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»But Maggie differed from her contemporaries in another crucial way. In an era when most mysteries featured strong men, or non-aggressive women like Miss Marple or Nancy Drew, Maggie’s protagonists were smart, difficult, and sometimes threatening. They were women who shared a quietly desperate view of a hard-boiled world.«
Mores and corruptions of a stratified society: Kathleen Sharp with worth reading portait about literary suspense author Margaret’Maggie’ Millar. Her portrait The Dangerous Housewife at the Los Angeles Review of Books.
»As part of Terror of the Soul, The Morgan has booked a spectacular program of events that run through January 16, 2014. It includes screenings of Murders in the Rue Morgue (1932) and House of Usher (1960), several gallery talks and guided tours, a performance by Elevator Repair Service, a reading by Robert Pinsky, and a discussion with Paul Auster. One of the events in the program won’t happen, after all. Lou Reed was scheduled to appear on November 5. He died too soon. Reed’s 2003 album The Raven adopted several of Poe’s tales and poems. His voice on these tracks has a dark jitteriness that seems just right. I can’t say why, exactly, but when I was standing in the library, looking at the Poe relics and thinking about Lou Reed, I kept hearing an earlier lyric, again and again: «It’s hard to live in the city.»«
Poe in Hard Times: Caleb Smith about the exhibition Edgar Allan Poe: Terror of the Soul at The Morgan Library & Museum in New York. His review at Los Angeles Review of Books.
»Christie famously called Poirot a «detestable, bombastic, tiresome, ego-centric little creep,» a string of adjectives so often quoted it’s difficult to find their original source. Her exhaustion with the character is apparent, though. Poirot first appeared in her 1920 novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, and by 1936 —14 books later — Christie grew frustrated enough to insert a version of herself into the story.«
Tidy little man: Molly McArdle with a worth reading portrait about Hercule Poirot, the famous Belgian detective created by Agatha Christie. Her essay A Time-Lapse Detective: 25 Years of Agatha Christie’s ‘Poirot’ at Los Angeles Review of Books.
»Scandinavian crime fiction has challenged the readers a bit more than crime fiction from other countries. When you see «crime novel» on the cover of a book in Scandinavia it’s not synonymous with pulp fiction. It could be pulp fiction of course, and easy entertainment — myself, I see myself as an entertainer — but entertainment doesn’t have to be light entertainment. I take my entertainment quite seriously. And I think that’s the thing about Scandinavian crime writers, [they] have this mandate of addressing problems in society. All books are political — whether the writer is aware of it or not.«
«I’m sorry about last night»: Thriller writer Jo Nesbø started his conversation with Nancie Clare with an apology. What has happend? Find out in the worth reading interview at the Los Angeles Reviews of Books.
»At the end of the day, Pochoda’s Visitation Street has given me more respect for Denis Lehane, for choosing such a complex and nuanced story about urban America. Hopefully, the imprint will continue to find authors who aren’t afraid to go beyond labels and safe places.«
Class and racial tensions: Neelanjana Banerjee about the novel Visitation Street by Ivy Pochoda. Her review at the Los Angeles Review of Books.
»The end of Night Film leaves us with more questions than answers, which is both beautiful and appropriate for a novel that resists clear solutions and buries mystery within mystery.«
»What Night Film gives us, finally, is a competing digital world, one that’s entirely under Pessl’s control, one in which she suffers no risk of exposure.«
Use your illusion & The novelist goes to the movies: Read two reviews on Marisha Pessl‘s Night Film. Edan Lepucki and Maggie Doherty about the novel – at Los Angeles Review of Books.
»King’s vision of the supernatural is something that hovers numinously on the edges of the awareness, something that needs a cautious and respectful watching at all times. There will be skirmishes, minor battles, victories and losses, but no end to the long term war. Exactly like a recovering alcoholic thinks of booze.«
The Doom of Repetition: Roger Luckhurst about Stephen King‘s latest novel Doctor Sleep. His review at the Los Angeles Review of Books.
»Sherlock Holmes versus Jack the Ripper: how do you top that? Do you put him on the Titanic? But I never say never.«
Sherlockian girl goes wilde: Nancie Clare interviews Lyndsay Faye, author of the novel Seven for a Secret, the second installment of the trilogy that began with The Gods of Gotham. Read the interview at the Los Angeles Review of Books.
»The unemotional surface is just my preference as a writer; I think if the material is highly dramatic and in places actively lurid, as it is in this case, then you have to counteract it by adjusting the temperature of the prose.«
A mother, her daughter, and an incestuous, murdering father: MaryAnne Kolton interviews Emma Brockes about her book She left me the gun. Read the interview at the Los Angeles Review of Books.
»No question, the world of Dick Francis’s novels is still very much a masculine one, and his heroes embody many of the qualities that define conventional manliness. But their struggles to live up to or redefine them complement the work of women writers and characters to revise the dominant narratives of femininity. Power, autonomy, and humanity are not zero-sum games, but in crime fiction it has been easier (or at least more common) to make that case from the demand side.«
Female Characters in Crime Fiction: A worth reading essay by Rohan Maitzen about women in a Dick Francis novels. Read more at the Los Angeles Reviews of Books.