Edmund Clerihew "E.C." Bentley (1875-1956) was an early 20th-century popular English novelist and humorist who's also credited with being the inventor of the clerihew, an irregular form of humorous verse on biographical topics. His 1913 detective novel Trent's Last Case was well-received, numbering Dorothy L. Sayers among its admirers, and its tricky plotting has led some to label it as the"first truly modern mystery." It was adapted as a film in 1920, 1929, and 1952.
Despite its title, Trent's Last Case was actually the first novel in which artist and gentleman sleuth Philip Trent appears, and after collecting all the evidence and coming to all the wrong conclusions, he vows he will never again attempt to dabble in crime detection. That was not to be the case, however, followed by a book of short stories, Trent intervenes, and finally Trent's Own Case, a sequel of sorts that was published twenty-three years after the original in 1936 (co-written with H. Warner Allen).
When the first book appeared, Trent was a breath of fresh air in the early Edwardian era but by the time the sequel appeared, the Golden Age era of crime novels was in full swing with books from the likes of Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, Margery Allingham, Ngaio Marsh, Georgette Heyer, John Dickson Carr and many more. So, perhaps it was something to be expected that Trent's Own Case would begin to feel less path-breaking and more ordinary.
In this outing, the murder of a sadistic philanthropist sparks off an elaborate investigation led by Trent, who'd been painting the portrait of the man before he was killed. When a friend of Trent's confesses to the murder and tries to commit suicide, Trent comes out of retirement and offers to assist his police friend, Inspector Bligh. with the investigation. After a meandering investigation that finds Trent visiting France, two subsequent murders, and the disappearance of an actress, Trent finally solves the mystery and nails the guilty culprit.
Reviewer Mike Grost once said of the book, "This novel is full of many little subsidiary mysteries, each lasting a chapter or two, and each focusing on a new cast of characters. It gives the work as a whole the feel of a short story collection, or a loosely linked short story sequence à la The Arabian Nights." Bentley (and Allen) seem to have absorbed and "repurposed" bits from the new influencers of the genre such as Sayers and Freeman Wills Croft. It is also a book of its time, containing references that are considered offensive to many modern audiences, including racism and sexism.
As a side note, from 1936 until 1949 Bentley was president of the Detection Club and also contributed to two crime stories for the club's radio serials broadcast in 1930 and 1931 (later published in 1983 as The Scoop and Behind The Screen). In 1950 he contributed the introduction to a Constable & Co omnibus edition of Damon Runyon's "stories of the bandits of Broadway", which was republished by Penguin Books in 1990 as On Broadway.
Barnes & Noble announced that Abby Geni’s The Lightkeepers, "a sublime debut novel about a young woman who finds herself at the center of a murder mystery on a remote island," was the winner of the 2016 Discover Award for fiction, a prize that carries with it $30,000 and a full year of marketing and merchandising support from the bookseller.
English teacher Claire McFall took home the inaugural Scottish teenage book prize for her YA thriller Black Cairn Point, set in Dumfries and Galloway. Teenagers across the country voted for her book in the prize that was set up by the Scottish Book Trust with support from Creative Scotland to encourage teens to actively celebrate the books they love. McFall's Ferryman previously won the Older Readers Category of the Scottish Children's Book Awards 2013 and was nominated for the Carnegie Medal.
Melbourne, Australia's first Noir at the Bar event is heading down under on March 28 at the Grub Street Bookshop. Organizers Andrew Nette and Iain Ryan will be joined by Kat Clay, Liam Jose, Leigh Redhead, Jock Serong and Emma Viskic for readings from the noir fiction stylists "and drinks in a cool establishment."
Tuesday, April 25 at City Lights Booksellers in San Francisco, can catch Oakland Noir, a panel moderated by Eddie Muller a.k.a. the "Czar of Noir" and Jerry Thompson and featuring authors Kim Addonizio, Nick Petrulakis, Jamie DeWolf, Joe Loya. The panel celebrates the new crime fiction anthology from Akashic Books on the topic, continuing the publisher's "city noir" series with each story is a particular anthology set in a distinct neighborhood or location within the city of the book.
The third annual Independent Bookstore Day this year will take place on Saturday, April 29, with 457 stores from around the country participating. Organizers of the event are offering bookstores promotional literary items, and each store will also have its own listing of special guests, author signings, live music, cupcakes, scavenger hunts, kids events, art tables, readings, barbecues, contests more. For participating stores near you, check out this map from the official website. (HT to Shelf Awareness)
The latest issue of Suspense Magazine has interviews with Patricia Cornwell, James Rollins, Mark Greaney, Matt Hilton, Libby Fischer Hellmann, Carey Baldwin, Kelly Parsons, and debut author Mikel Santiago. Jon Land also talks about writing fiction and there is the usual lineup of review galore.
