Today's selection for Patti Abbot's Forgotten Books Friday is a novel by author Jo Bannister, a former journalist who was born in Rochdale, Lancashire, and currently lives in Northern Ireland. She's the author of over 30 novels and has received recognition from the Royal Society of Arts and the British Press Awards and garnered an Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine Readers' Award in 1988.
She has several series including the Castlemere books, the very first of which was titled A Bleeding of Innocents, published in 1993, featuring a trio of police detectives. The story opens at a funeral for a dead policeman, soon followed by a case handed to Detective Superintendent Frank Shapiro, who has brought in the ambitious DI Liz Graham to take over after the policeman's death. The dead policeman's partner, Sgt. Cal Donovan, tries to get over the guilt surrounding his partner's murder, which he blames on a local crime baron. The case they're given is that of a young nurse shot in her car, but it's soon followed by the death of a surgeon who used to work with the murdered nurse. Making things worse, a third member of the same operating-room team, the anaesthetist, seems to be next in line, pointing to a serial killer. Then there's the matter of who killed Cal's partner adding to the mix.
Bannister is particularly known for her skillful plotting and convincing characterization. (The New York Times Book Review said "Jo Bannister scores high on character with her persuasive insights into the psychological responses to pain").
In an interview a few years ago with Gerard Brennan via his blog Crime Scene NI, the author talked about her writing:
If you're anywhere near Durham, North Carolina, catch the latest Noir at the Bar event tomorrow evening, featuring writers Steve Weddle (Country Hardball), Greg Barth (Selena), Eryk Pruitt (Dirtbags, Hashtag), S.A. Cosby (The Brotherhood of the Blade), David Terrenoire (Beneath a Panamanian Moon), Eric Beetner (Rumrunners), and Geraud Staton (Beyond Darkness).
The Australian Crime Writers Association, which hands out Australia’s oldest and most prestigious prizes for crime writing, announced the shortlists for the 2015 Ned Kelly Awards for the best crime fiction and true crime works published in 2014. Winners will be announced at the Melbourne Writers Festival on Saturday August 2.
The crime writing themed edition of the Human Journal includes a lengthy interview with Michael Connelly and articles on a variety of topics, from an article about John P. Marquand's Mr. Moto series to a look at Japanese Women’s Detective Fiction and a study of the evolving culture surrounding Sherlock Holmes.
Michael Dirda of The Washington Post reviewed the book Meanwhile There Are Letters, edited by Suzanne Marrs and Tom Nolan. The book focuses on the rich friendship between Eudora Welty and Ross Macdonald through their correspondence through the years, as they discussed writing, books, and topics of a more personal nature. As Dirda notes, this book, along with a recent Library of America volume, "may help renew interest in Ross Macdonald’s novels, which have been somewhat overshadowed lately by those of his more noirish contemporaries such as David Goodis and Jim Thompson. At the very least it’s certainly time to reread The Galton Case and The Chill."
Mystery Readers Journal editor Janet Rudolph notes that the next issue will focus on crime fiction set in Scotland, and she's seeking articles, reviews, and Author! Author! essays on the theme.
As part of conducting research for an upcoming article, Katharina Hall, a/k/a Mrs. Peabody, is compiling a list of Nazi-themed novels that focus extensively on the theme of post-war justice. You can read the titles she's collected to date, and if you have suggestions, she'd welcome those in the comments section on her blog.
Are you good at solving puzzles? If so, the British Library needs your help in solving a real-life mystery: a 13th century sword with a hidden message.
Buzzfeed asked, "Can You Identify The Classic Novel From Its Original Title?"
The latest crime poem at the 5-2 is "Boo Coo" by Charles Rammelkamp, and the new featured story at Beat to a Pulp is "Me and Creature" by Evan V. Corder.
In the Q&A roundup, Tom Larsen takes Paul D. Brazill's "Short, Sharp Interview; Craig Sisterson's latest 9mm Interview is Brazilian novelist, playwright, and screenwriter, Patricia Melo, whose latest book translated into English is The Body Snatcher (Bitter Lemon, 2015); the Mystery People snagged Lori Rader-Day to talk about her second novel, Little Pretty Things and also screenwriter Jordan Harper to talk about his crime fiction; and Linda Fairstein was interviewed by Crimespree Magazine about her life as a full-time prosecutor in the Manhattan D.A.'s Office and how it informs her crime fiction.
