Thursday, 27 October 2011

It's not too late to get ghouled up for the year's most wicked holiday. Around this time, we here at Mystery Scene begin thinking about our annual "Mystery Lovers Gift Guide." When we stumbled across the Edward Gorey House Store, we couldn't resist getting a head(less) start on sharing some of the great gifts ideas we found.

gorey_cat_pin$40-$100 The Edward Gorey Cats & Bats Jewelry Collection

They're creepy and they're gruesome, but mystery-loving (or is that Mystery!-loving?) cat fans will dig the Edward Gorey-inspired pins, necklaces, earrings and charms, featuring assorted felines and bats in suspicious positions. Readers in particular will cotton to the slightly creepy Book Cat Pin ($63.90) which they bill as "a take-it-with-you reminder of one of life's simpler pleasures." Sure, it's just an innocent tabby sprawled on an innocent stack of books—or is that just what they want you to think?

Click to buy

gorey_alphabetmug$12.95 each The Edward Gorey Tinies Alphabet Mugs

A series of 26 11-ounce mugs, suitable for sipping coffee, tea or mercury cyanide, running from A to Z, and each featuring a wrap around image by Gorey. Of particular interest to certain editors is "K is for Kate who was struck with an axe," which adorns one side, while Death and the Gashlycrumb Tinies kids frolic on the mug's reverse side. Or collect them all! "'A' is forAmy who fell down the stairs," "'B' is for Basil assaulted by bears," etc. Dishwasher and microwave safe so you can get out those damned spots.

Click to buy

gorey_gashlycrumblunchbox$16.99 Gashlycrumb Tinies Lunchbox

And while we're on all things Gorey, what disturbed little boy or ghoul wouldn't want to trot off to school with his or her very own Edward Gorey Lunchbox? This full-size lunchbox, which features the complete text from Gorey's classic 1963 alphabet reader (see above) narrates the sad fates of all 26 "Tinies." Suddenly peanut butter sandwiches can be cool again...

Click to buy

gorey_draculamousepad

$13.95 Edward Gorey Dracula Mousepad

It's creepy and it's kooky, mysterious and spooky. Yep, Gorey takes on Bram Stoker's venerable old bloodsucker, and the red, white and black result, captured on this washable, water- and coffee-resistant natural rubber mousepad, is all together ooky. But rest easy, PETA members: the fine people at pomegranate.com assured me that "No mice were injured in testing this product."

Click to buy

The Whole Gorey Story
Kevin Burton Smith & Mystery Scene
the-whole-gorey-story

gorey_draculamousepadIt's not too late to get ghouled up for the year's most wicked holiday. Four Gorey gifts featuring the illustrations of Edward Gorey. Read more...

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

title
Ice-T's career as a rapper lead to his career as an actor, mostly for his role as "Fin" Tutuola on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit since that show debuted. (Ice-T, left, came in on the last show of the first season.)

Nicole “Coco” Marrow is an actor and model, but is best known as Ice-T's wife.

Together, the couple, along with their bulldog, star in the reality TV series Ice Loves Coco on E!.

altThe couple, married since 2005, often show up together on talk shows and Coco has appeared twice on Law & Order: SVU, both times as a porn actress.

Both now are making their debut in the book world with their novels released on the same day by Forge Books.

Ice-T offers a gritty street drama about an aged gangster fresh out of prison and looking for revenge.with Kings of Vice.

Coco visits the spiritual side with Angel, the story of a woman who survives a plane wreck but has no idea who she is.

Ice-T and Coco are quite watchable. The couple seems to really like being with each other and Ice-T often seems amused by his wife.

altAs far as writers, well, we'll see.

Both have been making the talk show rounds touting their books. Both are quite open that they had co-authors on their project.

Mal Radcliff is listed on the cover and inside as Ice-T's co-author. But I couldn't find any info about Radcliff during my myriad Internet searches.

I had better luck with Laura Hayden, who is listed on the cover and inside as Coco's co-author. Hayden has written several romantic suspense novels and has co-authored a couple of mysteries with Susan Ford, the daughter of President Gerald Ford.

Ice: A Memoir of Gangster Life and Redemption-from South Central to Hollywood, Ice-T’s memoir, established him as a compelling storyteller. (He had a co-author on that project, too.)

New Novels From Ice-T & Wife Coco
Oline Cogdill
ice-t-cocos-novels

title
Ice-T's career as a rapper lead to his career as an actor, mostly for his role as "Fin" Tutuola on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit since that show debuted. (Ice-T, left, came in on the last show of the first season.)

Nicole “Coco” Marrow is an actor and model, but is best known as Ice-T's wife.

Together, the couple, along with their bulldog, star in the reality TV series Ice Loves Coco on E!.

altThe couple, married since 2005, often show up together on talk shows and Coco has appeared twice on Law & Order: SVU, both times as a porn actress.

Both now are making their debut in the book world with their novels released on the same day by Forge Books.