From Sandra Seamans comes news that Rick Ollerman will be launching a new digest-sized magazine this summer called DOWN & OUT: The Magazine. The first issue features a new Moe Prager story by Reed Farrel Coleman and the second a new Sheriff Dan Rhodes story by Bill Crider. It's always a pleasure to welcome a new venue for short crime fiction to the scene, and we wish the endeavor all the best. You can check out the placeholder website link here.
On the other end of the spectrum, The Bookseller reported that subscribers of the quarterly Crime Scene Magazine were told the publication is shutting down. Established only in 2015, the magazine devoted to crime TV, film and books was available in print and digital forms and featured previews and reviews, interviews, features, and on set-reports, all in an eye-catching format.
The UK's National Railway Museum opens a free new exhibition trail March 23 through September 3 titled The Missing Passenger. Participants can unearth the clues on platforms 5 and 6 in this mysterious railway crime scene, unpick motives, and reach the final conclusion of this curious whodunnit. To celebrate, the museum is offering the chance for UK residents to win afternoon Champagne Tea for Two in the Countess of York at the National Railway Museum, plus a stay at the Novotel York Central.
Northern Illinois University is using grant money to digitize a large collection of dime novels, the popular format of short works from the 19th century, and are making them available online for browsing. Titles include the Nick Carter detective series, the James Brady detective series, and the New York Detective Library. (HT to Bill Crider)
Do you like your crime fiction on the cozy side? Then, you should check out this list of the "Top 10 Cozy Mystery Blogs."
Love that old book smell? A Columbia University preservation expert and a curator at the Morgan Library & Museum in Manhattan have created "an unusual poetic-scientific experiment in the little-visited olfactory wing of history, trying to pin down the powerful connection between smell and memory." Part of their efforts to convey a sense of the building’s history beyond just its look and feel is to replicate the aromas inside the personal book vault of John Pierpont Morgan, the financier and collector who built the library in 1906.
The New Yorker had a little fun with a tongue-in-cheek look at "Mystery Novels Inspired by a Co-Working Space."
This week's featured crime poem at the 5-2 is "Twenty-Seven" by Lisa Olsson.
In the Q&A roundup, Criminal Element sat down with Eliot Pattison, author of The Skeleton God, the ninth Inspector Shan mystery; the Mystery People welcomed David Joy to talk about his new novel The Weight Of This World, which continues the "rural noir" theme of his debut novel, Where All Light Tends to Go; the MP gang also interviewed Tim Dorsey, known for his mischievous characters and their bizarre adventures, including his latest Florida-based book, Clownfish Blues; and Craig Sisterson snagged Brad Parks (the only author to have won the Nero, Shamus, and Lefty awards for crime writing) for an interview over on the Crime Watch blog.
SAMUEL BJØRK is the pen name of Norwegian novelist, playwright and singer/songwriter Frode Sander Øien. Øien wrote his first stageplay at the age of twenty-one and then went on to write two highly acclaimed literary novels, Pepsi Love (2001) and Speed for Breakfast (2009). The self-taught artist has also released six albums, written five plays, showed contemporary art pieces in various galleries and translated Shakespeare. His debut crime novel, I'm Traveling Alone (Det Henger En Engel Alene I Skogen) hit #1 on German newspaper Der Spiegel's bestseller list and was nominated for the Norwegian Booksellers’ Award, prompting some to compare him to the likes of both Stieg Larsson and Jo Nesbø. It's the first installment in the Mia and Munch Series.
When a six-year-old girl is found in the countryside, hanging lifeless from a tree and dressed in strange doll’s clothes with a sign around her neck saying "I’m traveling alone," a special homicide unit re-opens with veteran police investigator Holger Munch at the helm. Holger’s first step is to persuade the brilliant but suicidal investigator Mia Kruger, who has been living on an isolated island and overcome by memories of her past, to assist. When Mia views a photograph of the crime scene and spots the number "1" carved into the dead girl’s fingernail, she knows this is only the beginning. Could this killer have something to do with a missing child, abducted six years ago and never found, or with the reclusive religious community hidden in the nearby woods? Mia returns to duty to track down a revenge-driven and ruthlessly intelligent killer, but when Munch’s own six-year-old granddaughter goes missing, Mia realizes that the killer’s sinister game is personal.
Kirkus Reviews noted that "Bjørk has constructed a labyrinthine plot with plenty of red herrings and rabbit holes, but even with a cast of many, he manages to do justice to the story," and Library Journal gave the title a starred review, adding “A breath of fresh air in the crowded Scandinavian crime genre, this suspenseful novel…will hook readers early and keep them on the edge of their seat until the final pages. Fans of Jo Nesbø are sure to enjoy the flawed yet likable characters.”
Now for the giveaway! One lucky winner will receive a print copy of the book, courtesy of the publisher (U.S. addresses this time). To enter, simply follow this link, and login with your email address. FYI, you'll be prompted to enter your email address a second time, so be sure and don't miss this step. But hurry - the contest ends March 13.
