Category Archives: Uncategorized

Robert E Howard Wrote a Police Procedural?

BG_GodBowlComicCoverThere aren’t too many areas regarding Robert E. Howard’s Conan the Cimmerian (better known as ‘The Barbarian’) that haven’t been covered. Over at BlackGate.com this week,  I took a stab at one that posits ‘The God in the Bowl’ is an example of a pre-genre police procedural. Generally not considered a favorite among fans of the mighty-thewed sword swinger, I think it’s a better story than perceived when viewed in this light.

Head on over and see what you think!

 

 

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‘From the Notebooks of Dr. Parker’ – A New Entry!

 Pons_MyLibraryAugust Derleth wrote a “From the Notebooks of Doctor Parker” piece for 1965’s Praed Street Papers, a rare little gem of Ponsiana by the author. It was reissued in a somewhat revised format in 1968 as A Praed Street Dossier and I’m fortunate to own a copy of that one (it’s the unadorned, black-covered one in the bottom row, next to an original Pontine Dossier. It’s an absolute treasure.

Derleth wrote two more sets of ‘Notebooks’ entries for early issues of The Pontine Dossier, the newsletter of The Praed Street Irregulars. Apparently not lacking in hubris, I wrote new ‘Notebooks’ entries for a few issues of The Solar Pons Gazette, my own Pons newsletter, created to fill the hole left by the cessation of The Dossier. I think I’ve written about 9,000 words of ‘Notebooks entries,’ which ain’t bad.

And, to go ahead and Play the Game… 

I was recently looking through my collection of miscellaneous papers and found a bundle of papers, mixed in with some notes on the cases of Flaxman Low. I was pleasantly surprised to discover they were as yet unread (by me) excerpts from the notebook of Solar Pons’ Boswell, Doctor Lyndon Parker! I have already published some of his Notebooks writings, but these were new to me. Here is one such entry, with a truly startling revelation! More to follow…

October 2, 1921

I was surprised at Pons’ visitor today: his younger brother, Winford. The junior is an Anglican priest! He is being sent to work in the Jamaican colonies and came by to say goodbye to his brother.

 After his departure, I observed that Winford had taken a very different path than the ones followed by his elder brothers. Pons sighed. “Indeed, Parker. As my father had little to bestow upon Bancroft, once it became obvious his faculties were rare indeed, a career in government service was sought for my older brother. There was some discussion of my entering the military, but I was determined to set out on my own path, leading me to become the private enquiry agent which you so ably assist.”

 “But from an early age, Winford felt a spiritual calling. I rely on facts, empirical data and supportable deductions as my lodestones. Winford, however, relies on an ethereal faith to guide him.”

 “But Pons,” I protested. “I have heard you say that there is more to the world than we can yet explain.”

 He waved a hand of dismissal. “Of course, Parker. We are not all-knowing. But that applies in instances that cannot be explained in a secular way. My brother does not deny logic. But that is not his foundation. His faith cannot be validated or proven. I could not practice my profession if I approached it from his vocation’s viewpoint.” He paused and shook his head. “Though there is that Irishman, Byrne, who fancies himself the world’s foremost religious consulting detective.” He gave a short, barking laugh.

 I nodded but remained silent. Pons had not even told me of a younger brother and I wanted him to continue talking about him.

 “I follow the evidence where it leads. But as Scotland Yard does all too often, Winford begins with a conclusion and looks for evidence to support it.” Pons reached out and took his pipe from the side table and busied himself with lighting it. I waited expectantly, hoping for more, but he was finished talking about his brother.

 I would only encounter Winford once more, when the tragic affair of the fiery tobacco plantation took us to Jamaica at his brother’s request.

Another Conan post over at BlackGate.com

Conan_RogueWow. I did not realize I hadn’t posted here since April! I haven’t been writing much since wrapping up The Public Life of Sherlock Holmes over at BlackGate.com in March, though I have been reading a LOT.

Lately, it’s been another visit to Hyboria and the world of Conan the Cimmerian. Better known as ‘The Barbarian.’ Which gave me the itch to write something for Black Gate again. So, I did! Click on over for my thoughts on the Tor pastiches that were a very mixed bag.

After reading several pastiches, I pulled the first Del Rey Conan book from the shelf and was again awed by Robert E. Howard’s amazing writing.

Maigret – Starring Mister Bean (sort of)

MaigretI quite like Mister Bean. Well, the television episodes: not so much the movies. But I think Rowan Atkinson is brilliant. And his hour-long comedy special was hilarious. Johnny English is my favorite spy spoof.

So it was a bit of a surprising move when the makers of a new series of tv movies featuring Georges Simenon’s Inspector Maigret decided to cast Atkinson in the lead. The first two have aired and two more are in the production stages. Atkinson doesn’t do a bad job and I wrote about the whole thing over at BlackGate.com. There is certainly room for improvement, but I think they’re definitely worth watching.

Click on over and read what I had to say. Or don’t. But you might be sorry. Then again, you might not be…

Hard Case Crime and Cool & Lam

ardai_escalatorI love Erle Stanley Gardner’s Cool and Lam series. It’s far and away my favorite stuff from the creator of Perry Mason. Next Tuesday, December 6, Hard Case Crime is publishing the never before released second Cool and Lam novel, The Knife Slipped.

So this past Monday over at BlackGate.com, I had an excellent Q&A with Charles Ardai, founder and head honcho of Hard Case Crime. And this coming Monday, I’ve got a post ready to go on the Cool and Lam series. So, head on over to Black Gate for a little Erle Stanley Gardner.

And Even More of Otto Penzlers SH Library! (The Public Life of Sherlock Holmes)

penzler_robertsSo, over at BlackGate.com today, The Public Life of Sherlock Holmes looks at a fifth book in Otto Penzler’s Sherlock Holmes library. This one is from S.C. Roberts, an accomplished bookman who had a life-long impact on Cambridge.

This is a nifty little collection of essays written by Roberts and a nice addition to a Sherlockian bookshelf. I’ve long been fond of his pastiche, “The Strange Case of the Megatherium Thefts.”

I had previously written a post on Vincent Starrett’s two entries in the series, followed by a post on the two books from James Edward Holroyd.

 

 

The Beach Boys – at The Public Life of Sherlock Holmes?

BeachBoys_MTVernonThis week, I actually managed to tie my favorite band into my Monday morning post over at BlackGate.com.

Included with the Beach Boys’ 1972 album, Holland, was an EP. For you youngsters, that stands for ‘Extended Play’ and it was a bonus record: less music than a regular album but more than on a 45. Mt. Vernon and Fairy: a Fairy Tale, was an odd piece of music, singing and spoken verse, telling the story of a young prince and a magic transistor radio.

I talk about this rather unique piece of Beach Boys history, so head on over to Black Gate and check it out.