Dorothy Bowers (1902 – 1948)
Clifford Witting (1907 – 1968)
Following my inveterate habit not to start reading an author following a chronological order of his or her books, I have selected the following titles to begin to familiarise myself with them both. Stay tune!
Fear For Miss Betony, 1941 (Inspector Pardoe # 4) by Dorothy Bowers (Moonstone Press, 2019)
Emma Betony is an elderly lady reluctantly coming to terms with the fact that the rest of her life is to be spent in inaction at Toplady Homes–a serviced London establishment for retired gentlewomen. Salvation appears to arrive in the form of an impassioned plea for help from an old pupil, Grace Aram, who now runs Makeways, a girls school and private nursing home in the west country. When Emma arrives at Makeways, however, it is to discover a community haunted by a malignant force that threatens to call up anew the ghosts of her own past. And when tragedy strikes, Emma finds she must face her own demons if she is to bring a murderer to justice.
Catt Out of the Bag, 1939 (Inspector Harry Charlton #4) by Clifford Witting (Galileo Publishers, 2020)
This reissue of a classic mystery originally published in 1939 sparkles with wonderfully wry humour and the energy of the time. John Rutherford finds himself puzzling the mysterious disappearance of a man from an evening of carol singing. The novel begins with: “A rather curious thing happened during the evening of Sunday, the 21st of December”. John narrates, and within a few paragraphs had me chuckling in appreciation. As John investigates it becomes clear that the darkest of deeds may have been committed, and he reports the case to Inspector Charlton. Clifford Witting wrote 16 novels between 1937 and 1964, Catt Out of the Bag is the fourth involving Inspector Harry Charlton, yet you can quite happily read this as a standalone. I found myself completely wrapped up in the era, and thoroughly enjoyed the lively wit. Sitting as it does within the ‘Golden Age’ of mystery writing Catt Out of the Bag really is a perfect Christmas Mystery.
A friend of mine have asked me about which contemporary authors, in the vein of the great Golden Age of Mystery classics, can I recommend him. The first ones that came to my mind were Martin Edward’s Rachel Savernake Series, Jim Noy’s The Red Death Murders, Tom Mead’s Death and the Conjuror, and Roger Ormerod’s Time to Kill. And I started looking for other contemporary authors that I have on my TBR shelf and/or files:
The following list is not meant to be exhaustive, take it as a work in progress, and feel free to add any author that I could have overlooked in the comments. Needles to say that all or most of their books are already on my TBR shelf, and I hope to read them in due time. Stay tuned.
In no particular order: Victoria Dowd; Gigi Pandian; James Scott Byrnside; Richard Osman; Robert Thorogood and Anthony Horowitz.
Any help on which books, by these authors, to start reading first will be welcome.
By the way, my friend is already familiar with Paul Halter, but authors of other nationalities are also very much welcome. However, I have a separate list for Japanese authors.
Yesterday, at Tipos Infames bookshop, in the Malasaña district of Madrid, took place the presentation of Who Editorial, a publishing project created by Noemí Calabuig Cañestro and Manuel Navarro Villanueva, just about a year ago. Noemí and Manuel are two crime fiction fans that created Who Editorial with the aim of bringing the Spanish-speaking public the novels of the great classic authors of the so-called Golden Age of Detection. As fans of this genre, they faced the difficulty of finding their favourite titles in Spanish, either there were no translations or those that were found were old and neglected editions. It was then when, having identified this need, they began to write a blog that gradually led them to engage in this editorial project, that I hope will be successful.
To their new titles, here, It should be added that they will soon publish another novel by John Dickson Carr, The Black Spectacles, apa The Problem of the Green Capsule. Besides I do believe they have more surprises waiting for us, mainly the publication in Spanish for the first time of contemporary authors in the vein of the great classics of the genre. Stay tuned.
In Tipos Infames bookshop, San Joaquín, 3 BAJO-IZDA, Madrid, it will take place the presentation of Who Editorial on Saturday 19 November at 12:30. The presentation will be given by Noemí Calabuig. Admission is free to the public.
At the table, accompanying Noemí, will be those of us who have written the introduction to the last books published and we will be talking about the books we have prefaced, namely El misterio de los hermanos siameses de Ellery Queen (original title The Siamese Twin Mystery, 1933), La muerte de Jezabel de Chistianna Brand (original title Death of Jezebel, 1948) y El caso de los bombones envenenados de Anthony Berkeley (original title The Poisoned Chocolates Case, 1929).
If you happen to be in Madrid on that date, do come and join us, it will be worth your while. The presentation will be in Spanish.
USA / 112 minutes / Technicolor, 35mm / Paramount Pictures Corp. / Patron, Inc. Dir: Alfred Hitchcock Pr: Alfred Hitchcock. Scr: John Michael Hayes based on the short story “It Had to Be Murder” by Cornell Woolrich in Dime Detective (Feb 1942). Cine: Robert Burks. Mus: Franz Waxman. Cast: James Stewart ( L. B. Jeffries ); Grace Kelly ( Lisa Fremont ); Wendell Corey ( Detective Thomas J. Doyle ); Thelma Ritter ( Stella ); Raymond Burr ( Lars Thorwald ); Judith Evelyn ( Miss Lonely Hearts ); Ross Bagdasarian ( The Composer ); Georgine Darcy ( Miss Torso, the dancer ); Jesslyn Fax ( Sculptress ); Rand Harper ( Honeymooner ); Irene Winston ( Mrs. Thorwald ). Summary: A wheelchair-bound photographer spies on his neighbours from his apartment window and becomes convinced one of them has committed murder, despite the scepticism of his fashion-model girlfriend . (Several sources). Release Date: US 1 September 1954. Premiere New York 4 August 1954; Los Angeles 11 August 1954; Spain 3 October 1955. Spanish title: La ventana indiscreta IMDb Rating: 8.5/10. Awards: New York Film Critics’ Award, Best Actress to Grace Kelly. The film is considered by many filmgoers, critics, and scholars to be one of Hitchcock’s best and one of the greatest films ever made. In 1997 it was added to the United States National Film Registry in the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.
After reading Woolrich’s short story “It Had to Be Murder,” which I hadn’t read before, I had the happy thought of watching Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window for the umpteenth time. It can be said that the film is loosely based on Woolrich’s story and that the modifications added by the screenwriter and the director himself, serve to enhance its cinematographic perspective; even though they alter the original sense of the story. In fact, among other things, those changes bring much more depth to the characters. The net result is a masterpiece of the seventh art.
Después de leer el cuento de Woolrich “Tenía que ser un asesinato”, que no había leído antes, tuve la feliz idea de ver La ventana indiscreta de Alfred Hitchcock por enésima vez. Puede decirse que la película se basa libremente en la historia de Woolrich y que las modificaciones añadidas por el guionista y el propio director, sirven para realzar su perspectiva cinematográfica; aunque alteran el sentido original de la historia. De hecho, entre otras cosas, esos cambios aportan mucha más profundidad a los personajes. El resultado neto es una obra maestra del séptimo arte.
Rear Window at American Film Institute
Rear Window at Wikipedia
Rear Window at IMDb
Rear Window THR’s1954 Review