DreamWorks Pictures picked up the spec screenplay Bad Cop, Bad Cop written by Fortune Feimster, Brian Jarvis and Jim Freeman, with Feimster attached to star. Scott Stuber’s Bluegrass Films is also in talks to produce as what is being billed as an R-rated action buddy comedy about two hapless cops who stumble on a case that exposes a conspiracy of corruption in their own precinct.
Liam Neeson is in discussions to star as Viola Davis’ husband in Steve McQueen’s Widows, a heist movie about four armed robbers who are killed during a caper gone wrong, leaving their surviving spouses to finish the job. McQueen is writing the script along with Gone Girl’s Gillian Flynn.
Mission: Impossible 6 has found its second female lead in the form of The Crown's Vanessa Kirby, although her role hasn't been announced officially. She is the latest addition to a supporting cast that includes Ving Rhames, Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, and Rebecca Ferguson. The project is currently scheduled to hit theaters in the summer of 2018.
Sakina Jaffrey, a series regular on NBC’s new drama Timeless, is in final talks to join the cast of Fox’s Red Sparrow, the Francis Lawrence-directed spy thriller that stars Jennifer Lawrence, Joel Edgerton, Matthias Schoenaerts and Jeremy Irons. Based on Jason Matthews’ novel, the feature follows Russian intelligence officer Dominika Egorova (Lawrence), who is drafted against her will to become a Sparrow, a trained seductress. Jaffrey will play Trish Forsythe, station commander of the CIA office in Helsinki, Finland.
The 13th annual Los Angeles International Women's Film Festival will take place March 23-26 at LA Live Regal Cinemas. Celebrating the cinematic achievements of women from around the world, the event kicks off with an Opening Night Gala screening of The Drowning, directed by Bette Gordon and starring Julia Stiles, Josh Charles and Avan Jogia. The film, based on the novel Border Crossing by Booker Prize-winner Pat Barker, is a psychological thriller that explores shifting identities as a psychiatrist faces the past, present and future—while treating a young man convicted of a murder when he was just 11 years old.
Netflix shared the first teaser trailer for Will Smith and Joel Edgerton’s upcoming film Bright, an R-rated cop procedural that is set in a world populated not only with humans but also fantastical, mythical creatures. The story follows a human cop (Smith) who is forced to work with an Orc (Edgerton) to find a weapon everyone is prepared to kill for. Noomi Repace, Edgar Ramírez, Ike Barinholtz and Kenneth Choi also co-star.
Mick Finlay’s upcoming Sherlock-inspired novel Arrowood has been snapped up for a television adaptation. The story is set in the shady London backstreets of 1895 and centers on a private investigator named Arrowood, who despises Holmes, his wealthy clientele, and his showy forensic approach to crime. Arrowood is the one the underclass turn to when crimes happen in densely-populated south London, where crimes are sleazier and Holmes rarely visits.
The BBC is moving ahead with the long-gestating political thriller The Club, from Adam Price and House of Cards author Lord Michael Dobbs. The project is being produced by the company behind Broadchurch, with the the BBC believed to be looking at the latest draft of a pilot script for the Westminster-set drama.
Entourage star Jeremy Piven has signed on to star in Wisdom of the Crowd, CBS’ drama pilot from former The Good Wife writer-executive producer Ted Humphrey and Keshet Studios. Written by Humphrey and directed by Adam Davidson, the project is based on the Israeli format of the same name and centers on Jeffrey Tanner (Piven), a charismatic tech innovator who creates a cutting-edge crowd-sourcing hub to solve his own daughter’s murder, as well as revolutionizing crime solving in San Francisco.
Peter Fonda is set for a key role opposite Abbie Cornish and John Krasinski in Amazon’s straight-to-series drama Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan. Fonda will guest star in a potentially recurring role as Cathy Mueller’s (Cornish) father, with Mueller set as a love interest for Ryan. The project is a reinvention with a modern sensibility of the iconic Tom Clancy hero and centers on Jack Ryan (Krasinski), an up-and-coming CIA analyst thrust into a dangerous field assignment for the first time.
The USA network's drug cartel drama Queen of the South has added Ryan O’Nan, both as a cast member and a story editor, in Season 2. O’Nan will recur in multiple episodes as King George, a high-rolling Texas weed smuggler who will help Teresa Mendoza (Alice Braga) and Camila Vargas (Veronica Falcon) build their empire.
Canada's CTV has made its first-ever order for consecutive seasons of a Canadian drama by handing a second- and third-season pick-up to the crime drama Cardinal, starring The Killing alum Billy Campbell and Karine Vanasse. The second and third cycles of Cardinal will be shot in northern Ontario and once again feature Campbell's dogged detective and Vanasse, his partner, a shrewd investigator from a small town’s French-speaking community.
