Category Archives: George Baxt

Douglas Slocombe – 100 years old today

OK movie buffs, here’s a fun pop quiz for you: what do Raiders of the Lost Ark, Sean Connery’s last Bond movie, Michael Caine in The Italian Job, Montgomery Clift’s turn as Sigmund Freud and several classic Ealing comedies such … Continue reading

Posted in 'In praise of ...', Basil Dearden, Douglas Slocombe, Film Noir, George Baxt, Gothic, Hammer Studios, Jimmy Sangster, Joseph Losey, London, New York, Paris, Scene of the crime, Screwball | 21 Comments

K is for … Stuart Kaminsky

The prolific mystery writer and academic Stuart Melvin Kaminsky was born in Chicago in 1934 and spent most of his career as a professor of film. Eventually he would spend 16 years teaching at Northwestern University before becoming a Professor … Continue reading

Posted in 2012 Alphabet of Crime, Alfred Hitchcock, Crime Fiction Alphabet, Friday's Forgotten Book, George Baxt, Los Angeles, Private Eye, Raymond Chandler, Scene of the crime, Stephen J Cannell, Stuart Kaminsky | 17 Comments

Edgar Wallace Mysteries (1960–65)

Between September 1960 and October 1965 cinemas in the UK screened 47 films produced by Anglo Amalgamated as part of their Edgar Wallace Mysteries series. These low-budget movies, more or less based on the works of the celebrated mystery author, … Continue reading

Posted in Edgar Wallace, George Baxt, Jimmy Sangster, London, Police procedural, Scene of the crime, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | 25 Comments

Will the real Alfred Hitchcock please stand up?

Film director Alfred Hitchcock, the self-styled ‘Master of Suspense’, is unquestionably now the most written-about of all movie directors, with Orson Welles perhaps coming a close-ish second though he had a substantial acting career too. Both have also been depicted, … Continue reading

Posted in Alfred Hitchcock, George Baxt | 9 Comments

Blogs what I have read

Unaccustomed as I am to blogging (with apologies to the immortal British comedy duo Morecambe and Wise and their scriptwriter Eddie Braben), I just thought I’d stop for a minute or two to point with amazement at the apparent synchronicity surrounding the great time I have been having of late participating in the blogosphere. Without realising it, I seem to have joined a group of bloggers all of whom celebrate fairly traditional detective stories, with most of us in particular being great fans of John Dickson Carr and Ellery Queen.

There’s a lot of great crime and mystery bloggers out there and I have to tip my hat to several that I have recently had the pleasure of getting better acquainted with Continue reading

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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

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George Baxt on Wikipedia

Following the spirited discussion of George Baxt and his novel A Queer Kind of Death, I have created an entry for the author on Wikipedia after discovering, to my great surprise, that there was none. It’s a bit bare-bones at the moment and I would be grateful for any and all comments, positive and negative, to help update it. Baxt was both a novelist, short story writer and a screenwriter and I hope to cover at least some of his output in the weeks to come, starting with the next two books in the Pharoah Love series. I also plan to look at some of his movies, such as the gritty heist thriller Payroll (1961), and some of his celebrity mysteries, starting with his first, The Dorothy Parker Murder Case (1984). Continue reading

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A QUEER KIND OF DEATH (1966) by George Baxt

The Alphabet of Crime community meme over at the Mysteries in Paradise blog has reached the letter Q, and my second nomination this week is …

A QUEER KIND OF DEATH by George Baxt

“I loved the boy,” she cackled, “but he did need murdering.”

Before making his accomplished debut as a novelist with this seductively unorthodox whodunit, George Baxt had already established himself as a scriptwriter of several modestly effective British thrillers and horror movies. The best of these include three notable collaborations with producer Julian Wintle and director Sidney Hayers: Circus of Horrors (1959), Payroll (1961), from the novel by Derek Bickerton, and Night of the Eagle (aka Burn, Witch, Burn) (1962), a fine adaptation of Fritz Leiber’s 1943 classic take of modern witchcraft ‘Conjure Wife’ and which Baxt was asked to rewrite following attempts by such noted authors as Charles Beaumont and Richard Matheson (all three would ultimately share on-screen credit). Baxt’s background as a screenwriter, and as a supplier of gossip to Walter Winchell back in his days as an agent in New York in the 1950s, are well in evidence in A Queer Kind of Death, which made a considerable splash when it first appeared.

Probably the book’s best review, and the one emblazoned on many a reprints, was the one by Anthony Boucher in the New York Times where, inter alia, he said:

“This is a detective story, and unlike any other that you have read. No brief review can attempt to convey its quality. I merely note that it deals with a Manhattan subculture wholly devoid of ethics or morality, that staid readers may well find it “shocking”, that it is beautifully plotted and written with elegance and wit … and that you must under no circumstances miss it.”

Continue reading

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