HEAT (1981) by Ed McBain

McBain_Heat_panIt’s summer in the city and we get a quartet of plotlines for the thirty-fifth volume in the 87th Precinct series (I am in the process of reading / re-reading them all in chronological order; to see my previous 34 reviews, click here). In the first, Steve Carella is investigating a suicide that is not what it seems; the second is a tale of domestic jealousy involving Bert Kling and his wife Augusta; then there is a drugs bust in which everything goes wrong; and finally the nasty tale of a jail-bird who sets out to kill the cop who arrested him.

I submit this review for  Bev’s 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, 87th Precinct, Ed McBain, Friday's Forgotten Book, New York, Police procedural | 33 Comments

The new face of Maigret

It was announced quite a while ago that Rowan Atkinson, best known for playing Mr Bean and Blackadder, was the surprise choice to portray Jules Maigret in a new series of British feature-length TV episodes for ITV. Filming has now commenced on adaptations by Stewart Harcourt of Maigret Sets a Trap (a novel which I previously reviewed here) and Maigret’s Dead Man. And now there is the first press image released to promote the series. It offers nothing too surprising, but then it is just a teaser – what do we think? It certainly doesn’t stray too far from what one might have imagines here, sticking closely to the bare archetypal essentials of what we would associate with such series (pipe, waistcoat, fedora, our lead actor looking very serious).

[Image: © ITV / John Rogers]

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Posted in Georges Simenon, Maigret, Paris | 40 Comments

Top 25 Courtroom Movies

VerdictAs I have blogged before, I love legal drama on the screen. Maybe it’s because I trained to be a lawyer (in the interests of full disclosure, my legal background informs the work I do in education in terms of copyright, contracts and licensing but I have never actually practised law professionally). Mostly though it is because the adversarial system used in courtrooms is potentially such a dynamic way to explore topical issues – and of course, unravelling complex mysteries. So I decided to come up with a list of some of my favourite move dramas featuring lawyers and courtroom. So, all rise …

The following is offered for Todd Mason’s Tuesday’s Overlooked Film meme over at his fab Sweet Freedom.
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Posted in 'Best of' lists, Australia, California, England, France, India, Scott Turow, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 61 Comments

THE SKELETON IN THE GRASS (1987) by Robert Barnard

Barnard_Skeleton_dellIt is 1936, the year of the Spanish Civil War and the British abdication crisis, and Sarah Causeley is the new Governess for the youngest child of the Hallam family, for generations the lords of a small village in Oxfordshire. She quickly falls in love with the whole clan, but not everybody feels the same way. Stoked by Major Coffey, a fascist embittered after his limelight was stolen by Oswald Mosley, a series of nasty pranks are played on the family. And then one night a dead body is found on their front lawn, lying next to a skeleton …

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, England, Friday's Forgotten Book, Robert Barnard | 30 Comments

A MAN LAY DEAD (1934) by Ngaio Marsh

MARSH_LAY-DEADHaving rather hated one of the later cases featuring Roderick Alleyn, the upper-class cop invented by Ngaio Marsh (click here for my splenetic review of False Scent), I thought I would dial back the clock and see how he fared in his first investigation. It was later adapted by the BBC for radio and TV too, which suggests it has a lot of appeal, right? Well … here’s the premise: at a weekend gathering at Frantock, an English country house, a game of ‘Murder’ goes wrong and Alleyn is called in …

I submit this review for Bev’s 2015 Vintage Mystery Challenge; and Tuesday’s Overlooked Film / TV meme hosted by Todd Mason at his Sweet Freedom blog.

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Posted in 2015 Vintage Mystery Challenge, England, Ngaio Marsh, Roderick Alleyn, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | 44 Comments

POSTERN OF FATE (1973) by Agatha Christie

Christie_Postern-of-FateThis was Agatha Christie’s farewell to Tommy and Tuppence, the fun-loving Jazz Age adventurers currently back on TV in the shape of David Walliams and Jessica Raine. This was their fifth and final volume and sees the couple now in their 70s. It was Christie’s last novel and has a pretty poor reputation – but after Karen of Kaggsy’s Bookish Ramblings trumpeted its values, I have been goaded into giving it another go …

I submit this review for Bev’s Vintage Mystery Challenge; Friday’s Forgotten Books meme at Patti Abbott’s fab Pattinase blog; and Kerrie’s Agatha Christie Reading Challenge monthly Blog Carnival.

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Posted in 2015 Vintage Mystery Challenge, Agatha Christie, Friday's Forgotten Book, Tommy & Tuppence | 60 Comments

FIFTY-TWO PICKUP (1974) by Elmore Leonard

52-Pick-Up_posterThis was the novel that put Elmore Leonard on the map as a crime writer – and was filmed twice in very quick succession, which is some kind of compliment! Having appeared as The Ambassador in 1984, it was re-made (much more faithfully) two years later as 52 Pick-up. Roy Scheider and Ann-Margret star as the long-married couple whose lives start to unravel following his infidelity, while John Glover and Clarence Williams III rock as the neophyte blackmailers who might be just what the husband and wife need to keep them together …

I submit this film/book review for Bev’s Vintage Mystery Challenge and Tuesday’s Overlooked Film meme over at Todd Mason’s fab Sweet Freedom blog.

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Posted in 2015 Vintage Mystery Challenge, Elmore Leonard, Film Noir, John Frankenheimer, Noir on Tuesday, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | 38 Comments