USA Network has opted not to order a second season of crime thriller anthology Eyewitness, the series from Shades of Blue creator Adi Hasak and adapted from the Norwegian drama Øyevitne. The serialized murder story was designed as a companion to USA’s venerable off-network crime drama procedural Law & Order: SVU on Sunday. Despite solid reviews and a strong performance by Julianne Nicholson, the series, which got very little promotion, did not hold as much of the SVU audience as the network had hoped.
A new teaser trailer was released for the drama series Mindhunter slated to hit Netflix in October. Based on the book Mind Hunter: Inside FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit by Mark Olshaker and John E. Douglas, the project revolves around two FBI agents in 1979 who interview imprisoned serial killers as a way to solve ongoing investigations. The agents will be played by Jonathan Groff (Hamilton, Looking) as Holden Ford and Holt McCallany (Sully, Lights Out) as Bill Tench. Anna Torv, Hannah Gross, and Cotter Smith will also appear in the series, with David Fincher and Charlize Theron executive producing.
Michael Connelly is the Turner Classic Movies Guest Programmer for March. Connelly, the author of numerous mysteries and crime fiction (notably those featuring LAPD Detective Hieronymus "Harry" Bosch), has chosen four films from the 1970s that he saw as a teenager and considered to be "all part of the process I went through" to become a writer in the hard-boiled tradition. (HT to Mystery Fanfare)
A Stab in the Dark is back with its first podcast of the new year. Paul Hirons fills in for regular host Mark Billingham to take a closer look at the Nordic Noir phenomenon and also the links between Scandinavian and Nordic crime fiction and drama with Britain.
On the latest Crime and Science Radio: "Dangerous Instincts": An Interview with Senior FBI Profiler (Ret) Mary Ellen O’Toole Ph.D.
New Zealand's The Coast podcast chatted with author Gregg Hurwitz about his new Evan Smoak thriller.
Noir on the Radio welcomed crime fiction author Rob Pierce to talk about his novels and short stories. Pierce is the editor of Swill Magazine, an editorial consultant with All Due Respect Books, and co-editor at Flash Fiction Offensive.
On the Crime Cafe podcast, author Debbi Mack interviewed thriller author James P. Carse, a retired religion/philosophy professor, whose first crime novel, PhDeath: the Puzzler Murders will be published later this year.
The Two Crime Writers and a Microphone podcast had hosts Steve Cavanagh and Luca Veste talking about the things that anger readers the most, as well a discussion of James Ellroy, and more. The special guest was Mason Cross who discussed his Carter Blake series.
Calgary, Canada's Vertigo Theatre will present the "hilarious, fast-paced romp through the world of espionage," Our Man in Havana, beginning March 11 with a run through April 9. The story centers on Jim Wormold, a British expatriate living in 1950’s Cuba who is struggling to pay for his daughter’s extravagant lifestyle. When the British Secret Service offers him a plum position as their 'man in Havana," he literally can’t afford to say no.
Author Helen Worrell Clarkson McCloy (1904-1994) was part of the Golden Age era of crime fiction. Her mother was writer Helen Worrell McCloy and her father, William McCloy, longtime managing editor of the New York Evening Sun. She was educated at a Quaker school before heading off to France in 1923 to study at the Sorbonne, then finally working in journalism for Hearst's Universal News Service and as a freelancer and art critic.
McCloy began to write mysteries in the 1930s, with her first novel, Dance of Death, published in 1938. In 1946 she married Davis Dresser, famous for his Mike Shayne novels written under the pseudonym Brett Halliday (McCloy herself also wrote one book under a pen name, Helen Clarkson). The couple founded the Torquil Publishing Company and the literary agency Halliday and McCloy prior to their divorce in 1961. In 1950 she became the first woman to serve as president of Mystery Writers of America, and her contributions to the genre are recognized today by the annual Helen McCloy/MWA Scholarship for Mystery Writing.
Her most famous series character, Dr. Basil Willing debuted in Dance of Death and appeared in 12 novels and several short stories. Willing became interested in psychiatry upon seeing the shell-shocked soldiers during his World War I service, then studied psychiatry at Johns Hopkins, then in Paris and Vienna, where he acquired his knowledge of Freudian psychoanalysis and his belief that "every criminal leaves psychic fingerprints, and he can't wear gloves to hide them."
Willing's actual literary debut was in the short story "Through a Glass Darkly," published in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine in September 1948 and later expanded into the 1950 novel by the same title. It's a quasi-locked-room a la John Dickson Carr, with a seemingly supernatural twist invovling a Doppelganger in which art teacher Faustina Crayle is fired from Brereton School for Girls mid-term but not given a reason why. Faustina's friend and fellow teacher, Gisela von Weber, also happens to be the fiancee of Basil Willing, who draws him into the case, fearing an injustice has been done.
