Monday, August 31, 2015
It tells the story of MacHeath, alias Mack the Knife, a notorious London criminal. The show is dark, political, and brilliant. The most famous song, best known as "Mack The Knife" has been a huge hit in the United States. "Pirate Jenny," alias "The Black Freighter," has been recorded by many artists as well.
Here is a video of Alan Cummings and Cyndi Lauper performing "Ballad of the Pimp" at the 2006 Tony Awards.
Sunday, August 30, 2015
Must have been quite an evening.
Saturday, August 29, 2015
The Fugitive was an exception. After 120 episodes of running from the death penalty for a crime he didn't commit, the public wanted to see Dr. Richard Kimble exonerated. And in a special two-part episode, ending tonight, he was.
Roy Huggins created the series. David Janssen starred. Quinn Martin produced. Plenty of credit (and Emmys) to go around.
Friday, August 28, 2015
The first twenty minutes is an accurate filming of Ernest Hemingway's story of the same name, part of his Nick Adams cycle. It describes hired killers coming to a small town to kill an ex-boxer called the Swede. The rest of the flick, in which the crime is investigated, is made up from scratch.
It does offer an explanation of Swede's fatal mistake. For a different take on that, read Leigh Lundin's surprising discovery.
Thursday, August 27, 2015
Wednesday, August 26, 2015
August 26, 1967. Bobbie Gentry had a first album most songwriters can barely dream of. On this date "Ode to Billie Joe" reached Number One on the Billboard chart and stayed there for a month. It's a song about a family reacting - or more accurately, NOT reacting - to a young man's suicide. What fascinated the audience was a mystery: What had the narrator and Billie Joe McAllister been throwing off the Talahatchie Bridge? And how did that relate to his suicide? No answers came but eight Grammy nominations did, and eventually a movie. Gentry, however, says the point she was trying to make was the indifference of the family to their neighbor's death - and to the narrator's suffering.
Tuesday, August 25, 2015
Kirkus Reviews called it "Steadily absorbing and stylishly crafty."
Sunday, August 23, 2015
But around his fortieth birthday (midlife crisis?) in the course of a few months he created three masterpieces of mystery fiction: "Death and the Compass," "The Garden of Forking Paths," and "The Shape of the Sword." In these he explored two of his favorite themes, the double and the labyrinth, while also discussing Chinese spies in England, murderous dwarfs in a mysterious unnamed city, and betrayal during the Irish Civil War.
He also co-wrote with his friend Adolfo Bioy-Casares Six Problems for Isidro Parodi about a man, falsely imprisoned, who passes the time solving mysteries for his visitors. Parodi is a common surname in Argentina, but it also means just what it sounds like.
Borges went blind as he aged, and also was named the director of the national library of Argentina. It is not coincidence that the blind librarian in Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose was named Jorge of Burgos.
Saturday, August 22, 2015
Friday, August 21, 2015
He also wrote some of the funniest parodies of a certain detective, starring Schlock Homes of Bagel Street. I well remember Dr. Watney expressing amazement at one of Homes' disguises, which made him appear a full foot shorter. "Special shoes," the sleuth explained.
Thursday, August 20, 2015
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
The thanks are due to you for making a halo which fitted so well. - Roger
Source: "'The Saint' Speaks, Paul M. James. The Armchair Detective, v23, n 3.
Tuesday, August 18, 2015
As World War II began Rex Stout spent more of his time on war-related activities and less time on writing, and that meant switching to short fiction. This was his second novella (after "Black Orchids.") It was published in American Magazine in April 1942, as "Invitation to Murder," but in the book Black Orchids, it is "Cordially Invited to Meet Death."
Monday, August 17, 2015
Kirkus Reviews said: "Stimulating fare (despite a subplot or two too many) that effectively parallels the powerlessness of slaves and women--the disenfranchised--building to a dramatic courtroom sequence."
Sunday, August 16, 2015
Saturday, August 15, 2015
closed in September 2007, suffering the fate of many independent bookstores.
Friday, August 14, 2015
The Butcher's Boy gets spotted in London and he decides he needs to go back to the States to teach a refresher course to those thugs who think they need to kill him. All he has to do is stay out of the way of the mob, the cops, the FBI, and the Justice Department. Piece of cake...
Sleeping Dogs is the second of (so far) three novels by Thomas Perry about the highly efficient Butcher's Boy. They are worth reading, and in order.
Thursday, August 13, 2015
It was nominated for ten Oscars and won two.
My favorite part was this revealing bit of dialog in which Clyde is invited to dream big.
Bonnie: What would you do if some miracle happened and we could walk out of here tomorrow morning and start all over again clean? No record and nobody after us, huh?
Clyde: Well, uh, I guess I’d do it all different. First off, I wouldn’t live in the same state where we pull our jobs. We’d live in another state. We’d stay clean there and then when we’d take a bank, we’d go into the other state.
Wednesday, August 12, 2015
Wages of Sin features a commodities broker trying to solve murders that happened many years before. Referring to the priest's controversial inclusion of sexual material Kirkus Reviews called the book "Safe sex for senior citizens."
Tuesday, August 11, 2015
Monday, August 10, 2015
Sunday, August 9, 2015
Saturday, August 8, 2015
Poe's tale of code-breaking and treasure-hunting had won a $100 first prize in June and was published in the Philadelphia Dollar Newspaper. Robert Louis Stevenson acknowledged it inspired Treasure Island, the definitive fictional view of pirates.
Friday, August 7, 2015
Thursday, August 6, 2015
Wednesday, August 5, 2015
They called the entire series The Story of a Crime, which referred to society, not a mere murder or two. The hero was the melancholy cop, Martin Beck. The Laughing Policeman won the Edgar for Best Mystery Novel. It was made into a movie starring Walter Matthau. Among the other actors who starred in movies based on their books is Derek Jacobi.
Tuesday, August 4, 2015
Monday, August 3, 2015
August 3, 1955. One of Hitchcock's most stylish flicks was released on this date. To Catch A Thief was his third collaboration with Cary Grant (Pop quiz, Hitchcock fans! How fast can you name the other three?). The story of a retired cat burglar trying to prove he isn't the one robbing mansions on the Riviera was nominated for three Oscars and won one. A more bitter loss for Hitchcock was that Grace Kelly fell in love with Prince Rainier of Monaco, and stopped making movies.
Sunday, August 2, 2015
Saturday, August 1, 2015
By the way, I went to some trouble to find a book cover where the woman had some clothes on, which tells you something about Brown's plots (and/or his publisher). And I got the birthdate from William Malloy's excellent Mystery Book of Days.