Edward John "Ted" Wood, was born in Sussex, England in 1931 and served in the RAF during the Second World War. In 1954 he emigrated to Canada and was a Toronto police officer for three years before switching to advertising and copyrighting. The dual law enforcement/writing experience prompted him to pen several published crime fiction (and non-genre) short stories and a teleplay.
His first novel was Dead in the Water in 1984, a police procedural that won the Scribner's Crime Novel Award and was a finalist for the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Crime Novel. It was the first of what became a series featuring policeman Reid Bennett, an ex-marine and Vietnam vet, who relocated to the small fictional Canadian resort town of Murphy's Harbour after he took a bad rap for murdering two guys to prevent a rape. He's aided by his trusty German Shepherd, Sam, who serves as companion and protector.
In Fool's Gold, the fourth novel in the series (also nominated for an Arthur Ellis Award), gold found in the mountains of Canada prompts a sudden influx of prospectors, chopper pilots, construction workers and drifters, all hoping to get rich quick. It also brings the dead body of geologist Jim Prudhomme, who's found mauled beyond recognition presumably by a bear, even though bear attacks in that area are rare. But the mystery increases when a witness claims to have seen Prudhomme days after the murder, and then Prudhomme turns up dead for real. As Bennett digs deeper, he doesn't discover gold but rather a plot to defraud the gold mine. With the help of the local police chief out for one last big case and a beautiful motel keeper with secrets of her own, Bennett races to get to the bottom of the scheme, dodging blackmailers, vengeful miners and a mounting body count.
A tendency to skirt the rules makes Bennett take chances that aren't always credible, but Woods' plots are known for their many twists and turns, and also witty dialogue and elements of suspense. Fans of the series are particularly fond of Sam, who Publisher's Weekly described as "…a multitalented utility infielder who can 'keep,' 'track,' 'seek,' 'fight,' 'guard,' sniff out cocaine and corpses, save lives and generally pinch-hit for a dozen patrolmen."
Woods went on to write 10 Bennett novels in all (from 1984 to 1995) and three novels featuring private eye John Locke from 1986 to 1991 (written under the pen name Jack Barnao). Woods also also served as president of the Crime Writers of Canada from 1987 to 1988.
Check out the other FFB links, hosted today by Evan Lewis.
A Memorial Gathering for the late Canadian mystery author Lou Allin is scheduled for Sunday, September 14, 2-4:30 p.m. in Victoria, BC. Mystery Fanfare has all the details.
All Due Respect magazine, edited by Chris Rhatigan and Mike Monson, has brought readers "uncensored, kick-ass" short crime fiction since 2010, and now they've started publishing collections, novellas, and novels under the All Due Respect Books imprint. They're starting off with You Don’t Exist, a book of two novellas by Chris Rhatigan and Pablo D’Stair, and plan on releasing one title per month. For updates and more info, you can head on over to the ADR blog.
The Clark Library at the University of Michigan is featuring interactive literary maps of the United States in an online exhibition, including several mystery authors. (Hat tip to Elizabeth Foxwell.)
Meanwhile, the New York Public Library blog profiled several "Mysteries with a Sense of Place."
The Yorkshire town of Temple Newsam, Leeds, in the UK is aiming for a new Guinness World Records title for the Most People Dressed as Sherlock Holmes. On August 31, entrants who pay the £15 fee will receive a Deerstalker hat, pipe and magnifying glass. Organizers hope for at least 250 people, the number needed to set the record, and are using proceeds from the event to help raise money for the Yorkshire Brain Research Centre at the Leeds Teaching Hospitals.
Mystery Readers Journal editor Janet Rudolph is looking for 500 to 1,500 word personal essays from authors about their books featuring bibliomysteries for the next issue of the magazine. The deadline for submissions is September 5.
The winners of the annual Bulwer Lytton contest for "worst writing" were announced. Elizabeth Dorfman of Bainbridge Island, WA, is the 32nd grand prize winner, and you can read her woefully wonderful entry here.
