Magdalen Nabb was born in Lancashire in 1947 but lived in Florence, Italy, from 1975 until her death in 2007. She wrote both children's fiction and crime fiction, the latter featuring her literary creation Marshal Salvatore Guarnaccia. She modeled the Marshal on a real Florentine law officer who used to keep the author up to date on crimes in the city being investigated by the Carabinieri, the national Italian police force. Critic Susanna Yager of the Sunday Telegraph once noted that "The mystery for me is why Magdalen Nabb is not better known," certainly not as well as Michael Dibdin (Aurelia Zen) and Donna Leon (Commissario Guido Brunetti).
After the first book featuring Guarnaccia appeared in 1981, it impressed Georges Simenon so much that he wrote to congratulate Nabb. After the publication of the sequel, Death of a Dutchman, he said, "Your first novel was a coup de maitre, your second is a masterpiece." That second book (she wrote 14 Guarnaccia installments in all) opens as Marshal Guarnaccia finds a jeweler dying in an apparent suicide from slashed hands and a barbiturate overdose, uttering his last words, "It wasn't her." The only witnesses to the crime are a blind man and a notoriously untruthful 91-year-old woman.
Although the case seems to be a dead end, the Marshal refuses to let it go, fighting his way through bureaucratic red tape, hordes of tourists, the soggy July heat, the secret police known as Digos and the dead Dutchman's troubled past in order to reach the truth. The dead man is known as a "Dutchman" even though his father was Dutch and his mother Italian. This neither-here-nor-there sense of belonging echoes the life of the Marshal himself, a Sicilian stationed in Florence, living at the station barracks without his wife and sons, as they care for his invalid mother back home.
Marshal, lower down the police hierarchy than a Lieutenant or Magistrate, is nonetheless a dedicated, sensitive and caring officer, not particularly articulate but with a subtle humor who patiently helps the young and inexperienced officer in charge of the case. The city and culture that is Florence becomes another character, focusing on the importance of family, place and tradition. Or as the Washington Post added, "The richest scene here, however, is Florence itself, whose intricate politics and class structure Nabb parses with precision and wit."
A new award named in honor of the late crime writer William McIlvanney has been won by author Chris Brookmyre for his novel Black Widow. The McIlvanney Prize was previously known as the Scottish Crime Book of the year and was presented at the recent Bloody Scotland festival in Stirling. The other short-listed authors were Doug Johnston, Val McDermid and ES Thomson. Judges described Brookmyre's novel as being "like watching Olympic diving...even the twists have twists."
The RBA International Prize for Crime Writing (known in Spanish as the Premio RBA de Novela Negra) has been awarded this year to Ian Rankin for his translated novel Perros salvajes (Even Dogs in the Wild). The award is a Spanish sales promotion literary award said to be the world’s most lucrative crime fiction prize at €125,000. (HT to Jose Ignacio and A Crime is Afoot.)
Contraband, the crime fiction imprint of the tiny independent Scottish press Saraband, has produced a title on the Man Booker Prize shortlist for 2016, with Scottish writer Graeme Macrae Burnet's His Bloody Project. The list also included a debut novel from the American writer Ottessa Moshfegh, who at 35 is the youngest author on the shortlist for her psychological thriller Eileen.
San Antonio's Gemini Ink is inviting bookworms to “roam humanity’s psycho-social depths” via spirited discussions about classic noir titles such as The Maltese Falcon, The Big Sleep, and The Third Man during its Wednesday Nights of Noir series which runs through December. The series kicks off with a free cocktail party tonight.
Noir At the Bar will be back in action Tuesday, September 20th at Threadgill’s South in Austin, Texas. Featured authors on hand for readings will include "local author, musician and man-about-town" Jesse Sublett, as well as fellow Yanks Rick Ollerman, Todd Robinson, and Brits Zoe Sharp and John Lawton. As always, Jesse will begin the night with a rousing murder ballad. (HT to the Mystery People.)
Sisters in Crime/Los Angeles announced that it will award up to three grants to attend the 2017 California Crime Writers Conference coming up June 10-11, 2017 in Culver City, California. The Sisters in Crime/LA Educational Grant serves to further the education of published and aspiring mystery/crime writers on the path to writing excellence, and membership in Sisters in Crime is not required. The deadline for applications is midnight PST, January 31, 2017.
The latest edition of the UK magazine Crime Scene is out, with a 17-page special feature dedicated to the grand dame of British crime, Agatha Christie. It takes in a new film adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express with Kenneth Branagh, Sophie Hannah’s upcoming Poirot novel Closed Casket, David Suchet’s Poirot, Antony Horowitz’s Magpie Murders (an homage to Christie), and the new theatre production of The Mousetrap. There is also a feature looking at the acclaimed BBC production The Fall, with Gillian Anderson who faces off in the third series against the ultra creepy serial killer played by Jamie Dornan, as well as looks at other TV shows including DCI Banks, Making a Murderer, Rectify, Gomorrah, and more. (HT to Crime Fiction Lover.)
