|Conan Doyle in uniform|
from The Sketch Jan 1902
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Monday, May 30, 2011
|George M. Cohan, NYPL|
• "Over There," by George M. Cohan, perf. Nora Bayes, 1917.
• "Address at Hoboken on return for burial of 5,212 American soldiers, sailors, marines, and nurses," by President Warren G. Harding, 1921. ("Many sons and daughters made the sublime offering and went to hallowed graves as the nation's defenders.")
• Lincoln's Gettysburg address, perf. Harry E. Humphrey, 1914.
• "Semper fidelis march," perf. Sousa's Band, 1904.
• "Anchors Aweigh," perf. U.S. Marine Band, 1921.
• "Private Tommy Atkins," perf. Victor Military Band, 1914.
• "It's a Long Way to Tipperary," perf. Victor Military Band, 1914.
• "The Laddies Who Fought and Won," perf. Harry Lauder, 1917.
• "Oh, How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning," perf. Arthur Fields, 1918.
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
|Edward Fox in The Day of the Jackal|
(dir. Fred Zinnemann, 1973)
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
|Harriet Prescott Spofford,|
n.d. Library of Congress,
Prints and Photographs Div.
Among the goodies currently online:
• "My Mysterious Neighbors" by Mrs. M[ary]. A[ndrews]. Denison (1858). Massachusetts-born author of the humorous (and successful) That Husband of Mine (1874); married to Charles Wheeler Denison, editor of the antislavery journal The Emancipator. "My blood curdled. Was I living day by day next to a murderer—to a brace of murderers?"
• Various pieces by Charles Dickens, including "Two 'Detective' Anecdotes" (1851)
• "The Trailor Murder Mystery" (1846) by Abraham Lincoln. "[T]he Postmaster at Springfield [IL] received a letter . . . stating that William [Trailor] had returned home without Fisher, and was saying, rather boastfully, that Fisher was dead, and had willed him his money, and that he had got about fifteen hundred dollars by it. The letter further stated that William’s story and conduct seemed strange..."
• "A Story of Circumstantial Evidence" (1834) by Daniel O'Connell.
"... the prisoner was called on for his defence. He called—to the surprise of everyone—the murdered man."
• "In a Cellar" (Atlantic Monthly, 1859) by Maine-born Harriet Prescott Spofford. Important early detective story by a US female writer
Panek and Bendel-Simso hope to have at least 150 more pieces online before the fall. They also welcome comments, clues to finding additional stories, and volunteer editors to assist in all areas of the project. Contact the editors here.
Monday, May 23, 2011
here for the schedule of episodes or to listen; episodes can generally be heard for a week after broadcast.
Sunday, May 22, 2011
Smithsonian magazine assesses Christie screen adaptations such as And Then There Were None with Louis Hayward and Barry Fitzgerald (1945); Love from a Stranger with Basil Rathbone (1947, version of
"Philomel College"); Murder She Said (1961, adaptation of 4:50 from Paddington) with Margaret Rutherford as Miss Marple and Joan Hickson, the future Miss Marple; and The Alphabet Murders with Tony Randall (1965, adaptation of The ABC Murders). It also covers her Devon house Greenway. (Hat tip to Karen Jackson)
|Margaret Rutherford, left, and |
Joan Hickson in Murder She Said
Thursday, May 19, 2011
|Bob Hope, NYPL|
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
|Ian Carmichael as |
Lord Peter Wimsey in
Clouds of Witness
(dir. Hugh David, 1972)
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
|Frederic Dannay (aka |
Ellery Queen), left,
and James Yaffe, 1943
Library of Congress,
Prints & Photographs
E. B. White, who wrote, "Books hold most of the secrets of the world"; and mystery writer-playwright-screenwriter James Yaffe, who wrote, "Through books we can realize, in part, our wild ambitions." The collection of responses has been digitized and can be found here. (Hat tip to Letters of Note)
Monday, May 16, 2011
During the April 2011 Popular Culture Association conference the PCA's Detective/Mystery Caucus announced its latest George N. Dove Award recipients for contributions to the serious study of mystery and crime fiction: P. D. James and Emory University's Catherine Ross Nickerson (the latter the author of The Web of Iniquity: Early Detective Fiction by American Women, 1998, and editor of the Cambridge Companion to American Crime Fiction, 2010). Past winners of the Dove Award include H. R. F. Keating, Crippen & Landru's Douglas G. Greene, University at Albany professor-author Frankie Y. Bailey, and yours truly. For further information on the Dove Award, including details on the award citations to James and Nickerson, contact Marty S. Knepper, Morningside College.
