Category Archives: Scene of the crime

EXPO 58 by Jonathan Coe

Jonathan Coe is one of my favourite authors, a witty and wise chronicler of British mores, foibles and eccentricities who, in terms of book sales, is apparently appreciated even more on the Continent than he is at home – but … Continue reading

Posted in Alfred Hitchcock, Brussels, Cold War, Espionage, Jonathan Coe | 18 Comments

SO LONG AS YOU BOTH SHALL LIVE (1976) by Ed McBain

The 87th Precinct series, after the intimate highlight of Blood Relatives, reaches back to its past for a much more expansive story centered around the wedding of Bert Kling, whose bad luck when it comes to love sadly continues. This novel … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Book to Movie Challenge, 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, 87th Precinct, Columbo, Ed McBain, Friday's Forgotten Book, New York, Police procedural | 38 Comments

NO ORCHIDS FOR MISS BLANDISH (1939) by James Hadley Chase

What can you say about this infamous crime story – that as a book and again as a film it was once the most notorious title in the UK? That it was critically lambasted by George Orwell? That it sold … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Book to Movie Challenge, 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, Film Noir, James Hadley Chase, Kansas City, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | 38 Comments

THE VENGEFUL VIRGIN (1958) by Gil Brewer

This is a ripe piece of pulp noir, from its alliterative, catchpenny title to the de rigeur cover art featuring piles of cash, a disrobed woman and a gun. One of the many  paperback originals written by Gil Brewer in … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, Florida, Friday's Forgotten Book, Gil Brewer, Hard Case Crime, James M. Cain, Noir | 29 Comments

Mr Arkadin (1955) – Tuesday’s Overlooked Film

In considering this quirky and delirious movie and book by Orson Welles, I am reminded of Winston’s Churchill’s quote about pre-war Russia: “It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key.” Arkadin tells … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Book to Movie Challenge, 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, Amnesia, France, Italy, Mexico, New York, Novelisation, Orson Welles, Spain, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | 26 Comments

BLOOD RELATIVES (1975) by Ed McBain

We really like Ed McBain’s 87th Precinct books here at Fedora and for the last couple of years have been re-reading them in chronological order (links to all the reviews can be found here). All are lively and engrossing, with … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Book to Movie Challenge, 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, 87th Precinct, Claude Chabrol, Ed McBain, Friday's Forgotten Book, New York, Police procedural | 36 Comments

BREAD (1974) by Ed McBain

After much too long a break, Cotton Hawes is brought back centre-stage for this story involving drugs, porn, insurance scams, pyromania and a few murders. It also gives a pungent, heartfelt depiction of the degradation of the slums of the city … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, 87th Precinct, Ed McBain, Friday's Forgotten Book, New York, Police procedural | 26 Comments

HAIL TO THE CHIEF (1973) by Ed McBain

This story of rival gangs plays some interesting narrative tricks and demonstrates an unusually strong satirical and political edge but is usually seen as one of the weaker entries in  the 87th Precinct series. How does is stand up today? “Why? What do … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, 87th Precinct, Ed McBain, Friday's Forgotten Book, New York, Police procedural | 33 Comments

Women of Twilight (1953) – Tuesday’s Overlooked Film

Nothing to do with Stephenie Meyer, this stark social drama (aka Twilight Women) was based on Sylvia Rayman’s groundbreaking all-female play. The up-and-coming Lois Maxwell and Laurence Harvey co-star, though the film is dominated by René Ray as unlikely heroine Viviane and Freda Jackson … Continue reading

Posted in Film Noir, Hammer Studios, London, Noir on Tuesday, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | 24 Comments

THE CASE OF THE LUCKY LEGS (1934) by Erle Stanley Gardner

The third in the Perry Mason series is set in the world of crooked beauty pageants and hails from back when the character was a pretty hardboiled lawyer who spent most of time racing around outside the courtroom. “I always take risks. … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Book to Movie Challenge, 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, Erle Stanley Gardner, Friday's Forgotten Book, Los Angeles, Perry Mason, San Francisco | 43 Comments

