I found The Girl Who Played With Fire absolutely compelling, from beginning to end. Most riveting was the character of Lisbeth who (as more than one character notes) is an intense, even compulsive, moralist.
The new film Sherlock Holmes, directed by Guy Ritchie, has done very well indeed at the U.S. and global box offices since its December 25 release, and it has evoked much dispute between Holmes purists and Holmes evangelists. Here are opinions from two very different mystery fiction aficionados.
On a hot August day in a big U.S. city after World War II, a man in a Santa Claus suit murders a radio executive in the latter’s office and escapes unidentified. Murder Can Be Fun (aka A Plot for Murder) is a fast-moving, entertaining 1948 mystery novel by the master of combining hardboiled elements with strong puzzle plots, Fredric Brown. It deals with murders in the interesting milieu of old-time radio, in the days before television, when radio was king, and it includes a fascinating forecast of the sexualization of the American workplace. As always, Brown presents an atmosphere …continue reading
A classic mystery novel has just received some well-deserved new appreciation, S. T. Karnick writes.
In the absence of God, humans seek ultimate control over the world—and never find it. TAC correspondent Dean Abbott examines the religious implications of the USA Network show Monk.
One of the very best mystery writers of our time is gone. Ed Hoch, author of nearly a thousand mystery short stories, died suddenly this morning, according to Janet Hutchings, editor of Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine. Hoch wrote traditional puzzle mysteries in a wide variety of settings and featuring a diverse roster of detective characters. Hoch’s stories had strong plotlines, were intellectually stimulating, and played fair with the reader (openly presenting all the clues to the solution while still managing to fool the reader). Since the early 1960s he wrote at least one story per month for Ellery Queen’s Mystery …continue reading
Last night’s mid-season premiere episodes of Monk and Psych, both on the USA Network, were very entertaining and inspire optimism that both series are going to have a good year. The Monk episode had a strong story, a relatively uninspired but workable mystery, some very funny scenes, a good subject area (a religious cult), and several superb character points. Monk’s assistant, Natalie (Traylor Howard), was not used very promenently, as Monk spends much of the episode separated from her, and Captain Stottlemeyer (Ted Levine) does not get to do much, either, but Jason Gray-Stanford has a couple of very funny …continue reading
The new NBC program Journeyman, Mondays at 10 p.m. EDT, is an attempt at a mystery series with a difference: the protagonist is involuntarily thrown back through time at unpredictable intervals. It’s an interesting concept, basically a simpler, more direct variation on the idea behind the 1989-1993 series Quantum Leap, starring Scott Bakula and Dean Stockwell. In Journeyman, Dan Vasser (Kevin McKidd) suddenly and quite unexpectedly finds himself twenty years in the past. Neither he nor the audience understands precisely why or how he has been thrust back into time. Just as unpredictably and mysteriously, he returns to his normal …continue reading
The mixing of genres can be interesting when it works, but when it doesn’t, it’s usually a disaster. The producers of the forthcoming CBS TV primetime series, Viva Laughlin, based on the BBC series Viva Blackpool, will see if they can avoid the shoals. The series will feature mystery-suspense plots augmented with musical-theater sequences, the network has revealed. USA Today explains:
J. K. Rowling, author of the mega-bestselling Harry Potter books, is writing a detective novel, according to the Sunday Times of London. AP reports: The Sunday Times newspaper quoted Ian Rankin, a fellow author and neighbor of Rowling’s, as saying the creator of the "Harry Potter" books is turning to crime fiction. "My wife spotted her writing her Edinburgh criminal detective novel," the newspaper, which was available late Saturday, quoted Rankin as telling a reporter at an Edinburgh literary festival. A mystery series selling in the hundreds of millions, as the Harry Potter series did, would certainly be good for …continue reading