Mystery Challenge: Professionals – The Police

~by David W.

Someone’s been murdered: who are you going to call? A haughty genius and his devoted doctor sidekick? A persnickety little Belgian whose egg-shaped head is punctuated by a tiny moustache? A wisecracking shamus in a dingy office, drinking rotgut and polishing his gat? Of course not: YOU CALL THE COPS!

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Mystery Challenge: Professionals — Private Eyes

~by David W.

So far in our mystery challenge, we’ve invited you to cozy up with some amateur sleuths, explore the world, and travel back in time to enjoy great puzzlers from the Queen of Mystery and the World’s Greatest Detective. Now it’s time to get some professional help, as we turn up our collars, put on our gumshoes and enter the world of the private eye. Trouble is their business.

Back in the 1920’s as mystery buffs clamored to match wits withingenious Lords and spinsterClick here to find Red Harvest in the SPL catalogs to solve increasingly elaborate whodunnits, a brash new breed of American pulp writers dragged murder out of the drawing room and back into the mean streets. Nowhere is this new hardboiled approach to crime clearer than in Dashiell Hammett’s landmark 1929 novel Red Harvest, in which a two-fisted detective (whose name we never learn) metes out cruel justice on a gritty town so corrupt the locals call it Poisonville – “an ugly city… set in an ugly notch between two ugly mountains that had been all dirtied up by mining.” Inspired by Hammett’s own stint breaking strikes for the Pinkerton Detective Agency, this was a whole new breed of anti-heroic detective.   Continue reading “Mystery Challenge: Professionals — Private Eyes”

Romantic Wednesdays: Romance In Death

There’s a recognized trope in romance that people want to, let’s say, celebrate life after a funeral. Or any kind of “near death” experience. That’s not what this post is about. Ahem.

naked in deathThe “In Death” series, by J.D. Robb, is a genre bending mash up of romance, surprisingly classic police procedural mystery, and just a touch of futuristic looking science fiction.

It’s cop shop type mystery for romance readers who say they don’t like mysteries; and it’s romance for mystery readers who say they don’t want any mushy stuff in their whodunnits. And then there’s just enough of that shiver up your spine when the characters say or do something that makes the reader aware that the story is set in 2060 to give it a futuristic feel, but not enough to scare aware anyone who says they really don’t want sci-fi cooties in either their romance or their mystery. Continue reading “Romantic Wednesdays: Romance In Death”

Crime Comics: Fiction and Non-Fiction

Crime comics were big in the 1940s and 50s, but when adoption of the Comics Code Authority in 1954 limited the types and severity of crime cartoonists could depict, their popularity waned. In recent decades crime comics have gained in popularity and stature as several talented creators have worked to resurrect and reinvent the genre, both in fiction and non-fiction forms. Continue reading “Crime Comics: Fiction and Non-Fiction”

Mysteries for non-mystery readers

Image of snobby face courtesy of emtionaltoothpaste via FlickrOh, I would never read a mystery!” If you love crime fiction, you almost certainly have at least one of these in your life. They don’t mean to be snobs or anything, but mysteries? Um, no thanks. Life’s too short, they’ll say, to waste it on such frivolities. In the library, they don’t even know where the mystery section is. They prefer literature to fiction – the classics, or the titles selected by their book group. Their bookbags groan with  the dense complexities of My Name is Red, by Nobel prize-winning Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk; A.S. Byatt’s erudite Booker prize-winning Possession; Charles Dickens’ Bleak House, an unassailable classic of the highest order. Continue reading “Mysteries for non-mystery readers”