Police Python 357 (1976) – Tuesday’s Overlooked Film

Also known as The Case Against Ferro, this French policier was adapted (uncredited) from Kenneth Fearing’s classic suspense novel, The Big Clock. It stars Yves Montand as a cop who carries the eponymous Colt Magnum once favoured by law enforcement … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Book to Movie Challenge, France, Kenneth Fearing, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | Tagged , , | 38 Comments

LET’S HEAR IT FOR THE DEAF MAN (1973) by Ed McBain

Yes, it’s the return of the fiendish nemesis of the 87th Precinct in his third appearance in 12 years (he appears approximately once a decade). Despite the fact that both of his previous capers were undone by sheer bad luck, he … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, 87th Precinct, Ed McBain, Friday's Forgotten Book, New York, Police procedural | 41 Comments

Chase a Crooked Shadow (1958) – Tuesday’s Overlooked Film

This clever mystery with a strong cast and memorable payoff stars Anne Baxter as an heiress driven to near madness when a man turns up claiming to be her dead brother and everybody but her believes him. Richard Todd is … Continue reading

Posted in Amnesia, Spain, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | Tagged , , | 36 Comments

I Thank A Fool (1962) – Tuesday’s Overlooked Film

Susan Hayward and Peter Finch star in this awkwardly titled romantic mystery, which took the eponymous 1958 book by Audrey Erskine Lindop - a neo-Gothic remnant of the ‘Had I But Known’ school - and refashioned it into a legal whodunit about … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Book to Movie Challenge, 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, Audrey Erskine Lindop, Ireland, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | Tagged | 18 Comments

The Sicilian Clan (1969) – Tuesday’s Overlooked Film

As a youngster this thriller really got my attention. Sure, the fleeting nudity probably had something to do with it and the hypnotic Ennio Morricone score is truly unforgettable but this was a film where crooks, thieves, murderers and cops all … Continue reading

Posted in Ennio Morricone, France, Jean Gabin, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | Tagged , , , , | 24 Comments

THE CAVES OF STEEL (1954) by Isaac Asimov

Thousands of years in the future the cities of Earth are housed in domes, the eponymous caves, and humans are too agoraphobic to leave. Settlers from their off-world colonies come back after centuries but insist on living separately and promoting … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Book to Movie Challenge, 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, Friday's Forgotten Book, Isaac Asimov, New York, Science Fiction, The 2014 Sci-Fi Experience | Tagged | 47 Comments

The Tenth Victim (1965) – Tuesday’s Overlooked Film

Robert Sheckley’s ‘The Seventh Victim’, a prescient short story of murder as public spectacle, was first published in 1953, well before The Hunger Games. Elio Petri adapted it as the Ursula Andress movie, The 10th Victim, also the title of Sheckley’s 1966 novelisation. It … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Book to Movie Challenge, 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, Friday's Forgotten Book, New York, Rome, The 2014 Sci-Fi Experience, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | Tagged , | 38 Comments

SADIE WHEN SHE DIED (1972) by Ed McBain

This is one of the most admired books in the 87th Precinct series by Ed McBain (aka Evan Hunter) and was included in the Crime Writer’s Association top 100 mysteries list that Rich  has been looking at over at his … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, 87th Precinct, Ed McBain, Five Star review, Friday's Forgotten Book, Georges Simenon, New York, Police procedural | 32 Comments

THE ORDEALS OF SHERLOCK HOLMES by Jonathan Barnes

This collection of four new audio adventures follows the threads of a single case across 40 years in the career of Conan Doyle’s consulting detective. Following on from the conspicuous success of The Adventure of the Perfidious Mariner, Jonathan Barnes is again … Continue reading

Posted in Audio Review, Big Finish, Jonathan Barnes, London, Scene of the crime, Sherlock Holmes, Sussex | 26 Comments

A FATAL ATTACHMENT (1992) by Robert Barnard

The late Robert Barnard (1936-2013) wrote four dozen mysteries that deftly combined ironic swipes at the class system with often very clever plots. He was also the author of a fine critical study of Agatha Christie, A Talent to Deceive. As a small … Continue reading