Unfortunately, another bit of news from the crime magazine world isn't as rosy: editor/publisher Alex Cicak announced that Pulp Modern is closing their doors after five years of publishing stories by 91 amazing writers who contributed stories to the journal between 2011 and 2016. (HT to Sandra Seamans.)
The Guardian continued the focus on Agatha Christie during her 125th anniversary year with a look at how the "cozy" genre Christie made popular may be having something of a renaissance, "giving new inspiration to a genre tired of alcoholic divorcees and goth hackers." Of course, David Brawn, estates publisher at HarperCollins, notes that there are economic factors at work, too, adding "One of the main reasons behind the sudden popularity of crime from this period is that modern publishing and new technology allows for shorter runs in printing, which means that we can now mine backlists that would previously have been unprofitable."
American, British and Canadian Studies, the journal of the Academic Anglophone Society of Romania, invites submissions for a special 2017 issue on Contemporary Crime Fiction, guest edited by Dr. Charlotte Beyer of University of Gloucestershire. The Special Issue will explore the diversity and proliferation of American, British and Canadian crime fiction in the contemporary period, and trace thematic and formal priorities that have emerged in crime writing during the late 20th to early 21st century.
After a dozen novels and 70 million book sales, British writer Frederick Forsyth says he's giving up on thrillers because his wife told him he can no longer travel to adventurous places. “I’m tired of it and I can’t just sit at home and do a nice little romance from my study,” said the 78-year-old, who revealed in a memoir last year that he had worked extensively for the MI6 spy service.
Think you know everything about the Grand Dame of crime writing? You might want to check out Parade Magazine's list of "10 Things You Didn't Know About Agatha Christie."
Alex Segura compiled a list of "9 Mysteries by Female Authors You May Not Have Read Yet" for Bookbub.
Did you know Taiwan has a mystery-oriented independent bookstore? Murder Ink, established in 2014, collects a variety of mystery stories, encompassing romance, crime, realism, suspense and detective genres from around the world.
Did you also know that they make Sherlock Holmes temporary tattoos? (HT Seattle Mystery Bookshop)
And this is possibly the best mugshot ever.
The featured crime poem at the 5-2 this week is "Reek: Soberanes Fire, Day 13, 25% Containment" by Jennifer Lagier, and this month's featured story at Beat to a Pulp is "The Key Man" by Jon McGoran.
In the Q&A roundup, Frank Westworth takes Paul D. Brazill's "Short, Sharp Interivew" challenge to talk about his new thriller, Fifth Columnist; E. B. Davis, with the Writers Who Kill, interviewed Judy Penz Sheluk about Skeletons in the Attic, the first book in her Marketville series; Omnimystery News welcomed Diane Capri to discuss the seventh book in her popular Hunt for Reacher series; Craig Sisterson's Crime Watch blog hosted Laura Lippman as part of his latest "9MM Interivew" feature; and the MysteryPeople held a Q&A with Craig Johnson about the latest installment in his Sheriff Walt Longmire series.
First Look Media, one of the financiers behind last year’s Best Picture winner Spotlight, is spearheading We Do Not Forget, starring Daniel Radcliffe and Zachary Quinto and directed by Zach Helm. The project is a fictionalized account of a real battle between the "hacktivist" organization Anonymous and the Mexican drug cartel known as Los Zetas.
Director Jeff Nichols signed a deal with 20th Century Fox to write and direct a new big-screen version of Alien Nation. The original film followed a racist cop (James Caan) forced to team with a member (Mandy Patinkin) of an alien race that came to Earth after a ship carrying enslaved aliens crashed, with the newcomers assimilated in Los Angeles. It also spawned a TV series that lasted one season from 1989-90.
Two days after acquiring Sean Penn’s The Last Face, Saban Films picked up U.S. distribution rights to Jonathan Mostow’s The Hunter’s Prayer, based on the critically acclaimed Kevin Wignall novel and starring Sam Worthington and newcomer Odeya Rush. The action thriller follows a solitary assassin (Worthington) hired to kill a young woman (Rush) who is unaware her family’s questionable business dealings have cost them their lives. However, when he can’t bring himself to pull the trigger, the two form a bond and escape across Europe together, hunted by those responsible for her family’s murder.
British actor Tom Bateman is in negotiations to join Fox's adaptation of Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express, directed by Kenneth Branagh. The classic Christie story centers on special detective Hercule Poirot (Branagh), who boards a train from Jerusalem to Europe only to have a murder committed in the car next to his during a snowstorm. Bateman will play Bouc, Poirot's companion and sidekick, who works at the train company that runs the Orient Express.
