Richard Lockridge was born in Missouri in 1898 and became a journalist and drama critic for the New York Sun. In 1922, he married his wife Frances, a reporter and music critic for the Kansas City Post, and the duo eventually developed two comedic characters from newspaper vignettes and radio comedy that they modeled on themselves—the amateur detectives Mr. and Mrs. North. That particular series was so popular, it ultimately inspired 40 books in the North series, a movie starring George Burns and Gracie Allen, a long-running play on Broadway, a radio drama and a TV show with Richard Demming and Barbara Britton.
The prolific husband-and-wife writing team also created another mystery series featuring the sleepy-eyed Captain Merton Heimrich of the New York State Police Bureau of Criminal Identification. In 1962's First Come, First Kill, a shabby, elderly man is shot on the driveway of the house where Heimrich and his wife Susan live, managing to say only one word before he dies: "well." As Heimrich digs into the background of the victim, "Old Tom"—an eccentric but harmless itinerant gardener—it quickly becomes evident that the case of the murdered man is linked to an unsolved disappearance of a New York Supreme Court Justice who'd vanished years before. The trail leads even farther afield to London and Mexico, until Heimrich realizes the murderer is uncomfortably closer to home.
Of the Richard and Frances authorial collaboration, Richard once noted, "We had story conferences and wrote a summary. As we both insisted, the writing was entirely mine." Frances was primarily a force in the plotting stage, which Richard would then turn into a 200-page manuscript. This was especially true with the Lt. Merton Heimrich books; the authors were billed as "Frances and Richard" for the North novels and "Richard and Frances" for the Heimrich series. In fact, after Frances died in 1963 (First Come, First Kill was their last book together), Richard continued the Heimlich line on his own with eight more books and penned several other series, as well.
A few trivia notes: The Lockridges served as co-presidents of the Mystery Writers of America in 1960 and received a special Edgar Award in 1962. Francis Richards was a pseudonym for the Richard & Francis Lockridge books used exclusively in the UK.
The annual Boucheron conference held this past weekend included the usual slate of award presentations, with the announcement of the Anthony, Shamus, Barry, and Macavity honors.
The Anthony Awards, voted on by attendees at the convention, were handed out to:
Best Novel: The Killing Kind, Chris Holm
Best First Novel: Past Crimes, Glen Erik Hamilton
Best Paperback Original: The Long and Faraway Gone, Lou Berney
Best Critical or Nonfiction Book: Forensics: What Bugs, Burns, Prints, DNA, and More Tell Us About Crime, Val McDermid
Best Young Adult Novel: Need, Joelle Charbonneau
Best Anthology or Collection: Murder Under the Oaks: Bouchercon Anthology 2015 - Art Taylor, Editor
Best Short Story: "The Little Men: A Bibliomystery," Megan Abbott
Best Crime Fiction Audiobook: The Nature of the Beast, Louise Penny - Robert Bathurst, narrator
The winners of the Shamus Awards were announced at the PWA Banquet at Bouchercon and include:
Best Hardcover Private Eye Novel: Brutality by Ingrid Thoft
Best Original Private Eye Paperback: Circling the Runway by J.L. Abramo
Best First Private Eye Novel: The Do-Right by Lisa Sandlin
Best Private Eye Short Story, “The Dead Client” by Parnell Hall in Dark City Lights: New York Stories (edited by Lawrence Block)
The Eye Lifetime Achievement Award: S.J. Rozan.
The Macavity Awards are nominated by members of Mystery Readers International, subscribers to Mystery Readers Journal and friends of MRI:
Best Mystery: The Long and Faraway Gone by Lou Berney
Best First Mystery: Past Crimes by Glen Erik Hamilton
Best Critical/Biographical: The Golden Age of Murder: The Mystery of the Writers Who Invented the Modern Detective Story by Martin Edwards
Best Short Story" "The Little Men" by Megan Abbott
Sue Feder Historical Mystery Award: The Masque of a Murder by Susanna Calkins
Finally, we have the Barry Awards from Deadly Pleasures Magazine:
Best Novel: C. J. Box, Badlands
Best First Novel: Ausma Zehanat Khan, The Unquiet Dead
Best Paperback Original: Lou Berney, The Long and Faraway Gone
Best Thriller: Taylor Stevens, The Mask
The annual National Book Festival, sponsored by the Library of Congress, heads to the nation's capital this Saturday for a free one-day event at the Washington Convention Center. This year's festivities will include appearances by Stephen King, Carl Hiaasen, and Harlan Coben.
Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, but as as editor Janet Hutchings notes on the EQMM blog, this year also marks another milestone - the Private Eye Writers of America is celebrating its 35th anniversary. Author, editor, critic, and recent PWA vice-president, Ted Fitzgerald, wrote a guest post for the blog about the organization and its storied history.
Crime writer Agatha Christie's murder mystery novels are getting a new outing - as stamps. The Royal Mail in the UK has issued six stamps to mark the centenary of the year Christie wrote her first detective novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, which introduced Belgian detective Hercule Poirot to the world. But these aren't just ordinary stamps - they contain hidden clues and references, printed in special inks and microtext, to murders and key scenes in Christie's most famous novels. Amateur sleuths will be able to use UV light, body heat and a magnifying glass to uncover hidden elements and key scenes in the stamps.
Speaking of Dame Agatha, Bookbub staffer Chanel Cleeton compiled a list of "11 New Mysteries to Read if You Love Agatha Christie."
Agatha Christie has been getting quite a bit of press this year, thanks to the 125 anniversary of her birth. But there's another author celebrating a big anniversary, Mary Stewart, and just in the nick of time comes a forgotten novella that The Guardian calls "the perfect celebration of her centenary year."
Author Ann Cleeves has written a murder mystery script for libraries and booksellers to use in "author-less" events, as a way of thanking librarians and booksellers for their support during her career and also an acknowledgement of the funding gap left by cuts to libraries that can make such public events and outreach work difficult or impossible. The murder mystery script, Blood on the Bannocks, will equip public libraries with everything they need to hold murder mystery nights for readers.
Fans of noir crime comics should check out this piece by Maika Keuben for Dirge Magazine.
This Tokyo-based Japanese craftsman brings old books back to life by making them look brand new through techniques obtained after more than three decades of experience in his shop from the Suidobashi area of Japan’s capital. Okano, the old Japanese craftsman, can reverse almost any deterioration process that a book has witnessed, bringing back the joy of reading old novels and stories to anyone who visits his repair shop.
Turns out, it's a good week for "old" things: Melville House celebrated the "oldest book in the Americas," while word came that the world's oldest library, Morrocco's Khizanat al-Qarawiyyin, is set to reopen after a complete restoration.
Listverse takes a tour into "10 Creepy Mysteries Involving Abandoned Vehicles."
The featured crime poem at the 5-2 this week is "The Porn-Phone Caper" by Paula Willis.
In the Q&A roundup, Zoe Sharp visited with The Mystery People to talk about her latest book featuring Kelly Jacks, a former Crime Scene Investigator turned crime scene cleaner; the MPs also welcomed Mike McCrary, whose new book, Genuinely Dangerous, is about a failed writer-director who decides to restart his career by embedding himself with a gang of bank robbers; and Frances McNamara stopped by Omnimystery News to chat about her sixth mystery featuring amateur sleuth Emily Cabot, Death at the Paris Exposition.
There are several fun, new anthologies that have come to my attention lately I thought I might pass along. The first two will delight fans of Sherlockiana, with new short fiction by a variety of today's best authors from crime fiction, suspense, sci-fi, and fantasy, while the third is sure to brighten your day.
Echoes of Sherlock Holmes: Stories Inspired by the Holmes Canon, has a release date of October 4, which is just around the corner. Edited by Laurie R. King, it starts with one premise, "What happens when great writers/creators who are not known as Sherlock Holmes devotees admit to being inspired by Conan Doyle stories?" It features 17 new stories including Tony Lee and Bevis Musson's "Mrs. Hudson Investigates," a post-Reichenbach mystery in comic book format; John Connolly opts for satire in "Holmes on the Range," set in the Caxton Private Lending Library and Book Depository, a home for fictional characters who have "assumed an objective reality" (including Holmes and Watson); William Kent Krueger contributed "The Painted Smile," which centers on a therapist who treats a child determined to have his identification with Holmes taken seriously. Plus, there are other fine contributions from David Morrell, Anne Perry, Hallie Ephron, and Gary Phillips.
