Monday, August 15, 2016

8/15/1888 Waxwork begins

August 15, 1888.  The action began on this date in Waxwork, Peter Lovesey's last novel about Victorian police detective Sergeant Cribb.  The wife of a photographer is convicted of murder.  While she is awaiting execution a photo is anonymously sent to the government that seems to prove she could not have done it.  Cribb is ordered to settle the question, quietly, and before the execution date.

One of my favorite mystery novels, period.

Friday, August 12, 2016

8/12/1876 Had she but known

August 12 1876.  Mary Roberts Rinehart was born this day in Pennsylvania.  In 1907 she wrote The Circular Staircase, a mystery novel that sold more than a million copies.  She was a prolific and highly successful writer but is perhaps best known today as a creator of  the "Had I But Known" school of suspense.  She is also credited/blamed for the cliche "the butler did it," although that phrase does not appear in her novel in which the butler, in fact, did.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

8/7/1951 The Pedestrian appears

August 7, 1951.  The issue of The Reporter bearing this date featured a short story by Ray Bradbury called "The Pedestrian."  It was science fiction.  It was also crime fiction.  Briefly, in the year 2131 a man is arrested for walking down a city street.  (I feel obliged to say that in this case his race had nothing to do with it.)  Bradbury wrote it after being stopped (but not arrested) by cops in southern California for the same offense.  You can read the story here or in his collection The Golden Apples of the Sun.