After playing gangster Whitey Bulger in last year’s Black Mass, Johnny Depp is taking on another true-life figure, this time on the opposite side of the law. Depp is attached to star in Labyrinth, playing Detective Russell Poole, the Los Angeles police detective who investigated the murders of rappers Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur. Poole was a decorated detective who spent months investigating the murder of B.I.G., eventually coming to believe that " group of gangsta cops" in his own force were not only involved but were also tied to Death Row Records and the Bloods street gang.
Aaron Sorkin’s directorial debut Molly's Game has added to its cast with Michael Cera who would join previously cast Jessica Chastain and Idris Elba. The film stars Chastain as a skier whose Olympic dreams are dashed and heads to Los Angeles to become a cocktail waitress but rises through the social circuit to organize underground poker games for the Hollywood elite. Cera will play Player X, an elite celebrity player who develops an interesting relationship with Chastain’s character. The film is based on the real-life skier Molly Bloom and is adapted from her book Molly’s Game: From Hollywood’s Elite to Wall Street’s Billionaire Boys Club, My High-Stakes Adventure in the World of Underground Poker.
Jason Mitchell, who starred as late rapper Eazy-E in Straight Outta Compton, has joined Kathryn Bigelow's untitled drama about the 1967 Detroit riots. The film is currently in production and also features John Boyega, Will Poulter, Jacob Latimore, Algee Smith, Ben O’Toole, Jack Reynor, Kaitlyn Dever and Hannah Murray.
It must be nice to be loved: Despite recent speculation about who might replace Daniel Craig as James Bond, Sony has reportedly offered the actor $150m for two more Bond films. Craig has already starred in four Bonds, and despite seeming skeptical about returning for more installments, has also said he reserved “the right to change my mind” about quitting the series.
Scooby-Doo and the gang have been solving mysteries on television since the late 1960s, but two live action movies didn't fare so well. Now the show is being resurrected as a fully-animated film with actor/comedian Dax Shepard said to be in talks to direct the project.
A new poster and photos were released for the suspense thriller Nocturnal Animals, based on the 1993 novel Tony and Susan by Austin Wright. Starring Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal, the film centers around an art gallery owner haunted by her ex-husband’s novel, a violent thriller she interprets as a veiled threat and a symbolic revenge tale.
The Creative Arts Emmys announced this weekend included an armful of awards for Netflix's nonfiction serial Making of a Murderer. Hank Azaria also picked up another Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series due to his performance in an episode of Ray Donovan, and the award for Outstanding Casting for a Limited Series, Movie, or Special went to The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story. You can check out all the winners via this link.
Breaking Bad's Vince Gilligan has signed on to write and executive produce Raven, a limited series for HBO about Jim Jones, the infamous leader of the Peoples Temple cult who led his followers to a mass murder-suicide in Jonestown, Guyana, in 1978. This is the second Jim Jones/Peoples Temple show in the works after A&E's previously-announced anthology series in development focused on American cults (with the first episode centered on Jones).
Filming has begun on season seven of Game of Thrones, and according to the German site Bild, another esteemed British actor may feature in the HBO show: Angela Lansbury. Perhaps best known for her role in Murder, She Wrote, Lansbury is said to be filming a minor cameo role that will feature across two of the season’s seven episodes. HBO has yet to confirm whether Lansbury has a role in the show.
CBS has bought an hourlong legal drama from True Jack Productions to be written by TV writer/playwright Annie Weisman. The series would center around two sisters on opposite sides of the political spectrum who come together to save their father’s law firm when scandal puts him behind bars.
Vin Diesel is developing a new procedural drama at NBC, currently entitled First Responders, which focuses on young veterans struggling to reintegrate into society, while saving civilian lives along the way. The team is the best search-and-rescue operation in the country, and is run by husband-and-wife duo, Doc and Lil Pierce, but the pair struggle as they have been unable to find their own son, who disappeared years earlier.
In a pre-emptive buy, NBC has given a put pilot commitment to a drama from The Family creator Jenna Bans, an untitled project that follows three good-girl mothers and wives from the suburbs of Detroit as they descend together into a life of crime.
Narcos will continue beyond Pablo Escobar. After two seasons following the Colombian kingpin's story, Netflix is moving ahead with a third and fourth season of the drug cartel drama. Exec producer Eric Newman said the show was never just about the Medellin cartel and its leader, it's "about cocaine and cocaine continues beyond Escobar."
War and Peace star Tom Burke has been hired to play Cormoran Strike in the BBC’s upcoming adaptations of JK Rowling’s adult crime novels written under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. The first in the series, The Cuckoo’s Calling, will be split into three one-hour-long dramas, with the adaptations of second and third books The Silkworm and Career of Evil both divided into two one-hour parts.
