It and Like It!
1998 Christmas Gift Suggestions
For the P.I. Fan Who Has Everything
I've just started this
one, so any suggestions are more than welcome...and, of course,
you can always check out Word
on the Street: What's New! for what
else is out there. These are just a few suggestions that I thought
had particular merit. Take your pick!
(By the way, the original version of this list appears in my column in the then-current issue of Blue Murder Magazine.)
- The Big Book of Noir
Edited by Ed Gorman, Lee Server and Martin H. Greenberg, editors.
Carroll & Graf Publishers/$19.95
A greatest hits of noir non-fiction, covering film, television,
literature, comic books, etc., from Ron Goulart, Max Allan Collins,
Bill Pronzini, James Sallis, Robert Skinner, Stephen King, Gary
Lovisi, Dick Lochte, William Nolan, Maxim Jakubowski, Bill Crider,
Leigh Brackett, Etienne Borgers, and other suspicious characters.
I can't praise this book enough. Passionate, diverse, opinionated,
cranky, and enlightening.
City: The Lost World of Film Noir
by Eddie Muller
St. Martin's Press/Griffin/$27.95
As good as it gets. If The Big Book of Noir uses the shotgun
approach, Muller uses one clean shot to the head. Perfect for
the hardboiled movie buff who's already memorized The Maltese
Falcon and The Big Sleep. Great pictures and commentary
worth reading. A killer.
- A GIRL AND A GUN
The Complete Guide to Film Noir on Video
by David N. Meyer
$14, 303 pages, small b&w illustrations.
Listings of 103 films currently available on video with a summary
of the plot and a critical evaluation of the driection and acting.
Ranging from After Dark, My Sweet to The Wrong Man,
including Chinatown, La Femme Nikita, The Big Sleep
to Taxi Driver. An interesting guide, sure to make you
want to go out an rent some of these noir films.
- The Nero Wolfe Cookbook
A beautifully-illustrated revised edition of Rex Stout's collection
of Nero Wolfe's favorite recipes. Get fat and phat at the same
- Jonny Double
by Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso
DC/Vertigo 4 issues/$2.95 each
DC Comics' revival of their 1960's P.I., as a rumpled, street
level eye trying to cling on to his ideals in a world that seems
to have no place for them. Worth visiting your local comic book
store. The last issue came out in November, so there's a good
chance all four issues can still be found.
- Old-Time Radio's Greatest Detectives
20 Cassette Boxed Set/$59.95
Sixty of radio's greatest detectives episodes from 20 of
radio's most popular gumshoes, including Barry Craig, Boston
Blackie, Gregory Hood, Casey - Crime Photographer, Dragnet, Jeff
Regan - Investigator, Michael Shayne - Detective, Pat Novak For
Hire, Philip Marlowe, Richard Diamond, Rogue's Gallery, The Saint,
The Shadow, and Johnny Dollar. Includes a 64-page booklet.
- The Adventures of Harry Nile
Volumes 7 and 8/$14.98 each
The spirit of old-time radio detectives lives on in "The
Adventures of Harry Nile" which appears regularly on the
KIRO Mystery Playhouse in Seattle, and the nationally-syndicated
Imagination Theatre. This series started in the late 1970's and
is still going strong. Volume 7 and 8 are the latest in the collection.
- Radio's Golden Years
- A Visual Guide to the Shows and Stars
by Frank Bresee and Bobb Lynes
It uses the informational cartoon, a format popularized in Ripley's
Believe It or Not. Each of the 254 panels (8.5" by 11")
deals with a single show or radio-related topic. There is informative
text about each show, and drawings of radio people actors, producers,
directors, writers, announcers, composers and even products.
Bobb did the drawings, hundreds of them. Not just detectives
are covered, but there are a lot of them in this book: Big Town,
Boston Blackie, Bulldog Drummond, Casey - Crime Photographer,
Dick Tracy, Ellery Queen, Fat Man, Green Hornet, Johnny Dollar
six of the eight Johnny Dollars), Let George Do It, Michael Shayne,
Mr. and Mrs. North, Mr. Chameleon, Mr. Keen - Tracer of Lost
Persons, Nero Wolfe, Nick Carter, Night Beat, Pat Novak For Hire,
Perry Mason, Philip Marlowe, Richard Diamond, Rocky Fortune,
Sam Spade, Sgt. Preston, The Shadow, Sherlock Holmes, Tales of
the Texas Rangers, and The Thin Man.
This self-published, limited-edition (1,000 copies) softback
book, is available from the authors & costs $25.00 (US) postpaid.
Send your orders to Radio's Golden Years, c/o Bobb Lynes,
Box 561, So. Pasadena, CA 91031."
- The Singing Detective
New release of Dennis Potter's classic 1986 British miniseries.
