Fresh Meat: <i>Shark Skin Suite</i> by Tim Dorsey Fresh Meat: Shark Skin Suite by Tim Dorsey Neliza Drew Lawyers, like sharks, are tough to swim with. <i>Crazy for You</i>: New Excerpt Crazy for You: New Excerpt Michael Fleeman One moment, you're just dropping your kid off at school... Now Win <i>This</i>!: 3x3 Sweepstakes Now Win This!: 3x3 Sweepstakes Crime HQ The best things come in threes! <i>Fear the Darkness</i>: New Excerpt Fear the Darkness: New Excerpt Becky Masterman What do you do when a psychopath moves in?
From The Blog
January 29, 2015
Ketchup Me If You Can
Crime HQ
January 28, 2015
Thieves Do the Right Thing for Boy Scouts
Teddy Pierson
January 27, 2015
William Gillette: The Actor Who Saved Sherlock Holmes
Crime HQ
January 26, 2015
Lowdown Calendar: More of 2015's Mystery Conventions
Crime HQ
January 25, 2015
Literary Mysteries: Vladimir Nabokov's Pale Fire
Edward A. Grainger
Showing posts by: Crime HQ click to see Crime HQ's profile
Jan 29 2015 8:45am

Ketchup Me If You Can

The Condiment GunIf you're looking for the perfect gift to add to the cupboards of the whacky foodie in your life that has a thing for both ketchup and crime—or want to add it to your own—we might have the perfect thing: The Condiment Gun!

Will you be holding up the nearest hot dog stand with this quirky and fun way to spread on the condiments? Pick your poison!

Jan 27 2015 8:45am

William Gillette: The Actor Who Saved Sherlock Holmes

Before Benedict and Basil, there was William Gillette, a US-born actor who suited up on stage as Sherlock Holmes over 1,000 times, including once in a silent film. But until very recently, the 1916 film was believed to be lost, erasing the bridge that took Arthur Conan Doyle's Victorian-era detective and catapulted him into the limelight of generations to come. Basil Rathbone might have been the first actor to transplant the sleuth into then current day World War II (a concept used as well by Stephen Moffat's setting of modern London in Sherlock), but it was William Gillette who popularized Sherlock in the US markets. Gillette was responsible for taking Doyle's character off the page and presenting him as he's known today. He implemented the iconic curved pipe and invented the line Elementary, my dear fellow. He took Holmes out from the seedy underbelly of detective work and preseneted him as a suave bachelor. And most importantly, he convinced Doyle to reboot Holmes after the author had killed him off in 1893. 

Head over to BBC News, where you can watch a clip from the 1916 silent film, listen to a recording of Gillette, and learn more!

Jan 23 2015 8:45am

The X Files to Return? The Truth Is Out There

We've already discussed the upcoming return of Twin Peaks (for which we can't talke all the credit), and now you can (hopefully) add The X-Files to the list of sci-fi rebirths! After appearing with Chris Hardwick on a Nerdist podcast, Gillian Anderson urged fans to join her in urging Fox to bring back the show. Anderson, who co-starred with David Duchovny, urged fans to take to Twitter weilding #XFiles2015.

And then, a few days later, Fox confirmed that early talks had begun with Anderson and Duchovny on the logistical nature of a return. Fox has seen recent success with reboots after last summer's return of 24, and as more and more television viewers migrate away from the arid broadcast networks for the green pastures of cable, it seems foolish for Fox to turn its back on a series with a pre-installed fanbase.

Jan 21 2015 12:30pm

Announcing 2015’s Edgar Nominees

The Mystery Writers of America have announced the Edgar Award nominees and special winners.  The Edgars banquet—an annual black-tie gala celebrating crime fiction, non-fiction, and television writing—will be held on Wednesday, April 29th, 2015 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City. As always, it's a fantastic list of great work that deserves to be checked out! What have you read already?

This Dark Road to Mercy by Wiley Cash
Wolf by Mo Hayder
Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King
The Final Silence by Stuart Neville
Saints of the Shadow Bible by Ian Rankin
Coptown by Karin Slaughter

[See all the nominees!]

Jan 20 2015 4:30pm

Now Win This!: 3x3 Sweepstakes

The best things in life come in threes, and this sweepstakes proves it with a contemporary high-tech Swedish trilogy, three of the Clifton Chronicles, set in the U.K. in the aftermath of WWI, and if that weren’t enough, another bonus trifecta of internationally celebrated crime novels!