Camryn Manheim is joining the cast of Major Crimes in a recurring role as the deputy chief of operations at the LAPD. She'll also be one of the top contenders for the assistant chief position, after Russell Taylor (Robert Gossett) was killed in the episode "White Lies, Part 1." Executive producer James Duff also noted that in addition to Manheim's character, Sharon Raydor (Mary McDonnell), Fritz Howard (Jon Tenney) and another new character will be weighed as possible replacements for Taylor, and the ensuing competition will create "tension and rivalry" among their colleagues.
USA Network has given a pilot order to The Sinner, a crime thriller executive produced by and starring Jessica Biel (The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea). Created and written by Derek Simonds and based on Petra Hammesfahr’s book, the project centers around a young mother (Biel) who commits a startling and very public act of violence. The event launches an inverted and utterly surprising crime thriller whose driving force is not the who or the what – but the why. A rogue investigator finds himself obsessed with uncovering the woman’s buried motive, and together they travel a harrowing journey into the depths of her psyche and the violent secrets hidden in her past.
The 1967 Australian novel Picnic At Hanging Rock is being made into a new TV drama for Foxtel. Joan Lindsay's book followed the disappearance of three schoolgirls and their governess on Valentine’s Day in 1900 and has already had the big-screen treatment in Peter Weir’s 1975 film, which featured Jacki Weaver and Wolf Creek star John Jarratt.
Law & Order: SVU ended on a game-changer in Season 17 with the death of Special Victims Unit's own Mike Dodds. New showrunner Rick Eid has big plans for how Benson and Co. move on from Dodds' death, with Season 18 picking up a month or so after Dodd's death and the ensuing emotional fallout.
Hulu Japan has announced an original six-part drama, Daisho ("Compensation"), based on a novel of the same title by award-winning mystery writer Jun Ioka. The series focuses on the relationship of a hotshot lawyer (Shun Oguri) and a psychopathic client (Tsutomu Takahashi), a former boyhood friend who occupies a dark chapter in the lawyer’s past. The series will begin streaming this fall in both Japan and the U.S.
The latest Crime and Science Radio podcast was titled "Crime Scenes, Criminalistics, and the Cutting Edge in Los Angeles: An Interview with Former LASD Criminalist Professor Donald Johnson of California State University, Los Angeles."
2nd Sunday Crime with host Libby Hellmann welcomed James Ziskin, the author of the Ellie Stone Mysteries, nominated for Anthony, Barry, and Lefty Awards.
Crime Cafe featured author Terry Ambrose chatting with author/screenwriter Debbi Mack about his Wilson McKenna mysteries set in Hawaii.
NY Times Bestseller Aleatha Romig joined Alex Dolan on Thrill Seekers to talk about her new "The Light" series.
City of Glass, Paul Auster’s meta-detective novel about a thriller writer who finds himself playing sleuth, will be staged in Manchester and London next year in a new hi-tech adaptation. The play will land in Manchester March 4-18, 2017 and then at the Lyric Hammersmith in London, from April 20 to May 13, followed by an international tour.
Peninsula Players Theater opens the run of its final show of its 81st season on September 7 with the wildly comic adventure The 39 Steps, first published by John Buchan in 1915 and followed by various movie adaptations including Hitchcock's 1939 thriller.
Today is the birthday of Estonian composer Arvo Pärt, born on this date in 1935, and to celebrate, here's a short haunting, ethereal piano piece called "Für Alina" considered to be part of his Tintinnabuli or "chant like" style. (Note, I used this in a trailer for Played to Death - with the image in my mind of Scott Drayco playing it.)
In the 1996 anthology The Oxford Book of American Detective Stories, Tony Hillerman and Rosemary Herbert collected 33 stories that help trace the evolution of crime fiction in the U.S. from locked room mysteries, to hard-boiled tales of the '30s and '40s, to police procedurals from the latter part of the 20th century.
The book starts off with Poe and "Murders in the Rue Morge," which Hillerman notes is the basic model for the classic detective tale. He also points out how American authors tended to be ignorant of—or just plain ignore—the conventions of Ronald Knox's "Ten Commandments of Detective Writing" from 1928 as well as the philosophy of what editor/critic Jacques Brazum called "escape literature for the intellectual."
Instead of focusing exclusively on whodunit, writers like Ed McBain were more interested in why the crime had been committed, as in his story "Small Homicide," included in the anthology. Or hints of social purpose and realism, as in Anna Katherine Green's "Missing: Page Thirteen," featuring one of the earliest femle protagonists. Or a peek into social decadence and the human condition, as shown in Raymond Chandler's "I'll Be Waiting."
The goal of Hillerman and Herbert was to illustrate as many aspects of the American detective story as they could, with amateur sleuths, ethnic sleuths, regional sleuths, scientific sleuths like Arthur B. Reed's Professor Craig Kennedy, hard-boiled private eyes like Robert Leslie Bellem's Dan Turner and Navajo cops like Hillerman's own Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn in the story "Chee's Witch."