The weekly crime poem at the 5-2 is "The Morning of" by Tom Brzezina. To maintain the flow of submissions year-round, 5-2 editor Gerald So is instituting a voluntary theme each week, challenging poets to write about crimes beginning with a particular letter of the alphabet.
The Q&A roundup this week includes a conversation with James Lee Burke at Omnimystery News; Matthew McBride chatted with the Mystery People about A Swollen Red Sun; and Marton Limon joined the MP folks to talk about his latest, The Iron Sickle.
The National Book Festival, sponsored by the Library of Congress, changes venues this year as it moves from the grounds of the Mall over to the Washington Convention Center. The move indoors may be disappointing to some, but it allows for new evening activities such as a "Great Books to Great Movies" pavilion that will explore classic literary adaptations through discussions and screenings, a "super-session" for graphic-novel enthusiasts, and a poetry slam.
Over 100 award-winning authors, illustrators and poets will beon hand to discuss and sign their books on August 30th, including the following from the fiction and mystery realm:
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Warner Bros acquired the rights to Don Pendleton's novel series featuring anti-terrorist operative Mack Bolan to develop as a star vehicle for Bradley Cooper (with Todd Phillips to potentially direct).
Sony is looking to option film rights to Richard Price’s upcoming crime novel The Whites (being published under the pen name of Harry Brandt). The story centers on a detective "whose tainted past comes back to haunt him when he takes on a harrowing case during one of his graveyard shifts." Price is known for such previous book-to-film projects as The Wanderers, Clockers, and Lush Life.
A24 Films and DirecTV have acquired the thriller Cut Bank, which stars Liam Hemsworth as a dissatisfied small-town Montana mechanic who finds his ticket to the big time when he comes into possession of evidence of a murder.
Ving Rhames has joined the cast of the indie thriller Operator, which also stars Mischa Barton, Michael Pare, and Luke Goss in the story of a 911 operator and her estranged cop husband whose daughter is abducted, forcing them to dispatch the city’s police and fire units to remote locations at the kidnappers’ bidding.
Although the November Man starring Pierce Brosnan has just barely hit theaters, producers are already planning a sequel. The projects are based on a series of spy novels by Bill Granger.
Nicholas Rowe, who played the title character in Steven Spielberg's Young Sherlock Holmes, has a cameo in the upcoming old Sherlock Holmes film A Slight Trick Of The Mind starring Ian McKellan as the senior version of the detective.
Sony Pictures hired Iron Man 3's Shane Black to direct The Destroyer, an adaptation of the book series by Warren Murphy about New Jersey cop Remo Williams who is framed, sentenced to death, survives a botched execution, and then given a second chance in the clandestine U.S. government agency CURE.
The Olympus Has Fallen sequel now has a director. Fredrik Bond is on board to helm the latest adventures of Agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler), who will be rejoined by President Asher (Aaron Eckhart) and Speaker Trumbull (Morgan Freeman) as they attend the funeral of a UK Prime Minister.
Kyle Patrick Alvarez has been tapped to direct Stanford Prison Experiment, with Billy Crudup, Ezra Miller and Michael Angarano set to star. The story is based on a real-life 1971 experiment at Stanford University that divided students into role playing prison guards or prisoners. The experiment was meant to last two weeks, but it was cut short due to the level of cruelty and sadism that erupted among the participants.
The British Film Institute is going to screen one of the earliest psychological crime films, Fritz Lang’s M, around the UK and Ireland starting early September.
A trailer was released for The Calling, the indie thriller from Jason Stone that stars Susan Sarandon as Detective Inspector Hazel Micallef who lives in a small town with her elderly mother (fellow Academy Award winner Ellen Burstyn) and has to track down a serial killer driven by "a higher calling."
A new trailer was released for The Drop, the upcoming crime drama that features the late actor James Gandolfini's final performance on the big screen.