Willing soon learns that students have seen Faustina appear in places she couldn't have been and when the drama coach has a fatal accident, Faustina is suspected—before Willing discovers that she was the only woman who could never have an alibi.
Author, editor and columnist Nicholas Fuller feels that Through a Glass Darkly, is among the top twenty best detective stories ever written, "both for the way in which its horror arises almost entirely from Jamesian understatement (suggestion and the incongruous presence of the normal create the feeling of something terribly wrong) and for the ambiguous solution."
McCloy spins the Doppleganger theme effectively through her characterizations and prose:
"You enter a room, a street, a country road. You see a figure ahead of you, solid, three-dimensional, brightly coloured. Moving and obeying all the laws of optics. Its clothing and posture is vaguely familiar. You hurry toward the figure for a closer view. It turns its head and - you are looking at yourself. Or rather a perfect mirror-image of yourself only - there is no mirror. So, you know it is your double. And that frightens you, for tradition tells you that he who sees his own double is about to die . . ."
In 1959, John Hopkins adapted the story into a teleplay as part of the Saturday Playouse series that aired on the BBC from 1958 to 1961.
The shortlists for the LA Times Book Prizes were announced last week, including the titles for Best Mystery/Thriller: Bill Beverly, Dodgers; Graeme Macrae Burnet, His Bloody Project: Documents Relating to the Case of Roderick Macrae; Emma Cline, The Girls; Ian McGuire, The North Water; and Thomas Mullen, Darktown.
The finalists were also announced for the Barry Awards, handed out annually since 1997 by Deadly Pleasures magazine in memory of Barry Gardner, "arguably the best fan reviewer ever." The list of this year's honorees for Best Novel, Best First Novel, Best Paperback Original, and Best Thriller (with winners announced Thursday, October 12, during Bouchercon, in Toronto), can be read here (HT to the Gumshoe site).
Book publisher Virago and award-winning digital platform for women are teaming up to sponsor the Virago/The Pool New Crime Writer Award, a competition to find a superlative new female crime writer for Virago. Organizers are seeking "a suspenseful, intelligent, original crime or thriller novel, and interested authors can submit a 5,000-word sample plus a 500-word synopsis. Entires will be judged by novelist Erin Kelly, literary agent Jo Unwin, journalist Coco Khan, Scott Free Development Executive Emily Iredale, Sam Baker and Sarah Savitt. Entries must be submitted by 21 May 2017, with the winner announced in September 2017. The prize is an opportunity to have a book published by Virago, an imprint of Little, Brown Book Group Limited with an advance of £7,500 (c. $9300 U.S.)
Chapter proposals are invited for an edited collection Agatha Christie Goes to War, which will explore and evaluate the role of war in Agatha Christie’s life and writing. The editors invite 300-500 word abstracts for contributions of 6000-8000 words that take a global and in-depth approach to wars and their traces in Christie’s work. For more details, check out this blog post from Shots Magazine.
Shots' Ayo Onatade also reported that the peer-reviewed journal Linguæ& has also put out a call for scholarly papers on the subject of noir: noir as genre, sub- (or sur-) genre, or stylistic mode; about noir writers and film directors of the past and the present; about the new directions of crime fiction(s) regarding LGBT; about the ways noir has (or has not) interfaced with chaos theory, complexity, and fractal geometry; about the connections between noir and politics; about the representation(s) of evil in contemporary literature and the media; and about noir and the American Canon.
The original typescript for Mickey Spillane’s I, the Jury is a headliner at the Heritage Auctions’ 2017 Rare Books Auction March 8 in New York. The manuscript, which carries a pre-auction estimate of $50,000, is Spillane’s copy with pencil marks and editing notations throughout in graphite and red pencil. Among the other pieces in the collection of items relating to the 20th-century American novelist and actor that are up for auction include Spillane's Royal manual typewriter and a group of Spillane’s World War II relics from his time as a fighter pilot.
Stephen Fry has recorded the complete collection of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes books to mark the 130th anniversary of the celebrated detective’s first appearance in print. All four novels and 56 short stories created by the Edinburgh-born author have been turned into new audio books, with the actor and comedian also creating his own introductions for each book in the new series. Among his many other roles, Fry played the brother of Sherlock Holmes in the Guy Ritchie film A Game of Shadows.
Can a doll be a spy? As the New York Times reports, a blonde, bright-eyed doll that chatters about horses and hobbies and plays games could also be eavesdropping on your child.
Mystery Readers Journal: Small Town Cops II (Volume 32:4) is now available. In addition to the online articles "The Joy of Writing the Small Town Cop," by Vicki Delany, and "Small Town Crimes; Small Town Cops" by D.P. Lyle, the print issue includes two dozen additional "Author! Author!" essays as well as reviews.
This week's featured crime poem at the 5-2 is "The Last Battle" by Karen Petersen.