Ice-T offers a gritty street drama about an aged gangster fresh out of prison and looking for revenge.with Kings of Vice.

Coco visits the spiritual side with Angel, the story of a woman who survives a plane wreck but has no idea who she is.

Ice-T and Coco are quite watchable. The couple seems to really like being with each other and Ice-T often seems amused by his wife.

altAs far as writers, well, we'll see.

Both have been making the talk show rounds touting their books. Both are quite open that they had co-authors on their project.

Mal Radcliff is listed on the cover and inside as Ice-T's co-author. But I couldn't find any info about Radcliff during my myriad Internet searches.

I had better luck with Laura Hayden, who is listed on the cover and inside as Coco's co-author. Hayden has written several romantic suspense novels and has co-authored a couple of mysteries with Susan Ford, the daughter of President Gerald Ford.

Ice: A Memoir of Gangster Life and Redemption-from South Central to Hollywood, Ice-T’s memoir, established him as a compelling storyteller. (He had a co-author on that project, too.)

Sunday, 23 October 2011

altScottish author Kate Atkinson’s cerebral novels about Jackson Brodie, a former cop turned private detective, gracefully make the transition to the screen in the three-episode Case Histories, as part of the Masterpiece Mystery! series now airing Sundays at 9 p.m. on PBS.

The first installment, based on the novel Case Histories, ran Oct. 16; One Good Turn is slated for Oct. 23; and When Will There Be Good News? will be on Oct. 30. Each episode is two hours. Check your local listings for time changes and encore showings. A DVD of all three episodes will be released by Acorn Media Nov. 8.

In the Case Histories series, Jason Isaacs, left, changes the long blond wig he wore as Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter movies for the jeans-wearing Jackson Brodie who does his best thinking while driving along the Scottish countryside. Brodie is the epitome of the insightful wounded private detective, haunted by his past, at odds with most of his former police colleagues and a soft touch for seemingly lost causes. Isaacs perfectly captures the brooding Brodie without making him a caricature.

Atkinson’s luxurious storytelling transitions well to the PBS series. While luxurious isn’t just another word for slow, Case Histories unfolds thoughtfully at a leisurely pace that emphasizes character rather than action.

Any crimes that affect children or women trigger Brodie’s memories of his sister’s murder that occurred when he was a boy. Brodie often relives that scene, a situation that is core to the novels but on screen seems, at least at first, confusing.

altIn the first episode, Brodie takes on three cases. Two sisters, cleaning out the house of their recently deceased father, find a stuffed blue mouse in his desk. The toy was the favorite of their other sister who disappeared more than 30 years before. A grieving father (character actor Phil Davis) wants to know who murdered his daughter in his own office on her first day of work. The stranger showed up, stabbed her and then disappeared. And, in what seems like a tacked on plot, an aunt wants Brodie to find her niece who disappeared from foster care more than a decade ago. The child’s mother was in jail at the time for murdering her husband.

In One Good Turn (Oct. 23), Brodie jumps into the Firth of Forth to retrieve the body of young woman who drowned. But Brodie loses the body and the police are reluctant to believe the body even exists. DCI Louise Munroe (Amanda Abbington, left with Isaacs), his one ally on the police force, is even more skeptical when Brodie seems to see the young woman walking around Edinburgh. A complicated set of other plot threads also are set in motion.

In When Will There Be Good News? (Oct. 30) Brodie wakes up in the hospital after trying to pull an elderly woman from a car that landed on railroad tracks. Brodie’s life has been saved by a whip-smart girl who wants the detective to find her missing employer. This novel is a personal favorite of mine and this episode shines with an emotional ending.

Case Histories does justice to Atkinson’s work but the filmed version points out flaws that erupt when print becomes film. Without Atkinson’s graceful prose, the first episode seems to rely too much on coicidence and stretches credibility. That Jackson has three similar cases in the first episode and is able to solve a 30-year disappearance and a weeks-old murder that have stumped the police seems unbelievable. Atkinson juggles several plot lines in her novels, which work for readers but may tax viewers’ comprehension.

But despite the production’s flaws, Atkinson’s storytelling shines. Supporting characters are richly explored, especially the sisters in the first episode; the teenager and a lunatic husband in the third episode.

Jason Isaacs, who also co-starred in Brotherhood, The State Within and other films and TV series, is quite familiar with Atkinson’s novels, having recorded several of the audio versions. He brings a sense of power and vulnerability to the role of Jackson Brodie.

He doesn’t recover quickly when he is beaten up. And he seems to genuinely care about his clients and finding them justice. A divorced father, he dotes on his daughter and we feel his pain when his ex-wife tells him she is taking a job in New Zealand. And, just to be frivolous, many of us enjoyed Isaacs’ frequent lack of a shirt.

The lovely soundtrack features lots of Nanci Griffin (a personal favorite), Lucinda Williams and Iris DeMent—all of which go well with the Brodie’s personality.

