Category Archives: Scene of the crime

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

THE DROWNING POOL (1950) by Ross Macdonald

This is the second of eighteen books featuring Lew Archer, the California PI created by Kenneth Millar, first published under his soon to be shortened pen-name, ‘John Ross Macdonald.’ It was also the first of the series that I read, … Continue reading

Posted in 2013 Book to Movie Challenge, 2013 Vintage Mystery Challenge, California, Friday's Forgotten Book, Ross Macdonald | 46 Comments

Avanti! (1972) – Tuesday’s Overlooked Film

Uptight Baltimore business executive Jack Lemmon and lovelorn British hairdresser Juliet Mills meet cute in Italy, lose their inhibitions (and their clothes) and get mixed up in blackmail, murder and a dash of body snatching in Avanti!, Billy Wilder’s autumnal … Continue reading

Posted in Billy Wilder, Italy, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | Tagged , , | 24 Comments

DEADLY WEAPON (1946) by Wade Miller

Bill Miller and Bob Wade made their debut as novelists with this highly distinctive mystery that opens with a stabbing in the back row of a San Diego burlesque house. The victim was a fan of Shasta Lynn, the strip-tease … Continue reading

Posted in 2013 Vintage Mystery Challenge, Dashiell Hammett, Private Eye, San Diego, Scene of the crime, Wade Miller | 27 Comments

Danger Within (1959) – Tuesday’s Overlooked Film

The late Bryan Forbes co-adapted Michael Gilbert’s wartime mystery Death in Captivity (which I previously reviewed here) into this tight little movie, released in the US as Breakout. Set in an Italian POW camp in the Summer of 1943, it is a … Continue reading

Posted in 2013 Book to Movie Challenge, Bryan Forbes, Italy, Michael Gilbert, Tuesday's Overlooked Film, World War II | Tagged | 23 Comments

DEATH IN CAPTIVITY (1952) by Michael Gilbert

The unusual background for this superb locked room mystery is a POW camp in Italy, loosely based on the author’s own experiences during the Second World War. It was filmed with Richard Todd in 1959 as Danger Within, the book’s US … Continue reading

Posted in 2013 Book to Movie Challenge, 2013 Vintage Mystery Challenge, Italy, Michael Gilbert, World War II | 34 Comments

DICK BARTON: THE CASE OF THE VANISHING HOUSE (1978) by Alan Radnor

In the 1940s my mum and her sister used to rush home every school night to listen to the next exciting adventure of Dick Barton – Special Agent. Broadcast by the BBC from 6.45 to 7PM, the radio serials debuted … Continue reading

Posted in 2013 Book to Movie Challenge, Cold War, Dick Barton, Espionage, Friday's Forgotten Book, Hammer Studios, London, Novelisation, Radio, Scene of the crime | 43 Comments

THE BIG CLOCK (1946) by Kenneth Fearing

Kenneth Fearing (1902-61), modernist novelist and proletariat poet, was driven by a strong social conscience. When subpoenaed in the 1950s and asked if he was a Communist, he replied, rather splendidly, “Not yet.” Of his seven crime novels, The Big Clock … Continue reading

Posted in 2013 Book to Movie Challenge, 2013 Vintage Mystery Challenge, Film Noir, Five Star review, Friday's Forgotten Book, John Farrow, Kenneth Fearing, New York | 26 Comments

BLACKMAILER (1952) by George Axelrod

One of my favorite Hard Case Crime reprints is their cheeky edition of The Valley of Fear, presented with a lurid 1950s style cover as by ‘A.C. Doyle’. This approach, taking a classic and spicing it up for the masses, was … Continue reading

Posted in 2013 Vintage Mystery Challenge, Dashiell Hammett, George Axelrod, Hard Case Crime, New York | 32 Comments

The Hot Rock (1972) – Tuesday’s Overlooked Film

John Archibald Dortmunder is a professional thief but not always a very lucky one. In his debut comic caper he plans and executes an elaborate jewel heist that quickly descends into farce when one of his team gets caught and … Continue reading