The other Sherlock-themed offering is titled Associates of Sherlock Holmes and is edited by George Mann. In this anthology, famous associates of the Holmes – clients, colleagues, and of course, villains – tell their own stories of the Great Detective. Follow Inspector Lestrade as he and Sherlock Holmes pursue a killer to rival Jack the Ripper; sit with Mycroft Holmes as he solves a case from the comfort of the Diogenes Club; take a drink with Irene Adler and Dr. Watson in a Parisian café; and join Colonel Sebastian Moran on the hunt for a supposedly mythical creature. Author Lyndsay Faye, a well-known Sherlockiana adherent, starts off the proceedings with Police Inspector Stanley Hopkins, who appeared in Doyle's "The Adventure of Black Peter" in a brand new tale as he works with Holmes and Watson to investigate body parts dredged from the Thames in "River of Silence."
The other story treasure trove comes in the form of Sunshine Noir, edited by Annamaria Alfieri and Michael Stanley, and features seventeen writers from around the globe telling of dark doings in sunny places. Hot spots include the Dominican Republic, the Sonoran Desert of Arizona, chic Mykonos, Seville at midnight, and on the morning beachfront of Ghana where a man has revenge on his mind. Follow an NGO worker kidnapped in Yemen, an engineer repairing a dam in turmoil-torn Ethiopia, a foolish young Englishman hitchhiking across the Sahara. You will visit historic Istanbul and Mombasa and learn the secrets of family conflicts in Singapore, in Puerto Rico, in New Orleans. Tim Hallinan provides a Foreword for the American edition, with Peter James doing the honors in the British version, and Peter Rozovsky penning the book's introduction.
Toni Collette, Gillian Anderson, Joanna Lumley and Riccardo Scamarcio have all signed on to star in Andorra, joining previously-cast Clive Owen. The project is based on Peter Cameron's novel of the same name, which the Philadelphia Inquirer called "part thriller, part comedy of manners, part surrealistic dream." The story follows a man who forsakes his American life and arrives in a strange country called Andorra, settling into the grand (and only) hotel in its seaside capital, gradually making the acquaintance of this tiny city's most prominent residents. But amid the mystery of his origins, a mutilated dead body appears in the harbor and everyone becomes a suspect.
Gillian Anderson is also one of the stars who've come aboard the film adaptation of Agatha Christie's Crooked House, along with Glenn Close, Christina Hendricks, Max Irons,Terence Stamp, Honor Kneafsey, and Stefanie Martini. Irons is set to play Charles Hayward, a private detective trying to solve a murder whose suspects include Sophia, his former lover, played by Martini, while Stamp takes on the role of the chief inspector. Hendricks, Close, Kneafsey, and Anderson are members of the dead man’s household. The film is to be directed by Gilles Paquet-Brenner (Sarah’s Key) and is being written by Julian Fellowes (Gosford Park, Downton Abbey).
Production on Mission: Impossible 6, recently halted due to an issue with back-end fees, has settled its financial problems with Tom Cruise and is back on track. The original production plan for an early 2018 release was jeopardized by last month’s pay dispute, but with Cruise's new deal, the original timeline could still be a reality.
The Emmy Awards were handed out last night, with big crime drama winners including The People vs. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, which had nods for Best Actor (Courtney B. Vance) and Best Actress (Sarah Paulson) in a Limited Series or Movie; Mr. Robot, with an Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series nod to Rami Malek; Orphan Black, Outstanding Lead Actress to Tatiana Maslany; The Night Manager, Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series or Movie (Susanne Bier); Making a Murderer, Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Series; and Sherlock: the Abominable Bride, Outstanding Television Movie.
CBS has put in development Body Politic, a procedural drama from former Dexter co-executive producer Lauren Gussis, director Marc Webb, and Dark Horse Entertainment. The show is inspired by the work of real-life D.C. examiner Dr. Roger Mitchel and follows a newly minted, brutally honest female chief medical examiner in Washington D.C. who gets recruited by the CIA to help solve the most high-stakes, politicized cases in the world.
Sheldon Turner has teamed with Charlie’s Angels director McG for a buddy cop drama with a twist, which Fox has handed a script commitment plus significant penalty. Written by Turner and to be directed by McG, the untitled drama (working title Good Cop/Bad Cop) centers on a meek San Francisco detective struggling with psychological trauma who conjures up an imaginary rogue partner who helps him get the job done.