In the Q&A roundup, The Mystery People welcomed Kathleen Kent, who ordinarily writes historical fiction but has turned to crime novels with The Dime, where she introduces Betty Rhyzyk, a tall, red-headed, lesbian cop from Brooklyn whose first big case after transferring to Dallas gets her neck deep in drugs, cartels, and murder; over at the Writers Who Kill blog, E. B. Davis interviewed Agatha Nominee Cynthia Kuhn about her first novel, The Semester Of Our Discontent; Crime Fiction lover spoke with comic book writer and editor Pat Mills about the release of his first crime novel, Serial Killer; and the Dark Phantom blog chatted with author Tom Carter about his latest, Nashville: Music & Murder.
Top o'the week means it's time for the latest news from the world of crime dramas, including the 89th Oscars:
The Academy Award nominees included a few crime/thriller/mystery-related dramas such as Elle, Hell or High Water, Nocturnal Animals, and Arrival, although none won in their categories. The big winners were the coming-of-age film Moonlight (Best Picture) and La La Land, which won several awards. For all the nominees and winners, click on over to the official Oscars website.
Charlize Theron will star in and produce Universal's adaptation of the CIA thriller novel Need to Know, by Karen Cleveland. The story centers on a young wife and mother who works as a CIA analyst, who searches through databases in hopes of unmasking a Russian sleeper cell in the U.S. but makes a shocking discovery that threatens her job, her family and her life.
The domestic thriller novel Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris is being adapted into a film with a script by Melissa London Hilfers. The project follows a woman whose dream husband suddenly becomes her worst nightmare immediately following their wedding day.
Captain Fantastic writer-director Matt Ross has been tapped to direct Tomorrow and Tomorrow, a futuristic crime thriller based on Tom Sweterlitsch’s 2014 novel. The story follows John Dominic Blaxton, who lives in Pittsburgh — which actually is the Archive, a virtual reconstruction of the city’s buildings, parks and landmarks as well as the people who once lived there. He investigates mysterious deaths from before Pittsburgh’s destruction and becomes obsessed with a woman who apparently was murdered.
Daniel Kaluuya has signed on to star in Widows, the Steve McQueen-directed film from New Regency, joining Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez and Cynthia Erivo in the cast. The plot centers on the aftermath of four armed robbers killed during a failed heist, and their surviving widows join forces and resolve to pull off the raid themselves. McQueen and Gone Girl author Gillian Flynn penned the script which is based on the 1983 British miniseries.
Sienna Miller and Giancarlo Giannini have joined The Catcher Was A Spy, the Ben Lewin-directed drama that stars Paul Rudd, Guy Pearce, Paul Giamatti and Jeff Daniels and is based on Nicholas Dawidoff’s bestselling book that tells the true story of Moe Berg, a major league ballplayer who was an important spy against the Nazis in WWII. Miller will play Estella Huni, the main character's love interest, while Giannini plays Italian physicist Professor Eduardo Amaldi.
Corbin Bernsen is set to star in suspense thriller The Russian Bride, co-starring with Russian actress Oksana Orlan and 11-year-old model Kristina Pimenova. The indie project follows a reclusive billionaire (Bernsen) who brings a young woman and her daughter to the U.S. from Moscow with the promise of giving them both a better life. They soon discover his motives are extreme, and mother and daughter find themselves fighting for their lives.
Netflix has acquired streaming rights to The Irishman, Martin Scorsese's next project starring Robert De Niro. The Irishman is based on the 2004 novel I Heard You Paint Houses by Charles Brandt and will star De Niro as the title character, Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran, a contract killer who murdered Teamster Jimmy Hoffa in the 1970s.
Rachel Bloom and Adam Pally are set to star in Most Likely to Murder, a mystery-comedy acquired by Lionsgate. Dan Gregor will direct from a script he co-wrote with Doug Mand that's described as "Rear Window for stoners."
Universal released a promotional poster for Atomic Blonde, the spy thriller starring Charlize Theron as MI6’s most lethal assassin who is sent alone into Berlin to deliver a priceless dossier out of the destabilized city and partners with embedded station chief David Percival (James McAvoy).
The release date for the Liam Neeson starrer The Commuter has been pushed back to January 12, 2018. Also starring Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga and Jonathan Banks, the action-thriller sees Neeson playing an insurance salesman in the midst of his daily commute who is forced by a mysterious stranger (Farmiga) to uncover the identity of a passenger before the train’s last stop.
CBS has yanked its midseason series Doubt from its lineup after only two episodes. The series, which marked Katherine Heigl's second recent attempt to return to primetime and the first major network role for Laverne Cox, was greeted by so-so reviews and a low 0.8 rating among adults ages 18-49. The network will instead schedule the second season of Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders into Doubt's slot going forward.
