Monday, November 29, 2010

While Aunt Agatha was on vacation

I hope all  you turkey-eaters had a great holiday weekend.  There's nothing like a little time off to recharge the batteries and catch up on your movie and reading lists.  As we rush full-speed to the end of the year and all that entails, it's time to start thinking about  the great crime novels we saw over 2010 and look forward to upcoming releases.

Aunt Agatha will pull together her list of top ten 2010 mysteries in an upcoming post.  In the meantime, check out the trailer for the film adaptation of Michael Connelly's The Lincoln Lawyer due out March 18, 2011. 

Friday, November 19, 2010

What Aunt Agatha is Reading

Aunt Agatha is currently reading Arnaldur Indridason's latest crime novel, Hypothermia.  Not having read the previous five in the series, it's still been interesting to delve into this powerful, psychological thriller by Iceland's premier novelist.  Series hero, Reykjavik police detective Erlendur is investigating an apparent suicide of a young woman, although there has been no evidence of foul play.  He's also trying to solve two cold cases three decades old.  In a way, Hypothermia is a ghost story, a haunting exploration of life, death, and  tragedy's painful grip on the living.  As Erlendur continues his investigations, he must face his own ghosts -- a failed marriage, his rocky relationship with his children, and the memory of his brother's death in a blizzard that Erlendur barely survived. Hypothermia is a compelling read  by an amazing storyteller.

Here are some more hot authors from the frozen north:
Karin Fossum (the Queen of Crime in Norway) -- The Water's Edge
Anne Holt (Norway) -- What Never Happens
Henning Mankell (Sweden) -- The Man from Beijing
Jo Nesbo (Norway) -- The Devil's Star 
Hakan Nesser (Sweden) -- Woman with Birthmark: an Inspector Van Veeteren Mystery
James Thompson (American-born, living in Finland) -- Snow Angels  (first thriller in a new series)

FYI: Jo Nesbo's internationally acclaimed Detective Harry Hole is going Hollywood!  Working Title Films landed the film rights to #7 in the series, The Snowman.  Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner will produce, Nesbo and his agent will be Executive Producers.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

What's Hot in Nordic Noir?

Maybe it was the blockbuster success of Steig Larsson's Millennium trilogy, starting with The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.  Then there was the popular PBS series featuring Henning Mankell's Wallander novels.  Now over the past year, "Nordic Noir" has become big business.  Publishers are looking for the next Steig Larsson and many of the excellent Scandinavian crime novelists are being translated for American consumption.

A worthy successor to Larsson is coming to our shores on January 4, 2011.  Three Seconds by Roslund and Hellström won the Swedish Crime Novel of the year in 2009 and was #1 on the bestseller's list there.  According to the publisher:

Dark, suspenseful, and more riveting than any thriller at the local cineplex, THREE SECONDS is the latest novel from best-selling Swedish duo Anders Roslund and Börge Hellström -- heirs apparent to Stieg Larsson and Henning Mankell as the masters of Scandinavian crime.

Piet Hoffman, a top secret operative for the Swedish police, is about to embark on his most dangerous assignment yet: after years spent infiltrating the Polish mafia, he's become a key player in their attempt to take over amphetamine distribution inside Sweden's prisons. To stop them from succeeding, he will have to go deep cover, posing as a prisoner inside the country's most notorious jail.

But when a botched drug deal involving Hoffman results in a murder, the investigation is assigned to the brilliant but haunted Detective Inspector Ewert Grens--a man who never gives up until he's cracked the case. Grens's determination to find the killer not only threatens to expose Hoffman's true identity-it may reveal even bigger crimes involving the highest levels of power. And there are people who will do anything to stop him from discovering the truth.

Be on the lookout for Three Seconds!

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Rabbit Factory Adapted for TNT Series

According to Deadline/Hollywood, Marshall Karp's The Rabbit Factory is being adapted for a series pilot to air on TNT.  It's reported that Steven Weber and D.L. Hughley have been signed to star in the pilot.  Allan Loeb (New Amsterdam, The Beast) wrote the screenplay.

The introduction of LAPD detectives Mike Lomax and Terry Biggs in The Rabbit Factory is both hilarious and suspenseful.  The two are called in to investigate the brutal murder of the actor portraying Rambunctious Rabbit, the mascot of Lamaar Studio's Familyland theme park.  What should have been the happiest place on the planet is rocked by two more brutal murders.  How can Lomax and Biggs keep the investigation discrete?  The partners uncover a conspiracy to destroy one of the country's largest entertainment conglomerates.

Monday, November 8, 2010

A Sherlockian Addendum

After you've had a chance to read Graham Moore's The Sherlockian, you might feel the need to return to the source material.  Both Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Bram Stoker play major roles in Moore's debut novel.  While their characters have taken on lives of their own, few people today know much about Conan Doyle and Stoker or the backstories to their greatest creations.

Leslie S. Klinger at the Burbank Library
An excellent place to dive into the Holmes canon is with The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes edited by Leslie S. Klinger.  The two volume set of the complete short stories and the one volume containing the novels are wonderful editions, to be thoroughly enjoyed whether you are a true Sherlockian or a newbie. 

Mr. Klinger has also published The New Annotated Dracula by Bram Stoker, a maginficent volume brilliantly illustrated.  Everyone must know the story of the infamous Transylvanian count from the myriad of films and other media  representations.  But how many have actually read Stoker's book?  If you fall into that category, The New Annotated Dracula is the way to go.

Moore acknowledges Les Klinger's expertise and invaluable assistance in the Author's Note at the end of his book.  As an aside, the Burbank Public Library was fortunate host Mr. Klinger on several occasions for author talks and it is always a great pleasure.  Les Klinger was also a consultant on the latest Sherlock Holmes film with Robert Downey, Jr. and continues with the upcoming sequel.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Irresistible Sherlock Holmes

 When Arthur Conan Doyle decided to kill off his greatest creation in 1893, Sherlock Holmes fans revolted.  To say that Londoners were quite upset would be putting it mildly.  The London Times even proclaimed  "Famed Detective Perishes!" So what did Conan Doyle do during that period between Holmes' fatal plunge over the Reichenbach Falls and his detective's  return in The Hound of the Baskervilles?

Graham Moore's clever debut novel, The Sherlockian, takes that question and turns it into the foundation of a delightful literary intrigue intertwining two centuries and two storylines.  While Arthur Conan Doyle took great glee in the demise of his fictional detective, he was not prepared for the depth of outrage felt by the reading public.  As a result of a letter bomb in his mailbox, he soon becomes involved in a real crime. Investigating a series of murders with his close friend, Bram Stoker, Conan Doyle documents the search in his journal which later mysteriously disappears.

The prestigious group of Sherlock Holmes aficionados, the Baker Street Irregulars, convenes in present-day New York for their annual dinner.  Scholar Alex Cale electrifies his colleagues with the announcement that he's discovered the missing Conan Doyle journal.  Before he can make his presentation, however, Cale turns up murdered in his hotel room and the journal is missing once again.  Twenty-something researcher Harold White slaps on his deerstalker hat and proceeds to track down the murderer with true Sherlockian zeal.

I must say I enjoyed The Sherlockian tremendously.  Graham Moore does for Sherlock what Jennifer Lee Carrell did for Shakespeare in Interred with Their Bones.  If you enjoy a literary puzzle, be sure to get your hands on The Sherlockian.  Published by Twelve, the book is being released December 1st.  Check out Graham Moore's The Sherlockian blog for more information and interesting links.