Fox has also given a script plus penalty commitment to Justice, a legal drama from Scandal co-executive producer and former Assistant United States Attorney Judy Smith, who was the inspiration for the lead character in Shonda Rhimes’ Washington drama. Written by Jeremy Miller and Daniel Cohn (Entourage) and inspired by Smith’s own story, Justice centers on a high-powered African American woman who is made the new U.S. Attorney and her team of attorneys who take on cases while trying to fix the problems in their own lives before secrets unravel.
Legal drama continues to be a red-hot genre this broadcast buying season with another high-profile entry heading to Fox from Empire co-creator/executive producer Danny Strong and Jessica Sharzer (American Horror Story). The untitled project centers on a team of civil rights lawyers who take on the most newsworthy cases of our time, balancing the high stress of their jobs with sex, drugs, and assorted other vices.
ABC has has given a pilot production commitment to Deception, an FBI crime drama procedural from Chuck co-creator Chris Fedak and magician, puzzle creator and writer/producer David Kwong, who serves as consultant on NBC’s FBI drama Blindspot. Written by Fedak, Deception centers on a superstar magician whose career is ruined by scandal and turns to practice his art of deception with the FBI, becoming the world’s first consulting illusionist.
Actress and Grammy-winning singer LeToya Luckett and Camille Spirlin have booked recurring roles on the second season of Fox's Miami-set medical procedural Rosewood. The series centers on top private pathologist Dr. Beaumont Rosewood Jr. (Morris Chestnut) and tough-as-nails Detective Annalise Villa (Jaina Lee Ortiz) as they investigate East Miami PD’s most challenging cases. Luckett will play Tawnya, a new love interest for Rosewood, while Spirlin will portray Kayla, Tawyna’s daughter. In addition to Chestnut and Ortiz, they join Lorraine Toussaint, Gabrielle Dennis, Anna Konkle and Domenick Lombardozzi and new cast addition Eddie Cibrian.
Mary Elizabeth Winstead is heading to Fargo, joining Ewan McGregor and Carrie Coon for Season 3 of the dark comedy crime drama. She will play Nikki Swango, a "crafty and alluring recent parolee with a passion for competitive bridge playing." She is described as bring a focused woman with a plan, who always likes to be one step ahead of her opponent.
Christopher Backus has booked a recurring role on Amazon’s drama series Bosch, playing Woody Woodrell, a former Army Special Forces soldier who now works for a private security firm. Based on Michael Connelly’s bestselling Harry Bosch novels, Bosch stars Titus Welliver as the idiosyncratic, tough, jazz-loving cop. The third season, set to premiere in 2017, will draw from Connolly’s 1992 The Black Echo and 2001 A Darkness More Than Night books.
AcornTV will premiere new crime drama seasons in October, including episodes of the Australian political thriller The Code, starring Ashley Zukerman and Dan Spielman; and the third season of the Montreal-set series 19-2, which the New York Times called on par with the best American police dramas like The Wire and Homicide: Life on the Street. (HT to Mystery Fanfare.)
BBC Radio has recordings of John le Carré reading from his new memoir The Pigeon Tunnel (including an explanation for the title and the intersections of his life between real-life espionage and fiction). (HT to Elizabeth Foxwell)
Suspense Radio welcomed two very special guests, authors Julia Diana Robertson (Beyond The Screen Door) and and Cate Holahan (The Widower's Wife).
Former sex crimes prosecutor and author Allison Leotta chatted with author/screenwriter Debbi Mack about her Anna Curtis thrillers for the Crime Cafe podcast.
A new production of The Big Sleep is kicking off the 40th season of Calgary, Canada's Vertigo Theater. Graham Percy stars as Raymond Chandler's iconic detective Philip Marlowe in the classic tale of a millionaire who is being given the squeeze by a blackmailer and wants P.I. Marlowe to make the problem go away. The production also stars Stephen Hair as Los Angeles police detective Nulty. The show opened September 17 and runs through October 16, 2016.
Well, it certainly doesn't feel like autumn in these parts, but perhaps this piece will get you in the mood just in time for the Vernal Equinox this Thursday, September 22. It's the first movement of the "Autumn" concerto from Antonio Vivaldi's The Four Seasons, featuring violinist Joshua Bell with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields:
Magdalen Nabb was born in Lancashire in 1947 but lived in Florence, Italy, from 1975 until her death in 2007. She wrote both children's fiction and crime fiction, the latter featuring her literary creation Marshal Salvatore Guarnaccia. She modeled the Marshal on a real Florentine law officer who used to keep the author up to date on crimes in the city being investigated by the Carabinieri, the national Italian police force. Critic Susanna Yager of the Sunday Telegraph once noted that "The mystery for me is why Magdalen Nabb is not better known," certainly not as well as Michael Dibdin (Aurelia Zen) and Donna Leon (Commissario Guido Brunetti).
