Thursday, February 25, 2010

Stephanie Plum finally headed for the big screen

It seems like this week is all about books being adapted to the screen.  The New York Daily News reports that One for the Money, the first in Janet Evanovich's immensely popular Stephanie Plum series, finally made it off the backburner.  Columbia Pictures and Lakeshore Entertainment are producing and Katherine Heigl (Grey's Anatomy, The Ugly Truth) has been cast as the plucky Plum.  Read the rest of the article here.
Evanovich's latest in the series is Sizzling Sixteen which is set for a June 22nd release.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Robinson's Inspector Banks comes to British TV

Yippee!  News has just come my way about yet another mystery being adapted for television -- Peter Robinson's Aftermath (2001).  Check Robinson's website where he discusses the ITV 2-part production and the release of his new novel, Bad Boy (due out in August). Mystery fans in Burbank may remember Peter Robinson visited our library twice, the last time in February 2009.

The Aftermath production begins filmming in April and Stephen Tompkinson has been cast as Inspector Alan Banks.  Robinson reports, "[Tompkinson] is thrilled about the role and I’m thrilled to have him in the part. He’s an extremely popular actor in the UK – some of you may know him from Ballykissangel and Wild at Heart, and he was terrific in the movie Brassed Off."

I have to say that I absolutely adored Stephen Tompkinson in Ballykissangel so I'm really excited at this perfect casting.  But I'll have to keep my excitement in check, however; it may take a while until the TV show makes it over to this side of the pond!

Friday, February 19, 2010

BBC begins production on Aurelio Zen mysteries

Being a huge fan of any TV mystery show coming out of Britain, I was delighted to learn that the BBC was producing three new feature-length dramas based on the late Michael Dibdin's bestselling Aurelio Zen novels. 

The BBC has confirmed that Rufus Sewell will play the Italian detective.  According to Andy Harries, Chief Executive of Left Bank Pictures: "Zen is handsome, humorous and romantic and Rufus Sewell is the perfect choice to play Didbin's delightful creation."

Vendetta, Cabal, and Ratking are being adapted for this project, which is being produced by the people who brought us the captivating Wallandar series on PBS.  They will start shooting in Italy this spring, so be on the lookout.  I, for one, can hardly wait!  In the meantime, be sure to check the mystery shelves for Dibdin's books.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Dick Francis, dead at 89

The book world has lost a grand master.  International bestselling author Dick Francis passed away on February 14 at his home in Grand Cayman.  He was 89.  During his illustrious career he penned 42 crime novels that took the reader into the exciting world of horses and horseracing.  His previous career as a champion jockey, riding for the Queen Mother, herself, formed a basis for many of his thrillers. When his first book, Dead Cert, was released in 1962, he was fast on his way to becoming a champion storyteller as well.

Click here for the BBC obituary.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

M.J. Rose thriller sparks new Fox series

It was with a great deal of interest that I tuned in to last Sunday's preview of the new Fox drama, Past Life, a series that sounded like it was right up my alley.  The show's promotion stated "From writer David Hudgins ("Friday Night Lights"), and inspired by the book "The Reincarnationist" by M.J. Rose, comes PAST LIFE, a new drama series that investigates the world of the unexplained through the eyes of a doctor and a former detective who must work together to solve decades-old mysteries."

Keep in mind that the TV show bears very little resemblance to M.J. Rose's novel, The Reincarnationst, but then, neither does Bones have very much in common with the Kathy Reichs' series of mysteries.  Books and TV -- like comparing apples and oranges.  You can read more about The Reincarnationist and Past Life in Rose's blog.  I loved the book and have high hopes the series will keep my interest.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Dig up something new

The Crossing Places, debut crime novel by British author Elly Griffiths, introduces an intelligent, no-nonsense heroine, archaeologist Ruth Galloway. When she isn’t digging up Iron Age artifacts, Ruth happily lives a solitary existence with her two cats in a remote corner of the Norfolk coast called the Saltmarsh. From the very beginning, the reader knows this eerie, windswept location will play a major part of the story, as much a character as any living person.

DCI Harry Nelson seeks Ruth’s professional expertise when human bones turn up on a lonely stretch of beach. He has been haunted by the disappearance of Lucy Downey, a young child abducted from her parents’ home ten years earlier. He needs to confirm if the bones are hers so he can finally bring closure to the case. In the intervening years, Nelson has been receiving a series of taunting letters filled with mystical overtones and obscure archaeological references. He decides to share the letters with Ruth, hoping that her knowledge of the subject will shed some light on the case.

