Naughty or Nice?...
Christmas 2001 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 most of the "Buy this" links are to Amazon.com,
with whom I have a sponsorsip deal, which helps to pay for this
But if you'd prefer to buy them elsewhere,
there's a link to other suggested sources at the bottom.
Like your mama done told ya, ya better shop around...
Most of the prices listed are the suggested retail prices, only..
History of the Mystery...Buy
by Max Allan Collins
Collectors Press, 2001
A highly personal, lavishly illustrated (with tons of scans
from Max's own collection) investigation of the entire mystery
genre, "Collins' magnifying glass focuses on every aspect
of the ouevre and gives us what is arguably the most delightfully
comprehensive survey ever published." The author also personally
promised me loads "girls-and-gats paperback covers,"
and he sure as hell dcelivered. This is the sort of coffee table
books that's worth taking up drinking coffee for. Collins
is, of course, the creator of P.I.s Ms.
Tree, Nate Heller
Edited by Robert J. Randisi
It doesn't get much better than this, for fans of the shamus
game. Think of it as a sampler pack of some of the best in contemporary
private detective fiction. PWA founder Randisi ups the ante with
yet another rock-solid PWA anthology of 14 more original stories,
including contributions by Max Allan Collins (him again!), Loren
D. Estleman, Jeremiah Healy, Bill Pronzini, John Lutz, S.J. Rozan,
Tom Sweeney, Jerry Kennealy and all the usual suspects. Excellent,
as always, and recommended.
Private Eyes and Tough Guys....Buy
Edited by Michael Bracken
2001, Wildside Press
New anthology series makes its debut with this impressive collection
of P.I. stories with contributions from Nick Andreychuk, Michael
Bracken, Michael Collins, Ruthe Furie, Shelley Singer, Percy
Spurlark Parker, Dan A. Sproul, Tom Sweeney, Mark Troy, Tim Wohlforth
and others. Like the blub goes, "Fourteen hardboiled tales
guaranteed to blow your hat off! "
2002 Deadly Directory ...Buy
by Kate Derie, editor
Deadly Serious Press, 2000
Invaluable for any true fan of mysteries. 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 essential ClueLass
American Paperback: An Illustrated Tribute to Legends of the
by Richard A.,Lupoff
Collector's Press, 2001.
Subtitled "An Illustrated Tribute to Legends of the
Book," this is an affectionate, colourful tribute to the
art of paperbacks, with over 600 covers, each of them "a
miniature gem, evocative of the fashions and attitudes of its
era." As well, there's plenty of intriguing comments by
the author, Richard A. Lupoff, historian, writer (he writes the
Hobart Lindsey P.I. series)
and collector, who drew many of these books from his own collection.
Like the publisher's blurb says, "This book is destined
to become a classic among librarians and graphic designers alike."
Hell, there's even a collectors' guide included.
And if your eyes aren't yet stuffed to the gills (can I mix a
metaphor or what?) from Richard and Max's books, I heartily recommend:
Paperback Covers of Robert McGinnis...Buy
by Robert McGinniss
Pond Press, 2001
Compiled by long-time fans Art Scott, and Dr. Wallace Maynard,
and featuring a foreward by Richard S. Prather, this book offers
a wide range of covers by one of the truly great paperback illustrators
of all time. With close to 300 colour reproductions, if someone
you love loves old paperback covers, this is the one for him
or her.McGinnis has painted well over 1,500 paperback covers
since the1950s, and is best known for his crime and mystery covers
(he did tons of covers for Prather's Shell
Scott, Brett Halliday's Mike
Shayne and Carter Brown) and his unsurpassed depictions
of glamourous, elegant women (no disrespect here, or anything,
but some of these women were just drop-dead gorgeous--you could
eat some of these covers with a spoon). "Provocative, seductive,
elegant women" is how McGinnis himself describes his favorite
subject. Long-legged beauties are the focal point, and often
almost the only element on the cover. And check out some of those
expressions on some of those women. It's enough to make a old
man itch and a young man faint..
And here's two incredibly
self-serving suggestions... (sorry).
These Wicked Streets....Buy
Edited by D.L. Browne and Kevin Burton Smith
Wicked Company, 2001
The first-ever publication from the Wicked Company imprint
(and the on-line writer's group) boasts seven private eye stories
that impressively run the gamut from bleak, hard-boiled noir
to engaging screwball comedy. Includes stories by Tribe, Katie
de Koster, Chris McKenzie, Barry Evetts, Miles Archer, Sharon
Potthoff and D.L. Browne, who co-edited the book with the Thrilling
Detective Web Site's Kevin Burton Smith. In fact, both Tribe's
black-hearted "Secret Smile" and co-editor Browne's
"Just One of Those Things" have appeared on this site.
So if you like this site...
Edited by Peter Sellers and Kerry J. Schooley
Insomniac Press, 2001
Only in Canada, you say? Pity.
