Wednesday, 14 September 2016 12:09


christie agathaAgatha Christie, pictured at right, never goes out of style—either in books or on film.

So it’s always good news to learn of new film adaptations of Christie’s novels. These reboots bring a fresh view of her masterpieces, showing how Christie’s work is always timeless.

And, we hope, the new films bring in new fans just now discovering Christie’s mysteries.

See the film, read the books.

The high ratings of the star-packed And Then There Were None last December have spurred the BBC to commission new adaptations of seven Christie novels.

Agatha Christie Productions, the production arm of Agatha Christie Ltd., will deliver the seven new shows—to be aired on BBC One—over the next four years.

And if it is on BBC One, it won’t be long before these are on BBC America or available on Acorn Online.

The new films confirmed so far are:

Ordeal by Innocence: A psychological thriller that Christie said several times was one of her personal favorites, and one of her darkest. Written during the 1950s, Ordeal by Innocence is a story of guilt, innocence, and family bonds, favorite Christie themes. Jacko Argyle dies in prison, convicted of killing his adoptive mother. There seems to be no doubt about his guilt until two years later an alibi witness shows up. Could one of Jacko’s family be the real killer? Ordeal by Innocence was filmed in 1985, starring Donald Sutherland, Christopher Plummer, and Sarah Miles. The new version will be adapted by Sarah Phelps who also adapted And Then There Were None.

Death Comes as the End: Set in ancient Egypt, this is the only Christie novel that doesn’t take place in the 20th century. The setting may be centuries ago, but the theme is still relevant. An Egyptian family’s quiet lives are upturned when the father returns with his new concubine, who begins to sow discontent among them. See, a theme that never gets old. Death Comes as the End also is one of four Christie titles that, until now, has never been filmed.

The ABC Murders: Belgian detective Hercule Poirot is pitted against an alphabetically-minded serial killer who strikes across Britain.

In addition, viewers will have be able to see two adaptations of Witness for the Prosecution. Filming has begun on a two-part Witness for the Prosecution, adapted by Phelps and starring Toby Jones, Andrea Riseborough, and Kim Cattrall.

Another version of Witness for the Prosecution is being produced by 20th Century Fox, with Ben Affleck expected to direct.

Witness for the Prosecution has been filmed several times, including the 1957 Oscar-nominated movie starring Marlene Dietrich and directed by Billy Wilder and in 1982 as a TV special starring Diana Rigg.

Saturday, 10 September 2016 09:09

It seems inconceivable—as nearly everyone has been mentioning this week—that the horrible events of September 11, 2001, were 15 years ago.

Each of us remembers where we were when we first heard or saw this news. I know I shall never forget—and I hope none of us ever forget.

Of the many symbols that came out of that day was a photograph that represented resilience, pride in our country, and surviving. The photograph is of three firefighters raising an American flag amid the ruins of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

It wasn’t long after that photograph was taken that the flag disappeared. Despite officials’ many attempts, the flag could not be found.

Until now.

And author Brad Meltzer has a connection to this historical artifact.

It happened just days after a segment on the flag was featured on the first episode of Brad Meltzer’s Lost History, which was broadcast in 2014 on H2, a spinoff of the History Channel.

A grainy video showing the flag was broadcast on Meltzer’s program on October 31, 2014. Four days later, a man carrying a plastic bag walked into a fire station in Everett, Washington. The man, who called himself “Brian” and said he was a former Marine, had seen the show and believed he had the flag.

The man did not take the $10,000 reward that Meltzer had offered for the flag’s return.

After much research and testing, it was determined the flag was authentic.

Last Wednesday, September 7, 2015, Meltzer was at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum in New York City as the flag was unveiled. It will be permanently displayed there.

Meltzer gives full credit to finding the flag to the help from law enforcement, forensic experts, eyewitnesses, and the former Marine.

As an author, Meltzer uses history in his thrillers, the latest of which is The House of Secrets, and also in his children’s books, the latest of which are I Am George Washington and I Am Jane Goodall. Now Meltzer is participating in history.

Meltzer will host a one-hour History Channel special, America's 9/11 Flag: Rise from the Ashes, at 10:30 p.m. EST on Sunday, September 11.

For more information, visit

And today, remember how this terrorist attack changed America. Give thanks to our first responders.

And never forget.

Saturday, 03 September 2016 11:09

leoardelmore libraryamerica
With a fine eye for curation, the Library of America puts out mini collections of authors’ works. These volumes are beautiful books.

The latest is Elmore Leonard: Four Later Novels, and this is a must-have for fans of the late writer.

Elmore Leonard: Four Later Novels contains some of the most popular and important works by Leonard, and joins the Library of America’s other volumes on the author: Elmore Leonard: Four Novels of the 1970s and Elmore Leonard: Four Novels of the 1980s.

The works included in this new volume are:

Get Shorty: A Miami loan shark with an idea for a movie finds a way to break into Hollywood as a producer. It is a brilliant satire on the movie industry, which Leonard knew well.

Rum Punch: An aging bail bondsman and an airline stewardess matching wits against lawmen and criminals.

Out of Sight: Deputy U.S. marshal Karen Sisco and escaped bank robber Jack Foley develop an unlikely romance in the middle of a violent adventure. The Library of America collection also includes the short story “Karen Makes Out,” which introduced Sisco.

Tishomingo Blues: Set in Mississippi, this 2002 novel involves exhibition high divers, Civil War reenactors, and an unforgettable cast of gangsters and hustlers. Leonard has been quoted as saying it is one of his favorite novels.

Three of these novels have been filmed:

Get Shorty starred John Travolta as loan shark Chili Palmer, who discovers the movie business isn’t much different from his occupation. Get Shorty will be filmed again. Epix has announced that Ray Romano and Chris O’Dowd will star in its TV remake of Get Shorty, which will have a ten-episode first season. The show is expected to premiere next summer on Epix. But according to some reports, the characters will have different names.

Run Punch was filmed by Quentin Tarantino as Jackie Brown in 1997, with Pam Grier and Robert Forster as the bail bondsman and flight attendant whose attraction to each other fuels the story. I will always remember the scene in which Max Cherry (Forster) falls in love with Jackie Brown (Grier) as she walks out of jail.

Out of Sight: It was totally believable that Jennifer Lopez, as Karen Sisco, would fall in love with George Clooney, as the bank robber Jack Foley, in this 1998 film directed by Steven Soderbergh.

Tishomingo Blues was to be made into a movie starring—and possibly directed by—actor Don Cheadle. But that project is said to be scrapped. For a bit of trivia, the title comes from the 1917 Spencer Williams song.

Elmore Leonard: Four Later Novels was pulled together by Detroit native Gregg Sutter who began working as a researcher for Leonard in 1981. Sutter currently is working on a biography of Leonard. Sutter also is editor of the Library of America’s other editions of Leonard’s novels.