Marg Helgenberger has been cast in the Fox pilot Behind Enemy Lines. The former CSI actress will star as Bobbie Decker, a Navy Admiral and the most powerful woman in the military. The pilot, loosely based on the 2001 Owen Wilson movie of the same name, is a military soap thriller wherein a group of U.S. soldiers find themselves trapped behind enemy lines.
Matthew Broderick is heading to New Orleans to star in Katrina, the second season of Ryan Murphy's American Crime Story anthology. Broderick will star as Federal Emergency Management Agency director Michael D. Brown, who was in charge of the federal disaster response to Hurricane Katrina, and joins four-time Oscar nominee Annette Bening in the anthology series.
Daniel Ings has booked a key series regular role in Instinct, CBS’ drama pilot based on the upcoming book by James Patterson and Marc Webb. Instinct centers on Dylan, a former CIA operative (Alan Cumming) who has since built a normal life as a gifted professor and writer but is pulled back into his old life when the NYPD needs his help to stop a serial killer on the loose. Ings will play Tracy, Dylan’s "all-American" husband of one year. The network also announced that Lost alum Naveen Andrews has snagged a lead role in the pilot, playing Dylan’s old friend from the CIA who rivals Dylan in brilliance and wit.
Former Cold Case star Kathryn Morris has been cast opposite Sarah Shahi in NBC’s drama pilot Reverie, from the Extant team of creator Mickey Fisher and Amblin TV. Penned by Fisher and directed by feature director Jaume Collett-Serra, Reverie is a thriller about Mara (Shahi), a former detective specializing in human behavior who is brought in when the launch of an advanced virtual reality program has dangerous and unintended consequences. Morris will play Monica Shaw, a Department of Defense official who has a vested interest in Alexis Barret’s (Jessica Lu) virtual reality project called Reverie. NBC also tapped Dennis Haysbert (The Unit, 24) as the male lead, playing a former police chief who used to be Mara's boss and enlists Mara's help stopping Reverie.
Filming has begun on the BBC's adaptation of Wilkie Collin's classic The Woman in White, long thought to be one of the first-ever psychological thriller novels. Former EastEnders star Ben Hardy takes on the lead role of a Victorian era school teacher who stumbles on a strange mystery as he encounters what appears to be a female spirit dressed completely in white, an obsession that leads him into a dangerous world of forbidden romance and possible insanity.
Former Haven star Emily Rose has booked a series regular role opposite Reba McEntire in ABC’s untitled Marc Cherry drama pilot. The project stars McEntire as Ruby Adair, the sheriff of colorful small town Oxblood, KY, who finds her red state outlook challenged when a young FBI agent of Middle Eastern descent is sent to help her solve a horrific crime. Rose will play Vonda Jean, County Coroner for the small town and former pageant runner-up.
Lenny Platt (Quantico) will take on a starring role in CBS pilot Perfect Citizen, a legal drama written and executive produced by former Good Wife executive producer Craig Turk. The plot centers on the former general counsel for the NSA who, after his involvement as a whistleblower in an international scandal, embarks on a new career at a storied law firm in Boston. Platt will play Felix, the self-proclaimed "Alpha Associate" at the firm.
USA Network has set three stars for its upcoming drama pilot Unsolved, which will examine the murders of rap legends Biggie Smalls and Tupac Shakur. Josh Duhamel, Bokeem Woodbine, and Jimmi Simpson have all joined the series as the real-life detectives investigating the murder.
Hope Davis (Allegiance), Vondie Curtis-Hall (Chicago Hope) and Regé-Jean Page (Roots) have joined the series-regular cast of ABC’s untitled pilot.The legal drama is set in the Southern District of New York (SDNY) Federal Court, aka "The Mother Court," and follows brand-new lawyers working for both the defense and the prosecution as they handle the most high-profile and high-stakes cases in the country.
Jason Ensler has been tapped to direct the drama pilot Redliners, about a pair of former spies living in suburbia who are reactivated when a failed hit on one of them leaves the assassin dead. The project is based on Small Kingdoms by Charlaine Harris.
J.R. Bourne has snagged a roleon the upcoming drama Somewhere Between as Tom Price, "Laura's (Paula Patton) powerful yet sensitive husband who is also the state's district attorney."
Rob Huebel has been cast in the drama pilot Unit Zero, about a brilliant, but unassuming CIA engineer and single mom, Jackie Fink (Toni Collette), as she leads a team of CIA underlings who are thrust into the field as first time spies. He'll play Phineas Bog, an off-beat CIA computer genius.
Austin Stowell (Whiplash) is the first to board the drama pilot Controversy, playing the Junior Counsel of a prestigious Illinois university who must deal with an out-of-control scandal when a young co-ed accuses several star football players of sexual assault.
J.D. Pardo has landed the lead role on the Sons of Anarchy spin-off, Mayans MC, playing the gifted son of a proud Latino family, whose American dream was snuffed out by cartel violence and whose need for vengeance drives him toward a life he never intended and can never escape.
