Category Archives: ‘Best of’ lists

Colin Dexter, requiescat

Colin Dexter has died aged 86. To crime fiction fans he will of course be remembered as the creator of Inspector More and Sergeant Lewis, two of Oxford’s finest detectives. Dexter was also an educator and a crossword buff, and … Continue reading

Posted in 'Best of' lists, 'In praise of ...', Colin Dexter, Inspector Morse, Oxford | 39 Comments

Top 25 TV Detectives

Well, I have been watching the BBC’s new police drama River starring Stellan Skarsgård and Nicola Walker. Whether it will be a one-off or continue I don’t know but I think it is as good as Cracker ever was and … Continue reading

Posted in 'Best of' lists, Agatha Christie, Albert Campion, Columbo, Dorothy L. Sayers, Ellery Queen, Inspector Morse, Inspector Wexford, London, Lord Peter Wimsey, Los Angeles, Margery Allingham, Miss Marple, Nero Wolfe, New York, Oxford, Paris, Poirot, Rex Stout, Ruth Rendell, San Francisco, Sherlock Holmes, TV Cops | 162 Comments

Top 25 Courtroom Movies

As I have blogged before, I love legal drama on the screen. Maybe it’s because I trained to be a lawyer (in the interests of full disclosure, my legal background informs the work I do in education in terms of … Continue reading

Posted in 'Best of' lists, Australia, California, England, France, India, Scott Turow, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 73 Comments

In Praise of … MEDIUM (2005-11)

I just finished watching the seventh and final season of Medium, the mystery / supernatural drama loosely inspired by reputed real-life spirit medium, Allison DuBois. It is one of my favourite shows, one of the most consistently inventive and ingenious whodunits to … Continue reading

Posted in 'Best of' lists, 'In praise of ...', Arizona, Medium, Scene of the crime, Top 10, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | Tagged | 41 Comments

My Favourite Mystery Books

Spurred on by Roger Sobin of Poisoned Pen Press I have been revisiting my list of Top 100 Mystery Books, which for far too long only got as far as my top 84! I am now much nearer to the … Continue reading

Posted in 'Best of' lists | 30 Comments

Top 20 Amnesia Mystery Movies

Whether it’s the intrigue of Jason Bourne adventures or the farcical escapades of the Hangover films, memory loss remains a popular narrative device in fiction in general and at the cinema in particular. Here is a guide to my top 20 favourite … Continue reading

Posted in 'Best of' lists, Alfred Hitchcock, Amnesia, Billy Wilder, Boileau-Narcejac, Charlie Chan, England, Eric Ambler, France, Greece, Hammer Studios, James Hilton, Jimmy Sangster, John Frankenheimer, Len Deighton, London, Los Angeles, LP Davies, New York, Orson Welles, San Francisco, Spain, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | Tagged | 87 Comments

2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog. Here’s an excerpt: The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 190,000 times in 2013. If it were an exhibit at … Continue reading

Posted in 'Best of' lists | Tagged | 24 Comments

BADGE OF EVIL (1956) by Whit Masterson

The team of Robert Wade and Bill Miller produced nearly three dozen crime novels between 1946 and 1961, mainly as  ‘Wade Miller’ and (in hardback) ‘Whit Masterson’. Badge of Evil served as the basis for the Orson Welles classic Touch of … Continue reading

Posted in 'Best of' lists, 2013 Book to Movie Challenge, 2013 Vintage Mystery Challenge, Film Noir, Mexico, Scene of the crime, Wade Miller, Whit Masterson | 25 Comments

WordPress awards

Thanks to Colin for nominating Fedora for the WordPress Family Award – I am glad to be able to return the favour and also tip my hat to some of the other fine WordPress bloggers out there (those on other platforms … Continue reading

Posted in 'Best of' lists, 'In praise of ...' | 26 Comments

Top 12 Mystery Movie Remakes

As the movie summer starts to wind down, the sheer number of sequels, remakes and ‘reboots’ certainly can make for a dispiriting summing up. But it is worth remembering that, at least in our genre, there are a great many great … Continue reading

Posted in 'Best of' lists, 'In praise of ...', Chicago, Ernest Hemingway, Film Noir, James M. Cain, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Mexico, Miami, Michael Curtiz, New York, Noir on Tuesday, Parker, Philip Marlowe, Private Eye, Raymond Chandler, Richard Stark, San Francisco, Texas, Top 10, Washington DC | 52 Comments

Buon Natale 2012

This site began back in January 2011 and here we are, two years and 270 posts later and the year is almost up. What have we learned from the Blogosphere? Well, for one thing, WordPress and Google’s blogger software like each … Continue reading

Posted in 'Best of' lists, 'In praise of ...', 2012 Alphabet of Crime, 2012 Vintage Mystery Reading Challenge, 2013 Book to Movie Challenge, 2013 Vintage Mystery Challenge, Doctor Who, James Bond | 24 Comments

