Month: November 2014

Monthly Summary (November 2014)

Books read during last month:

  • A Gun for Sale (Vintage Digital, 2010) First published in Great Britain in 1936 by Graham Greene (B)
  • A Delicate Truth (Penguin Books, 2014) First published by Viking in 2013 by John le Carré (A)
  • Stumped (280 Steps, 2014) by Rob Kitchin (A)
  • Deadly Weapon (Prologue Books, 2012) First published in 1946 by Wade Miller (C)

Pick of the Month: 

A Delicate Truth by John le Carré, a great read and highly entertaining novel.  

Books Bought Last Month:

  • God Save the Mark by Donald E. Westlake
  • Deadly Weapon by Wade Miller
  • The Front Seat Passenger by Pascal Garnier (trans. by Jane Aitken)
  • The Dying Place by Luca Veste
  • Entry Island by Peter May
  • An Unsuitable Job for a Woman by P. D. James
  • Borderline by Liza Marklund (trans. by Neil Smith)
  • Currently Reading

    • The Hunting Dogs by Jørn Lier Horst

  • Film Noir

    https://i0.wp.com/kellyriggsmysteries.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/outofthepast_01.jpgThe term Film Noir was coined by French film critics (first by Nino Frank in 1946) who noticed the trend of how ‘dark’, downbeat and black the looks and themes were of many American crime and detective films released in France to theatres following the war, such as The Maltese Falcon (1941), Murder, My Sweet (1944),  Double Indemnity (1944), The Woman in the Window (1944), and Laura (1944). A wide range of films reflected the resultant tensions and insecurities of the time period, and counter-balanced the optimism of Hollywood’s musicals and comedies. Fear, mistrust, bleakness, loss of innocence, despair and paranoia are readily evident in noir, reflecting the ‘chilly’ Cold War period when the threat of nuclear annihilation was ever-present. The criminal, violent, misogynistic, hard-boiled, or greedy perspectives of anti-heroes in film noir were a metaphoric symptom of society’s evils, with a strong undercurrent of moral conflict, purposelessness and sense of injustice. There were rarely happy or optimistic endings in noirs.

    Classic film noir developed during and after World War II, taking advantage of the post-war ambience of anxiety, pessimism, and suspicion. It was a style of black and white American films that first evolved in the 1940s, became prominent in the post-war era, and lasted in a classic “Golden Age” period until about 1960 (marked by the ‘last’ film of the classic film noir era, Orson Welles’ Touch of Evil (1958)).

    Important Note: Strictly speaking, ‘film noir’ is not a genre, but rather the mood, style, point-of-view, or tone of a film. It is also helpful to realize that ‘film noir’ usually refers to a distinct historical period of film history – the decade of film-making after World War II, similar to the German Expressionism or the French New Wave periods. However, it was labeled as such only after the classic period – early noir film-makers didn’t even use the film designation (as they would the labels “western” or “musical”), and were not conscious that their films would be labeled noirs.

    Read more HERE (Picture: Out of the Past (1947) directed by Jacques Tourneur)

    Film Notes: The Killers (1946) directed by Robert Siodmak

    Esta entrada es bilingüe, para ver la versión en castellano desplazarse hacia abajo

    This entry is a contribution to November crime fiction of the year meme hosted by Rich Westwood over at his blog Past Offences. The year chosen for November was #1946.

    USA / 97 minutes/ BW / Universal Pictures Dir: Robert Siodmak Pro: Mark Hellinger Scr: Anthony Veiller Story: taken from a short story by Ernest Hemingway Cine: Woody Bredell Mus: Miklos Rozsa Cast: Burt Lancaster (Swede), Ava Gardner (Kitty Collins), Edmond O’Brien (Riordan), Albert Dekker (Colfax), Sam Levene (Lubinsky), Jack Lambert (Dum Dum), John Miljan (Jake), Charles McGraw (Al), William Conrad (Max). Release Date: 28 August 1946 (USA)

    https://i1.wp.com/www.filmsite.org/posters/killers3.jpgThe Killers is a 1946 American film noir directed by Robert Siodmak and based in part on the short story of the same name by Ernest Hemingway. The film stars Burt Lancaster in his film debut, Ava Gardner, Edmond O’Brien, and Sam Levene. The film also features William Conrad in his first credited role, as one of the titular killers. An uncredited John Huston and Richard Brooks co-wrote the screenplay, which was credited to Anthony Veiller. In 2008, The Killers was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant“.(from Wikipedia)

