Besides My Two Front Teeth...
1999 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 prices are
in American dollars,
and there's a link to suggested sources at the bottom.
Like your mama done told ya, ya better shop around...
And see what other readers
want to see under their stockings here...
- Nightmare Town
by Dashiell Hammett
Edited by Kirby McCauley, Martin H. Greenberg and Ed Gorman
It doesn't get any better than this. Twenty long-lost tales by
the master, including seven Continental Op stories, three Sam
Spade tales, a tantalising dry run for The Thin Man, and the
missing like between the Op and Spade.
- The Encyclopedia of
Murder and Mystery.
by Bruce F. Murphy
This big chunk of book (656 pages) is an impressive new reference
source for fans of mystery and crime fiction. There are entries
on all facets of the crime and mystery genres, with some intriguing
detours along the way. There are entries on and discussions of
not only classic practitioners, but also newer talents such as
Patricia Cornwell, James Ellroy, and Jonathan Valin and authors
ordinarily considered outside the mystery genre. Murphy catalogues
the mechanics of murder (poisons, terminology, weapons, etc.),
subgenres, famous plot devices (like the locked room or the snowbound
house), movie adaptations, and great series characters. Like
the blurb says, "More than a reference book, The Encyclopedia
of Murder and Mystery provides a colorful and comprehensive map
of the mystery genre constructed under the gaze of Bruce F. Murphy's
own critical eye, making it an indispensable and lively guide
for every mystery lover." And the author promises that it's
not just a valentine to cozy lovers, either."Although it's
not restricted to hard-boiled fiction, it does include entries
on the classic hard-boiled authors, books, and P.I.'s, as well
as some of my personal favorites like Raoul Whitfield, Paul Cain,
and books like They Don't Dance Much."
- Raymond Chandler's
Philip Marlowe: A Centennial Celebration
by Byron Preiss, editor
A handsome new reprint of the by-now classic 1988 collection,
authorized by the estate of the late Raymond Chandler, featuring
original Philip Marlowe stories by some of the foremost private
eye writers around, including Max Allan Collins, Robert Crais,
Benjamin Schutz, Sara Paretsky, Jeremiah Healy, et al. This edition
includes new contributions by Roger L. Simon and Robert B.Parker.,
and there's even some never-before available stuff posted on
the publisher's site, just to give you a taste!
- Detective Agency:
Women Rewriting the Hard-Boiled Tradition
by Priscilla L. Walton and Manina Jones
University of California Press/$16.95
Intriguing look at the post-Grafton/Paretsky female eye,
from an unapologetically-feminist perspective, by two academics
from Ontario, Canada.
- The 2000 Deadly Directory
by Kate Derie, editor
Invaluable. Extensive listings of mystery bookstores, organizations,
publications, events, archives, small presses, reviewers, entertainment,
gifts, and online sites. Names, addresses, phone/fax, email,
and websites. It bills itself as "Your complete guide to
the international mystery, crime, and detective fiction community,"
and this ain't no foolin' around! Derie is also the creator of
the fantastic ClueLass
- Scene of the Crime
Written by Ed Brubaker
Art by Michael Lark
You can probably find all four parts of this 1999 mini-series
at any decent comic book store, and it's well worth the effort.
The terse, "just the facts, ma'am" art is perfect for
the tough, hardboiled tale about a youngish San Francisco private
eye, trying to outlive his painful past with the help of his
famous crime photographer uncle.
- Detectives Inc: A Terror For Dying
by Don McGregor and Gene Colan ..
Graphic novel reprint of the 1987 mini-series by Don McGregor,
with truly evocative art by Gene Colan, featuring private eyes
Ted Denning and Bob Ranier. A surprisingly-adult tale, with artwork
so compelling and right it's hard to believe the words were written
- Brick Mallery, Private
Investigator Triple Boxed Set
A fun spoof of the hard-boiled private eye radio shows of the
40's & '50s. Warren Coughlin does a Mickey Spillane-style
detective with his sardonic "tough guy" voice. The
dialogue parodies the cliched, noir-style hardboiled slang, taking
aim at cliche phrases and slick bad guys. Jusheck out the blurb:
"Brick Mallery is a Private Investigator. Although he deals
with your average crimes such as Blackmail, Kidnapping, and Stolen
Goods, he specializes in the more bizarre EVILS that involve
Clones, Aliens Mind Control, Identical Half-Twin Brother and
Sisters, and of course. . . MURDER!" This three-tape set
includes "The Case of the Denim Cut Shiny Stainless Steel
Mirrored Suit," "The Case of the Bride of Mallery"
and "The Case of Down Alive."
