Top 15 Caper Movies

StealEverybody loves caper movies just a little bit, right? Whether it’s Newman and Redford pulling off The Sting, Tom Cruise and the Mission: Impossible team breaking into the CIA or Danny Ocean’s crew knocking off casinos in Vegas, this is a world of crime with a minimum of violence and a maximum of ingenuity, in which the rich and unpleasant are relieved of their ill-gotten gains by clever and (fairly) honourable crooks. The recent Kurt Russell movie,  The Art of the Steal (2013), which has great fun leading viewers up the garden path, got me thinking about the genre as a whole, and how evil thieves got reshaped into anti-Establishment heroes as we cheer their ingenious ability to thumb their noses at convention.

I offer this post for Todd Mason’s Tuesday’s Overlooked Movie meme over at his fab Sweet Freedom blog – you should head over there right now.

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Posted in Brian de Palma, Bryan Forbes, Canada, Caper, Tuesday's Overlooked Film, William Goldman | Tagged , , , | 113 Comments

LONG TIME NO SEE (1977) by Ed McBain

McBain_Long-Time-No-See_panWell, it really has been a while – over a year to be precise! After the disappointment of So Long As You Both Shall Live (which I reviewed here), I decided to bench the 87th Precinct books for a while. But today we are back with the next volume in Ed McBain’s infinitely varied saga, titled appropriately enough, Long Time No See. And I’m glad to say that this proves to be a much more substantial effort. We begin with a double murder – first a Vietnam vet, blinded in the conflict, has his throat cut in the street. Then the next day his wife, who is also blind, is murdered at home in the same way.

I submit this review for  Bev’s Vintage Mystery Challenge. 

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Posted in 2015 Vintage Mystery Challenge, 87th Precinct, Ed McBain, Friday's Forgotten Book, New York, Police procedural | 30 Comments

AYLMER VANCE: GHOST-SEER (1914) by Alice and Claude Askew

Askew_Aylmer-Vance_wordsworthThis collection, combining crime and the paranormal, was by the husband-and-wife team of Alice and Claude Askew, both of whom perished when their passenger ship was torpedoed during the Great War in 1917. The protagonist is Aylmer Vance, who undertakes investigations on behalf of the ‘Ghost Circle’ and regularly exposes false mediums and the like. But here we are presented with those cases he couldn’t explain, rationally …

I submit this review for Bev’s Vintage Mystery Challenge; Patti’s Friday’s Forgotten Books meme, today hosted by Todd Mason at his fab Sweet Freedom blog; and Carl V Anderson’s Once Upon A Time IX Challenge

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Posted in 2015 Vintage Mystery Challenge, England, Friday's Forgotten Book, Once Upon A Time IX Challenge | Tagged | 27 Comments

THE GOLDEN AGE OF MURDER – guest post by Martin Edwards

PrintMartin Edwards is a pretty amazing fellow. Not only a solicitor and a fine and prolific mystery author, he is also the consulting editor for the bestselling range of vintage mystery reprints currently being undertaken by the British Library (and he writes the intros for those too). For more INFO about his work, visit his homepage at: In 2007 he was appointed the Archivist of the Crime Writers Association and in 2011 he became the Archivist of the Detection Club. This has inspired his newest endeavour, a history of ‘the early days of the Detection Club in the 1930s.’ But don’t listen to me, read on and see what Martin himself has to say. Over to you, my learned friend …

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Posted in Agatha Christie, Alfred Hitchcock, Carter Dickson, Edgar Wallace, England, Gladys Mitchell, John Dickson Carr, Margery Allingham, Martin Edwards, Michael Innes, Ngaio Marsh, Nicholas Blake, Patricia Wentworth, Philip MacDonald, Selwyn Jepson, TH White | 25 Comments

Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror (1942)

Sherlock_Holmes_and_the_Voice_of_TerrorAccording to the publicity department, in 1942 Universal Pictures closed a $300,000 deal with the estate of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to make a series of Sherlock Holmes second features. The option would last for 7 years and provide access to 21 of the original short stories. Ultimately 12 films would be made, all starring Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce, reprising the roles they had already played screen and on radio but this time they would be set in contemporary times. The first pitted the celebrated Victorian heroes against the Nazis …

The following is offered for Todd Mason’s Tuesday’s Overlooked Film meme at his fab Sweet Freedom blog.

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Posted in Arthur Conan Doyle, England, Film Noir, Sherlock Holmes, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | Tagged , | 56 Comments

AND NONE SHALL SLEEP (1997) by Priscilla Masters

Masters_And-None-Shall-Sleep_telosThe DI Joanna Piercy series by Priscilla Masters has now reached its twelfth volume but today I am reviewing the fourth, after being sent a review copy of a new reprint by those very nice people at Telos. Piercy is knocked off her bike by a passing truck and hospitalised with a broken arm. That night a coronary patient in the same hospital has his life support intubation ripped out and walks out in his pajamas. Soon after he is found in a forest, trussed up and executed by a professional hitman. Not run-of-the-mill for the folk in sleepy Leak in Staffordshire …

I offer the following review for Friday’s Forgotten Books meme run by Patti Abbott at her fab Pattinase blog.

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Posted in Friday's Forgotten Book | Tagged | 48 Comments

Double Confession (1950) – Tuesday’s Overlooked Film

Double-Confession-DVDThis terrific Film Noir, missing for decades but finally released last year on DVD, co-stars Peter Lorre in his first British film since his Hitchcock thrillers of the 30s. It was directed by the eclectic Ken Annakin, who would make several big international hits including Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines and The Longest Day. In the 1950s however he made smaller scale films (including the Grahame Greene adaptations Loser Takes All and Across the Bridge) and Double Confession is a real find among them and shouldn’t be missed. We begin late one night as a stranger comes into town via the mail train, looking for a seaside villa. He is looking for trouble and finds it …

This review is offered for Todd Mason’s Tuesday’s Overlooked Film meme at his fab Sweet Freedom blog.

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Posted in Film Noir, Noir on Tuesday, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | Tagged | 46 Comments