other bit of good news for Twin Peaks fans is the show will be getting more airtime than the prevously-announced "nine hours," although the total number of episodes wasn't disclosed.
Deadline has a handy list of all the summer TV premiere dates for new and returning shows, including Hannibal on June 4, Major Crimes and Murder in the First on June 8, Rizzoli & Isles on June 16, True Detective on June 21, and much more.
CBS renewed Person of Interest, although only for thirteen episodes. This is the same strategy CBS used with The Mentalist, leading industry insiders to speculate the shortened fifth season will signal the end of the series.
CBS also finally decided how it's going to end its long-running series CSI - with a a two-hour finale, featuring original stars William Petersen and Marg Helgenberger. Ted Danson fans can relax, however, since the actor is moving to CSI: Cyber opposite Patricia Arquette, reprising the D.B. Russell character.
The new CBS crime thriller series for the Fall season, Limitless (adapted from Alan Glynn's novel The Dark Fields), is based on the 2011 Bradley Cooper-starring film about a drug that enhances the brain's ability, but at a terrible price. Cooper has been involved as producer of the series, but it was announced he'll also recur in the show, reprising his character from the film.
Following the success of 24: Live Another Day, Fox is contemplating another limited-run series of 24 possibly as early as next year, although star Kiefer Sutherland may not be involved. It's still early in the developmental process, so Sutherland fans don't need to panic just yet.
USA Network has added another original drama with a 13-episode series pickup for Queen of the South, a thriller set in the world of Mexican drug cartels that's based on a wildly popular show on Telemundo. The story centers on a woman (played by Alice Braga) who is drawn into the world of high-stakes drug trafficking when her drug-dealer boyfriend is murdered.
Amazon revived the Victorian-era detective drama Ripper Street in 2014 shortly after the BBC decided not to renew the show for a second season. Season 3 of the period drama launched on the UK’s Amazon Prime Instant Video in November last year and was streamed more than any other TV show, attracting larger viewing audiences than some major U.S. series. Thanks to those numbers, Amazon has now committed to two further seasons for Prime Instant in the UK.
The Hallmark Channel renewed Cedar Cove for a third season. The show is based on Debbie Macomber’s mystery book series and stars Andie MacDowell.
After some last-minute contract wrangling, it appears that Stana Katic will return to Castle this fall, after all. The show was recently renewed for another season, but Katic was the only holdout in the cast.
ABC’s anthology drama American Crime, starring stars Felicity Huffman, Timothy Hutton, Penelople Ann Miller, will feature some of the same actors from its first season in different roles when the show comes back for Season 2.
Production on the international crime series Sorjonen will begin in Lappeenranta, Finland this summer. According to director Mikko Oikkonen, Lappeenranta makes for an interesting film location because of its proximity to the Russian border, framing the tale of a top police detective who moves to his wife’s home town in Lappeenranta after a family tragedy.
Nordicana heads to the Troxy theatre in London June 6-7, with screenings of various Scandinavian crime dramas, including three brand new series, ITV Encore’s Jordskott, More4’s new 6 part WWII drama The Saboteurs, and the new French Crime series from Channel 4, Witnesses. Many stars from the shows will also be hand for the event.
Film Noir Foundation Eddie Muller will host TCM's Summer of Darkness this June and July when the network will dedicate 24 hours each Friday to a lineup comprised exclusively of film noir. Muller will present four movies each night during prime-time, 36 films in all. (Hat tip to Mystery Fanfare.)
The BBC released a teaser-trailer for the Sherlock Christmas Special 2015 (although it also looks like it continues the story line from the previous season's cliffhanger).
The new trailer for Season 2 of True Detective is out, this time with more details and actual dialogue.
A new trailer has been released for season three of Orange Is the New Black, which returns June 12.
The latest podcast from AHMM features Jim Fusilli reading his story "The One-Armed Man in the Luncheonette" from the June 2014 issue.
Glu Mobile announced they will create a free-to-play mobile game under license from Paramount Pictures in coordination with the theatrical release of the new film Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation, delivering the action of the movie to mobile audiences worldwide this summer.