The first official still was published from the upcoming adaptation of the novel Inherent Vice by Thomas Pynchon, starring Josh Brolin as a hippie-hating LAPD detective and Joaquin Phoenix as a pot-loving private eye.
A new trailer was released for Jake Gyllenhaal's Nightcrawler, in which the actor plays an aspiring L.A. crime reporter who takes matters into his own hands when he can't get hired by a news outlet.
Barry Eisler's novel series about John Rain, a half-Japanese, half-American special forces Vietnam vet who becomes a “contract assassin who specializes in taking out his targets by making it look like death by natural causes," is heading to TV. The show Rain will star Keanu Reeves and be produced by directors Chad Stahelski and David Leitch, although no broadcast home has been announced.
Ashley Jensen, (Extras and Ugly Betty), is set to play Agatha Raisin in an upcoming adaptation of The Quiche of Death, based on the novel by M.C. Beaton, commissioned for Sky Television.
As Deadline noted, either life is imitating art or vice versa with the news that ABC has put in development a drama series based on the Derrick Storm series of mystery novels written by Richard Castle, the fictional author played by Nathan Fillion on the ABC drama Castle.
The BBC ordered a second season of its crime drama Happy Valley, starring Sarah Lancashire as police sergeant Catherine Cawood.
Showtime also ordered a third season of Ray Donovan, featuring Liev Schreiber as a "fixer" for the powerful law firm Goldman & Drexler, representing the rich and famous.
Sundance renewed Rectify for a third season, the series that stars Aden Young as a man released from prison after serving nearly 20 years on death row who tries to integrate back into his family and community.
Carol Burnett will be returning to the Hawaii Five-0 for Season 5 playing the aunt of McGarrett (Alex O'Loughlin), and this time she'll bring a fiancé with her, to be played by Four Seasons singer Frankie Valli.
Paul Reubens, a/k/a Pee-wee Herman, is headed to The Blacklist for a multi-episode arc playing a man who takes care of "delicate situations in the criminal underworld."
Teri Polo (The Fosters) will guest star on Law & Order: SVU opposite Mike Hammer's Stacy Keach.
NCIS has cast Stephanie Jacobsen as a potential new love interest for Tony DiNozzo. She'll play a former U.S. Marshal turned FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force leader who's "feminine, sexy and single, cool and confident."
Sonya Walger (Lost) has been added to ABC's drama Scandal in a "mystery role" that will likely be a recurring character.
Shad Moss, aka Bow Wow, has signed on as a series regular in the spin-off show CSI: Cyber. He'll play a 19-year-old famous hacker who is under a court order to assist Special Agent Avery Ryan.
Spike TV is reviving the reality series Jail (from the same team behind Cops), but will focus on the lockups in Las Vegas.
CBS has scheduled a sneak preview of its new drama shows for the fall, to be broadcast on September 1st. The preview will include Madam Secretary, NCIS: New Orleans, Scorpion, and the psychological thriller Stalker.
NPR profiled San Francisco forensic pathologist Judy Melinek, whose new book Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, And The Making Of A Medical Examiner, tells the story of her training as a medical examiner.
The latest Crime and Science Radio discusses "The Changing World of Forensic Science" with Barry A.J. Fisher, past president of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences.
I'm hosting Friday's "Forgotten" Books for Patti Abbott today, and you can scroll down to the bottom of this posting for all the links to other book blogs with their weekly offerings. But first, a look at The Last Vanity by Hartley Howard.
Leopold Horace Ognall (1908-1979) was a prolific author with close to 90 novels under his two pseudonyms, Hartley Howard and Harry Carmichael. Thus it is rather surprising that it's so difficult to find anything about the author or his books.
He was born in Montreal, educated in Scotland and worked as a journalist before starting his fiction career. His primary series characters under the Harry Carmichael name are insurance assessor John Piper and crime reporter Quinn. The main focus of his Hartley Howard line are Philip Scott, head of a successful toy company and secretly the head of a British spy unit, and the New York private eye Glenn Bowman. The author once declared thirty-eight year old Bowman to be "the toughest wise-cracking private eye in the business."