After the first book featuring Guarnaccia appeared in 1981, it impressed Georges Simenon so much that he wrote to congratulate Nabb. After the publication of the sequel, Death of a Dutchman, he said, "Your first novel was a coup de maitre, your second is a masterpiece." That second book (she wrote 14 Guarnaccia installments in all) opens as Marshal Guarnaccia finds a jeweler dying in an apparent suicide from slashed hands and a barbiturate overdose, uttering his last words, "It wasn't her." The only witnesses to the crime are a blind man and a notoriously untruthful 91-year-old woman.
Although the case seems to be a dead end, the Marshal refuses to let it go, fighting his way through bureaucratic red tape, hordes of tourists, the soggy July heat, the secret police known as Digos and the dead Dutchman's troubled past in order to reach the truth. The dead man is known as a "Dutchman" even though his father was Dutch and his mother Italian. This neither-here-nor-there sense of belonging echoes the life of the Marshal himself, a Sicilian stationed in Florence, living at the station barracks without his wife and sons, as they care for his invalid mother back home.
Marshal, lower down the police hierarchy than a Lieutenant or Magistrate, is nonetheless a dedicated, sensitive and caring officer, not particularly articulate but with a subtle humor who patiently helps the young and inexperienced officer in charge of the case. The city and culture that is Florence becomes another character, focusing on the importance of family, place and tradition. Or as the Washington Post added, "The richest scene here, however, is Florence itself, whose intricate politics and class structure Nabb parses with precision and wit."
A new award named in honor of the late crime writer William McIlvanney has been won by author Chris Brookmyre for his novel Black Widow. The McIlvanney Prize was previously known as the Scottish Crime Book of the year and was presented at the recent Bloody Scotland festival in Stirling. The other short-listed authors were Doug Johnston, Val McDermid and ES Thomson. Judges described Brookmyre's novel as being "like watching Olympic diving...even the twists have twists."
The RBA International Prize for Crime Writing (known in Spanish as the Premio RBA de Novela Negra) has been awarded this year to Ian Rankin for his translated novel Perros salvajes (Even Dogs in the Wild). The award is a Spanish sales promotion literary award said to be the world’s most lucrative crime fiction prize at €125,000. (HT to Jose Ignacio and A Crime is Afoot.)
Contraband, the crime fiction imprint of the tiny independent Scottish press Saraband, has produced a title on the Man Booker Prize shortlist for 2016, with Scottish writer Graeme Macrae Burnet's His Bloody Project. The list also included a debut novel from the American writer Ottessa Moshfegh, who at 35 is the youngest author on the shortlist for her psychological thriller Eileen.
San Antonio's Gemini Ink is inviting bookworms to “roam humanity’s psycho-social depths” via spirited discussions about classic noir titles such as The Maltese Falcon, The Big Sleep, and The Third Man during its Wednesday Nights of Noir series which runs through December. The series kicks off with a free cocktail party tonight.
Noir At the Bar will be back in action Tuesday, September 20th at Threadgill’s South in Austin, Texas. Featured authors on hand for readings will include "local author, musician and man-about-town" Jesse Sublett, as well as fellow Yanks Rick Ollerman, Todd Robinson, and Brits Zoe Sharp and John Lawton. As always, Jesse will begin the night with a rousing murder ballad. (HT to the Mystery People.)
Sisters in Crime/Los Angeles announced that it will award up to three grants to attend the 2017 California Crime Writers Conference coming up June 10-11, 2017 in Culver City, California. The Sisters in Crime/LA Educational Grant serves to further the education of published and aspiring mystery/crime writers on the path to writing excellence, and membership in Sisters in Crime is not required. The deadline for applications is midnight PST, January 31, 2017.