Although the editors had an educational intention in mind, they also wanted to entertain, hoping readers "will find the volume just plain fun to read." It is most definitely that, and also a reminder of all the wonderful contributions that the late Tony Hillerman himself made to enrich and promote crime fiction.
For more entries in today's "anthology" edition of Friday's "Forgotten Books, check out Patti Abbott's blog.
Sisters in Crime announced the winner of the Eleanor Taylor Bland Crime Fiction Writers of Color Award for 2016 is Stephane Dunn. Dunn is a writer and professor at Morehouse College where she directs the Cinema, Television, & Emerging Media Studies program (CTEMS) as well as teaching courses in film, creative writing, popular culture, and literature.
If you're a Margaret Margon fan, check out the Wake County Public Libraries two-month program "Close to Home: Celebrating Margaret Maron’s North Carolina," which begins this Sunday, September 11 with a kick-off event. More than 90 additional programs are scheduled at six branches of the library system as part of the celebration. (HT to Art Taylor.)
On September 13, authors John Connolly, Declan Hughes and Stuart Neville will be taking part in the New York launch of the academic collection of essays The Contemporary Irish Detective Novel. Edited by Elizabeth Mannion, The Contemporary Irish Detective Novel considers the detective genre’s position in Irish Studies and the standing of Irish authors within the detective novel tradition. Besides Connolly, Hughes and Nevile, it explores the work of Peter Tremayne, Ken Bruen, John Banville (as Benjamin Black), Brian McGilloway, Tana French and Jane Casey. The free event is begins at 7 pm in the Glucksman Ireland House at New York University.
The second annual Murder by the Book, a mystery festival for readers and writers, will fly into the Jesup Memorial Library in Bar Harbor, Maine, on Friday, September 30 and Saturday, October 1. Participating writers confirmed to date include Hank Phillippi Ryan, Julia Spencer-Fleming, Dorothy Cannell, Gayle Lynds, Kate Flora, Bruce Coffin, Vaughn Hardacker, Chris Holm, Maureen Milliken, Lynne Raimondo, Roger Guay, John Sheldon, Brendan Rielly, Katherine Hall Page and Lea Wait.
On Saturday, October 8th, the Mysterium conference will feature a day of mystery, workshops, and intrigue, with special guest Laura Lippman and three dozen other mystery authors. The one-day event takes place at Wesleyan University in Middletown CT, with registration required.
Hard Case Crime has dug up a James Bond novel Donald Westlake wrote as a treatment several years ago that was part of a project to develop a story to follow-up Goldeneye. Best known for his Parker books (under his pseudonym of Richard Stark), Westlake also worked as a screenwriter off and on and even received an Oscar nomination for the 1990’s-era The Grifters. Now Hard Case Crime has resurrected this lost spy story, which Westlake rewrote as a novel titled Forever And A Death, with plans to publish the work next June.
Mystery Readers Journal editor Janet Rudolph posted that the response to the call for articles for an issue on small town cops was so overwhelming, they've decided to split the themed issue into two. But there's still time to write an author essay for Mystery Readers Journal: Small Town Cops II, if you send it along by October 15 to firstname.lastname@example.org. Janet is also seeking essays for the 2017 themed issues, Midwest Mysteries; Murder in Wartime, and possibly Big City Cops.
The ACLA conference has put out a call for papers for the upcoming seminar in Utrecht from July 6-9, 2017, titled "Worlding Crime Fiction: From the National to the Global." (HT to Shots)
First Monday returns October 3rd to the City University of London with a top notch foursome of crime authors including SJ Watson, (Before I Go To Sleep), Stuart Neville, (the Serena Flanagan series), Antonia Hodgson (A Death at Fountains Abbey), and William Ryan (The Constant Soldier). Karen Robinson, editor of the Sunday Times Crime Club. will serve as moderator.
London is also the place to be on Tuesday, October 11 at Heffers Bookshop for a panel on Agatha Christie. Featured participants include Sophie Hannah, who was hired by the Christie Estate to pen new Hercule Poirot novels; John Curran, editor of the official Agatha Christie newsletter and driving force behind the Agatha Christie Archive; and Julius Green, the founder of The Agatha Christie Theatre Company, which celebrated its tenth anniversary in 2015. Tickets will be available at the door. (HT to Ayo Onatade at Shots.)
The New York Chapter of Mystery Writers of America will hold an evening of crime featuring readings by its members. President Laura K. Curtis will be moderating the event, which is free and open to public and begins at 6:30 p.m. on October 18 at the KGB Bar, 85 East 4th Street, New York.
