Thursday, August 17, 2017

The Page 69 Test: "Dead, to Begin With"

The Page 69 Test: "Dead, to Begin With"

Fast Times at Ridgemont High at 35

Fast Times at Ridgemont High: Cameron Crowe on Film’s 35th Anniversary 

Song of the Day

(22) Bonnie Tyler - It's A Heartache (VIDEO) (Best Quality!) - YouTube:

I'm Sure You'll All Agree

The Scariest 25 Minutes on U.S. Television

Today's Vintage Ad


Yes, Dr Pepper Is Included

10 Snack Foods Originally Sold as Medicines 

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Simms Albert, Pound of Flesh, Intimate Novel, 1953

I Miss the Old Days

1970s stock photos were even more awkward than today

I suspect the same goes for books

Millennials don’t really care about classic movies: A new study finds that less than a quarter of millennials have watched a film from start to finish that was made back in the 1940s or 50s and only a third have seen one from the 1960s.

How WWII Saved 'The Great Gatsby' From Obscurity

How WWII Saved 'The Great Gatsby' From Obscurity

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Top 10 Hidden Grave Sites Found With Satellite Images

Top 10 Hidden Grave Sites Found With Satellite Images

Song of the Day

First It Was the Thin Mints Melee

Man's widow, girlfriend have brawl at funeral home during viewing

Elvis Presley: 1977 Obituary

Elvis Presley: 1977 Obituary on Anniversary of Death

Today's Vintage Ad


I Miss the Old Days

25 Beautiful Photos of Women Who Defined Rock Music in the 1960s and 1970s

On Endings -- Janet Hutchings, Editor of EQMM

ON ENDINGS | SOMETHING IS GOING TO HAPPEN: Recently I was asked to serve on a short-story panel at the Bouchercon World Mystery Convention in Toronto (October 12-15) that will attempt to provide advice to new writers on various aspects of craft. The panel’s moderator, frequent EQMM and AHMM contributor James Lincoln Warren, asked each panelist to provide a list of topics for discussion. That got me thinking about endings.

PaperBack



Bruce Manning, Off Limits, Intimate Novel, 1951

A Sports Car is Born

A Sports Car is Born: One measure of the desirability of a sports car is whether or not it has teenagers drooling over it before they’re even old enough to drive. Here’s the story of one of the most drool-worthy cars in auto history. (See how long it takes you to guess which car we’re talking about.)  

When I was a kid, our next-door neighbor was a car salesman.  I got to ride in the first one of these cars ever to appear in Mexia, Texas.

Collecting Vintage Postcards

Collecting Vintage Postcards: Postcards (sometimes spelled out in two words as "post cards") became popular at the turn of the 20th century, especially for sending short messages to friends and relatives. They were collected right from the start, and are still sought after today by collectors of pop culture, photography, advertising, wartime memorabilia, local history, and many other categories.

Bonus FFB for Wednesday: Silence -- Thomas Perry

This is a little bit of a cheat, since I don't usually write about books I don't finish, but I thought I'd make an exception just this once.  It's rare for me not to finish a book once I've started, and I never thought I wouldn't finish one by Thomas Perry, who's entertained me many times.  Silence didn't work for me, though.

I should have known it was trouble when I saw that it was well over 400 pages long with fairly small print.  I'm not a fan of long books, but Perry's such an expert at pacing, I didn't think the length would be a problem.  I was wrong.

Here's why. Perry seems to have intended this to be a character-driven thriller, which is fine, although I think thrillers are generally plot driven.  I got bogged down in all the backstories for the characters in Silence.  There's so much backstory in the first 120 pages (which is as far as I got) that there's enough material for a couple of other books.  Maybe all this stuff will pay off later in the book, but not for me.  The thing that drove me to put the book down was the lengthy backstory (eight or nine pages) of one character, who's then killed only a few pages later.  I figured enough was enough.  I'll be reading other Thomas Perry books, no question about that, but this one was a disappointment.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Writers Read: Bill Crider

Writers Read: Bill Crider: Crider's newest novel is Dead, to Begin With, the 24th Dan Rhodes Mystery. Recently I asked the author about what he was reading.

B.K. Stevens: R.I.P.

Mystery Fanfare: B.K. Stevens: R.I.P.: Such sad and unexpected news. Bonnie Stevens: R.I.P. She will be missed by so many in the mystery community. Sending sympathy to her family and friends.

The Best Trick U.S. Marshal Bass Reeves Ever Pulled on a Criminal

The Best Trick U.S. Marshal Bass Reeves Ever Pulled on a Criminal

Song of the Day

This is the first recorded version.  The Kingston Trio didn't have a hit with it, however.
(24) Let's Get Together - YouTube:

He Gets Around

Rescuers discover body in Modesto creek is Dracula  

Hat tip to Art Scott.

I'm Sure You'll All Agree

Stephen King's 10 Most Terrifying Human Villains

Today's Vintage Ad


41 Brand Names People Use as Generic Terms

41 Brand Names People Use as Generic Terms

PaperBack



Kathie Reed, Shack Woman, Intimate Novel, 1953

10 Crime-Fighting Tricks the Bad Guys Didn’t See Coming

10 Crime-Fighting Tricks the Bad Guys Didn’t See Coming

Second Glance: ‘Cop Land’

Second Glance: The Scorsese-esque Melancholy of ‘Cop Land’: James Mangold's 1997 police corruption drama boasts a jaw-dropping cast, headed up by a startlingly natural Sylvester Stallone.

Overlooked Movies: Bulldog Drummond (1929)

Bulldog Drummond was made at the very beginning of the sound era and was Ronald Colman's first talkie.  He was one of the lucky silent stars who had the right kind of voice for talkies, or for just about anything. In this movie he shows a talent for acting and a natural charm that made him a star in both silent and talking films.

This isn't true of everyone in the movie.  Some of the acting seems stuck in another era (I found Lawrence Grant as Dr. Lakington especially annoying) as do some of the film-making techniques.  Still, I enjoyed watching this.

Drummond is a demoblized officer who finds himself bored with life outside the military. He says he's too rich to work and wants excitement, so he places a newspaper ad offering his services in exchange for excitement.  He gets a lot of responses, but the one he chooses comes from Phyllis Benton (Joan Bennett), who wants him to rescue her uncle from a hospital where he's supposedly being treated for a nervous breakdown.  She believes something fishy is going on, and of course it is.  The villains, dressed throughout in evening clothes, want the uncle's signature on a paper turning his worldly goods over to them.  Drummond sets about the rescue, both helped and hindered by his friend Algy, the alleged comic relief, and by his valet.

There are escapes and pursuits and disguises, and it's all good fun up until the end when there's a gratuitous (to me) killing, in which the tone is all off.  And then there's "the circus gag," which is pretty hard to swallow.  

Many more Drummond adventures on film followed this one, but I believe that Colman was in only one more.  This movie's nearly 90 years old now, and it holds up surprisingly well for the most part, especially Colman's acting, although I doubt I could convince any whippersnappers of this.  I'm glad I watched it and recommend it for historical reasons if nothing else.