The latest edition of the UK magazine Crime Scene is out, with a 17-page special feature dedicated to the grand dame of British crime, Agatha Christie. It takes in a new film adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express with Kenneth Branagh, Sophie Hannah’s upcoming Poirot novel Closed Casket, David Suchet’s Poirot, Antony Horowitz’s Magpie Murders (an homage to Christie), and the new theatre production of The Mousetrap. There is also a feature looking at the acclaimed BBC production The Fall, with Gillian Anderson who faces off in the third series against the ultra creepy serial killer played by Jamie Dornan, as well as looks at other TV shows including DCI Banks, Making a Murderer, Rectify, Gomorrah, and more. (HT to Crime Fiction Lover.)
Unfortunately, another bit of news from the crime magazine world isn't as rosy: editor/publisher Alex Cicak announced that Pulp Modern is closing their doors after five years of publishing stories by 91 amazing writers who contributed stories to the journal between 2011 and 2016. (HT to Sandra Seamans.)
The Guardian continued the focus on Agatha Christie during her 125th anniversary year with a look at how the "cozy" genre Christie made popular may be having something of a renaissance, "giving new inspiration to a genre tired of alcoholic divorcees and goth hackers." Of course, David Brawn, estates publisher at HarperCollins, notes that there are economic factors at work, too, adding "One of the main reasons behind the sudden popularity of crime from this period is that modern publishing and new technology allows for shorter runs in printing, which means that we can now mine backlists that would previously have been unprofitable."
American, British and Canadian Studies, the journal of the Academic Anglophone Society of Romania, invites submissions for a special 2017 issue on Contemporary Crime Fiction, guest edited by Dr. Charlotte Beyer of University of Gloucestershire. The Special Issue will explore the diversity and proliferation of American, British and Canadian crime fiction in the contemporary period, and trace thematic and formal priorities that have emerged in crime writing during the late 20th to early 21st century.
After a dozen novels and 70 million book sales, British writer Frederick Forsyth says he's giving up on thrillers because his wife told him he can no longer travel to adventurous places. “I’m tired of it and I can’t just sit at home and do a nice little romance from my study,” said the 78-year-old, who revealed in a memoir last year that he had worked extensively for the MI6 spy service.
Think you know everything about the Grand Dame of crime writing? You might want to check out Parade Magazine's list of "10 Things You Didn't Know About Agatha Christie."
Alex Segura compiled a list of "9 Mysteries by Female Authors You May Not Have Read Yet" for Bookbub.
Did you know Taiwan has a mystery-oriented independent bookstore? Murder Ink, established in 2014, collects a variety of mystery stories, encompassing romance, crime, realism, suspense and detective genres from around the world.
Did you also know that they make Sherlock Holmes temporary tattoos? (HT Seattle Mystery Bookshop)
And this is possibly the best mugshot ever.
The featured crime poem at the 5-2 this week is "Reek: Soberanes Fire, Day 13, 25% Containment" by Jennifer Lagier, and this month's featured story at Beat to a Pulp is "The Key Man" by Jon McGoran.
In the Q&A roundup, Frank Westworth takes Paul D. Brazill's "Short, Sharp Interivew" challenge to talk about his new thriller, Fifth Columnist; E. B. Davis, with the Writers Who Kill, interviewed Judy Penz Sheluk about Skeletons in the Attic, the first book in her Marketville series; Omnimystery News welcomed Diane Capri to discuss the seventh book in her popular Hunt for Reacher series; Craig Sisterson's Crime Watch blog hosted Laura Lippman as part of his latest "9MM Interivew" feature; and the MysteryPeople held a Q&A with Craig Johnson about the latest installment in his Sheriff Walt Longmire series.
First Look Media, one of the financiers behind last year’s Best Picture winner Spotlight, is spearheading We Do Not Forget, starring Daniel Radcliffe and Zachary Quinto and directed by Zach Helm. The project is a fictionalized account of a real battle between the "hacktivist" organization Anonymous and the Mexican drug cartel known as Los Zetas.
Director Jeff Nichols signed a deal with 20th Century Fox to write and direct a new big-screen version of Alien Nation. The original film followed a racist cop (James Caan) forced to team with a member (Mandy Patinkin) of an alien race that came to Earth after a ship carrying enslaved aliens crashed, with the newcomers assimilated in Los Angeles. It also spawned a TV series that lasted one season from 1989-90.