The Red Line Book Festival and New Island Books are hosting an evening of crime writing on October 12th in Tallaght, featuring four leading Irish crime authors. Declan Burke will chair the event at the Civic Theatre at 8 pm with Alan Glynn, Declan Hughes and Alex Barclay, discussing the crime-writing process, gripping plots and characters, and Irish crime fiction past and present.
Writing for The Guardian, Jonathan Coe took a look at "Whodunnit and whowroteit: the strange case of The Face on the Cutting-Room Floor," which chronicles the real mystery of this 1930s cult thriller - not its murder, but the identity of its writer.
The literary journal Books From Finland profiled an author not well known outside his native country, Matti Yrjänä Joensuu (born 1948), a policeman by profession, who won the Nordic Crime Novel Competition in 1976 and began a realistic crime and police novel in the style of the Swedish writers Sjöwall and Wahlöö. He is the only crime writer to have received a government literature prize and was on the shortlist for the new Finlandia Prize, Finland’s equivalent of the Booker, in 1985.
A new Pew study showed that some 65% of adult Americans have read a print book in the last year while just 28% had read an e-book. All told, 73% of respondents had read a book in some form, whether printed or digital, during that time frame. Among other findings: about 40% of respondents read only print books, while 6% read e-books exclusively, and 14% had listened to an audiobook. But Nate Hoffelder of The Digital Reader takes exception to the structure of the survey, feeling that how readers consume the various genres and categories is even more important.
In 1971, Max Collins was a student in the University of Iowa’s Writers' Workshop where his thesis project was to develop three novels that demonstrated that crime fiction could be written using a common Midwestern small town. One of them featured a hitman named Quarry, and Collins went on to publish three Quarry novels in 1976, 1977, and 1987. Twenty years later the character was revived by Hard Case Crime and now Titan Comics is set to publish a comic book mini-series based on those novels.
Meanwhile, Silvertail Books is set to bring four classic military thrillers by Mike Lunnon-Wood back into print. Published collectively as The British Military Quartet, the titles are: Long Reach, King’s Shilling, Let Not the Deep, and Congo Blue, which was previously published as Heraklion Blue. Silvertail publisher Humfrey Hunter added: "Mike Lunnon-Wood’s books are truly great thrillers. They are gripping stories full of authenticity but, best of all, they are object lessons in how to write characters into a kind of fiction which depends as much on its portrayal of people as that of sophisticated details."
A New York Times investigative report took a look at a small Indiana county with a disturbing claim to fame: it sends more people to prison than San Francisco and Durham, North Carolina, combined.
One of the big news stories in publishing recently has been Pride and Prejudice and Zombies author Seth Grahame-Smith being sued by his publisher to return his advance. But as The Guardian notes, from Julian Assange to Amy Schumer, Grahame-Smith isn't alone.
Fans of the legendary spy thriller author John le Carré will want to check out The Guardian's exclusive extract from his new memoir, The Pigeon Tunnel.
Bookweb had a warm fuzzy piece about warm fuzzy bookstore companions, from cats to dogs to guines pigs, birds, and potbellied pigs (and even some chickens, ferrets, and chinchillas, for good measure).
It really does pay to be a librarian: for nearly 50 years, Robert Morin worked quietly at the library of the University of New Hampshire until he quitely passed away a little over a year ago at the age of 77. But then, to the surprise of many, Morin left a small fortune to his employer and alma mater — $4 million.
The featured crime poem at the 5-2 this week is "Trump's Sacrifice" by Robert Cooperman.
In the Q&A roundup, Rosemary and Larry Wild stopped by Omnimystery News to talk aobut the third mystery in their Dan and Rivka Sherman series, Death Steals a Holy Book; author John Gilstrap spoke with The Washington Post about what makes a thriller; the winner of Best Crime Novel at The Irish Book Awards, Alex Barclay, talked with Sophie Grenham about the magic of West Cork, iconic FBI agents, and how great crime fiction should always have one extra twist; The Missourian had an extensive profile and Q&A with James Lee Burke, who reflected on his life and work including The Jealous Kind, the end-cap to the Holland trilogy set in the 1950s; and Ominimystery News welcomed Shannon Baker to chat about her new mystery series that starts off with Stripped Bare.
Douglas Perry is a journalist and the award-winning author of the true-crime books The Girls of Murder City: Fame, Lust, and the Beautiful Killers Who Inspired Chicago and also Eliot Ness: The Rise and Fall of an American Hero. His work has appeared in the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times, The Oregonian, Tennis, and many other publications. His first crime novel is Mammoth, released today via Amberjack Publishing.
