I have just come off reading Noel Vindry’s The Howling Beast: very French, very chauvinistic, and very 1934 puzzle-beats-all. That means that the characters were basically cardboard cutouts, and there’s no good bemoaning this fact, it’s the way things are with most Golden Age detective fiction. If you want more focus on character, you need … Continue reading PUBLISH OR PERISH: Helen McCloy’s Two Thirds of a Ghost
We go to a musical to be uplifted, stirred emotionally, and, most trickily, to embrace characters in situations where the only way their story can be satisfactorily told is to have their words augmented, even replaced, by song and dance. And we hope that this will all be accomplished with brilliant performances, stylish design, and … Continue reading BRIGHT STARS AND SECOND CHANCES
“It’s possible that Sonia believed it, but she’s a woman and it’s only to be expected.” There’s nothing more satisfying on a rainy holiday weekend than to curl up with a good mystery. Make it a classic tale from a prolific author of the 1930’s, dripping with atmosphere and stocked with a perplexing impossible crime … Continue reading CASTLE TO LET: 80 RMS W/PORTCULLIS, WEREWOLF INCLUDED
I’ve got five glorious days off from school . . . and I conveniently forgot to bring that set of film papers home to grade! It gives me just the time I need to settle down to a good book. I was going to read and review Anthony Horowitz’ new mystery, The Word Is Murder, … Continue reading CALM DOWN, MAN, IT’S JUST A PASTICHE!
Christmas is just around the corner (he said two days before Thanksgiving!), and that means movie studios are about to inundate the theatres with their “prestige” films, hoping these will receive consideration for the big awards (the Golden Globes, the Oscars, and the Independent Spirit). Every year, this period where good movies are released shrinks … Continue reading GENRE TRANSCENDANT: A Quartet of Great Films
If you want to be a successful author today, you had better be ready to devote some time to self-promotion. This may be especially true for self-published and mid-tier writers, but everyone who wants to be read needs to get on the publicity circuit. Publishers have reduced the effort they will expend to promote books, … Continue reading SINCEREST FORM OF FLATTERY: Ellery Queen’s There Was an Old Woman
A few months ago, I told you I would never buy a Louise Penny mystery again, for a host of reasons you can feel free to check out here. But Penny is fun to listen to in the car, so last week I went to the library and checked out Glass Houses, the thirteenth in … Continue reading APOLOGIA: In Which One Modern Mystery Causes Me to Reflect on Too Many Issues for One Post . . . and Asks You to Come Along for the Ride!