Two days after acquiring Sean Penn’s The Last Face, Saban Films picked up U.S. distribution rights to Jonathan Mostow’s The Hunter’s Prayer, based on the critically acclaimed Kevin Wignall novel and starring Sam Worthington and newcomer Odeya Rush. The action thriller follows a solitary assassin (Worthington) hired to kill a young woman (Rush) who is unaware her family’s questionable business dealings have cost them their lives. However, when he can’t bring himself to pull the trigger, the two form a bond and escape across Europe together, hunted by those responsible for her family’s murder.
British actor Tom Bateman is in negotiations to join Fox's adaptation of Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express, directed by Kenneth Branagh. The classic Christie story centers on special detective Hercule Poirot (Branagh), who boards a train from Jerusalem to Europe only to have a murder committed in the car next to his during a snowstorm. Bateman will play Bouc, Poirot's companion and sidekick, who works at the train company that runs the Orient Express.
After playing gangster Whitey Bulger in last year’s Black Mass, Johnny Depp is taking on another true-life figure, this time on the opposite side of the law. Depp is attached to star in Labyrinth, playing Detective Russell Poole, the Los Angeles police detective who investigated the murders of rappers Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur. Poole was a decorated detective who spent months investigating the murder of B.I.G., eventually coming to believe that " group of gangsta cops" in his own force were not only involved but were also tied to Death Row Records and the Bloods street gang.
Aaron Sorkin’s directorial debut Molly's Game has added to its cast with Michael Cera who would join previously cast Jessica Chastain and Idris Elba. The film stars Chastain as a skier whose Olympic dreams are dashed and heads to Los Angeles to become a cocktail waitress but rises through the social circuit to organize underground poker games for the Hollywood elite. Cera will play Player X, an elite celebrity player who develops an interesting relationship with Chastain’s character. The film is based on the real-life skier Molly Bloom and is adapted from her book Molly’s Game: From Hollywood’s Elite to Wall Street’s Billionaire Boys Club, My High-Stakes Adventure in the World of Underground Poker.
Jason Mitchell, who starred as late rapper Eazy-E in Straight Outta Compton, has joined Kathryn Bigelow's untitled drama about the 1967 Detroit riots. The film is currently in production and also features John Boyega, Will Poulter, Jacob Latimore, Algee Smith, Ben O’Toole, Jack Reynor, Kaitlyn Dever and Hannah Murray.
It must be nice to be loved: Despite recent speculation about who might replace Daniel Craig as James Bond, Sony has reportedly offered the actor $150m for two more Bond films. Craig has already starred in four Bonds, and despite seeming skeptical about returning for more installments, has also said he reserved “the right to change my mind” about quitting the series.
Scooby-Doo and the gang have been solving mysteries on television since the late 1960s, but two live action movies didn't fare so well. Now the show is being resurrected as a fully-animated film with actor/comedian Dax Shepard said to be in talks to direct the project.
A new poster and photos were released for the suspense thriller Nocturnal Animals, based on the 1993 novel Tony and Susan by Austin Wright. Starring Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal, the film centers around an art gallery owner haunted by her ex-husband’s novel, a violent thriller she interprets as a veiled threat and a symbolic revenge tale.
The Creative Arts Emmys announced this weekend included an armful of awards for Netflix's nonfiction serial Making of a Murderer. Hank Azaria also picked up another Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series due to his performance in an episode of Ray Donovan, and the award for Outstanding Casting for a Limited Series, Movie, or Special went to The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story. You can check out all the winners via this link.
Breaking Bad's Vince Gilligan has signed on to write and executive produce Raven, a limited series for HBO about Jim Jones, the infamous leader of the Peoples Temple cult who led his followers to a mass murder-suicide in Jonestown, Guyana, in 1978. This is the second Jim Jones/Peoples Temple show in the works after A&E's previously-announced anthology series in development focused on American cults (with the first episode centered on Jones).
Filming has begun on season seven of Game of Thrones, and according to the German site Bild, another esteemed British actor may feature in the HBO show: Angela Lansbury. Perhaps best known for her role in Murder, She Wrote, Lansbury is said to be filming a minor cameo role that will feature across two of the season’s seven episodes. HBO has yet to confirm whether Lansbury has a role in the show.
CBS has bought an hourlong legal drama from True Jack Productions to be written by TV writer/playwright Annie Weisman. The series would center around two sisters on opposite sides of the political spectrum who come together to save their father’s law firm when scandal puts him behind bars.
