Johnny Staccato

staccatoToday’s post is dedicated to a show that lasted just one season but which deserves to be remembered. Filmed in LA but set in New York, the half-hour adventures of Johnny Staccato (Revue/NBC; US 1959-60) featured great jazz music, some amazing actors and was an unusually intense production, as befitting its extraordinary lead actor.

The following review is offered as part of Tuesday’s Overlooked Film meme hosted by Todd Mason over at his Sweet Freedom blog, who also celebrates great music on his blog, so I’m hoping he’ll be doubly interested in this particular post!

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Posted in Film Noir, New York, Noir on Tuesday, Private Eye | 28 Comments

COP OUT (1969) by Ellery Queen

queen_cop-out_mpWelcome to something a bit special today folks. After years of pleading and cajoling, our pal Colin (aka ‘Livius’) of the mighty fine Riding the High Country blog has agreed to write a guest post for us here at Fedora. As befits such a special occasion, we have a very unusual book from one of the great names of Golden Age detective fiction. Published to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the first Queen novel, this is a non-series novel that is often overlooked. Let’s see how well it holds up – over to you Livius, me old china:

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

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Posted in 2016 Silver Vintage Scavenger Hunt, Ellery Queen, Police procedural | 29 Comments

HAG’S NOOK (1933) by John Dickson Carr

Carr HagToday would have been John Dickson Carr’s 110th birthday and JJ, over at his blog, The Invisible Event, is celebrating the great writer’s work. So I thought I should chip in, as Carr is my favourite Golden Age detective story author of all time, after all. This was the book that marked the debut of Dr Gideon Fell, the longest-serving of all of Carr’s detectives, ultimately appearing in 23 novels between 1933 and 1968 as well as a handful of short stories and radio dramas too. Set in Lincolnshire in 1930, this clever detective story is also a love letter to the English character, its history and its landscape, as experienced by a young American.

I submit this review for Bev’s Vintage Mystery Challenge.
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Posted in 2016 Golden Age Vintage Mystery Scavenger Hunt, England, John Dickson Carr | 39 Comments

NOCTURNE (1997) by Ed McBain

mcbain_nocturne_pbCotton Hawes finally comes (slightly) out of the background for the 47th book in the 87th Precinct series, which as the title suggests all takes place in the course of a couple of nights (around the 21st of January) and which, as a result, wastes no time at all in setting him off with Steve Carella to investigate the murder of a once famous concert pianist who has ended up on skid row and who turns out to have a strange personal history. In tandem, Fat Ollie Weeks of the 88th Precinct investigates three murders, the various cases ultimately intersecting a little bit …

I offer the following review for Patti’s Friday’s Forgotten Books meme, hosted today by Todd Mason at his Sweet Freedom.
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Posted in 87th Precinct, Ed McBain, Friday's Forgotten Book, New York, Police procedural | 22 Comments

The return of Nick Madrid!

foiled-againNews reached Fedora of some light-hearted crime shenanigans courtesy of Independent publisher Ostara publishing, who are playing it strictly for laughs with their Autumn crime releases, with new editions of two Nick Madrid ‘escapades’ by novelist, critic and doyen of the literary festival scene, Peter Guttridge.

The adventures of the yoga-practising, accident-prone, self-depreciating journalist Nick Madrid combine a deep affection for the worst excesses of Fleet Street with outrageously farcical situations and the delivery of a stand-up comedian. In Foiled Again the plot ranges from an accidental death during an international fencing competition to the uncovering of a piece of shady family history from the 1930s and the rise of the fascist Blackshirt movement. Along the way, there’s a rather revolting art exhibition called ‘The Shock of the Poo’, a nightclub for sadomasochists, a coven of Sylvia Plath fanatics, Russian Mafiosi, Colombian drug lords and the vexed question of why Madrid is such an unusual surname in Burnley …

cast-adriftCast Adrift reflects one of the author’s other areas of expertise, Hollywood, in a merciless satire on movie-making, specifically the making of a low-budget (a very low-budget) pirate movie, which is also a musical, on location somewhere suspiciously near the Caribbean. When the main cast of characters get involved with real, modern-day pirates and the sole survivor of a desert island survivalist TV game show, there seems little chance of anyone sticking to the script – assuming there ever was one. The late Reginald Hill described Peter Guttridge’s early comic crime novels as‘fast-moving, laugh-a-line frolics’ and the Nick Madrid novels became famous for their trade-mark trait of having the hapless hero always falling foul of the local wildlife wherever the story was set.

Foiled Again and Cast Adrift are now available as Ostara Crime paperbacks and eBooks. Full details of all titles can be found on

Posted in Ostara Publishing | 14 Comments

No Way Out (1987) is now on Blu-ray!

no-way-out_bdNo Way Out, adapted from Kenneth Fearing’s classic suspense novel, The Big Clock (which I previously reviewed here), is a terrific thriller starring a young Kevin Costner and quirky and beautiful Sean Young as young lovers who get caught in a deadly love triangle with evergreen Gene Hackman. The setting is Washington DC, the time Reagan’s Cold War and 1980s Soviet paranoia provides a convenient cover for murder.

The following (re)review is offered as part of Tuesday’s Overlooked Film meme hosted by Todd Mason over at his Sweet Freedom blog and you should head over there to see the many other fascinating titles being offered.

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Posted in Cold War, Espionage, Film Noir, Kenneth Fearing, Noir on Tuesday, Tuesday's Overlooked Film, Washington DC | Tagged , , , | 35 Comments

HIS BURIAL TOO (1973) by Catherine Aird

Aird_HIS-BURIAL-TOO_collinsThis locked room mystery comes at the suggestion of JJ, author-in-chief of The Invisible Event, for which many thanks (I think). Its central conundrum is certainly an absolute doozy: how can a murderer flee a room in which the only exit is blocked by an immovable piece of stonemasonry? Told in a light, breezy style, this is a cosy mystery that refuses to take itself seriously and which would make a great episode of the Midsomer Murders TV series. We begin on a hot July day …

I submit this review for Bev’s 2016 Silver Age Vintage Mystery Scavenger Hunt; and Patti Abbott’s Friday’s Forgotten Books meme over at her fab Pattinase blog.

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Posted in 2016 Silver Vintage Scavenger Hunt, Catherine Aird, England, Locked Room Mystery | 46 Comments