Click here to enter for a chance to win!

This is NOT a Comments Sweepstakes. You must click the link above to enter.

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. A PURCHASE DOES NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING. Sweepstakes open to legal residents of 50 United States, D.C., and Canada (excluding Quebec), who are 18 years or older as of the date of entry. Promotion begins January 20, 2015, at 4:30 pm ET, and ends February 3, 2015, 4:29 pm ET. Void in Puerto Rico and wherever prohibited by law. Click here for details and official rules.

[This might just be our biggest sweepstakes yet!]

Jan 15 2015 8:45am

Nothing Says I Hate You Like...Glitter?

Some villains spend their entire lives planning out the perfect way to seek revenge. Well, if you want to exact some revenge of your own but a) don't want to enter into the business of murder and mayhem and b) just want to fill out a form and have someone else do the dirty work for you, then we have the service for you!

The website Ship Your Enemies Glitter, is just the company willing to do that for you. In some Not Safe for Work language, they outline their process of revenge, and outline why you should pay them to ship glitter:

First off, use your f***ing imagination. We're going to be pouring a tonne of glitter into an envelope with a folded up piece of paper. You know what's going to happen when that f***face opens the envelope & pulls out the letter? The craft herpes will be released & will go everywhere.

So, will you be using this site to give people their comeuppance? For only $9.99 you can finally get even!

Image via tumblr.

Jan 14 2015 8:45am

“Everyone Creates the Thing They Dread”: New Trailer for Avengers: Age of Ultron

Marvel has released a new trailer for this summer's inevitable blockbuster Avengers: Age of Ultron, and it seems as if this movie will have a much darker tone than the last Avengers. After rumbling with Thor in the last film, it seems that Iron Man will have to throw down with Hulk this time around. It's a good think he seems prepared. Avengers: Age of Ultron will hit theaters May 1, 2015. Are you excited to see it?

Jan 12 2015 9:30am

Pop Music Spells Freedom, Really, In Morse Code!

It's the story of a Columbian colonel, a Miami ad man, long-time hostages and the music of freedom. Colonel Espejo was running out of opportunities to rescue hostages held by the rural FARC, sometimes for more than a decade, so he turned to an ad man with a long-standing grudge against the guerillas to design a way to communicate. In the rural areas, hostages are often allowed to listen to the radio. In fact, there's a weekly show called “Voices of Kidnapping” that allows families 30-second slots for dedications to their captive loved ones. But this was something different. This fascinating story has loads of interesting tidbits, and you should read the whole thing written by Jeff Maysh at The Verge, but here's a bit:

Word quickly got around the studio that the military wanted to produce a song so popular it would enterr the “Lista 40” — Colombia’s Billboard charts. Producer Carlos Portela, 34, thought they were nuts.

“But they were deadly serious, and explained it was a secret project,” says Portela, who wears an eyebrow ring and produces music for beer commercials...

With the help of a military policeman skilled in Morse, they coded the message: “19 people rescued. You are next. Don’t lose hope.” It was a signal to boost morale and indicate that help was nearby. Portela wrote the song and the lyrics with composer Amaury Hernandez, creating a thinly-veiled ballad about life as a hostage: “In the middle of the night / Thinking about what I love the most / I feel the need to sing… About how much I miss them.” He even added the lyric, “Listen to this message, brother,” just before the coded message kicks in. The code sounds like a brief synth interlude just after the chorus.

If you'd like to listen, the code begins at 1:30.

And if you're suddenly feeling you need to catch up on your Morse, here's an online game from Boys' Life game to help.

Illustrations by Allegra Lockstadt.

Jan 6 2015 4:00pm

Now Win This!: New Year New Fear Sweepstakes

It's a new year, with new fear, new looks, and new books!

Click here to enter for a chance to win!

This is NOT a Comments Sweepstakes. You must click the link above to enter.

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. A PURCHASE DOES NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING. Sweepstakes open to legal residents of 50 United States, D.C., and Canada (excluding Quebec), who are 18 years or older as of the date of entry. Promotion begins January 6, 2015, at 4:00 pm ET, and ends January 20, 2014, 3:59 pm ET. Void in Puerto Rico and wherever prohibited by law. Click here for details and official rules.

[See what's in your future...]