One of the earliest Bowman novels is The Last Vanity from 1952, the third in that series. The novel opens with Edwin Newsome, a man worried about the health of his brother, Harold, fearing he may be the victim of steady poisoning by his brother's new—and much younger—wife, Moira. Edwin hires P.I. Glenn Bowman to investigate, and Bowman poses as an ex-con to get himself hired as a second chauffeur in the Harold's household. He soon discovers many under-currents beneath the surface involving family and staff alike, much more than a scheming young wife after her husband's wealth.
Hartley Howard's style is solidly in the Golden Age era, with the British author trying valiantly to emulate the American hard-boiled detective writing of Raymond Chandler and the others who followed in Chandler's footsteps. There are a few British-isms that creep in here and there, although they're relatively minor. The novel doesn't rise to Chandler's level, perhaps, but it's still entertaining and Bowman's character is sympathetic and engaging.
Although Ognall/Howard's books were apparently never published in the States and weren't even all that easy to find in the U.K. The Thrilling Detective site notes that Howard at some point moved to Italy during the Sixties and his Glenn Bowman private eye books were very popular among Italian readers during that period. They apparently did well in Germany, where almost his entire output was translated.
Both Leopold Horace Ognall and his books appear to be largely forgotten (save perhaps his novel Assignment K, made into a movie starring Stephen Boyd as spy Philip Scott), but the author's son Harry became a high court judge and conducted the hearings regarding former Chilean leader Augusto Pinochet.
Here are this week's Friday's Forgotten Books links:
If I've missed anyone, please let me know in the comments or shoot me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sisters in Crime Australia announced the shortlist for its 14th Davitt Awards for the best crime books by Australian women. Categories include Best Adult Novel, Best YA Novel, Best Children's Novel, Best True Crime Book, and Best Debut Book. For all the nominees, check out the SinC-Aussie website.
After a three-year hiatus, SleuthFest will return to South Florida in 2015, February 26 – March 1 with James Patterson serving as the Keynote Speaker. Other special guests include James W. Hall (Florida Guest of Honor); Dave Barry (Sunday Guest of Honor); Ric Gillespie (Forensic Guest of Honor). Conference attendees can also participate in agent and editor appointments, manuscript critiques, a silent auction and special panels and sessions.
Meanwhile, Martin Edwards has a nice review of the recent 21st annual Crime and Mystery Week-end at St Hilda's College in Oxford, which had a theme this year of "detective fiction and warfare."
The deadline is just over a month away for Perpetual Publishing's anthology, Stay Cool: A Tribute to Elmore Leonard. The editors are looking for stories in the same vein as the late author's writing, of between 1,000 and 10,000 words. The deadline is September 30, with a target release date of Spring 2015.
The British Film Institute wants help in solving the mystery of the whereabouts of A Study in Scarlet, a silent adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s first mystery nove. Made in 1914, it was the first Sherlock Holmes film and has has been missing since the First World War.
Lee Lofland is putting up a fun Crime Writers' Mini-Dictionary on his blog The Graveyard Shift. So far, he has A through D and G through H, with more to come.
David Cranmer picks "Eight Essential Science Fiction Detective Mash-Ups" for Tor.com, showcasing that Isaac Asimov was right, mystery and science fiction genres are not incompatible.
Author Dan Fesperman wrote an article for HuffPo about how technology is changing crime fiction forever, especially spy thrillers.
Author Julian Gough launched a literary campaign he calls a "Litcon" to remodel the economics of reading on Kickstarter. As he works on his next novel, he is soliticiting crowdfunds with the promise to send postcards from Las Vegas bearing whisky stains, lipstick, even bullet holes, and even his own blood.
The Rap Sheet has a tribute to Jerry Healy, author of the Boston-based John Francis Cuddy private-eye series and over sixty short stories, who also served as president of the Private Eye Writers of America. Healy, who was also a U.S. Army veteran and former law professor, committed suicide last week in Pompano Beach, Florida.