Warner Bros has optioned Ross MacDonald's 1966 crime novel Black Money for Joel and Ethan Coen to write and potentially direct. The novel places private eye Lew Archer knee-deep in a conspiracy when he's hired by a spurned lover to expose the suave Frenchman who ran off with a client’s girlfriend.
William Friedkin has been hired to direct the adaptation of Don Winslow's novel The Winter Of Frankie Machine, with Winslow penning the script. The project once had Martin Scorsese (and then Michael Mann) attached to direct and Robert De Niro to star, while it languished at Paramount before a rights reversion. The story centers on Frank Machianno, a mob hitman who retired to run a bait shop but is forced to return to his old ways when he learns his offer to help resolve a dispute has set him up to be murdered.
Lionel Wigram, the producer of the Robert Downey, Jr. Sherlock movies, hinted the team is working on a script for a third movie and both Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law are "very, very" interested in returning to their respective roles as Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, although there are no firm commitments at this point.
A first-look trailer was released for Solace, which features Colin Farrell as a psychic serial killer opposite Anthony, Hopkins, a former doctor with psychic abilities called in to help the FBI catch Farrell's character.
The newest trailer for Agent 47 (which opens in theaters Aug. 21) finds the titular assassin played by Rupert Friend in unfamiliar territory when he must protect a woman named Katia (Hannah Ware) from an evil corporation and its chairman (Zachary Quinto), who wants to create an army of Agents to do his bidding.
ITV has commissioned a 3-episode special season of the crime drama Scott & Bailey, with Suranne Jones and Lesley Sharp reprising their roles of DC Janet Scott and her hot-headed partner DS Rachel Bailey. With DCI Gill Murray in retirement, DC Scott returns to Syndicate 9's Murder Squad to head up a sinister Internet crime investigation.
Fox has given a pilot commitment to Horrorstör, an hour-long dramedy inspired by the supernatural mystery novel by Grady Hendrix. The story centers on a young woman and recovering alcoholic working in a furniture superstore who learns the store "preys upon its customers’ desires to a supernatural degree, selling products that make their wishes and fantasies come true in unexpected and insidious ways."
Fox also announced a limited-run revival of the Prison Break series that will be a sequel to the original project with returning stars Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell.
USA Network’s drama Shooter has tapped Ryan Phillippe (Secrets & Lies) for the lead in the pilot. Written by John Hlavin (Underworld: Awakening) and based on the 2007 Paramount feature starring Wahlberg as well as Stephen Hunter’s novel Point Of Impact, the plot follow an off-the-grid former Marine sniper who is double crossed after being coaxed into action to thwart the killing of the President.
New Castle co-showrunner Terence Paul Winter teased that disgraced senator William Bracken (played by Jack Coleman) will be back "in a surprising way" for the show's new season. The ABC series will return on September 21 with a two-parter and will introduce two new characters: Scotland Yard officer turned security specialist Hayley Vargas (to be played by new series regular/Neighbors alum Toks Olagundoye) and tech analyst Vikram Singh (recurring player Sunkrish Bala).
Billy Zane, Daisy Head, Zachary Fall, Katrina Law, and Kevin Ryan have landed leading roles in the ABC Family thriller pilot Guilt, a fictional story that draws parallels to the story of Amanda Knox, the American student convicted, acquitted, retried and acquitted again of the gruesome murder of her British roommate.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine is hiring Bill Hader to replace Andre Braugher as Andy Samberg’s precinct captain. Braugher fans can relax, however, knowing that Braugher's Captain Holt will remain on the show in his new role of NYPD Public Relations officer.
AnnaLynne McCord has landed a recurring role on the second season of ABC’s anthology crime drama series Secrets & Lies. She'll play McCord the outspoken housewife of Patrick Warner, the third child of private equity magnate, John Warner.
24's Kim Raver will appear in the first two episodes of the 11th season of Bones, playing FBI Special Agent Grace Miller, who is involved in the investigation surrounding the disappearance of FBI Special Agent Seeley Booth (David Boreanaz).
Patricia Wettig of ABC's Brothers and Sisters is heading to TNT's police procedural Major Crimes for Season 4 to play a character known by colleagues as "Fry-'Em Ryan," a superior court judge famous among lawyers and cops as a very tough woman inside the courtroom.
NFL legend Jerry Rice is heading to Hawaii Five-0 in a guest-starring cameo as himself in upcoming sixth season.