Vin Diesel is developing a new procedural drama at NBC, currently entitled First Responders, which focuses on young veterans struggling to reintegrate into society, while saving civilian lives along the way. The team is the best search-and-rescue operation in the country, and is run by husband-and-wife duo, Doc and Lil Pierce, but the pair struggle as they have been unable to find their own son, who disappeared years earlier.
In a pre-emptive buy, NBC has given a put pilot commitment to a drama from The Family creator Jenna Bans, an untitled project that follows three good-girl mothers and wives from the suburbs of Detroit as they descend together into a life of crime.
Narcos will continue beyond Pablo Escobar. After two seasons following the Colombian kingpin's story, Netflix is moving ahead with a third and fourth season of the drug cartel drama. Exec producer Eric Newman said the show was never just about the Medellin cartel and its leader, it's "about cocaine and cocaine continues beyond Escobar."
War and Peace star Tom Burke has been hired to play Cormoran Strike in the BBC’s upcoming adaptations of JK Rowling’s adult crime novels written under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. The first in the series, The Cuckoo’s Calling, will be split into three one-hour-long dramas, with the adaptations of second and third books The Silkworm and Career of Evil both divided into two one-hour parts.
Camryn Manheim is joining the cast of Major Crimes in a recurring role as the deputy chief of operations at the LAPD. She'll also be one of the top contenders for the assistant chief position, after Russell Taylor (Robert Gossett) was killed in the episode "White Lies, Part 1." Executive producer James Duff also noted that in addition to Manheim's character, Sharon Raydor (Mary McDonnell), Fritz Howard (Jon Tenney) and another new character will be weighed as possible replacements for Taylor, and the ensuing competition will create "tension and rivalry" among their colleagues.
USA Network has given a pilot order to The Sinner, a crime thriller executive produced by and starring Jessica Biel (The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea). Created and written by Derek Simonds and based on Petra Hammesfahr’s book, the project centers around a young mother (Biel) who commits a startling and very public act of violence. The event launches an inverted and utterly surprising crime thriller whose driving force is not the who or the what – but the why. A rogue investigator finds himself obsessed with uncovering the woman’s buried motive, and together they travel a harrowing journey into the depths of her psyche and the violent secrets hidden in her past.
The 1967 Australian novel Picnic At Hanging Rock is being made into a new TV drama for Foxtel. Joan Lindsay's book followed the disappearance of three schoolgirls and their governess on Valentine’s Day in 1900 and has already had the big-screen treatment in Peter Weir’s 1975 film, which featured Jacki Weaver and Wolf Creek star John Jarratt.
Law & Order: SVU ended on a game-changer in Season 17 with the death of Special Victims Unit's own Mike Dodds. New showrunner Rick Eid has big plans for how Benson and Co. move on from Dodds' death, with Season 18 picking up a month or so after Dodd's death and the ensuing emotional fallout.
Hulu Japan has announced an original six-part drama, Daisho ("Compensation"), based on a novel of the same title by award-winning mystery writer Jun Ioka. The series focuses on the relationship of a hotshot lawyer (Shun Oguri) and a psychopathic client (Tsutomu Takahashi), a former boyhood friend who occupies a dark chapter in the lawyer’s past. The series will begin streaming this fall in both Japan and the U.S.
The latest Crime and Science Radio podcast was titled "Crime Scenes, Criminalistics, and the Cutting Edge in Los Angeles: An Interview with Former LASD Criminalist Professor Donald Johnson of California State University, Los Angeles."
2nd Sunday Crime with host Libby Hellmann welcomed James Ziskin, the author of the Ellie Stone Mysteries, nominated for Anthony, Barry, and Lefty Awards.
Crime Cafe featured author Terry Ambrose chatting with author/screenwriter Debbi Mack about his Wilson McKenna mysteries set in Hawaii.
NY Times Bestseller Aleatha Romig joined Alex Dolan on Thrill Seekers to talk about her new "The Light" series.
City of Glass, Paul Auster’s meta-detective novel about a thriller writer who finds himself playing sleuth, will be staged in Manchester and London next year in a new hi-tech adaptation. The play will land in Manchester March 4-18, 2017 and then at the Lyric Hammersmith in London, from April 20 to May 13, followed by an international tour.
Peninsula Players Theater opens the run of its final show of its 81st season on September 7 with the wildly comic adventure The 39 Steps, first published by John Buchan in 1915 and followed by various movie adaptations including Hitchcock's 1939 thriller.