General


I don’t know the technical term for the glitch going on today, but people from some ISP’s can access this blog, and others can’t. I’m going to hold off posting until whatever the problem is clears up. Meanwhile my spam fighting service can’t access my blog, and I have over 2000 of the little rats piling up on me so far, and counting.

[UPDATE: Sunday evening.] It looks as though we’re back in business, all but the spam messages, which have accumulated over the weekend to over 4300. Why on earth?

   Most of you may already know this, but in case not, from Bill Crider’s blog on Friday:

“Very aggressive form of carcinoma. Looks bad. Love to you all.”

   Then on Sunday:

“Hey, blog fans. I’m out of the hospital after being poked, prodded, tested. and humiliated. I’m in much worse shape than when I went in. It’s a long story. Next week I’ll try to get into M. D. Anderson. The outlook isn’t brilliant for the Mudville Nine. I might not be posting here again, so I want to say now how moved I’ve been by your comments. You guys are the best. Even if we’ve never met in person, you are truly my friends. Love to you all.”

   Although we’ve met only once, Bill and I have known each other for nearly 40 years, maybe longer. On many an occasion he’s blamed me for getting him involved in mystery fandom. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but if it is, I’m glad I did. My world so far wouldn’t have been the same without him. This is very tough news, indeed. Bill, we all love you too.

   Not my town, not yet anyway, but maybe yours.

   The HEROES & ICONS network has very limited availability so far, but their plans for expansion seem to be quite ambitious.

   Their specialty is Old TV Series, and currently on their schedule are Black Sheep Squadron, Branded, The Cisco Kid, Combat, Hunter, Mannix, The Rebel, Wagon Train, Xena, and as they say, a whole lot more.

   Thanks and a tip of the hat to Mike Tooney who let me know about this new kid in town. He also pointed out that an episode of Cimarron Strip entitled “Knife in the Darkness” is scheduled to be shown on Sunday, February 7th, at 7:30 P.M. He reviewed this episode on this blog back a while ago. You can read his comments here.

This is the first post I’ve made from my cellphone. My apologies for disappearing so abruptly. Something has come up without much warning.

I may be back in business tomorrow or it may be a couple more days. Stay tuned!

   I’ve just received and installed the photoshop software that I have been using on my now defunct computer upstairs in my study on my wife’s computer. I may try to see if I can install it on my laptop which I’m using now, but I have been told it might not be compatible with Windows 7.

   In any case, the Adobe software on my laptop has been reverted back to backup status again. To try out the new software — and it works! — I’ve added two more images to Bill Deeck’s review of Mary Roberts Rinehart’s The Door.

   You can see the results here: http://mysteryfile.com/blog/?p=38060

   What I can do now is go back to posting longer reviews and any other articles and essays that require more than one image. They’ve been on hold until I didn’t have to waste so much time using Adobe. Eh.

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      Eli Wallach would have been 100 today:

   Here’s a link to Jonathan’s review of The Lineup (1958):

http://mysteryfile.com/blog/?p=26371

      Also 100 today, Leigh Brackett:



      And 105, Louis Prima:



      And many, many others who are well known to readers of this blog, I’m sure.

I awoke this morning to discover that all of the comments on this blog are missing. I don’t know why or how, but I’m hoping they can be retrieved. As I’m sure you’ll agree, the discussion that takes place in the comments is often as useful as the posts themselves, sometimes more so. More later when I know more.

UPDATE: The comments are back, thanks to my son-in-law Mark, who reminded me that the same thing happened almost exactly three years ago. So all he had to do was to remember what he did then, and do it again, and it worked! I wonder if it has anything to do with the autumnal equinox?

If by chance you tried to leave a comment while the system for handling them was down and it never showed up, please try again.

P. D. JAMES – The Lighthouse. Alfred A. Knopf, hardcover. First US Edition, 2005.

   I won’t dignify these comments by suggesting they in any way constitute a review. I’ve read only five pages and looked at the sixth, and that’s as far as I’m going to go. I hit a cropper on page five. What you will read below constitutes all but the first sentence of a paragraph taking up most of the middle of that page.

   Commander Adam Dalgleish is in a briefing room with several other governmental officials about the investigation he is about to be put in charge of:

   […] To have the security services involved was always a complication. Dalgleish reflected that the secret service, like the monarchy, in yielding up its mystique in response to public enthusiasm for greater openness, seemed to have lost some of that half-ecclesiastical patina of authority bestowed on those who dealt in esoteric mysteries. Today its head was known by name and pictured in the press, the previous head had actually written her autobiography, and its headquarters, an eccentric, oriental-looking monument to modernity which dominated its stretch of the south bank of the Thames, seemed designed to attract rather than repel curiosity. To surrender mystique had its disadvantages; an organization came to be regarded like any other bureaucracy, staffed by the same fallible human beings and liable to the same cock-ups. But he expected no problems with the secret service. The fact that MI5 was represented at middle-grade level suggested that this single death on an offshore island was among the least of their present concerns.

   I submit you that this is English, that it does make sense, but when my eyes hit this passage, all it did is make my head spin.

   I did go on and take a look at page six, as Dalgleish continues to be filled in on the case and its significance. Most of the page consists of single paragraph almost twice the size of this one.

   This is a hardcover copy of the first American edition that I have in hand, and in perfect condition. It must have been sent to me as a review copy, as I doubt that I would have purchased it on my own. The list price is $25.95, and it is 335 pages long, not nearly as some novels today, but long enough to get your money’s worth, you would think and perhaps you do.

   I came across it yesterday while cleaning off the stairs to my upstairs study, and since I have never [truth be told] never been able to read a P. D. James novel before, I decided that selling it on Amazon would bring me in a small but tidy sum.

   Wrong! The going price for hardcover editions of this book is 98 cents. And up, of course, but since Amazon takes 15% off the top and provides sellers only $2.64 for mailing the book out, I couldn’t see listing the book there at a competitive price only to lose money. (Postage alone, even without the cost of packing materials, would set me back at least $3.22.)

   You do the math. Of course my copy is a First Edition, which in days past might have meant something, but not any more. Most sellers do not describe their wares on Amazon in any detail whatsoever. I suspect that the one offered at the 98 cent level may even be a Book Club edition. Obviously most buyers do not care.

   I will donate this book to my local library for their next Friends of the Library sale. I thought I’d give it a trial run before I did so, but the next person who buys it is on their own.

INTO THE DARKNESS: Investigating Film Noir.          




   The course runs concurrently with the Turner Classic Movies “Summer of Darkness” programming event—airing 24 hours of films noir every Friday in June and July. This is the deepest catalog of film noir every presented by TCM (and perhaps any network), and provides an unprecedented opportunity for those interested in learning more to watch over 100 classic movies as they investigate “The Case of Film Noir.”

   For more information, click here.

   Thanks and a tip of the hat to Michael Shonk for passing the info along.

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