CALLAN UNCOVERED 2 by James Mitchell

Callan2Following on from the success of the first collection of James Mitchell’s long-thought lost short stories about his classic Cold War secret agent David Callan, here’s comes a very welcome and unexpected surprise – a sequel! The diffident protagonist was created for television, thriving in the shape of the late Edward Woodward, but eventually also moved into the cinema and in print. Editor Mike Ripley thought he had collected all of the stories, but has subsequently found another 15 missing ‘files,’ which he has brought together with a pair of scripts by Mitchell for TV episodes that are currently missing believed wiped.

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

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Posted in Cold War, David Callan, Espionage, James Mitchell, Mike Ripley, Ostara Publishing | Tagged | 16 Comments

CALYPSO (1979) by Ed McBain

McBain_Calypso_panCarella and Meyer of the 87th get involved in the music world in this, the 33rd entry in this amazingly long-lived series of police procedurals. “King George’ was a Trinidadian singer-songwriter of calypso songs dealing with hot topic issues, from graft in the mayor’s office to the exploitation of black women. On his way home from a concert, he and his manager are shot. His manager barely got away with his life when the killer’s gun ran out of bullets, but the King was not so lucky.

I submit this review for  Bev’s Vintage Mystery Challenge; and Patti Abbott’s Friday’s Forgotten Books meme over at her fab Pattinase blog.

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Posted in 2015 Vintage Mystery Challenge, 87th Precinct, Ed McBain, Friday's Forgotten Book, New York, Police procedural | 32 Comments

Into the Night (1985) – Tuesday’s Overlooked Film

Into-the-Night-poster2This genuinely quirky thriller stars Jeff Goldblum as an insomniac and cuckolded husband who goes on the run with unlikely femme fatale Michelle Pfeiffer. Pratfalls and violent death co-exist in this blackly comic adult Neo Noir that works like a dream. Though some were distracted by a plethora of star cameos, ranging from director John Landis himself (as a bungling Iranian assassin) to the likes of David Bowie (as a happy British hitman) and a surprised Jim Henson, helping to hold it all together is a killer soundtrack by the late, great BB King. We begin at LAX …

The following review is offered for Todd Mason’s Tuesday’s Overlooked Film meme over at his fab Sweet Freedom.
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Posted in Film Noir, Hollywood, John Landis, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | 64 Comments

CAROL (1952) by Patricia Highsmith

Highsmith_Carol_penguinThis was Highsmith’s second novel and superficially is quite different from her usual tales of tortured suspense. It first appeared as by ‘Claire Morgan’ under the title The Price of Salt, the switch in identity due to the fact that it depicted a fairly unorthodox romance. Its love story between two women was perhaps a bit racy for its day though, given the author’s generally morbid proclivities, what really surprises is how generally upbeat it is. We begin at Christmas in a Manhattan department store a bit like Bloomingdale’s …

I offer the following reviews as part of Bev’s 2015 Vintage Mystery Challenge; and Friday’s Forgotten Books meme run by Patti Abbott at her fab Pattinase blog.

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Posted in 2015 Vintage Mystery Challenge, Friday's Forgotten Book, New York, Patricia Highsmith | 76 Comments

THE LITTLE SISTER (1949) by Raymond Chandler

This is one of my favourite Raymond Chandler novels but I’m probably in a minority on this. In fact, even the author professed to dislike it! I loved this book when I first read it as a kid but wondered how it might seem some three decades hence. Is my affection only due to my exposure to it as an impressionable teen? After all, it seems that the critical consensus is not with me … So, a contender as the greatest novel in the Philip Marlowe pantheon? Or should we set childish things aside? Time to tell …

I submit this review for Bev’s Vintage Mystery Challenge; Rich Westwood’s celebration of 1949 at Past Offences; and Tuesday’s Overlooked Film meme over at Sweet Freedom.

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Posted in 2015 Vintage Mystery Challenge, Five Star review, Friday's Forgotten Book, Hollywood, Los Angeles, Philip Marlowe, Private Eye, Raymond Chandler, Scene of the crime | 63 Comments

DEAD MAN’S BAY (1953) by Catherine Arley

Arley_Dead-Mans-Bay_fontanaThis tale of psychological suspense marked the literary debut of Catherine Arley (the pen name of Pierrette Pernot), who celebrated her 90th birthday last December. Originally published in France as Tu Vas Mourir (and later reissued as Mourir sans toi), it appeared in the UK in 1959 as Dead Man’s Bay in a translation by Jehanne-Marie Marchesi. It remains one of only a small number of her books to have been made available in English. It begins with our protagonist in the grip of fear in an isolated clifftop cottage in Brittany …

I submit this review for Bev’s Golden Age Vintage Mystery Challenge; and Patti Abbott’s Friday’s Forgotten Books meme over at her fab Pattinase blog.

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Posted in 2015 Vintage Mystery Challenge, France, Friday's Forgotten Book | 48 Comments

PAYROLL (1959) by Derek Bickerton

Bickertn_Payroll_panThis fuel-injected thriller was an early effort by Derek Bickerton, who subsequently established himself as an eminent linguist. Set in Birmingham, it tells the story of a heist that goes wrong – but then, in fiction, don’t they always? A couple of years later it was turned into a tight little movie by the writer-director team of George Baxt and Sidney Hayers, relocating the action to Newcastle with a terrific cast headed by Michael Craig, Françoise Prévost, Tom Bell and the late Billie Whitelaw.

I submit this review for Bev’s Vintage Mystery Challenge; and Todd Mason’s Tuesday’s Overlooked Film meme at Sweet Freedom.

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Posted in 2015 Vintage Mystery Challenge, Birmingham, George Baxt, Newcastle | Tagged | 30 Comments