A challenging, intelligent, emotionally-charged epic, about a
writer and his detective hero, exploring issues of creativity,
writing, honour, betrayal and the heartbreak of psoriasis. Strong
- The 1999 Mystery Lovers Calendar
by Jay Pearsall
St. Martin's Press/Universe /13.95
A great-looking wall calendar, this year devoted to that
hardboiled stand-by, dangerous dames. Each month there's a reproduction
of an old crime paperback. The books may not be classics, but
the covers rock!
- The 1999 New York Public Library
365-Day Mystery Lovers Calendar
At 5 1/4" X 4 1/4", it's the perfect size for a
desk. Everyday a new page and a new trivia question on the works
of famous mystery writers.
- Robicheaux Dock & Bait Shop
T-Shirts and CapsT-Shirts
$24.95/Caps-$19.95 (avail. in various colors &
Perfect wear for schlepping around the bayous or reading
James Lee Burke's latest, Sunset Limited.
- Clue: The Deluxe
50th Anniversary Limited Gift Edition
The world's best-selling mystery game. Everybody knows this
one, either as Clue or Cluedo. "Colonel Mustard did it with
the candlestick in the library." Budding detectives have
made this and similar accusations since 1948 when the John Waddington
Company of Britain first introduced Anthony Pratt's classic board
This year, to celebrate the game's fiftieth anniversary, Parker
Brothers has released a deluxe limited edition, in fancy embossed
tin box, with wood and brass tokens. A class act. Okay, not the
most hardboiled gift - it's more in the traditional mystery vein,
so skip shaving for a day or two, drink a lot of bourbon while
playing, and expect everyone else to cheat.
And finally, the ne plus ultra
for any true private eye fan...
- The Maltese Falcon
Not the real one, but an incredible facsimile. Now you can
have your own Black Bird. A foot high and five and a half pounds.
And I'm sure, for a price, you can have it delivered, wrapped
in San Francisco newspapers, by a dying sea captain. The stuff
that dreams are made of....
Have a good one....
- Maltese Falcon Christmas Tree Ornaments
And these were made available a few years ago, I believe,
possibly by Hallmark...when you're hung on a tree, you'll take
it and like it! Evidently, Hallmark or someone has a three-piece
set: a miniature movie poster and Bogart and Mary Astor, he in
a trenchcoat, she in the blue suit and hat ensemble. Any leads
on this would be greatly appreciated....
Our Indiana op, Victoria
Esposito-Shea, (respectfully) submitted this report:
"If I recall correctly, Linda Thrasher mentioned these on
Rara-Avis last year. Unfortunately, she was mistaken--they are
in fact Casablanca ornaments, with Bogart, Bergman, and a Casablanca
poster. I know this because I went into a frenzy looking for
the Falcon ornaments and annoyed the hell out of the nice lady
at the local Hallmark store. It turns out that the Casablanca
set was the first in a series of Bogie ornaments, so the Falcon
ones may be on their way--I haven't checked yet. Further investigation
established that if you look really closely at the female figure,
you can definitely tell that she's wearing Bergman's clothing--the
hat is totally different from anything Astor wore in the Falcon....We
bought them anyway. :)
And my reply to all this has to be that if they ever do
make a Christmas tree ornament of Brigid O'Shaughnessy, I hope
they don't hang her by that pretty neck of hers....
In this computer game, billed as "a shadowy thriller,"
you get to be a 1940's LA private eye, and work on six non-linear
cases that takes you through a 1940's film noir atmosphere, complete
with smoky jazz score and thousands of archival photos and location
shots, all in "glorious black and white." Judging from
the demo I saw, a truly beautiful-looking game, aimed at film
noir and crime fiction fans. Created by film veteran Jeff Blyth.
For Windows, although a Mac version may or may not have also
been released. Alas, CyberDreams, the company that manufactured
this game seems to have vanished. Their URL now leads to a company
specializing in adult web sites.
- Gift Certificates
Okay, it's not the most thoughtful gift, but at least you won't
be buying someone a book they've already read. Most bookstores
and online bookstores offer gift certificates, including several
that offer rare and collectible books. Check out my list of Booksellers & Dealers.
What could be cooler than receiving a gift all year long? There
are tons of great mystery magazines and newsletters, featuring
a range of fiction and non-fiction, ranging from enthusiasticly
amateur to slickly professional, for all tastes and budgets.
Here's some suggestions.
- Mystery Parties/Events
Give your loved one murder this Christmas. What could be more
fun? If you have a family or business function, consider throwing
a mystery-theme party. Do it yourself, or check out these
companies who will do it for you, whether you plan to
entertain a few friends, or the entire office.
The above are just a few suggestions. Try these Suggested
Sources sources for gifts ranging from t-shirts, lawn
ornaments, handcuffs, tapes of old radio shows, books, mugs, puzzles,
and more, ranging from tacky to tasteful, from marvelous to morbid.
Thanks to Stewart
Wright and Rick
Robinson for their contributions to this page.
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