TNT's upcoming mod drama Public Morals offered up a trailer and teaser poster for the show set in 1960s New York that stars Edward Burns as officer Terry Muldoon, a vice cop who knows how to play the game, but doesn't always like it.
Crime Fiction FM welcomed author Tana French to discuss her new book, the fifth book in her Dublin Murder Squad series, The Secret Place.
A tour of the Woody Allen musical Bullets Over Broadway will launch in Cleveland, OH, at Playhouse Square with performances beginning Oct. 6, with plans on traveling to more than 40 cities in its first season.
Christianna Brand was born Mary Christianna Milne in 1907 in Malaya, spending her early years in India. When at age 17 she learned her father had lost all his money, she took on a series of jobs including governess, nightclub hostess, ballroom dancer, dress shop model and secretary. She didn't turn her hand to fiction until 1939, with her first novel making it to print after being rejected by fifteen publishers. Death in High Heels was the title of that book, and in an apocryphal story, she got the idea while working as a salesgirl fantasizing about killing a co-worker.
She went on to write several crime fiction novels and short stories, but achieved her peak with the series featuring Inspector Cockrill of the Kent County Police who was modeled on her father-in-law, William Lewis, a doctor. One Cockrill novel, Green for Danger, was hailed by H.R.F. Keating as "the last golden crown of the Golden Age detective story" and made into a movie in 1946 starring Alastair Sim. Unfortunately for crime fiction fans, she mostly dropped the genre, at least in novel form, in the 1950s and concentrated on children's books, most notably Nurse Matilda, which Emma Thompson adapted in 2005 for as the film Nanny McPhee.
Brand was nominated three times for Edgar Awards, twice for short stories and once for a nonfiction work about a true-crime Scottish murder case. She also served as Chair of the Crime Writers Association in 1972-73. She penned essays including some of the best accounts available form the early days of London's Detection Club including remembrances of members Dorothy L. Sayers and Anthony Berkely.
Brand has been called the "female John Dickson Carr" for her locked-room style mysteries, one of which was Suddenly at His Residence (a/k/a The Crooked Wreath, in the U.S.), from the Inspector Cockrill series. Cockrill is another in the long line of eccentric detectives, insightful yet shabby, often called "sparrow-like," or, as he was introduced in his first novel (Heads You Lose),
"He was a little brown man who seemed much older than he actually was, with deep-set eyes beneath a fine broad brow, an aquiline nose and a mop of fluffy white hair fringing a magnificent head. He wore his soft felt hat set sideways, as though he would at any moment break out into an amateur rendering of ‘Napoleon’s Farewell to his Troops’; and he was known to Torrington and in all its surrounding villages as Cockie. He was widely advertised as having a heart of gold beneath his irascible exterior; but there were those who said bitterly that the heart was so infinitesimal and you had to dig so deep down to get to it, that it was hardly worth the trouble. The fingers of his right hand were so stained with nicotine as to appear to be tipped with wood."
In Suddenly at His Residence, the plot starts off in a fairly traditional way, where patriarch Sir Richard March is found dead in a Grecian lodge on his estate and suspicion falls on the family members gathered who he was getting ready to disinherit. After Cockrill begins to investigate, another body turns up, and the Inspector will also learn just how far World War II can reach from the battlefield into the countryside. He's also faced with a double "impossible crime" scenario: no footprints or marks at one crime scene involving sand and in another involving dust. Brand's writing is wry and engaging, with plenty of twists and the traditional British Golden Age red herrings, and in fact, her intricate plotting is generally considered the greatest strength of her novels.
Before Sean Chercover turned his hand to writing fiction, he was a TV writer, video editor, support diver, and private investigator in Chicago and New Orleans. His novel Big City, Bad Blood, won the Shamus Award for Best First Novel, and Sean's books have since been nominated for other major crime fiction awards.
His Game Trilogy features Daniel Byrne, an investigator for the Vatican’s secretive Office of the Devil’s Advocate. In the first book, The Trinity Game, Daniel Byrne was searching for a miracle, which led him to his uncle and childhood guardian, the Reverend Tim Trinity, a con man and possible prophet.
In the follow-up novel, The Devil's Game, Daniel teams up with disgraced physician Kara Singh and delves further into the Trinity Phenomenon — the "gift" of prophecy that's spreading like a plague — and infiltrates a covert government facility to expose a conspiracy with potentially devastating global consequences.