    Plot summary: A pair of contract killers arrive to a small town looking for a man known as “the Swede” (Burt Lancaster). The Swede’s co-worker warns him but he just makes a laconic remark about having done one bad thing in the past. And, strangely enough, he makes no attempt to escape. They kill him. An insurance detective Jim Reardon (Edmond O’Brien) is assigned to the case. He’s determined to reconstruct the life of the Swede, interviewing many of those who had known him. It turns out that he was a broken-down boxer who fell into crime and became involved in a major robbery.

    The film structure is reminiscent of Citizen Kane. The story is told through flashbacks where those who had known “the Swede”, give their side of the story to an insurance detective. Despite some flaws in the plot, the story is very powerful thanks to an excellent film directing and an effective interpretation. Highly recommended.

    Read more about The Killers at Filmsite Movie Review

    Notas de cine: Forajidos (1946), dirigida por Robert Siodmak

    The Killers (Forajidos) es una película estadounidense de 1946 dirigida por Robert Siodmak y basada en parte en el cuento de Ernest Hemingway del mismo título. La película está protagonizada Burt Lancaster en su debut cinematográfico, Ava Gardner, Edmond O’Brien, y Sam Levene. La película también cuenta con la participación de William Conrad en su primer papel como uno de los asesinos a sueldo. John Huston y Richard Brooks participaron en el guión aunque no figuran en los títulos de la película en donde sólo se menciona como guionista a Anthony Veiller. En el 2008, The Killers fue seleccionada para su conservación en el Registro Nacional Cinematográfico de los Estados Unidos por la Biblioteca del Congreso por su importancia cultural, histórica o estética. (De Wikipedia)

    Argumento: Un par de asesinos a sueldo llegan a un pequeño pueblo en busca de un hombre conocido como “el sueco” (Burt Lancaster). Su compañero de trabajo le advierte pero él sólo hace un lacónico comentario de haber hecho una cosa mal en su pasado. Y, por extraño que parezca, no tiene intención alguna de escapar. Lo matan. Un detective de seguros Jim Reardon (Edmond O’Brien) es asignado al caso. Reardon está decidido a reconstruir la vida del sueco, entrevistando a muchos de los que lo habían conocido. Resulta que era un boxeador acabado que cayó en la delincuencia y se vio envuelto en un importante robo.

    La estructura de la película recuerda a Ciudadano Kane. La historia está narrada a través de flashbacks donde los que habían conocido a “el sueco”, dan su versión de los hechos a un detective de seguros. A pesar de algunos defectos en la trama, la historia es muy potente gracias a una excelente dirección cinematográfica y a una interpretación eficaz. Muy recomendable.

    Arma mortal (Bruguera 1983) [Título Original: Deadly Weapon] de Wade Miller

    https://i2.wp.com/bibliotecanegra.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/Miniatura/caratulas/armamortal.jpg

    El resumen de la editorial dice: Su nombre era Shasta Lynn, un nombre tan falso como el color de su pelo dorado. Era grande y hermosa, y sabía cómo coquetear cuando se desnudaba. Era tan sensacional que nadie se dio cuenta de que un admirador en la última fila llevaba un cuchillo clavado en su corazón. Se alza el telón en un drama de asesinato, extorsión, tráfico de drogas, y pérfido romance. Y un inteligente policía de San Diego tendrá que hacer la llamada final dejar libre el escanario a la muerte de uno de los asesinos más díficiles. (Mi traducción libre) 

    Un buen resumen de este libro se puede encontrar en Battered, Tattered, Yellowed, & Creased: El detective privado Walter James que va tras la pista del cartel de la droga que mató a su compañero, cuando un aviso anónimo de un cierto doctor Boone le conduce hasta un cabaret de stiptease de San Diego. Pero antes de poder reunirse con él, su contacto es asesinado. James decide unir sus esfuerzos con el detective de la policía Austin Clapp a fin de poder arrestar a la red de narcotráficantes de una vez por todas. Hay muchos sospechosos entre los que poder elegir. Está la bellísima Shasta Lynn, la artista de striptease que encabeza el cartel del cabaret. Está Laura Gilbert, cuyo romance con James irá en aumento en el transcurso de la novela, y el padre de Laura, que le está proporcionando en secreto una gran cantidad de dinero a Shasta Lynn. Está también un mayor del ejército en la reserva, un psiquiatra charlatán, y un trío de capos mexicanos de la droga. Desenredar esta red de turbios comerciantes y de personajes peligrosos podría conducir a James hasta el misterioso doctor Boone, que es la clave para poder sacar a la luz este caso. El resto de la reseña está aquí.