Posted in Charlie Peace, Robert Barnard, Yorkshire | 34 Comments

HAIL, HAIL, THE GANG’S ALL HERE! (1971) by Ed McBain

To celebrate the 25th entry in the 87th Precinct series, Ed McBain (aka Evan Hunter) tried something new with this triple-decker of a novel incorporating 14 separate storylines! “This modest volume is dedicated to the Mystery Writers of America, who, … Continue reading

Posted in 87th Precinct, Ed McBain, Friday's Forgotten Book, New York, Police procedural | 28 Comments

THINK TWICE (1939) by Ayn Rand

Ayn Rand, author of The Fountainhead, was a fan of mysteries, praising the likes of Mickey Spillane and Fredric Brown, and even dabbled in the genre. Night of January 16th was a popular courtroom drama where the audience decided the outcome; Think … Continue reading

Posted in Ayn Rand, New York | 27 Comments

The Lady from Shanghai (1948) – Tuesday’s Overlooked Film

The story goes that Orson Welles, needing $50,000, rang the head of Columbia Studios and offered to make a film for them from a paperback he had just plucked at random from a book stand near the phone booth. Is … Continue reading

Posted in 2013 Book to Movie Challenge, 2013 Vintage Mystery Challenge, Film Noir, New York, Orson Welles, San Francisco, Sherwood King | Tagged | 48 Comments

IF I DIE BEFORE I WAKE (1938) by Sherwood King

Later adapted by Orson Welles into The Lady from Shanghai starring Rita Hayworth, this was one of a pair of pre-war mysteries by Raymond Sherwood King. Set among the wealthy elite of Long Island, it is narrated by Laurence Planter, … Continue reading

Posted in 2013 Book to Movie Challenge, 2013 Vintage Mystery Challenge, Courtroom, Friday's Forgotten Book, New York, Orson Welles, Sherwood King | 22 Comments

The Drowning Pool (1975) – Tuesday’s Overlooked Film

Lew Archer, Ross Macdonald’s immortal private detective, had a name change when played by Paul Newman in Harper (1966). The movie was a hit so further attempts were made to transpose the character to the screen. The 1974 TV-Movie of The … Continue reading

Posted in 2013 Book to Movie Challenge, New Orleans, Ross Macdonald | 43 Comments

Blind Date (1959) – Tuesday’s Overlooked Film

This above average whodunit was directed with style and conviction by Joseph Losey, an American émigré in London who brought much of own feelings of cultural and social displacement to bear. Hardy Kruger is the foreigner in London who gets framed for murder … Continue reading

Posted in England, Film Noir, Georges Simenon, Joseph Losey, Leigh Howard, London, Scene of the crime, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | Tagged | 24 Comments

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN by Lionel Shriver

Columbine, Santana, Pocatello, Virginia Tech … 10 years after its publication and this novel remains as controversial and potent as ever, its distressing subject matter still relevant after the recent events in Sparks, Nevada and Sandy Hook Elementary School last … Continue reading

Posted in 2013 Book to Movie Challenge, Lionel Shriver, New York | Tagged , , | 26 Comments

THE WINTER MURDER CASE (1939) by SS Van Dine

This was the snowy swan song for amateur sleuth Philo Vance. It is also, stylistically, Van Dine’s most atypical book, told in a brisk, direct and light manner almost completely free of those adornments (footnotes and expansive digressions etc.) that … Continue reading

Posted in 2013 Book to Movie Challenge, 2013 Vintage Mystery Challenge, Friday's Forgotten Book, New York, Philo Vance, SS Van Dine | 43 Comments

The Edgar Wallace Anthology

This is a bit of an indulgence I realise but I just got myself this massive box set and wanted to tell everybody about it … The following overview is offered as part of the Tuesday’s Overlooked Film meme hosted … Continue reading

Posted in 'In praise of ...', Edgar Wallace, London, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | 20 Comments

Joseph Losey’s crime movies

In the 1940s and early 1950s Joseph Losey established himself as a new director of rare intelligence and technical dexterity in Hollywood. His promise however was curtailed by the McCarthy witch hunts that destroyed the lives of hundreds of men … Continue reading

Posted in Cold War, Film Noir, James Hadley Chase, Joseph Losey, London, New York, Noir on Tuesday, Paris, Stanley Ellin, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | 23 Comments