Mammoth is set in the small, isolated town of Mammoth View, California, which is hit with the news of an attack on a summer morning. It’s not clear what happened, but it’s bad. And it’s not over. As residents panic and leave town, the police chief and his deputy set off into the woods to investigate. The campsite attack is the perfect coincidence for Billy Lane. Looking for the biggest score of his career, he’s targeted the local bank. The robbery does not go well – and the aftermath unfolds catastrophically. Over the next twenty-four hours, chaos descends on Mammoth View. What really happened at that campsite outside of town?
Douglas Perry stops by In Reference to Murder today to talk about about the inspiration and background for his new novel:
I am an historian by training and trade. My three previous books are all histories. So when I launched into writing Mammoth – my first novel – I knew I wanted to stay in the past. Making the setting a little unfamiliar adds an inherent sense of dislocation; it makes the characters and plot pop more.
My last two nonfiction books – The Girls of Murder City and a biography of Eliot Ness – take place primarily in the 1920s and ’30s. I know that era very well. But I didn’t want to go that far back for Mammoth. I ultimately decided on the year 1977. Because of the march of technology, it can seem very far away. There was no Internet. No smart phones. For most people, there wasn’t even cable TV. This is a valuable background for my story, which revolves around a mysterious incident outside a small ski-resort town in California. Something terrible and dangerous has happened, and our protagonists must figure out what it is – and survive. All without Google or 24-hour TV news.
1977 is also a good year to set the novel because you don’t have to be too old to remember it. I did a lot of research into the time period – there have been quite a few good histories of the era, such as David Frum’s How We Got Here – but I also have memories of that year. One of the main characters in Mammoth is a 16-year-old girl who dreams of being an Olympic runner. She could have been my babysitter in 1977.
The 1970s don’t get the credit they deserve as a turning point. Popular culture – That ’70s Show, Boogie Nights, the Studio 54 movie, etc. – reinforces the idea that it was the self-absorbed Me Decade, the vapid, fashion-challenged Disco Age. But that’s just the surface sheen. The politics were radical, bizarre, and outrage-driven. The idealism of the 1960s had curdled into something darker. The economy was tanking; crime was exploding. Mammoth is set in 1977 in California. So in the next year, San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk will be murdered. The Jonestown Massacre will happen. (Remember, Jim Jones built his following in California.) The Zodiac Killer is still on the loose in the Golden State. The Hillside Strangler, also in California, is about to start his murder spree. The Prop 13 tax revolt is brewing.
Three years earlier, in 1974, Patty Hearst was kidnapped from her apartment in Berkeley. During much of the decade, Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, co-founders of the Weather Underground terrorist group, are hiding out in Marin County. (As it turns out, the house where they secretly spent a few years was three miles from the one where I grew up. They probably shopped at the same grocery as my mom.)
So there was a lot going on, in California and in the culture in general. It’s a fertile backdrop for a crime novel. And that’s what Mammoth is: a straightforward, old-school crime story. The 1970s were a great time for that, too. The decade produced a lot of first-rate crime novels. It’s my hope that Mammoth harkens back to the best of them, with the added benefit of historical perspective.
David Lancaster’s Rumble Films has signed Dark Night writer/director Tim Sutton to adapt and direct the crime thriller Donnybrook. Based on the novel by Frank Bill, the story follows two men as they try to get to the Donnybrook - a legendary backwoods bare knuckle brawl where the winner gets $100,000. Lancaster noted, "I was knocked out when I read 'Donnybrook,' the most raw, out of control, nasty piece of business I have ever come across."
The producers of Rock Paper Dead have announced that the cast for the serial killer flick will include Jennifer Titus, Tatum O’Neal, Michael Madsen, Anna Margaret, Maureen McCormick, and Gabrielle Stone. The film centers on serial killer, Peter "the Doll Maker" Harris, who returns to his ancestral family estate after being released from the state's hospital for the criminally insane after twenty years - ostensibly a "cured" man until anguished memories from a tortured childhood and the visitations from past victims shake his resolve.
Kaitlyn Dever and Hannah Murray are the latest additions to Kathryn Bigelow's untitled project set against the Detroit race riots of a half-century ago, joining Jacob Latimore, Algee Smith, Will Poulter, Ben O’Toole, Jack Reynor, and John Boyega in the cast. Penned by Mark Boal, the crime drama explores the systemic racism that led to the city’s devastating riots over five summer days in 1967.
A trailer was released for Paul Verhoeven's rape/revenge thriller Elle, based on Phillipe Djian's novel Oh. The story follows the head of a video game company, whose efforts to track the unknown assailant who attacked her at home threatens to spiral out of control.
BBC1 has commissioned a three-part adaptation of Jessie Burton’s period thriller novel, The Miniaturist, which is set to air in 2017. The project is being adapted by scriptwriter John Brownlow and centers on a 17th-century teenager who begins a new life as the wife of a wealthy Amsterdam merchant, but quickly realizes that nothing is quite right in the new household - especially when her new husband gives her a doll's house replica of their home that is to be furnished by an elusive Miniaturist, whose tiny creations mirror what is happening within the house in unexpected ways.