Posted in 2013 Book to Movie Challenge, Donald Westlake, Dortmunder, New York, William Goldman | Tagged , , | 37 Comments

The Passion of Brian De Palma

Well, there is a slight change to our usual schedule today as it’s my birthday, which means I am officially in my mid forties … good grief! So I could commemorate this august moment just by joining a gym (of … Continue reading

Posted in Alfred Hitchcock, Brian de Palma, Chicago, England, Film Noir, France, Germany, Hollywood, London, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Paris, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Scene of the crime, Tuesday's Overlooked Film, Washington DC | 35 Comments

The Alfred Hitchcock Hour: Annabel (1962)

During the week David Kelsey lives in a little apartment in Froudsberg but at weekends he drives off to a large secluded house near Ballard to become ‘William Newmaster’, where he dreams of a life with his ex-girlfriend Annabel, now … Continue reading

Posted in 2013 Book to Movie Challenge, New York, Patricia Highsmith, Robert Bloch, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | 37 Comments

THIS SWEET SICKNESS (1960) by Patricia Highsmith

If we’re lucky we’ve all been in love at least once – but can it also be a kind of madness? This is the theme of this novel by Patricia Highsmith, whose unconventional suspense fiction used genre trappings to depict … Continue reading

Posted in 2013 Book to Movie Challenge, Friday's Forgotten Book, New York, Patricia Highsmith | 29 Comments

The Four Just Men (1939) – Tuesday’s Overlooked Film

Edgar Wallace was a popular author who, when it came to adapting his works for the cinema, not only opted to produce them himself but even directed a couple! He remains one of the most filmed of all writers, the vast majority … Continue reading

Posted in 2013 Book to Movie Challenge, Alfred Hitchcock, Edgar Wallace, London, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | 19 Comments

JIGSAW (1970) by Ed McBain

The 87th Precinct series reaches the decade that fashion sense forgot in a quirky and profane story of prejudice and stereotypes where the squad’s only black officer, Arthur Brown, finally takes centre stage. Built around a bizarre treasure hunt, this novel later served … Continue reading

Posted in 2013 Book to Movie Challenge, 87th Precinct, Columbo, Ed McBain, Friday's Forgotten Book, New York, Police procedural | 31 Comments

Dead Head (1986) – Tuesday’s Overlooked TV show

Let’s play a TV buff’s game: can you identify today’s overlooked show? It’s a 1986 multi part ‘authored’ BBC serial; the setting is modern-day London, the narrator wears a fedora and is haunted by the image of woman’s severed head … Continue reading

Posted in Film Noir, London, Private Eye, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | Tagged , , , | 18 Comments

THE FOUR JUST MEN (1905) by Edgar Wallace

Edgar Wallace made a real splash with his debut novel, though perhaps not quite the kind that he had intended. Originally promoted with the offer of a huge prize for anyone who guessed the ending, Wallace eventually had to declare … Continue reading

Posted in 2013 Book to Movie Challenge, 2013 Vintage Mystery Challenge, Alfred Hitchcock, Edgar Wallace, Friday's Forgotten Book, Locked Room Mystery, London | 57 Comments

A Taste of Evil (1971) – Tuesday’s Overlooked Film

This ABC TV Movie of the Week stars Barbara Stanwyck, that classiest of all Golden Age Hollywood leading ladies. After 25 years as a movie star and the eccentric highpoint that was Sam Fuller’s Forty Guns (1957), she gracefully made the … Continue reading

Posted in Hammer Studios, Jimmy Sangster, John Llewellyn Moxey, San Francisco, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | Tagged | 20 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

Intimate Stranger (1956) – Tuesday’s Overlooked Film

Richard Basehart plays a Hollywood movie maker who, after being run out-of-town, heads to a UK studio but continues being persecuted. Also known as Finger of Guilt, it’s hard not to see autobiographical connotations in this modest but entertaining blackmail … Continue reading