Friday, May 13, 2011
|Peter Ustinov in Topkapi|
(dir. Jules Dassin, 1964)
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
discusses the impact of The Avengers after 50 years, especially on women, with various commentators (including Honor Blackman, who played Cathy Gale on the program, and series writer-producer Barry Clements). I like the fact that in France, The Avengers is called Chapeau melon et bottes de cuir (Bowler Hat and Leather Boots).
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
ca. 1900. Library of Congress,
Prints & Photographs Div.
H. P. Lovecraft (such as the Providence Athenaeum) in this piece in the May issue of Fine Books & Collections, which also discusses the question of Lovecraft's first book.
Monday, May 09, 2011
|New York City, 1924. From left to right:|
Langston Hughes, Charles S. Johnson,
E. Franklin Frazier, Rudolph Fisher,
Hubert T. Delaney. NYPL.
Sunday, May 08, 2011
|Edmund Wilson, |
ca. 1936. NYPL.
Friday, May 06, 2011
|Zelda Popkin, from|
Open Every Door
—Zelda Popkin, Murder in the Mist 143
As May is Jewish American Heritage Month, I chose for this week's forgotten books Murder in the Mist by Zelda Popkin, daughter of Lithuanian Jewish immigrants, who wrote in her autobiography, "I have found being a Jew attractive and interesting" (26).
New York department store detectives Mary Carner and Christopher Whittaker are on their honeymoon when they check into a Massachusetts tourist hotel and find the body of an artist's model. The model's small daughter insists a witch killed her mother; Mary is more interested in word of a spurned lover; a jealous wife; and a new, younger boyfriend. Surrounded by self-centered artists, oddball guests, and gossipy staff, Mary and Chris piece together the story of a sad life, with Mary stating "I see murder as a struggle for possession" (234).
Mary has no problem dressing down an incompetent chief of police but regards her own detecting talents modestly: "My severest critics tell me that I just sit and wait for clues to drop into my lap. They feel I should go chasing around like Perry Mason or pontificate about little gray cells like Monsieur Poirot. But I'm not a story-book detective. I'm a thief spotter" (232). The lively prose (Chris has a tendency to say "God damn" and provides a hilarious commentary on art appreciation in one scene), a well-constructed puzzle, and keen insight into character keep the reader turning the pages.
The remarkable Zelda Popkin (1898–1983) was the first female general assignment reporter for the Wilkes-Barre [PA] Times-Leader at age 16. She wrote a standalone, So Much Blood (1944), and five mysteries with Mary Carner: Death Wears a White Gardenia (1938), Time Off for Murder (1940), Murder in the Mist (1940), Dead Man's Gift (1941), and No Crime for a Lady (1942). Popkin's A Death of Innocence (1971) was adapted as a CBS TV movie in 1971 and starred Shelley Winters as the mother of a murder suspect. Her best-known books are probably The Journey Home (1945), about a serviceman returning from World War II, and Small Victory (1947), one of the earliest U.S. novels dealing with the Holocaust. She assisted in rescuing Jews from the Nazis, worked for the Red Cross in occupied Germany, witnessed the desperate plight of displaced persons, and reported that a food parcel was given to the wife of the ill dancer Nijinsky. Quiet Street (1951) reflects her visit to the strife-torn Holy Land where her sister lived.
Wednesday, May 04, 2011
|John P. Marquand,|
from The Rotarian
Has a writer ever been selected as Time's Person of the Year? I can't recall.
Tuesday, May 03, 2011
When lawyers are not being villainized in popular culture, they are often portrayed as having many of the same admirable traits as a shrewd detective.In "Detecting Doctrines: The Case Method and the Detective Story" (Yale Journal of Law & the Humanities 23.2 , 101–48), U-Toronto law professor Simon Stern suggests that the detective story
— Simon Stern, "Detecting Doctrines" 101
|Illustration of Randolph|
Mason by Dan Sayre
Groesheck, from Melville
Davisson Post's "The
Corrector of Destinies"
Monday, May 02, 2011
Wilkie Collins, Vera Caspary, and the Evolution of the Casebook Novel, which further traces the linkages between Wilkie Collins and Vera Caspary that were first explored in the Clues 23.3 (2005) article "Laura, Vera, and Wilkie" (for example, Laura's Waldo Lydecker was modeled on Count Fosco of Collins's The Woman in White). Emrys also edited the Caspary short story collection The Murder in the Stork Club and Other Mysteries and wrote afterwords to the Feminist Press reprints of Caspary's Laura and Bedelia.