Mystery Scene, Spring 2022
Like governments, political thrillers come in all forms. Some anticipate true history, others bank on it. Many reflect contemporary anxieties.
Mystery Scene, Spring 2022
Hollywood Outtakes, October 30, 2021
Cuz we luv Yesteryear’s Hollywood, and cuz we’re an unapologetic cat lady, we thought we’d give a nod to the holiday by sharing a treat bag of celebs who dared to show their strong “felines” about Halloween. (Ouch!)
Mystery Scene, Winter 2020
In the world of crime fiction, the name James M. Cain is as ubiquitous as the crisp pop-pop-pop of gunfire and the discovery of a dead body in the opening chapter of a crime novel.
Cain’s writings about rough-edged men, women who are craftier than they appear, and themes like adultery, blackmail and murder, made him the go-to guy for thirties-era fans of the un-put-downable quick-read. He also became known for hot-to-the-touch topics: at a time when few others would dare, Cain didn’t hesitate to write about incest and homosexuality.
But it isn’t easy to compile a dossier on James M. Cain. He defies encapsulation.
An essay — March 19, 2020
As the world grapples with the reality of the coronavirus pandemic there’s been considerable attention paid to fictional storylines. The now familiar roll call includes films like “Outbreak” (1995), starring Dustin Hoffman and an escaped monkey, and Steven Soderbergh’s “Contagion” (2011) and books by Dean Koontz, Stephen King and Michael Crichton (who had a day job as a doctor). But let’s not forget the granddaddy of the contemporary genre: the novel “Earth Abides.” Published in 1949 – in the shadow of George Orwell’s masterwork “Nineteen Eighty-Four” – “Earth Abides” asked the unsettling question, “what if…” in the devastating wake of a global killer virus.
Mystery Scene, Spring 2020
Quaint villages shadowed by secrets. A roster of eccentrics. Murders most bizarre. Not to mention all those teapots and taverns. During its 20-plus years on TV, “Midsomer Murders” has quietly staked out its own territory – think of it as Agatha Christie with a dash of “Twin Peaks” – and in doing so, it has quietly become a genre classic. Circumventing casting changes and controversy, the popular British series has attracted viewers the world over – in some 200 countries to date. Not bad for a contemporary crime drama about cops without guns. (Unlike US police officers, the majority of UK police do not carry them.) Inspired by the Inspector Barnaby books by Caroline Graham, the series is set in fictional Midsomer County, where veteran Detective Chief Investigator John Barnaby – who took over when his cousin, Tom Barnaby, retired – probes mysterious deaths that occur in the county’s quirky, picturesque villages.