Case Histories airs at 9 p.m. Sundays on PBS as part of the Masterpiece Mystery! series. Episode 2, based on One Good Turn, on Oct. 23; Episode 3, based on When Will There Be Good News?, on Oct. 30. Episode 1, based on the novel Case Histories, aired Oct. 16 but is in reruns. Check your local listings. A DVD of all three episodes will be released by Acorn Media Nov. 8.

Photos of Jason Isaacs, top; Isaacs with Amanda Abbington, center. Photos courtesy PBS.

Kate Atkinson’s Case Histories on Pbs
Oline Cogdill
kate-atkinsons-case-histories-on-pbs

altScottish author Kate Atkinson’s cerebral novels about Jackson Brodie, a former cop turned private detective, gracefully make the transition to the screen in the three-episode Case Histories, as part of the Masterpiece Mystery! series now airing Sundays at 9 p.m. on PBS.

The first installment, based on the novel Case Histories, ran Oct. 16; One Good Turn is slated for Oct. 23; and When Will There Be Good News? will be on Oct. 30. Each episode is two hours. Check your local listings for time changes and encore showings. A DVD of all three episodes will be released by Acorn Media Nov. 8.

In the Case Histories series, Jason Isaacs, left, changes the long blond wig he wore as Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter movies for the jeans-wearing Jackson Brodie who does his best thinking while driving along the Scottish countryside. Brodie is the epitome of the insightful wounded private detective, haunted by his past, at odds with most of his former police colleagues and a soft touch for seemingly lost causes. Isaacs perfectly captures the brooding Brodie without making him a caricature.

Atkinson’s luxurious storytelling transitions well to the PBS series. While luxurious isn’t just another word for slow, Case Histories unfolds thoughtfully at a leisurely pace that emphasizes character rather than action.

Any crimes that affect children or women trigger Brodie’s memories of his sister’s murder that occurred when he was a boy. Brodie often relives that scene, a situation that is core to the novels but on screen seems, at least at first, confusing.

altIn the first episode, Brodie takes on three cases. Two sisters, cleaning out the house of their recently deceased father, find a stuffed blue mouse in his desk. The toy was the favorite of their other sister who disappeared more than 30 years before. A grieving father (character actor Phil Davis) wants to know who murdered his daughter in his own office on her first day of work. The stranger showed up, stabbed her and then disappeared. And, in what seems like a tacked on plot, an aunt wants Brodie to find her niece who disappeared from foster care more than a decade ago. The child’s mother was in jail at the time for murdering her husband.

In One Good Turn (Oct. 23), Brodie jumps into the Firth of Forth to retrieve the body of young woman who drowned. But Brodie loses the body and the police are reluctant to believe the body even exists. DCI Louise Munroe (Amanda Abbington, left with Isaacs), his one ally on the police force, is even more skeptical when Brodie seems to see the young woman walking around Edinburgh. A complicated set of other plot threads also are set in motion.

In When Will There Be Good News? (Oct. 30) Brodie wakes up in the hospital after trying to pull an elderly woman from a car that landed on railroad tracks. Brodie’s life has been saved by a whip-smart girl who wants the detective to find her missing employer. This novel is a personal favorite of mine and this episode shines with an emotional ending.

Case Histories does justice to Atkinson’s work but the filmed version points out flaws that erupt when print becomes film. Without Atkinson’s graceful prose, the first episode seems to rely too much on coicidence and stretches credibility. That Jackson has three similar cases in the first episode and is able to solve a 30-year disappearance and a weeks-old murder that have stumped the police seems unbelievable. Atkinson juggles several plot lines in her novels, which work for readers but may tax viewers’ comprehension.

But despite the production’s flaws, Atkinson’s storytelling shines. Supporting characters are richly explored, especially the sisters in the first episode; the teenager and a lunatic husband in the third episode.

Jason Isaacs, who also co-starred in Brotherhood, The State Within and other films and TV series, is quite familiar with Atkinson’s novels, having recorded several of the audio versions. He brings a sense of power and vulnerability to the role of Jackson Brodie.

He doesn’t recover quickly when he is beaten up. And he seems to genuinely care about his clients and finding them justice. A divorced father, he dotes on his daughter and we feel his pain when his ex-wife tells him she is taking a job in New Zealand. And, just to be frivolous, many of us enjoyed Isaacs’ frequent lack of a shirt.

The lovely soundtrack features lots of Nanci Griffin (a personal favorite), Lucinda Williams and Iris DeMent—all of which go well with the Brodie’s personality.

Case Histories airs at 9 p.m. Sundays on PBS as part of the Masterpiece Mystery! series. Episode 2, based on One Good Turn, on Oct. 23; Episode 3, based on When Will There Be Good News?, on Oct. 30. Episode 1, based on the novel Case Histories, aired Oct. 16 but is in reruns. Check your local listings. A DVD of all three episodes will be released by Acorn Media Nov. 8.

Photos of Jason Isaacs, top; Isaacs with Amanda Abbington, center. Photos courtesy PBS.