Have been busy reviewing new books for Mystery Scene (will single out some titles soon) and readying to discuss the spooktacular side of crime fiction (hey, Halloween’s coming!) as well as film noir, for several chapters of Sisters in Crime.
I’ve written lots (and lots) about the horror-fantasy film genres, for publications including the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and Entertainment Weekly, so I’m looking forward to discussing “Conjuring Up a Mystery: Paranormal Elements in Fiction” at this Sunday’s (October 24) online meeting of Orange County Sisters in Crime. My talk will begin at 3 p.m.
At 4 p.m. we’ll hear from distinguished authors Chris Offatt and Willy Vlautin (look ‘em up; they have serious credentials!). Interested in attending? Check the chapter website at www.sistersincrimeoc.com for a meeting link.
And it you’re interested in film noir, join me at the Saturday, November 13 online meeting of Partners in Crime, the San Diego chapter of Sisters in Crime. I’ll give a virtual presentation on “Out of the Shadows: A Spotlight on Film Noir.” The talk begins at 2 p.m. (I’m an adjunct professor for the Emeritus Institute of Saddleback College, where I teach film and writing. In my film classes I show lotsa noir.) For more about the chapter and the meeting go to https://sistersincrimesd.org/ .
A longtime aficionado of film noir, I’ve written numerous articles about the genre and its stars, and I frequently include noir titles in my Film as Lit classes for the Emeritus program of Saddleback College. So I’m more than looking forward to speaking on “Out of the Shadows: A Spotlight on Film Noir” at the July 25 meeting of Orange County Sisters in Crime. Along with discussing the genre’s history and tropes, I’ll share some of my favorite titles – classics as well as lesser-known entries.
My talk, which will begin at about 3 p.m., is the lead-in to our featured panel of authors whose works appear in the just-out anthology, Palm Springs Noir (Akashic). That panel will be led by the book’s editor, Barbara DeMarco-Barrett – who happens to be our chapter prez. They’ll get going at 4 p.m.
I look forward to setting the shadowy stage … and introducing attendees to some memorable shady dames, hard-boiled p.i.s and their pals/antagonists.
Check the chapter website at www.ocsistersincrime.org for further information.
At this month’s meeting (on April 25) of Orange County Sisters in Crime, I’ll be talking “The History of Mystery – A Brief Look at Detective Fiction Over the Years.”
Even briefly, that covers a lot of territory — so I guess I’ll have to talk fast!
Edgar Allan Poe. Anna Katharine Green (the first female author of a detective novel). Arthur Conan Doyle (daddy of Sherlock Holmes). The Golden Age crowd, including Agatha Christie. The Black Mask-ers (that is, the hard-boiled guys, who started out writing for the pulp mag, Black Mask). Books for young fans. (Nancy Drew, anyone?) Board games devoted to crime-solving crimes. (Colonel Mustard did it in the Library with the Candlestick!)
I’ve previously spoken to the O.C. Sisters about mystery and crime writing topics including “Getting Cozy with Crime,” “Hot Stuff – Crime in the Desert,” “Bright Lights, Dark Places – Crime Fiction Set in SoCal” and “Capitol Crimes.”
For this latest talk, I look forward to revealing the genre’s historic moments.
At the latest meeting (January 24) of Orange County Sisters in Crime, I gave a presentation on “Capitol Crimes” — highlighting fictional works, largely contemporaneous for their day, that reflect the changing landscape of politically-themed issues.
Hollywood’s had considerable fun mining that terrain, with films like “White House Down” and “Olympus Has Fallen” – both of which were dominated by images of the Capitol building/the White House in flames.
But for authors, it’s often the country’s highest office that’s at stake. This theme goes way back – to 1934 and a book called “The President Vanishes,” a title that sums up the plot.
Of course, real life events – the JFK assassination and the resulting (and endless) conspiracy theories surrounding his death, the Watergate scandal – have provided inspiration for myriad thrillers, many of which became best sellers, thanks to the votes of readers.
Hard to believe that I’m heading into a full year of teaching online for Saddleback College Emeritus Institute, where I’m an adjunct prof. Because of COVID, we went online at the end of March 2020 – a shock to the system of students and teachers across the entire country. With an assist from Canvas (the course management system) and the ubiquitous Zoom, both my courses (film analysis, and writing) have worked out better than I’d expected. Though I look forward to the day when I can just pop a DVD into the player of a classroom – instead of having to “book” movies available to students at home via cable and streaming services!