    Mi compañero blogero Sergio en Tipping Mi Fedora escribió: … lo que tenemos aquí no es una novela especialmente original, en algunos aspectos – y probablemente no es tampoco tan memorable como algunas de la posterior serie protagonizada por Max Thursday de este equipo de escritores (en el que Clapp también aparece por cierto). Pero no dejes que esto te desanime, ya que tiene algunas cosas buenas. La novela está muy bien elaborada y tiene algunos toques de humor en el diálogo (especialmente entre James y Clapp) – y realmente tiene derecho a que se le reconozca cierta originalidad, pero realmente no puedo hablar de ello – Sí, eso es cierto, encontrarás una sensacional sorpresa al final … de hecho Ed Hoch la elogió por tener “un final único en su género.”

    Y como en cierto momento dice el detective Clapp: “Nunca he visto un caso antes en donde tantas pistas terminen en tal cantidad de cadáveres

    Por mi parte he encontrado la trama demasiado inverosímil, y estoy de acuerdo con Sergio en que no es una novela original. Sin embargo, estoy dispuesto a otorgarle cierto crédito y probablemente voy a leer algún libro de la serie posterior protagomizado por Max Thursday.

    Mi calificación: C (me gustó con algunas reservas)

    Robert Allison “Bob” Wade (1920-2002) y H. Bill Miller (1920-1961) escribieron sus novelas bajo el seudónimo de Wade Miller (también escribieron como Whit Masterson, Dale Wilmer, y Will Daemer). Después de la Segunda Guerra Mundial, Wade y Miller combinaron sus apellidos y escribieron su primera novela, Arma mortal (1946). Fue un buen debut del equipo y está protagonizada por el detective privado Walter James, que se encuentra en San Diego investigando el asesinato de su compañero. Su siguiente novela, Guilty Bystander (1947), está protagonizada por el detective privado Max Thursday, un alcohólico descuidado con un temperamento impredecible que vive en un hotel de mala muerte. En la historia, la ex esposa de Thursday aparece para contarle que su hijo ha sido secuestrado y, junto con la lucha para mantenerse sobrio, tiene que enfrentarse con varios policías, matones y prostitutas traicioneros. Los críticos han comparado favoranlemente Guilty Bystander con la obra de Hammett y de Chandler. Las otras novelas de Thursday son Fatal Step (1948), Uneasy Street (1948), Calamity Fair (1950), Murder Charge (1950), y Shoot To Kill (1951). Utilizaron el nombre de Masterson en su novela Badge of Evil (1956) –sobre la que se basa la clásica película de cine negro Sed de mal (1959), dirigida por Orson Welles y protagonizada por Welles, Charlton Heston, y Janet Leigh. Otras excelentes novelas de Masterson son A Cry In The Night (1955), que trata de un secuestro, y A Hammer In His Hand (1960), que cuenta como protagonista a una mujer policía. Bill Miller murió en 1961 a causa de un ataque al corazón. Tenía sólo 41 años. Robert Wade continuó su carrera como escritor de éxito, escribiendo novelas, tanto con su nombre como con el de Whit Masterson, además fue columnista habitual del San Diego Union. En 1988, Wade fue galardonado con el Premio a su Trayectoria por la Asociación de Escritores americanos de detectives privados.

    Reseña de Arma mortal en Biblioteca Negra

    Review: Deadly Weapon by Wade Miller

    This entry is a contribution to November crime fiction of the year meme hosted by Rich Westwood over at his blog Past Offences. The year chosen for November was #1946. 