This week's crime poem at the 5-2 is "Slenderman" by Kristina England.
The Q&A roundup includes a profile of William Kent Krueger by the Minneapolis Star Tribune; Mike Miner takes the "Short, Sharp Interview" challenge from Paul D. Brazill; and Omnimystery News welcomed crime writers Dana King, who was nominated for a Shamus Award for Best Indie PI Novel for 2014
Bradley Cooper and Todd Phillips are producing A Thousand Pounds of Dynamite for Warner Brothers, a project based on the nonfiction article by Adam Higginbotham about a 1980 extortion plot in a Nevada casino involving a gigantic bomb and a ransom note.
Jim Sturgess, Abbie Cornish, Ed Harris and Andy Garcia are in negotiations to join Gerard Butler in Geostorm, the sci-fi/adventure thriller about two estranged brothers who have to save the world from a man-made storm of epic proportions, as well as a plot to assassinate the president.
Ving Rhames, the only actor other than Tom Cruise to appear in all four of the series' titles, will once again return for Mission: Impossible 5
Eva Green plays the seductive Dame to Kill For in a racy Sin City trailer, where she tries to rope Josh Brolin into her scheme to escape her abusive marriage.
The first trailer has been released for Mortdecai, directed by David Koepp (Secret Window), with an all-star cast including Johnny Depp, Gwyneth Paltrow, Paul Bettany, Oliver Platt, Aubrey Plaza, Ewan McGregor, Paul Bettany and Olivia Munn. The film is based on Kyril Bonfiglioli's The Mortdecai crime novel trilogy featuring Charlie Mortdecai, a snobbish art dealer with a thuggish manservant named Jock.
Starz and the BBC have tapped Colin Callender's Playground production team for the adaptation of Richard House’s political conspiracy thriller novel The Kills. The plot centers on the global manhunt for a British mercenary who goes on the run after stealing $50 million from an American reconstruction project in Iraq.
David Fulmer reported that he signed a contract with Amazon Studios to option his Storyville novels for use in a series about turn-of-the-century New Orleans. The series is being developed by one of the producers responsible for HBO's Rome, and if the project passes the pilot stage, it will be available on Amazon Prime. The first book in the Storyville series, Chasing the Devil's Trail, won the Shamus Award for Best First Novel in 2002.
Patricia Arquette will appear on CSI once more in November before her spin-off CSI: Cyber premieres.
Yeardley Smith, best known for voicing Lisa on The Simpsons, will guest-star on Revenge this season, playing a patient at the mental institution where Victoria (Madeleine Stowe) was admitted in the Season 3 finale.
USA Television renewed its legal drama Suits for a fifth season.
ITV ordered the limited-run mystery series Black Work, starring Sheridan Smith as a policewoman and mother trying to find out who killed her undercover-cop husband.
Katherine Heigl's new show for NBC has run into a snag, with showrunner Edward Bernero stepping down from the project. State of Affairs stars Heigl as a CIA officer who serves as national securityh advisor for to the President (Alfre Woodard).
Award-winning comedian and actor Mike Birbiglia has been added to the cast of Netflix's Orange Is The New Black in a recurring role, joining other new cast members Mary Steenburgen and Blair Brown.
The Blacklist has cast Lee Tergesen (The Americans) as a love interest for fellow new cast member Mary-Louise Parker.
AMC released the first teaser trailer for its Breaking Bad prequel, Better Call Saul, featuring Bob Odenkirk as the attorney who will become Saul Goodman.
A new teaser trailer was also released for the fifth and final season of HBO's Boardwalk Empire, which was inspired by Nelson Johnson's book Boardwalk Empire: The Birth, High Times, and Corruption of Atlantic City.
NPR's summer Crime in the City feature profiled Mary Lou Longworth and her Provençal mysteries with Inspector Verlaque.
Pauline Rowson chatted with Katie Martin for BBC Radio Solent about writing crime novels and CSI Portsmouth.