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Hall of Famers
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January 18 2018

Crime Fiction Hall of Fame: David Goodis

Although David Goodis (1917-67) led a fascinating life (fascinating to some of us, anyway), I’m not going to spend a lot of time here discussing his personal story. Instead, I’ll focus...
July 29 2015

In Memoriam: Ann Rule

Ann Rule, true-crime writing pioneer, died over the weekend at age 83. From the obituary in the Seattle Times: Ms. Rule broke out with her first book, “The Stranger Beside Me,” published...
May 25 2015

A Commemorative Bouquet of Links for Memorial Day

For this Memorial Day, we offer our best wishes, deepest thanks, and a commemorative bouquet of military-related links:   Author Joseph Koenig's personal list of the Best Fiction of...
March 18 2015

Beast in View: Margaret Millar at 100

In the vast criminal menagerie that Margaret Millar created over the course of her long career, there is a special place for the “woman in distress” plot. She wrote many different kinds...
December 20 2014

Back to the Beginning: The Bounty Hunters by Elmore Leonard

From the early 1970s until 1992’s Unforgiven, Westerns had become outmoded, pitiful television productions and lame B-films that had run the genre into the dust heap, and unless Clint Eastwood...
October 22 2014

The Cowboy Rides Away: John Wayne and The Shootist (1976)

This is the second entry in a series on the final Westerns of the great cowboy stars. The previous entry looked at Gary Cooper and The Hanging Tree. Don Siegel’s The Shootist is an elegy....
October 16 2014

Madly in Love: Edgar Allan Poe Short Story Adapted for Film

If you're a rabid Edgar Allan Poe enthusiast, like many of us are—especially around Halloween—then you might want to add Stonehearst Asylum to your list of movies to see this month....
September 25 2014

Bacall By Herself

In our series on Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, we looked at the films the great screen duo made between 1944 and 1948. After 1948, however, the two never made another movie together. (Though...
September 25 2014

Being John Malkovich Being Other Celebrities: An Homage

Homages to popular iconic images aren't new, but they feel pretty new when the one posing is John Malkovich. While Malkovich recreated famous portraits from Alfred Hitchcock, Albert Einstein, and...
July 7 2014

Noir’s Goon Squad: Raymond Burr

I loved Perry Mason as a kid, and something that I always felt without ever quite being able to put my finger on it at the time was that Raymond Burr was kind of creepy. He was the hero of the...
June 30 2014

The Cunning, Illuminating, and Bloody Graham Greene: The Greatest Thriller Writer Ever

Many of the world’s greatest writers have a touch of the pulp. They reveal characters not just in the traditional literary manner—profound thoughts, witty dialogue, yadda yadda—but...
May 16 2014

Adventures In Screenwriting: The Amazing Leigh Brackett

Pop quiz: What do The Big Sleep, Rio Bravo, El Dorado, The Long Goodbye, and The Empire Strikes Back have in common? Answer: They were all written or co-written by the same woman, the amazing...
April 4 2014

Ngaio Marsh: The Kiwi Killer

In 1888, Henry Marsh, the oldest son of a large English family, immigrated to New Zealand, where he met New Zealand-born Rose Elizabeth Seager. Her father was a prominent public official. After they...
March 6 2014

The Agatha of my Youth: Collecting Christie

Here’s how it commenced: One night when I was twelve, maybe thirteen, I caught the film Ten Little Indians on TV. It was the 1965 version, not the best (see 1945’s Then There were None)...
January 17 2014

Happy Birthday, Edgar Allan Poe: Dominated by Humor, Not Terror

On January 19th, we celebrate the 205th anniversary of the birth of Edgar Allan Poe. Poe’s been dead for one hundred and sixty five years, and for most of those years he’s been misunderstood. Evidence...
October 30 2013

The Master of the Who-Dunnit: Dr. Seuss

Theodor Seuss Geisel was born in Massachusetts in 1904. He attended Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, where he spent much of his time working on the school humor magazine the Jack-O-Lantern. After...
October 22 2013

All Hallow’s Read: 13 Haunting Mysteries (and More!)

With All Hallow's Eve soon approaching, here for your consideration are an unlucky number of books that, each in its way, fit the mood of this spectral season. As the above heading implies, many...
June 25 2013

Orrie Hitt, the Shakespeare of Shabby Street

Russ Meyer said that when people watched his movies, he wanted them to know “where they are” five minutes into the viewing (umm, you achieved that, Russ). Orrie Hitt may or may not...
March 15 2013

Writing Murder Loves Company: Famous Authors Who Dabbled in Mystery

In today’s marketing influenced world, authors tend to be categorized in one segment or another—mystery/thriller, romance, literary, etc. But in reality, most writers try a variety of forms,...
October 16 2012

A Classic for a New Generation: A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel

Who hasn’t read A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle, winner of the 1963 Newbery Medal? Well, that would be me. Blame it on my being an expat, but I’ve never read this children’s...
October 7 2012

The Death of Edgar A. Poe: “A Tissue of Malevolent Blasphemies”

A new musical play with Edgar A. Poe as its subject was recently reviewed by Charles Isherwood for The New York Times. Summing up the play Isherwood wrote: “With just a few dollars to his...
May 2 2012

Nero Wolfe, Rex

Auctorial influence is a tricky thing, even for those writers whose style or choice of subject is consciously patterned (admittedly or otherwise) after another writer’s work. When confronted with...
March 4 2012

The Big Literary Guns Behind Alfred Hitchcock Presents

I’ve watched a number of episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents over the years and given that it recently began airing on the Encore Suspense cable channel not long ago, I’m sure I’ll watch quite...
February 28 2012

Now Win This!: Sax Rohmer’s Dr. Fu-Manchu Series

Sorry, this sweepstakes has ended. Stay tuned on our Sweepstakes page for more offers! Click here to log in or register for a chance to win a copy of the book! NO PURCHASE...
December 14 2011

O. Henry, Criminal and Crime Writer

Who doesn’t have a favorite O. Henry story? One that draws the reader in with a light, almost effortless touch. One that follows every joggle and turn, eventually leading to a final jolting twist...
July 8 2011

Nero Wolfe Leaves Home

I rarely leave my house. I do like it here. I would be an idiot to leave this chair, made to fit me.  Nero Wolfe - Before I Die Most of us are probably familiar with one or more high-profile...
May 16 2011

George V. Higgins’ Eddie Coyle: Even Better than True

As a kid, I was never a big fan of crime fiction–I always associated it with my Aunt Doris, smoking Pall Malls and drinking Ballantine Ale while reading Perry Mason potboilers about spurious spinsters...