The death of Bill Paxton (who died this weekend from a stroke following heart surgery), came just four episodes into the run of what will be his final series, CBS’ Training Day. Production on the midseason drama, a reboot of Antoine Fuqua’s acclaimed movie, wrapped in December, so all 13 episodes from the show’s first-season order have already been filmed. The TV series begins 15 years after the events in the feature, and centers on an idealistic young police officer (Justin Cornwell) who is appointed to an elite squad of the LAPD where he is partnered with a seasoned, morally ambiguous detective (Paxton). There's been no word on the fate of the remaining episodes, but Training Day executive producer Jerry Bruckheimer said, "I am truly devastated at the passing of my friend Bill Paxton. He was a tremendously talented actor and a wonderful man."
Lethal Weapon was renewed for a second season by Fox, having done well enough to secure a spot as one of the top new TV shows of the year.
FX announced that April 19 will be the premiere date for Season 3 of its Emmy-winning limited series Fargo. The new installment is set in 2010 and features Ewan McGregor (in dual roles), Carrie Coon, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and David Thewlis.
TCM (Turner Classic Movies) will launch the noir-themed programming block Noir Alley every Sunday at 10 a.m. Hosted by Film Noir Foundation Founder and President Eddie Muller, the lineup stars off with The Maltese Falcon on March 5. (HT Mystery Fanfare)
The second episode of Writer Types features interviews with authors Joe R. Lansdale, Reed Farrel Coleman, and Jess Lourey, as well as short fiction from Erik Arneson.
Bestseller M.R. Carey joined host Alex Dolan on Thrill Seekers to talk about his book The Girl With All The Gifts (the film version of which comes out in theaters this month) and Fellside, among other titles. He's also a legend in the comic industry, as the creator of the Lucifer and Hellblazer series
Red River Radio's No Limits podcast with host Barbara M. Hodges welcomed Gwen Mayo, Sarah E. Glenn and Eleanor Kuhns. Mayo is the author of the Nessa Donnelly mysteries and co-wrote another series with Glenn; and Eleanor Kuhns is the 2011 winner of the Minotaur Books/Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel.
Steve Cavanagh and Luca Veste, hosts of Two Crime Writers and a Microphone, discussed Jack the Ripper, Patricia Cornwell, and the forgotten victims; Liz Barnsley of LizLovesBooks, had reviews and recommendations; and the special guest was Keshini Naidoo, Associate Publisher at Bookoutre.
This week's guests on Suspense Radio were authors Andrew Grant (the David Trevellyan series) and and Tracy Weber (the Downward Dog Mysteries).
Noir on the Radio host Greg Barth welcomed Crime Fiction author Dharma Kelleher, whose debut thriller Iron Goddess was published by Alibi in June 2016. Her work has also appeared in Shotgun Honey.
Authors on the Air reported live from Sleuthfest and had interviews with author Jane Cleland and G.P. Putnam's Sons associate publisher and Editor in Chief Neil Nyren.
Fred Vargas (the pseudonym of Frédérique Audoin-Rouzeau) is one of France's most acclaimed crime writers, although she didn't start out that way. In fact, her day job was an archaeologist specializing in epidemiology, which is why she was so surprised when she became famous for her hobby, writing romans policiers – "rompols," she calls them. Her series, which is set in Paris and features the adventures of Commissaire Jean-Baptiste Adamsberg and his team, has won four International Dagger Awards from the Crime Writers Association for best translated crime novel of the year, along with her translator, Sîan Reynolds.
In his latest outing, Climate of Fear, Commissaire Adamsberg is back with a murder investigation that takes him through French Revolution history and Icelandic folklore. When a woman is found dead in her bathtub, her murder made to look like a suicide with a strange symbol drawn near her body, the Commissaire and his team investigate. Soon, a second victim is discovered and a pattern begins to emerge: both victims had been part of a tragic expedition to Iceland ten years earlier. But how are these deaths, and rumors of an Icelandic demon, linked to the secret society based on the writings of Maximilien Robespierre? And what does the mysterious symbol signify?
Kirkus said of the book, "It delights with its interesting characters, engaging dialogue, and infectious sense of curiosity about the lives of others," while Publishers Weekly added "Captivating … Vargas keeps introducing unexpected, fascinating new plot elements, even as the action totters on the brink of absurdity."
The publisher has offered up one print copy of Climate of Fear for one lucky winner from readers of In Reference to Murder (U.S. addresses only this time). To enter, hop on over to this Rafflecopter page and enter your email address through March 1 midnight ET. (NOTE: You'll need to enter your email address twice, once to "log in" and once to enter.)
For more information about Vargas and the book, check out her author page from Penguin Random House. Climate of Fear is available from all major online and brick-and-mortar bookstores.