Sean is currently on a blog tour promoting The Devil's Game and stopped by In Reference to Murder to discuss his writing, research, and the new book:
Noted true-crime writer Ann Rule died last week, and the Guardian paid tribute by looking into her gift for tapping into our collective obsession with crime, while the Washington Post took a look at the strange relationship between Rule and serial killer Ted Bundy.
The shortlists were announced for the Davitt Awards presented annually by Sisters in Crime Australia. Named in honor of Ellen Davitt (1812-1879) who wrote Australia's first mystery novel, the awards are presented for Australian crime fiction by women authors.
The Sisters in Crime Desert Sleuths Chapter will hold its 12th annual Write Now! conference, “Locked and Loaded: Set Your Sights on Writing Success” Aug. 14–15 in Scottsdale, Arizona. This year's keynote speaker is Sara Paretsky (the V.I. Warshawksi series), with other featured authors to include Simon Wood, Hilary Davidson, Christina Cox, Deborah J Ledford and Terri Bischoff.
Crime writer Mark Billingham and the Kirkgate Centre in Cockermouth in the UK are teaming up for a short-story contest. Budding UK crime writers are encouraged to submit stories can be up to 1,000 words centered on the theme of Crime in Cockermouth, with two categories for entries: writers aged 11 to 18 years and writers aged 19-plus. The competition closes on Monday, September 7, and a panel that includes Billingham will judge the submissions.
On September 16, the British Library's Rob Davies and crime author Martin Edwards will discuss the library's recent successes republishing forgotten titles from the Golden Age of Detective Fiction.
The Crime Writers' Association has launched Dagger Reads, an online literary showcase for the 2015 Dagger Awards shorlist, including the CWA Goldsboro Gold, the CWA Ian Fleming Steel and the CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Daggers. Resources will include a comprehensive guide to each book and its author, an explanation of why the judges selected each book, and reading guides. Every two weeks leading up to the awards ceremony in September, Dagger Reads will focus on a different Dagger with an online book club for that book.
Fans of all things Scandinavian will enjoy The Globe and Mail's exploration of Olso, Norway, through the eyes of homegrown crime author Jo Nesbo and a a Harry Hole walking tour.
In a separate northern clime, MPR News profiled "Dark reads: 16 Minnesota murder mysteries," wondering what it is about the land of 10,000 lakes that inspires such dark tales of murder and mayhem.
Ever wondered if there was a secret formula behind Agatha Christie's plotting? Research commissioned by UKTV channel Drama for their Agatha Christie Hour says it looks a little something like this:
The UK-based Sofeminine website put together a list of the "10 Murder Mystery Thriller Novels Every Woman Should Read," focusing, as you might expect, on novels written by women authors.
Meanwhile, Marie Claire Online also compiled a roster of mostly women authors and "The 8 Best Thrillers That Will Keep You Up All Night."
The Sydney Morning Herald's Jane Sullivan took a look at why authors like to kill off their characters, with a look at authors like Karin Slaughter and Tess Gerritsen.
Luke Slattery in The New Yorker took on a Renaissance murder mystery: the glamorous philosopher Giovanni Pico della Mirandola’s death and that of his lover may have been murder, after modern scientists found toxic levels of arsenic in their disinterred remains.
If you happen to have a spare $1.6 million, you can buy Jesse Pinkman's Albuquerque, New Mexico, house from Breaking Bad.
In the Q&A roundup this week, author Allan J. Emerson stops by Omnimystery News to discuss the first in a new series, titled Death of a Bride and Groom; the Mystery People snagged Rob Hart to talk about his new novel New Yorked, a quirky take on the the hard boiled crime novel and a heartbroken valentine to his ever-changing city; Ace Atkins talked living in the South and his Quinn Colson series; J.J. Toner takes Paul D. Brazill's "Short, Sharp Interview" challenge; and Linwood Barclay stops by the Huffington Post to chat about his new thriller, Broken Promise.
Happy Monday to all, and hope you enjoy the latest roundup of news from the world of crime dramas:
Game of Thrones director Neil Marshall has been signed to direct EuropaCorp’s upcoming revenge drama The Sentence, a futuristic thriller where a victim is granted 24 hours to take revenge against the person who murdered someone close to them.
Tommy Lee Jones has joined the cast of Universal’s upcoming Bourne sequel (that returns Matt Damon to the franchise), playing a superior officer at the CIA.