- Old Time Radio Detectives and Crime
Cassette Tapes ($29.98)
Compact Discs ($34.98)
A good overview of OTR detective shows, this collection of 12
remastered broadcasts from the 1940's and 50's includes "The
Maltese Falcon," "Sherlock Holmes - The Adventure of
the Tolling Bell," "Boston Blackie - Blackie &
the Fur Trade," "Dragnet - The Big No-Tooth,"
"Ellery Queen - One Diamond" "Gangbusters - The
Cincinnati Narcotics Ring," "The Green Hornet - The
Corpse That Wasn't There," "The Adventures of Philip
Marlowe - Red Wind," "Richard Diamond Private Detective
- The Joyce Wallace Case," " The Saint - The Nancy
Paycheck Case," " Tales of the Texas Rangers - Stickup,"
and "This Is Your F.B.I. - The Travelling Bride." Available
from Amazon.com, Radio Spirits and various other independent
and chain bookstores.
- Old-Time Radio Club Membership
OTR clubs offer an inexpensive way to enjoy radio drama, comedy,
other programs. Nearly all clubs have extensive collections of
detective shows. You can listen tot the incredibly downbeat and
hard-boiled "Pat Novak," the glib and flippant "Richard
Diamond," the egotistical "Nero Wolfe,"or the
"the insurance investigator with the action-packed expense
account - Johnny Dollar." Most clubs have a newsletter.
Basically you rent tapes for a 30 day period from the club's
lending libraries; you pay return postage. Club libraries usually
consist of open reel and cassette tapes, as well as archived
copies of written material covering various aspects of old time
radio. Tape catalogs are usually supplied as paper copies; usually
as an increased price for first-year dues.
A good listing of clubs can be found at http://www.old-time.com/clubcat.html.
- The Adventures of Harry Nile
Sixty episodes of New-Time Radio detective series, "The
Adventures of Harry Nile" are available in eight two-tape
sets. Particularly good is Volume 7 which contains 4 double-length
episodes. Cassettes and compact discs of many Harry Nile episodes
are also available from Imagination Theater's syndicator, Transmedia.
1974, Paramount Pictures
Screenplay by Robert Towne
Directed by Roman Polanski
Starring Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway
This 25th anniversary special edition DVD release of arguably
the best private eye movie ever made gets remastered, wide-screened
and treated with the respect it deserves. If you don't already
own this, it's about time you did. And if you've never seen this
noirish, Watergate-era take on the evil that men do in the name
of love and water in 1937 Los Angeles, you're in for a treat.
Fiction III: A Comprehensive Bibliography, 1749-1995
by Allen J. Hubin
At last! The third edition of this indispensable bibliography,
listing almost every English-language mystery ever written, is
finally available on CD-ROM. Now it's affordable and even portable.
Once upon a time, you needed a forklift just to move this thing,
and deep pockets to afford it at all. And now you'll no longer
have to schelp all over town looking for a library with a copy.
Perfect for anyone with more than a passing interest in crime
fiction. There are links by author, book, story, pseudonym, by
co-author, contents, chronology, and even by movies based on
the author's books, and works about the author. The last print
edition of Hubin was close to $200. Do the math.
In fact, as of December 4, 1999, this site is being Hubin-ized.
For your protection, of course.
- The Hard Boiled Engagement Calendar
by Peggy Thompson and Saeko Usukawa, eds.
Great photos and quotes from classic (and not-so-classic)
hard-boiled and noir films illustrate this 122 page spiral-bound
Most of the stuff on The Hatshelf Web Site is Western crap, but
check out the "Chicago" model on the lower right-hand
corner. (The color, of course, sucks, but it comes in all the
normal colors too.) I think the name alone is fantastic, but
if I were to go out and get a winter fedora (to complement the
summer one, of course), this is the one I'd pick. For all the
Bogart wannabes in your life.
And finally, the all-time great
gift for any truly serious 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....
- 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 enthusiastically
amateur to slickly professional, for all tastes and budgets.
Here are 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 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 for the radio suggestions on this page, and Victoria Shea-Esposito
for the fedora heads-up.
Drop a dime. Your comments,
suggestions, corrections and contributions are always welcome.
"...and I'll tell you right out that I'm a man who likes
talking to a man that likes to talk."