BBC2 is prepping an eight-part contemporary political/psychological thriller MotherFatherSon, which re-teams Child 44 author Tom Rob Smith and producer Alan Poul. Their previous crime drama mini-series, London Spy, was nominated for five BAFTAs last year and won one.
Fox is looking to put a new spin on King Arthur, re-imagining the legendary tale as a police procedural. When an ancient magic reawakens in modern-day Manhattan, a graffiti artist named Art must team with his best friend Lance and his ex, Gwen - an idealistic cop - in order to realize his destiny and fight back against the evil forces that threaten the city.
Not to be outdone, NBC is putting a new twist on Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist as a crime drama. The project is described as a gender-bending, modern take on Dickens' second novel that follows struggling 20-something female (Twist) who finally finds a true sense of family in a strange group of talented outcasts who use their unique skills to take down wealthy criminals.
ABC is developing a new drama with Scandal star Kerry Washington, who will exec produce Patrol, a workplace drama about four female LAPD officers who attended the police academy together five years ago and are forced to reconnect after a high-stakes, traumatic secret returns to haunt them.
Family Honor, a drama series project from Rosewood co-executive producer Nkechi Carroll and Felicity co-creator Matt Reeves, has landed at NBC with a put pilot commitment. The project is said to be an ensemble police procedural explored through the eyes of four diverse foster sisters who fall on both sides of the law.
Weinstein Television is producing a star-studded take on the 1993 Branch Davidian standoff, with Taylor Kitsch starring as cult leader David Koresh and Michael Shannon (Boardwalk Empire) set to play lead FBI negotiator Gary Noesner. The limited TV series is based on the harrowing true story of the 51-day FBI standoff and ultimate siege surrounding the religious sect in Waco that led to the complex being burned down and the deaths of 76 people.
The upcoming sixth season will be the last for NBC supernatural crime drama series Grimm, set to premiere January 6. Last season, the supernatural procedural was down from the Season 5 averages, but Grimm still ranked as one of the highest-rated scripted series on Friday despite being a self-starter with very little lead-in support.
A brief return of Paget Brewster to the CBS series Criminal Minds had already been in the works before the recent firing of actor Thomas Gibson. But now, the network says that Brewster and her character special agent Emily Prentiss will be returning to the series full time. "We're all so excited to have Paget with us full time," said executive producer Erica Messer in a statement. "The BAU family has definitely missed her, on screen and off. Having her back on set has been great, it's like she never left."
True Blood alum Anna Paquin is set to star in the CBC's Bellevue, an eight-part detective drama set in a blue-collar Canadian town that will also star Downton Abbey's Allen Leech and Shawn Doyle (House Of Cards). The story centers on Detective Annie Ryder (Paquin), a cop who's always been at odds with her small hometown, but when a transgender teen goes missing, Annie finds herself in a difficult position as she must cast suspicion on people she has known all her life.
Saving Grace alum Leon Rippy has booked a recurring role on the fourth season of NBC’s hit drama series The Blacklist. Rippy will play Hunter, a mysterious survivalist who stumbles upon a secret that will have dire consequences. He's an enigmatic character whose unhinged behavior makes him hard to pin down as friend or foe.
The Unit alum Audrey Marie Anderson has landed a series regular role opposite Cam Gigandet in Ice, Antoine Fuqua’s 10-episode drama for A&T’s Audience network. The mini-series follows the Green family as they plunge into the underbelly of the L.A. diamond trade, with Anderson playing Ava Pierce, who’s strong-willed, independent, fiercely loyal and just can’t seem to shake her ex-husband Jake (Gigandet). She joins previously cast Raymond J. Barry, Jeremy Sisto, Ray Winstone, Donald Sutherland, Judith Shekoni, Ella Thomas, Rey Gallegos and Chloe East.
Netflix released a trailer for season 5 of Longmire, which premieres on September 23. The new season picks up after the dramatic cliffhanger of Season 4, where Walt Longmire (series star Robert Taylor) and his girlfriend Dr. Donna Sue Monaghan (Ally Walker) are shot by an armed intruder in Walt’s house. Laying in a hospital bed attempting to make sense of the attack, their fate and relationship both seem uncertain.
A recent BBC podcast featured "sneaky tips for writing a crime novel" from authors Val McDermid, Lucy Ribchester, and Abir Mukherjee.
Jill Dawson joined the Australia radio show RN to discuss her novel The Crime Writer, which weaves fact and fiction about famed author Patricia Highsmith together to create a tale of suspense and psychological intrigue.
Noir on the Radio presented a new "Dames in the Dark" show featuring crime authors Shawn Reilly Simmons, LynDee Walker, Sandra Ruttan, Jen Michalski, and Marietta Miles.