THE DRAGON MURDER (1933) by SS Van Dine

Dragon-Murder-Case_poster A man dives into an open air swimming pool and vanishes, never to be seen alive again. When the pool is drained, the only clue to be found is what looks like the footprints of a dragon on the muddy sediment … It’s time for super sleuth Philo Vance to investigate what many now think was perhaps his last major case, both in print and (the following year) onscreen.

I submit this review for Bev’s Golden Age Vintage Mystery Challenge; Katie’s Book to Movie Challenge at Doing Dewey (for review links, click here); and Tuesday’s Overlooked Film meme at Todd Mason’s Sweet Freedom blog.

Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Book to Movie Challenge, 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, New York, Philo Vance, SS Van Dine, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | 2 Comments

Lone Star (1996)

Lone-Star-PenaThis is one of my favourite films and I am always slightly appalled that more people haven’t heard of it. I was reminded of it again when it was announced a few days ago that the versatile American actress Elizabeth Peña had died at the age of 55. She was always busy, appearing in films as different as The Incredibles (she voiced the character of Mirage) and La Bamba, though it is for her two collaborations with John Sayles that I will always remember her best: the short-lived legal drama Shannon’ Deal (currently AWOL on video), and Lone Star (1996), the ground-breaking historical mystery he wrote, edited and directed.

Continue reading

Posted in Film Noir, John Sayles, Noir on Tuesday, Scene of the crime, Texas, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | 28 Comments

THE SNATCH (1971) by Bill Pronzini

Pronzini_Snatch_sphereAfter reading Marcia Muller’s first Sharon McCone series (click here for the review), I thought it might be fun to go look at the debut of another San Francisco private eye, one that she would subsequently meet. “Nameless’ was created by Bill Pronzini (now Muller’s husband), who later partnered McCone in Double (1984, co-written with Muller). In his debut, the anonymous detective is hired to drop off a ransom for a kidnapped child, but at the exchange the kidnapper is killed, the money stolen and our narrator stabbed …

I offer this review for Bev’s Vintage Silver Age Mystery Challenge; and Patti Abbott’s Friday’s Forgotten Books meme over at her fab Pattinase blog.

Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, Bill Pronzini, Friday's Forgotten Book, Private Eye, San Francisco | 32 Comments

The Empty Beach (1985) – Tuesday’s Overlooked Film

Corris_The-Empty-Beach_unwinBryan Brown played Australian private investigator Cliff Hardy in this adaptation of the fourth in the continuing series of mysteries by Peter Corris. As of this year Hardy has featured in 40 books, and as the author is usually credited with establishing the first contemporary Antipodean PI series, I thought it was time I gave it a look. The eponymous place in the title is Bondi in Sydney …

I offer this film & book review for Katie’s Book to Movie Challenge at Doing Dewey (for links, click here); Bev’s Vintage Silver Age Mystery Challenge; and Tuesday’s Overlooked Film meme hosted by Todd Mason over at his fab Sweet Freedom blog.

Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, Australia, Peter Corris, Sydney | 24 Comments

DETOUR (1953) by Helen Nielsen

Nielsen_Detour_blacklizardDanny Ross is 18 years old and heading south, anxious to start a new life. A few hundred miles from the Mexico border his car packs up but is offered a lift by old Doc Gaynor, who is heading to Cooperton. They stop at a roadside cafe in nearby Mountain View, where talk is focused on the death the night before of town lush, Francy. When Danny goes back to the car to rejoin the Doc, he finds the old man bludgeoned to death and is promptly accused of killing him and maybe Francy too. It’s not long before he is on the run …

I submit this review for Bev’s Golden Age Vintage Mystery Challenge bingo; and Patti Abbott’s Friday’s Forgotten Books meme over at her fab Pattinase blog.

Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, Friday's Forgotten Book, Helen Nielsen | 32 Comments

Four Sided Triangle (1953) – Tuesday’s Overlooked Film

And now for a slight change of pace here at Fedora, featuring real-life femme fatale Barbara Payton. She plays the object of everybody’s affection in this off-kilter melodrama that was one of the first of Hammer Studios‘ excursions into the weird and the bizarre that would soon dominate their output. It is also a precursor to the Frankenstein films that director Terence Fisher would make his name with at the studio just a few years later. We begin when the three protagonists were children in a small English village …

This review is offered for Tuesday’s Overlooked Film meme hosted by Todd Mason Sweet Freedom

Continue reading

Posted in Hammer Studios, Science Fiction, Terence Fisher, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | Tagged , , | 30 Comments

A MYSTERIOUS AFFAIR OF STYLE (2007) by Gilbert Adair

Adair_Style_ffSequels can be such a pain! Expectations after a success can be unfairly high, the pressure to succeed often crippling artistic instincts, co-opting authors into merely varying a winning formula by just a smidgen. But here I am attempting a second bite of the cherry – I tried really hard to convince blog-readers out there that the first Evadne Mount mystery, The Act of Roger Murgatroyd, was something special, and got thoroughly castigated for my trouble. Will I fare any better with the sequel? Well, I’ll hold on to my fedora and see what happens…

I offer this review for Patti Abbott’s Friday’s Forgotten Books meme over at her fab Pattinase blog.

Continue reading

Posted in Agatha Christie, Alfred Hitchcock, Evadne Mount, Friday's Forgotten Book, Gilbert Adair, Postmodern | 30 Comments