Gandalf the margharita

I think this is the funniest thing I have read for months. Thanks for the laugh, Brian.

Brian Sibley’s long association with dangerous figures such as John Spate and Shirley Major should have ended him up in hospital a long time ago. He has probably been saved by his protector in chief, David Weeks. Word on the street in London is that Weeks is capable of powerful feats of magic. When Shirley Major’s film Shirley’s Temple was released Brian and David spent a great deal of time with Ian McKellen. They would study the film closely, discussing the implications of the slightest detail in the work. It was on this interaction with David that McKellen based his performance of Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings. In fact there was one moment when Ian wanted to order a pizza. He was absolutely famished but couldn’t quite afford it. David suggested that if Ian gave him what he could afford he would put it on his card and order one for him on the phone. Ian was suspicious and accused David of magically creating a pizza and pocketing the cash, to which David replied, “Ian McKellen! Do not take me for some conjurer of cheap snacks! I am not trying to rob you… I’m trying to help you!” Ian saw the error of his ways, burst into tears and they all had a hug.

You can read the rest of this mad post here.

Anatomy of Fear

David Montgomery of Crime Fiction Dossier draws attention to a review of Anatomy of Fear by Jonathan Santlofer: Drawing Out the Thriller Genre – washingtonpost.com. From the review:

But what makes "Anatomy of Fear" distinctive is that Santlofer, a well-known artist before he turned to fiction, has illustrated the book with well over a hundred drawings that add an intriguing new dimension to his story. The pencil sketches, some with touches of blood red, show victims, suspects, crime scenes and clues. Some no larger than a postage stamp, others filling an entire page, these drawings illustrate the novel and become central to it, because both its hero and its villain are themselves artists caught up in a deadly duel.

I’m not sure if the book is quite my cup of tea, but David recommends it, so it might well be worth checking out.

What makes a great ending?

As you do when you are too tired to do anything else, I was just wandering round the Amazon "3 for £15" DVD pages (as I’ve  had two in my basket for ages and"need" a third before making my order) when I came across Is Paris Burning?

Now it must be ages since I have seen this film, and I don’t remember all that much about it. I seem to recall it was a documentary-style story about the Nazis’ attempted destruction of, er, Paris. One of the first "drama-docs"? (I remember another such, the excellent but ludicrously hampering low-budget film called "It Happened Here", but that was more of a "what would have happened if the Nazis had invaded Britain?" film in docu-style than a "drama-doc".)

But the one thing I remember about Is Paris Burning? is the ending.  The movie ended with a phone receiver lying on a desk in a destroyed office, with a disembodied voice (Hitler’s?) shouting down it "Is Paris Burning?" "Is Paris Burning?", while all around the Germans were being routed — which of course the caller could not see.

Can anyone else remember any stunning ends  to movies? I can never forget the ending to The Long Good Friday (close-up of Bob Hoskins the back of the car that went on for ever — his expressions ran through the gamut of emotions that told you everything about his realisations of past, present and future — perfect and brilliant acting). But I am stuck on others. Any suggestions?

The Killer Genre

At this link: The Killer Genre – 4/15/2007 – Library Journal you can find a round-up of "new talent and publishing initiatives for mystery readers". Capital Crime, Midnight Ink, Bleak House, St Martin’s Minotaur and Putnam are among the featured publishers; one of them, Margaret Marbury of Mira, has the following to say about the power of the blog:

One traditional tool that Marbury won’t be relying on to promote The Deadly Seven is the author tour. “I won’t say it is dead in the water, but unless you are one of the top 15 best-selling authors with a huge audience, this is not the best place to spend publicity money.” Instead, she views the Internet as an inexpensive and more productive place to pick up new readers. The Mira editor tries to look at as many mystery book blogs as she can, including many of her authors’ blogs. “I find that really good author web sites make a difference in reaching and maintaining readers, which is increasingly important,” she says.

Of more direct interest, the article provides "8 top mystery blogs", which I’ve listed, with links, on the continuation sheet. First is Sarah Weinman and second Crime Fiction Dossier, both excellent blogs who well deserve the accolade. I was even more delighted to see, however, that the third place goes to the superb blog Euro Crime, a great achievement for a European blog (and associated website) in an article that focuses pretty much exclusively on US publishers and blogs. Two other blogs, Detectives beyond Borders and International Noir Fiction (links on continuation sheet), are also mentioned as worth checking out — a recommendation with which I heartily agree. Very well done to Karen, Peter and Glenn: I am a regular at all their blogs and find them consistently excellent –not least the collection of reviews on the Euro Crime website.

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