Eudora! Eudora! The Fatal Urge to Transcend the Genre: How Ross Macdonald Took the Plunge into the Mainstream and Drowned
The Passing Tramp
by The Passing Tramp
1w ago
I don't know how often these days the phrase "transcend the genre" is used wholly un-self-consciously, but it once was used with great seriousness when referring to certain pet crime writers of the literary set, like Raymond Chandler. Dashiell Hammett, Patricia Highsmith, Eric Ambler, Ross Macdonald, PD James and Dorothy L. Sayers, to name a few names.  Certainly all these writers excelled within the genre, but how many of them actually transcended it?  (I assume by this phase what is meant is that they began writing "mainstream literature," with murders.)   a book as ..read more
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Missing Children: The Goodbye Look (1969) and The Galton Case (1959), by Ross Macdonald
The Passing Tramp
by The Passing Tramp
2w ago
Wake up and check the mail Hoping to find a letter from you But all I find are missing children Turn on the morning news Hoping to see a resemblance of you But all I see are missing children.... --"Missing Children" (2000) Teddy Thompson  Ross Macdonald mystery criticism has largely accepted his biographer Tom Nolan's contention that the "mature" Ross Macdonald dates from his books The Doomsters (1958) and more particularly The Galton Case (1959), when, spurred by personal tragedy, he stopped imitating Raymond Chandler, found his own voice and developed a "kinder, gentler" hard-boiled fi ..read more
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Noiry New Year! FOXy Film Noir: The FOX Film Noir Series, 2005-2008
The Passing Tramp - Wandering through the mystery genre, book by book
by The Passing Tramp
1M ago
Between 2005 and 2008 entertainment conglomerate Twentieth-Century Fox released 26 DVDs in its so-called Film Noir Series.  I bought a bunch of these over the years.  And while DVDs may be old hat now, I still love them like I love actual books!   The titles and original dates of the films in this interesting series are given below, in the the order they were issued. I guess you can't blame FOX for starting as its big #1 entry with the classic mystery film Laura, based on the Vera Caspary novel, but ironically it's one of the least "noiry" ones in the bunch!  Sure, Ge ..read more
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Deck the Halls with Bouts of Horror! Hall of Death (1960), by Nedra Tyre
The Passing Tramp - Wandering through the mystery genre, book by book
by The Passing Tramp
1M ago
State Training School for Girls at Chalkville, Alabama, which operated for over a century, from 1909 until it was hit by a tornado in 2012.  More pics here Her cabin'd ample Spirit, It flutter'd, and fail'd for breath. Tonight it doth inherit The vasty Hall of Death Requiescat, Matthew Arnold Earlier this year crime fiction publisher Stark House reprinted as one of their "twofers" a pair of mystery novels by one of the more original and interesting mid-century American crime novelists, Nedra Tyre (1912-1990), a native of the state of Georgia, which has been much in the new ..read more
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The Birds and Beasts There Were: The Eighties Ross Macdonald Bantam Paperback Cover Art of James Marsh
The Passing Tramp - Wandering through the mystery genre, book by book
by The Passing Tramp
1M ago
1984 Bantam ed. James Marsh (1946) is said to be best known for his cover art for the British New Wave band Talk Talk. (In the US you may remember their top forty hit "It's My Life," from nearly forty years ago now--I did.)   Speaking for myself, I had no idea that James Marsh did the Talk Talk album covers, but I did know he did the cover art for this intriguing series of Bantam paperback Ross Macdonald reissues from the early Eighties (same time Talk Talk was getting off the ground). Indeed, I think he did cover art for every single RM novel.  The Marsh cove ..read more
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Moray Dalton reprints 2023
The Passing Tramp - Wandering through the mystery genre, book by book
by The Passing Tramp
1M ago
It's been awhile now, but a new group of Moray Dalton reprints is coming in the spring of 2023, to be followed, I hope, by another group in the winter.  I wanted to go chronologically with the remaining books in the Hugh Collier series, and now this is what we are going to do!  The first group coming (I'm just finishing the introductions now) will be: Inspector Collier Series The Mystery of the Kneeling Woman (1936) Hugh Collier #7 Death in the Dark (1938) Hugh Collier #8 Death in the Forest (1939) Hugh Collier #9 Nonseries The Murder of Eve (1945) Death at the Villa (1946) The nex ..read more
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Annus Murderbilis: Doris Miles Disney's Dark Road (1946) and Who Rides a Tiger (1946)
The Passing Tramp - Wandering through the mystery genre, book by book
by The Passing Tramp
3M ago
Debates about when the Golden Age of detective fiction ended will go on, but obviously the decade of the 1940s accelerated the flux of traditional detection.  Espionage novels predictably became the vogue with the explosion of the Second World War, while hard-boiled mystery continued to increase in popularity, much to the chagrin of George Orwell.  The wartime paper shortage constituted a death knell for the leisurely ratiocinative prewar detective novel, for the most part, as novels of 60-80,000 words (or even fewer) became the norm.  The page numbers of most books in the Colli ..read more
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The Day of the Conflagration: No Next of Kin (1959), by Doris Miles Disney
The Passing Tramp - Wandering through the mystery genre, book by book
by The Passing Tramp
3M ago
The Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus arrived late at Hartford, Connecticut on July 5, 1944--a portent of ill luck to the performers, like uttering the name of The Scottish Play during a theatrical performance.  As a result the early show for the day was canceled, but the evening gala went on, without mishap; and the next afternoon perhaps seven thousand people, by far the largest portion of which were women and children (one of whom was perennial Seventies game show panelist Charles Nelson Reilly), gaily trooped into the Big Top to see, among other delights, exotic animals ..read more
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"The White Maniac" (1867), by Mary Fortune (Guest Blog Post by Lucy Sussex)
The Passing Tramp - Wandering through the mystery genre, book by book
by The Passing Tramp
3M ago
And now a little tale of terror for this Halloween, courtesy of Australian author Lucy Sussex, who over the years has detailed so much about lowdown deeds down under. Also see Bev Hankins' Friday Nights Fright post, which came a bit late but is perfect for tonight, on creepy country houses, here.   Now onto Lucy Sussex's piece on Mary Fortune's "White Maniac"--The Passing Tramp Many stories lie completely forgotten in the dusty pages of old magazines. Some are truly terrible, others of their time and unable to transcend it, and a few prove to have startling, enduring ..read more
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Don't PAN-ic! The Third Ghost Book (1955), by Lady Cynthia Asquith
The Passing Tramp - Wandering through the mystery genre, book by book
by The Passing Tramp
3M ago
For many years paperback publisher Pan--known for their series of Books of Horror Stories, edited by Herbert Von Thal--also published a series of Ghost Books, the first three of which had been edited, on their original hardcover publications, by Lady Cynthia Asquith.  Like the early Horror Books, the first three Ghost Books appeared in memorable Pan editions--certainly much more memorable than the boring photographed ones from Beagle which followed in the seventies.   The first of Lady Cynthia's celebrated Ghost Books appeared in hardcover way back in 1927, but the other two bel ..read more
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