The notion of Canadians as polite, gentle people is finally taken
for a ride, and left shot and bleeding in the ditch, as editors
Sellers and Schooley unleash Iced, the first all-Canadian
noir collection. This one's truly dear to my heart, because it
features my first ever published fiction, "Two Fingers,"
which asks the burning question, "Just how far can you trust
a man who puts fruit in his beer?" But don't let that scare
you away. There are also kick-ass stories from some truly awesome
talents, real writers like Brad Smith, Peter Sellers himself,
John Swan (who has hada story published on this site), Eric Wright,
Matthew Firth, Vern Smith, Mary Jane Maffini, William
Bankier, Mike Bames, Barbara Fradkin, Matt Hughes, Crad Kilodney,
Eliza Moorhouse, James Powell and Stan Rogal. You'll have
to order this from the publisher, Insomniac
Press, or maybe Chapters/Indigo,
because the American edition won't be unleashed until the Spring.
Slim pickings, indeed. Any suggestions would be
The DC/Vertigo hardboiled crime/conspiracy wetdream begins a
six-part series, "The Counterfifth Detective," spotlighting
Milo Garrett, a low-life L.A. private eye without a face.
Agent Graves gives Milo an unregistered gun and a 100 bullets,
and points him in the direction of those responsible for the
"accident" that left his head a mass of bandages. The
fun will no doubt ensue... the first issue of this arc is on
- On The Air: The Encyclopedia
of Old-Time Radio ...Buy
by John Dunning
Oxford University Press, 1997
$55.00 (but you can find this book on-line for much less than
the list price.)
Want to brighten any old-time radio fan's Christmas, give them
this book Here are some 1,500 radio series presented in alphabetical
order. The great programs of the '30s, '40s, and '50s are all
here -- including the many great detective shows. For each series,
Dunning provides a complete broadcast history, with the times
slot, the network, and the name of the show's advertisers. He
also lists major cast members, announcers, producers, directors,
writers, and sound effects people--even the show's theme song.
Equally important, Dunning provides a fascinating account of
each program, taking us behind the scenes to capture the feel
of the performance and providing engrossing biographies of the
main people involved in the show. This is the best written of
all the old-time radio reference books. After all, John Dunning
is also a best-selling writer of detective novels.
- Radio Drama A Comprehensive Chronicle of American Network Programs, 19321962
by Martin Grams
This book includes more than 300 program logs (many appearing
in print for the first time) drawn from newspapers, script files
in broadcast museums, records from NBC, ABC and CBS, and the
personal records of series directors. Each entry contains a short
broadcast history that includes directors, writers, and actors,
and the broadcast dates and air times. Some series logs include
cast lists for each episode. A comprehensive index rounds out
the work. Included are logs for favorite radio detective series
such as: Casey - Crime Photographer (Flashgun Casey, Crime Photographer),
The Adventures of Frank Race, The Adventures of Nero Wolfe, The
Adventures of Philip Marlowe, The Adventures of Sam Spade, Paladin,
I Love a Mystery, I Love Adventure, Nick Carter and others.
- Encyclopedia of American Radio, 19201960...Buy
by Luther F. Sies
Got a big Christmas budget and serious old-time radio collector
on your list? Get them an OTR Encyclopedia! Comprising nearly
29,000 entries, this massive volume comprehensively covers the
performers and programming on American radio from its inception
to its golden age. The OTR hobbyist will find lots of information
about favorite detective series and actors. The encyclopedia
includes entries for programs, announcers, orchestras, musicians,
vocalists, comedians, vocal groups, readers, whistlers, musical
saw soloists, ministers, sports commentators, reviewers (of books,
plays and movies), celebrities, and other personnel broadcasting
over American radio from the 1920s to the 1960s. Additional entries
cover commercial radio, educational broadcasting, firsts in radio
history, opera on radio, religious broadcasting, sports broadcasting,
women in radio, border radio, children's programs, comedy on
radio, crime shows and mysteries, daytime dramatic serials, and
disk jockeys, among other topics.
Old Time Radio Program Logs
by Frank Passage and others
Short on cash? What could be better than FREE? Lou Genco's
Original Old-Time Radio Web Site has over 100 logs of Old-Time
(and a few new-time) radio series, including many favorite detective
series. Each of these ASCII text files contains a short introduction
to the subject program, as well as a listing of episode titles
and broadcast dates. Frank Passage does an outstanding job of
searching through several document sources and resolving potential
conflicts in information, when he compiles his logs. There are
also several well-done logs by other contributors, who cared
enough to help in the organization of OTR show collections.
- OTR Detective
Looking for special gifts for the old-time radio hobbyist on
your list? Get them some tapes on old-time radioo detective series.
Lou Genco's Original Old-Time Radio Web Site has a great
listing of Commercial Tape and CD radio show dealers. Our radio
writer, Stewart Wright,
has had satisfactory service from Radio Memories, McCoy's
Recordings, and Radio
Spirits. In addition to single tapes and CDs', many dealers
offer multi-tape boxed (book shelf) sets at economical prices.
Don't forget to ask about special sales.