Top 20 Spy movies

The release of Ben Affleck’s smart historical satire Argo, based loosely on the true extraction by the CIA and Canadian officials of six American Embassy staff members out of Tehran in 1980, made me reflect on the spy genre as … Continue reading

Posted in 'Best of' lists, Adam Hall, Alfred Hitchcock, Amnesia, Billy Wilder, Brian de Palma, Cold War, Elleston Trevor, Eric Ambler, Espionage, Film Noir, George Smiley, Ian Fleming, James Bond, John Frankenheimer, John le Carre, Len Deighton, London, Michael Powell, New York, Paris, Quiller, San Francisco, Scene of the crime, Spy movies | 77 Comments

Pretty Sinister Books: Challenge to the Reader Trivia Contest #2

John Norris, the host of the exceptional Pretty Sinister Books blog, returns with his mystery competition. As you would expect from a man of his considerable knowledge, it’s not for the faint of heart. Frankly, it is thoroughly fiendish though … Continue reading

Posted in 'Best of' lists | 12 Comments

Fifty shades of James Bond

Tomorrow is ‘International James Bond Day’, not actually a national holiday yet but I’m sure it’ll catch on eventually. It’s part of a coordinated media blitz celebrating the 50 years on screen of ‘the world’s favourite secret agent’. I’m starting … Continue reading

Posted in 'Best of' lists, 'In praise of ...', Espionage, Ian Fleming, James Bond, Spy movies | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Vertigo (1958) – Best film ever?

Is Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo the greatest film of all time? The 2012 Sight & Sound critics poll thinks so. And even if this is not true (some don’t even think it’s the best of the director’s thrillers), how well do people … Continue reading

Posted in 'Best of' lists, Alfred Hitchcock, Brian de Palma, Five Star review, San Francisco, Scene of the crime, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | 45 Comments

Fedora’s 100,000 visits

This site just passed another milestone at the end of this week with its 100,000th visit! This seems an extraordinary number, both heartening and humbling. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and for the support – hope to see you round … Continue reading

Posted in 'Best of' lists, Mickey Spillane, Private Eye | 39 Comments

Crime fiction leads in British Libraries

Perhaps not a surprise this, but it has been revealed that loans in UK libraries between July 2010 and June 2011 are dominated completely by thrillers. Top of the pile is Dan Brown and his latest effort, The Lost Symbol, … Continue reading

Posted in 'Best of' lists, Lee Child, Support Your Local Library Challenge | 15 Comments

Buon Natale 2011

No, this is not a review of the Carter Dickson classic, but it’s a classic snowbound impossible crime story and that seemed good enough reason to include the illustration. This site began back in January and here we are, twelve … Continue reading

Posted in 'Best of' lists | 14 Comments

Pretty Sinister Books Vintage Mystery Trivia Challenge

John Norris, the host of the exceptional Pretty Sinister Books blog, has initiated a mystery competition. As you would expect from a man of his considerable knowledge, it’s not for the faint of heart. Frankly, it is thoroughly fiendish and … Continue reading

Posted in 'Best of' lists | 2 Comments

Top 101 Film & TV Mysteries

This is a minor milestones for Tipping My Fedora as the blog has now reached its 101st post. So, seeing as it is also my birthday today, what better way to celebrate than with a small indulgence in the company of … Continue reading

Posted in 'Best of' lists, Charlie Chan, Columbo, Dashiell Hammett, Dorothy L. Sayers, Film Noir, Giallo, Inspector Morse, Jonathan Latimer, London, Lord Peter Wimsey, Los Angeles, Nero Wolfe, New York, Oxford, Paris, Parker, Philip MacDonald, Philip Marlowe, Philo Vance, Raymond Chandler, Rex Stout, Richard Stark, Robert Culp, Ross Macdonald, San Francisco, Scene of the crime, Scott Turow, Sherlock Holmes, SS Van Dine, The Thin Man, TV Cops, William Goldman | 31 Comments

In praise of … INSPECTOR MORSE

There are two distinct flavours of Inspector Morse – first there are the Colin Dexter series of thirteen novels (and a handful of short stories) published between 1975 and 1999; then there are the 33 feature-length episodes of the TV … Continue reading

Posted in 'Best of' lists, 'In praise of ...', Colin Dexter, Columbo, Inspector Morse, Oxford | 24 Comments

Film Top 10: Surprise Villains

O Henry was considered to be the original master of the twist ending in his popular short stories, at least in the sense that this is what he became famous for – and certainly there are a great many movies … Continue reading

Posted in 'Best of' lists, Agatha Christie, Columbo, DVD Review, Film Noir, Giallo, London, Los Angeles, New York, Paris, Rome, Spy movies, Top 10 | 10 Comments