Posted in England, Film Noir, Joseph Losey, Noir on Tuesday, Scene of the crime, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | Tagged | 36 Comments

THE BLUE MOVIE MURDERS (1972) by ‘Ellery Queen’

First things first – though originally published under the ‘Ellery Queen’ byline, this novel was actually written by Edward D. Hoch. It proved to be the last of a series of paperback originals that used the pseudonym but in which the … Continue reading

Posted in Edward D. Hoch, Ellery Queen, Washington DC | 44 Comments

The Carey Treatment (1972) – Tuesday’s Overlooked Film

Based on Michael Crichton’s A Case of Need (which I reviewed here), this was one of Blake Edwards’ occasional excursions into the mystery genre (I profiled some of the others here). Edwards and the screenwriters disowned the released version and it does take many … Continue reading

Posted in 2013 Book to Movie Challenge, Blake Edwards, Boston, Michael Crichton, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | Tagged , | 31 Comments

ORACLE NIGHT (2002) by Paul Auster

Though Paul Auster clearly has great affection for the mystery story, this has manifested itself quite obliquely over the years. Squeeze Play (1982), his debut novel (as by ‘Paul Benjamin’) is a conventional if proficient thriller that more than passes … Continue reading

Posted in Dashiell Hammett, New York, Paul Auster | Tagged , | 20 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

SHOTGUN (1969) by Ed McBain

This is a great example of where reading the 87th Precinct mysteries in order of publication (for my previous reviews, click here) really pays dividends. Along with the series’ usual mixture of clever plotting and good humour, Shotgun also resolves … Continue reading

Posted in 87th Precinct, Alfred Hitchcock, Ed McBain, Friday's Forgotten Book, New York, Police procedural | 19 Comments

HEAT (1985) by William Goldman

William Goldman – novelist, journalist and screenwriter – turns 82 today. Not just the author of the bestselling memoir, Adventures in the Screentrade, he won Oscars for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and All the President’s Men and was … Continue reading

Posted in 2013 Book to Movie Challenge, Las Vegas, Private Eye, Ross Macdonald, William Goldman | Tagged , | 35 Comments

THE MADMAN THEORY (1966) by ‘Ellery Queen’

In the 1960s “Ellery Queen” became a house name on nearly thirty paperback originals that did not feature the eponymous sleuth created by Manfred Lee and Frederic Dannay. These were edited by Lee but mostly written by the likes of Richard Deming … Continue reading

Posted in Ellery Queen, Fresno, Jack Vance | 27 Comments

The First Great Train Robbery (1978) – Tuesday’s Overlooked Film

A hugely successful writer, Michael Crichton had a more patchy career as a director. After two high concept hits, Westworld (1973) and Coma (1978), he changed tack with this meticulously researched caper based on a real-life Victorian bullion robbery. It won … Continue reading

Posted in 2013 Book to Movie Challenge, England, London, Michael Crichton, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | 34 Comments

THE LIVING AND THE DEAD (1954) by Boileau-Narcejac

Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narjejac’s mysteries in the 1950s and 60s were admired for their great plot ingenuity but not for their plausibility. This is certainly the case with their third novel, a morbid tale with a giant twist adapted … Continue reading

Posted in 2013 Book to Movie Challenge, 2013 Vintage Mystery Challenge, Alfred Hitchcock, Boileau-Narcejac, France, Friday's Forgotten Book, Paris | 31 Comments

Pursuit (1972) – Tuesday’s Forgotten Film

Ben Gazzara, E.G Marshall and Martin Sheen star in this ticking clock thriller by Michael Crichton in which the countdown is actually shown superimposed on-screen. This was a pretty nifty gimmick for a modest ABC TV Movie of the Week … Continue reading

Posted in 2013 Book to Movie Challenge, John Lange, Michael Crichton, San Diego, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | Tagged | 21 Comments