- Crosley Radio Reproductions
$80.00 to $400.00
There is nothing better than listening to Old-Time Radio on a
radio from the past. Crosley Radio offers a wide range of reproductions
of radios from the 1930's, 40's and 50's with both table and
console models. On the outside they look like classic radios
from the past; most even have illuminated dials. On the inside
they use present day radio technology. Most models have a cassette
player. They range in price from about $80.00 to $400.00. For
more information, check out their web site.
Based on the short story "Memento Mori"
by Jonathan Nolan
Screenplay by Christopher Nolan
Directed by Christopher Nolan
Starring Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano,
This sly, innovative noir about a insurance investigator (L.A.
Confidential's Guy Pearce) trying to track down his wife's
killer is a nightmare you won't soon forget. And possibly the
best P.I. film released in years.
this DVD ..Buy
Screenplay by Ethan Coen
Directed by Joel Coen
Starring John Getz, Frances McDormand, Dan Hedaya, M. Emmet Walsh
Long-awaited DVD release, coupled with a new, remastered video
version, of the Coen Brothers' masterful debut. A over-the-top,
pulpy homage to film noir, starring Dan Hedaya, Frances McDormand
in her first film appearance, John Getz and M. Emmett Walsh as
the delightfully slimy bottom-feeding private eye who makes it
all possible. On sale September 18.
City Dames: The Wicked Women of Film Noir...Buy
by Eddie Muller
Eddie,Regan Books/Harper Collins, 2001
His last book was the amazing Dark City: The Lost World
of Film Noir (1998). This time Eddie pays tribute to Marie
Windsor, Audrey Totter, Jane Greer, Ann Savage, Evelyn Keyes
and Coleen Gray, six Queens of the B's who, in the words of Playboy,
"helped pave film noir's shadowy streets." Although
he also manages to dig up plenty of dirt, this is ultimately
a sympathetic and fascinating ode to the genre, and the women
who helped define it.
Stab in the Dark
(2001, Murder To Go Productions)
Available directly from the manufacturer, Murder
$19.95 plus postage and handling
Written and directed by David Landau, and produced by Matt
Clarke, A Stab in the Dark puts a new spin on the old
Clue game with
this live-action, interactive DVD. You get to play homicide detective,
Lieutenant Chester McFreedy, and actually examine the crime scene,
visit the coroner, interrogate the suspects and check out their
stories, trying to crack the case of a key witness who's bumped
off while in police custody. Comes with suspect lists, maps,
background files, and all sorts of cool stuff. Okay, you're not
a private eye, but it'll keep you busy until they release Murder at the Café Noir.
The producers of this game bill themselves as "the internationally
acclaimed originator of the interactive mystery theater show."
For ordering info: http://www.adasam.com/
A controversial new board game from the U.K. If you can imagine
Traffic as a board game, you've just about nailed the
concept of Dollars N Dibble. Forget Boardwalk and Park Place,
and who gets to be the milk bottle. Instead, picture yourself
as a would-be drug lord, scrambling to make a name for yourself.
Can you dodge the cops, the competition and consumption of too
much of your own product, to become DA MAN? Like the blurb says,
it's "a world where only one thing is certain, there is
nothing fair about this game!" (Suggested
by Mark Sullivan)
- Pimp Hats.com
Get your pimp gear here! That's what this site actually invites
you to do!!! Tasteful wide-brimmed fedora with or without leopard
skin bands for all your haberdashery needs. They also offer costumes,
afro wigs, sunglasses, and accessories for "All Your Pimpin'
Pleasure." Keep it real. Hos not included. Oh, and just
in case you thought there might be some hope for Santa's little
helper, Mark Sullivan,
who suggested Dollars N Dibble
above, we regret to inform you that he also suggested this
one. The man is clearly beyond redemption...
Just in case you thought it was all doom and gloom and drugs
and violence and sex, here's something to cleanse, if not your
soul, at least your palate. This looks like it'd be a lot of
fun. It's the regular game of Clue, but with a Simpson spin on
it. So who did kill Mr. Burns? Just picture, if you will for
a moment, Homer Simpson, P.I.! (Actually, Homer plays Mr. Green,
but you get the gist, right?). Weapons include the dreaded Poisoned
Donut, and a Plutonium Rod. As the deceased would say, "Exxxx-cellent..."
And if you want to list a place to buy it, try Kumquat.com.
$20 US for 1 year/six issues
You could certainly do a whole lot worse for the mystery
fan on your gift list than to give him or her a subscription
to this smart bi-monthly tabloid which focusses on crime fiction.
Unlike some mags that tend to be overly fawning, this one gives
it to you straight. Contributors include Chris Aldrich, Reed
Andrus, Gary Niebuhr, Beth Fedyn, Frank Denton, Marv Lachman,
Lynn Kaczmarek and several other shady characters who have been
known to have opinions worth hearing. Intelligent book reviews,
columns and excellent interviews abound. These people know their
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 Santa's Little Helpers, Stewart
Mills and Randal
Brandt for their much appreciated help with this one.
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."