Sherlock Holmes meets Lisbeth Salander

Well, sort of – Robert Downey Jr returns to the role of Sherlock Holmes and has been cast opposite Noomi Rapace, who played Stieg Larsson’s heroine in the Swedish adaptations of the Milennium trilogy, in Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows … Continue reading

Posted in 'Best of' lists, Sherlock Holmes | 10 Comments

In Praise of … COLUMBO

Peter Falk has died at the age of 83 after several years in poor health. A brilliant stage and film actor equally adept at comedy and drama, familiar for his blistering performances in John Cassavetes’ films and as the loving … Continue reading

Posted in 'Best of' lists, 'In praise of ...', Columbo, Top 10 | 33 Comments

RIP Newton Thornburg (1930-2011)

Last month the American novelist Newton Thornburg died at the age of 81. He had apparently been incapacitated by a stroke in 1998 and been confined to a wheelchair since then. He remains best-known for his 1976 post-Vietnam novel Cutter … Continue reading

Posted in 'Best of' lists, Newton Thornburg, Private Eye | 7 Comments

Top 20: Private Eye movies

“The bottom is loaded with nice people. Only cream and bastards rise” – HARPER (1966) The private investigator or, in Sherlock Holmes’ case, ‘consulting’ detective, is a figure completely embedded into the history of the crime and mystery genre, but … Continue reading

Posted in 'Best of' lists, Dashiell Hammett, Film Noir, Philip Marlowe, Private Eye, Raymond Chandler, Ross Macdonald, William Goldman | 97 Comments

Top 100 mystery books (almost)

The plan was to come up with a top 100 that I was prepared to stand by – but I wanted to re-read so many of the books that I might have included but now remembered too vaguely (such as Ngaio Marsh’s output or books like Tey’s hugely popular The Daughter of Time) that I thought I should publish only a partial list. Not to mention finding it a bit hard to just settle on one book by Georges Simenon given the enormity of his output – I have placed a list of 80+ titles on the site and am extremely open to suggestions …

So here are My (Nearly) Top 100 Mystery Books  Continue reading

Gallery | 2 Comments

Top 10: San Francisco Mysteries

With the closure at the end of this month of The San Francisco Mystery Bookstore (as reported here) I thought I would dedicate a post this week to that fine city in Northern California where, once upon a time, I used to visit a very good friend of mine. I did a lot of growing up there in the 80s and 90s and also bought a lot of great mystery books.

I haven’t been there in over a decade now but along with its undoubtedly beautiful setting on the Bay, the vibrancy of its culture (and counter-culture) and of course the wonderful food, fascinating people and amazing architecture, the potential for squalor and seediness seemed often remarkably ever-present to me as a European tourist, requiring little more than a short step in the ‘wrong’ direction – especially before the regeneration of SOMA. This mixture of high and low culture, of beauty and darkness, have made it the perfect setting for all kinds of mysteries, from the misanthropic romance of Hitckcock’s Vertigo to the hard- and soft-boiled worlds of Hammett found in the gritty adventures of Sam Spade and upper class sleuths Nick and Nora Charles. In some ways the most valuable works here for me are those by Bill Pronzini and the late Joe Gores, who use the city and its environs as the backdrop for so much of their work. They offer a particularly fascinating and diverse look at a city and how it has changed over the decades.

Limiting this list to just 10 inevitably meant plumping for some personal favourites and some unavoidable but great, even classic, books that somehow you just can’t do without. So, for today, these are my top mystery books set in and about San Francisco, still beautiful and mysterious – just like my old friend. I present these in strict chronological order. I hope to blog on each separately, as time goes by … Continue reading

Gallery | 19 Comments

THE RED RIGHT HAND (1945) by Joel Townsley Rogers

The Alphabet of Crime community meme over at the Mysteries in Paradise blog has reached the letter R, and my second nomination this week, also eligible under the guidelines of Bev’s 2011 Mystery Readers Challenge, is …

THE RED RIGHT HAND by Joel Townsley Rogers

“… surely one of the dozen or so finest mystery novels of the 20th century.” – Jack Adrian

There are prolific mystery writers, of great and small acclaim, who become defined by just one work – I’m not thinking of Helen Eustis and her sole adult contribution to the genre, the groundbreaking The Horizontal Man (1946), nor of distinctive but only belatedly recognised authors such as John Franklin Bardin. Rather there are those who, for various reasons, despite producing a number of offerings over their careers, only became popularly known for a small or even single portion of it. In some cases this is just an indication of capitalising on commercial success, as in Robert ‘Psycho’ Bloch for instance, but there are others only known to cognoscenti except for one exceptional title – and Joel Townsley Rogers is certainly one of those authors. Continue reading

Gallery | 22 Comments

Top 10: Film Noir

Whether you consider it to be a fully fledged genre or more of a style or movement, Film Noir is unquestionably one of the most popular and certainly one of most discussed modes in cinema. Continue reading

Gallery | 42 Comments