Jan 6 2015 8:45am

A Sprawling Tribute to the Pre-Google Days

Here at Criminal Element, we're suckers for some cool looking book-art, and the newest piece by book artist Guy Laramée has our jaws on the floor. Carved from a 24-volume Encyclopedia Britannica set, this book artist bids farewell to the long legacy of the pre-Google days. For more photos and information, check out Web Urbanist.

Jan 5 2015 8:45am

Shorter Everly: Salma Hayek’s Shooting Yakuza

Salma Hayek's character's trapped in her apartment, heavily-armed, and facing waves of Yakuza attacks. What more needs to be said? You already know if Everly's your cup of sake from that description. Oh, all right, here's the trailer:

The film was apparently shot in chronological order so that the set would get riddled with bullets and increasingly trashed as the storyline progressed.

Per H. Shaw-Williams of Screenrant, it's set for VOD release on January 23rd, 2015, and limited theatrical release on February 27th.

Jan 1 2015 8:45am

The Quietest Crime of the Century: Happy New Year!

Is all really quietest on New Year's Day? Ask one of the perpetrators of the “crime of the century,” a self-confessed roaming vagrant.

Oh, um, vagrant, Supertramp, whatever. Our bad.

Enjoy it anyway and Happy 2015!

Leading image via Alex Kaeslin of Switzerland and Emily P's Pinterest.

Dec 31 2014 2:00pm

Counting Down to 2015

Tonight, people around the world will count down from 10, and by the time they reach zero, 2014 will be no more. To celebrate the new year, we're joining the festivities and counting down as well, with the help of some our posts of course. All together now:

  • Kickin' Ass Like it's 1880: Ten Modern Cowboys
  • Nine Days
  • Page Eight: Spies (Don't) Like Us
  • Dark Christmas: Seven Noir Holiday Films
  • The Sixth Station
  • Five
  • Poirot: “The Big Four
  • Bad Machinery: Volume III
  • Two Hundred and Twenty-One Baker Street
  • The Historical Villain: A Whodunnit in One Dimension

Happy New Year!

Dec 30 2014 8:45am

But First, Let Me Take a Shelfie

Don't you hate it when you find yourself with some unexpected free time, but the book you're in the middle of is inconveniently back at home, thus leaving you to try and match like-colored candies? We hate that too! But thanks to the folks at BitLit, you can now carry your books with you at all times without having to buy both physical and e-copies!

BitLit asks users to take a “shelfie,” or a photo of their bookcase. BitLit will then provide users with a list of which books are available for free download. After users verify that the book is actually theirs by signing the copyright page, BitLit will email an ebook copy to the user's email address. And then next time you find yourself waiting at the permanently-backed-up doctor's office, you'll be able to knock out a few chapters rather than a few green pigs.

Dec 29 2014 8:45am

Fake Champagne: “Apple cider, Metallic Soda Water, or Worse”

So says Champagne Warrior Brad Baker. When high-end bottles and desirable, limited vintages are in demand, yes, fake champagne can be a thing. Here's more on “Bogus Bubbles” from the Terroirist blog (terroir is a French word for the set of conditions like soil, weather, topography in a specific wine-making region—we feel savvier already):

One type of fakery simply requires the swapping of younger, cheaper Champagne into an older, authentic empty bottle of a more prized vintage.... This was the m.o. of Signore Frisciata, a 29-year-old Italian who was arrested last year [2011] following an investigation launched by a private collector who purchased bottles of 1929 Moet & Chandon, only to discover that the wine contained within was of a much more recent vintage. According to published reports, Frisciata bought newer releases of Champagne and filled older empty bottles to which he affixed counterfeit labels. The police seized a cache of counterfeit labels and tools from his home workshop, along with completed bottles ready for sale...

At the end of the day, most counterfeit Champagne is hard to detect, no matter the method of production. The reasons are many and varied: Champagne houses were notoriously bad at record keeping, at least before World War II, and were inconsistent in the bottles, labels and corks they used. Also, like with older red wine, it’s hard to say what a correct bottle is supposed to taste like, and, to an even greater degree than with, say, Burgundy, there is a lack of experienced tasters. This leads to audacity on the part of counterfeiters, who are emboldened to say, as Baker puts it, “Sorry, they were bad and too old, better luck next time, but what did you expect with wine this old?” Or perhaps the drinker just doesn’t understand old Champagne. “[U]nless you have had the wine before – how would you know?” Baker says.

See? There is a hidden advantage to a lack of taste—no one bothers counterfeiting rotgut.