    Prologue Books, 2012 a division of F + W Media, Inc. Kindle edition (324 KB). First published in 1946 by Robert Wade and Bill Miller. eISBN: 978-1-4405-4054-7 ASIN: B0075FEVLM, 215 pages.

    http://ecimages.kobobooks.com/Image.ashx?imageID=XMPQ3pbvmk2MdoEFxx7tqQ&rm=MaxHorizontal&hs=433

    The publisher’s blurb reads: Her name was Shasta Lynn—a names as phony as the color of her golden hair. She was big and beautiful, and she knew how to tease when she stripped. She was so sensational no one noticed that an admirer in the last row wore a knife sticking in his heart. Curtains go up on a drama of murder, racketeering, dope-peddling, and double-dealing romance. And a smart San Diego cop calls the finale for one of the toughest killers ever to clear the stage for death. – See more at: http://www.prologuebooks.com/books/wade-miller/deadly-weapon#sthash.tzu9suTg.dpuf

    A nice summary of this book can be found at Battered, Tattered, Yellowed, & Creased: Private eye Walter James is on the trail of the drug cartel who killed his partner, led to a San Diego burlesque house by an anonymous tip from one Doctor Boone. But before he can make the meet, the contact is murdered. James decides to team up with police detective Austin Clapp to bust the drug ring once and for all. There are plenty of suspects for him to choose between. There’s the beautiful Shasta Lynn, the striptease artist headlining at the burlesque. There’s Laura Gilbert, whose romance with James blossoms over the course of the novel, and her father, who’s providing a lot of secret money to Shasta Lynn. There’s a retired Major, a quack psychiatrist, and a trio of Mexican drug lords. Untangling this web of shady dealers and dangerous characters might lead James to the mysterious Doctor Boone, who is the key to busting this case wide open. Read more here.

    My fellow blogger Sergio on Tipping My Fedora wrote: … what we have here is not an especially original novel in some respects – and probably not as memorable as some of the team’s subsequent Max Thursday series (in which Clapp also appears incidentally) either. But don’t let this put you off because it has some great things in it. The novel is very smoothly put together and has some great touches of humour in the dialogue (especially between James and Clapp) – and  really does have some genuine claim to originality, though really I can’t talk about it – yup, that’s right, it has a sensational surprise ending … indeed Ed Hoch praised it for “an ending unique in the private eye genre.”

    Police detective Clapp says at one point: “I’ve never seen a case before where so many leads end up with so many corpses”

    From my side I’ve found the plot too far fetched, and I agree with Sergio that it’s not an original novel. However I’m ready to give him credit and I’ll probably read some book in their subsequent Max Thursday series.

    My rating: C (I liked it with a few reservations)

    Robert Allison “Bob” Wade (1920-2002) and H. Bill Miller (1920-61) penned their novels using the joint pseudonym of Wade Miller (they also wrote as Whit Masterson, Dale Wilmer, and Will Daemer). After WWII, Wade and Miller combined their surnames and wrote their first novel, Deadly Weapon (1946). It was a fine debut from the team and features P.I. Walter James, who is in San Diego investigating the shooting of his partner. Their next effort, Guilty Bystander (1947), features private detective Max Thursday, an unkempt alcoholic with an unpredictable temper who lives in a fleabag hotel. In the story, Thursday’s ex-wife shows up to tell him their son has been kidnapped and, along with battling to stay sober, he has to battle assorted cops, thugs, and double-crossing hookers. Reviewers compared Guilty Bystander favourably with the work of Hammett and Chandler. The other Thursday novels are Fatal Step (1948), Uneasy Street (1948), Calamity Fair (1950), Murder Charge (1950), and Shoot To Kill (1951). They used the Masterson name on their novel Badge of Evil (1956)–the basis for the classic film noir Touch of Evil (1959), directed by Orson Welles and starring Welles, Charlton Heston, and Janet Leigh. Other excellent Masterson novels are A Cry In The Night (1955), which deals with a kidnapping, and A Hammer In His Hand (1960), which features a policewoman as the protagonist. Bill Miller died of a heart attack in 1961. He was only 41 years-old. Robert Wade continued his career as a successful writer, penning novels both under his own name and as by Whit Masterson, as well as writing a regular column for the San Diego Union. In 1988, Wade was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Private Eye Writers of America.

    Read more at Prologue Books

    Deadly Weapon has been reviewed on Tipping My Fedora (Sergio), Battered, Tattered, Yellowed, & Creased

    Prologue Books

    Wade Miller at The Thrilling Detective Website

    Robert Wade Obituary 

    The Authors Who Were Wade Miller: Robert Wade and Bill Miller