Ruth determines that the bones date back two thousand years and could not belong to Lucy. Although the archaeologist in her is excited by the find, she can’t stop thinking about the girl’s disappearance and the identity of the letter writer. When another child goes missing, Ruth is drawn further into the two cases -- and closer to danger.

The story is strongly plotted and suspenseful; the characters are engaging. Ruth, forty-ish and somewhat overweight, is a quirky, prickly individual. She’s more interested in her work than her appearance. DCI Nelson, on the other hand, is the hard-nosed cop, edgy with a hint of danger. But intriguing chemistry occurs when these two characters interact. All in all, a great read and I look forward to the next installment in this series. The next book, The Janus Stone, was just published in the U.K., so those of us on this side of the pond will have to wait a bit to catch up with Ruth Galloway.

In the meantime, here are some more mysteries that involve archaeologists:

Cameron, Dana -- More Bitter Than Death: an Emma Fielding mystery
Cleverly, Barbara -- Bright Hair About the Bone
Conner, Beverly -- Skeleton Crew: a Lindsey Chamberlain novel
Ellis, Kate -- Bone Garden
Evans, Mary Anna -- Effigies
Freedman, J.F. -- Fallen Idols
Hart, Erin -- Lake of Sorrows
Lewis, Roy -- Grave Error
Peters, Elizabeth -- Tomb of the Golden Bird (Amelia Peabody series)

Monday, February 8, 2010

A Conversation with Three Authors

The Burbank Public Library is honored to host a monthly program with Sisters in Crime/Los Angeles Chapter.  Mystery aficionados have the opportunity to discover new authors and get a behind-the-scenes look at the writing process

In honor of Black History Month, the February 6th panel featured a conversation with three authors who discussed their writings and the African-American experience.  C Debra Thomas is an educator, poet, author and speaker. Gary Phillips has written several crime and mystery novels, including four featuring private eye Ivan Monk, and graphic novels.  Gary is a regular contributor to Mystery Scene magazine and noir anthologies.  His latest novel is about African Americans and World War II called Freedom's Flight. Pamela Samuels-Young, the author of legal thrillers, is herself an attorney and motivational speaker.  Her latest and most explosive novel is Buying Time.

Whether you are an avid mystery reader or an aspiring author, these discussion panels are always an energizing experience.  It must be all that creativity! If you haven't checked out the library's Sisters in Crime events, your next opportunity is Saturday, March 6.  The topic is one especially helpful to writers starting out -- "You've Got to Have Friends."  The panelists will discuss the importance of belonging to a sriting critique group.  Authors with that type of support get their work published sooner.  So join us in March and be inspired!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Victorian Secrets & Gaslight Murders

Are you in the mood to step back in time?  Conjure up the Victorian age when horse-drawn hansom cabs rattle over the cobblestones, fog drifts between the flickering gas lamps, and murder lurks in the dark corners.  Here is a selection of tales that add some history to your mystery:

Akunin, Boris -- The Death of Achilles
Barron, Shephanie -- A Flaw in the Blood
Bayard, Louis -- Mr. Timothy
Bowen, Rhys -- Murphy’s Law (first of the Molly Murphy series)
Carr, Caleb -- The Italian Secretary
Collins, Wilkie -- The Moonstone
Collins, Wilkie -- The Woman in White
Cox, Michael -- The Glass of Time: the secret life of Miss Esperanza Gorst: narrated by herself
Crichton, Michael -- The Great Train Robbery
Donnelly, Jennifer -- The Tea Rose
Dickinson, David -- Death & the Jubilee: a Lord Francis Powercourt Mystery
Frost, Mark -- List of Seven
Harwood, John -- The Séance
Hjurtsberg, William -- Nevermore
Paige, Robin -- Death on the Lizard
Palmer, William -- The Dons & Mr. Dickens
Pearl, Matthew -- The Poe Shadow
Perry, Anne -- Buckingham Palace Gardens (Thomas & Charlotte Pitt series)
Perry, Anne -- Execution Dock (William Monk & Hester Latterly series)
Peters, Elizabeth -- Crocodile on the Sandbank (first of the Amelia Peabod series)
Raybourn, Deanna -- Silent in the Sanctuary
Rogow, Roberta -- The Problem of the Missing Miss
Tallman, Shirley -- The Cliff House Strangler
Thomas, Will -- Some Danger Involved
Taylor, D. J. -- Kept: a Victorian Mystery
Thompson, Victoria -- Murder on Waverly Place
Trow, M.J. -- Lestrade and the Dead Man’s Hand

Click here to check the availability of these books at the Burbank Public Library.