Daniel Radcliffe will take the lead role in Imperium, playing a young FBI agent who goes undercover to find and stop white supremacists trying to make a dirty bomb. It’s based on the real-life experiences of Michael German, an FBI undercover agent who spent years inside United States neo-Nazi and militia groups.
While making the rounds to promote his latest Mission: Impossible movie, actor Tom Cruise told Jon Stewart on the Daily Show that another installment is in the works and “We’ll probably start shooting it next summer.” If so, the movie might be released in theaters as early as 2017.
Sherlockian Peter Blau is arranging a screening of William Gillette's long-lost Sherlock Holmes film at the Landmark Bethesda Row theater on September 26. Gillette, a celebrated actor, wrote and starred in a Sherlock Holmes stage play that was popular for decades, but until now it was believed that only photos and a brief audio recording had survived.
San Francisco's Castro Theater will present Elliot Lavine's I Wake Up Dreaming 2015: Hot Summer Noir on five consecutive Thursdays, August 6 through September 3. The films include rarely-screened gems all in 35mm studio prints, starting with Ride the Pink Horse, based on the novel by mystery writer Dorothy B. Hughes.
The third and most involved trailer yet was released for Black Mass, starring Johnny Depp as iconic criminal Whitey Bulger.
BBC America is taking on a new adaptation of Douglas Adams' Dirk Gently series for television, penned by Chronicle writer Max Landis. However, the new production will be set in the U.S. instead of Britain, with the clairvoyant private eye relocating his Detective Agency to San Diego.
BBC America also ordered two additional new series: The political thriller Undercover, about the first black woman to hold the highest-ranking public prosecutor role in the UK who learns her husband has been lying to her for years; and Thirteen, a five-part mystery thriller from Marnie Dickens (The Musketeers, Ripper Street), centered on a woman who escapes the cellar that has been her prison for the past 13 years and has to re-learn how to live a normal life.
The upcoming season of Banshee, which is set to begin filming soon for broadcast on Cinemax in 2016, is likely to be the show's last. Banshee centers on a mysterious ex-convict (Antony Starr) who assumes the identity of a murdered small Amish country town sheriff and then learns the town is full of dangers, warring factions and secrets.
AMC renewed the mafia drama Making of the Mob for a second season to premiere in 2016 and focus on the Chicago crime syndicate, which famously included Al Capone, Lucky Luciano and Bugsy Siegel.
Longmire executive producer Greer Shephard teased the upcoming fourth season of the series that is moving to Netflix, which picks up with Wyoming Sheriff Walt Longmire (Robert Taylor) learning who killed his wife and setting out to avenge her death.
Starz is developing a series based on Cuban author Leonardo Padura's Havana Quartet novels. Antonio Banderas attached to star as hard-drinking, romantic Cuban Police Detective Mario Conde, who longs to be a writer but settled for a job as a detective in 1990s Cuba.
The FX series American Crime Story has cast Rio Hackford as Investigator Pat McKenna in the project that is based on the Jeffrey Toobin book The Run of His Life: The People v. O.J. Simpson.
André Benjamin has been cast in the second season of the ABC drama American Crime, playing an architect who has to defend his son when he becomes entangled in a scandal at an elite private school.
How to Get Away with Murder has booked X-Men's Famke Janssen for Season 2 of the series, although no details on what role she will play have been released.
In defending the second season of True Detective, HBO president of programming Michael Lombardo made it clear that the network would do a third season and it is writer/producer Nick Pizzolatto’s decision as to whether or not to continue the series.
Short story writer and University of Chicago professor Vu Tran spoke with NPR's Scott Simon about why he chose noir for his first novel, Dragonfish.
The latest Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine podcast features a story by Josh Pachter, "The Night of Power," part of a series set in 1980s Bahrain, recently published in the collection The Tree of Life from Wildside Press.
Suspense Magazine's Beyond The Cover podcast conducted several exclusive interviews at ThrillerFest 2015 in NYC. The first installment of those Q&As include NY Times bestselling authors Sandra Brown and David Morrell, as well as author Mark Alpert.
The most recent Meet the Thrilling Author podcast featured an interview with actor and author Bobby Nash, who writes in a variety of genres including thrillers, graphic novels, ans screenplays, and was named Best Author in the 2013 Pulp Ark Awards.