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The Yellow King

HBO's controversial new True Detective series has sparked a renewed interest in an unlikely subject: an 1895 book called The King In Yellow. Praised by H. P. Lovecraft, the book is a collection of short stories in which a play called The King In Yellow is somehow involved. A play, which, in an alternate world, "could not be judged by any known standard" but in which it was "acknowledged that the supreme note of art had been struck" leaves its readers changed, and perhaps insane. It's inspired other authors (and the occasional imitator) ever since, and you can read it for yourself in your browser or, still free, on your e-reader. True Detective's bleak world view and story of lives tinged with madness fits right in, whether the mythology eventually pans out in the series or not.
posted by tyllwin on Feb 26, 2014 - 498 comments

 

Straight Menace

"I talked to a lawyer about suing, but there wasn't nothing we could do.... Because [The First 48] shows 'All suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty' at the beginning of the program, they're covered."

A&E shirks responsibility for episodes that broadcast incorrect information, and spokespeople confess the channel doesn't re-edit or correct flawed programs beyond stating at a show's end that murder charges were dropped. "We simply film the investigations as they unfold," a spokesperson said. "Every episode states clearly that all individuals are innocent until proven guilty."

posted by frimble on Jan 31, 2014 - 53 comments

“Our goal isn’t to look for blame. Our goal is to correct injustice.”

The teenagers’ experience demonstrates how poor work by detectives at the initial stages can start a sequence of events that snowballs through the system, seemingly unstoppably, until two possibly innocent men have spent decades in prison. The detective in the case was Louis Scarcella. The Brooklyn DA's Conviction Integrity Unit will reopen every murder case that resulted in a guilty verdict after being investigated by Detective Louis Scarcella, a flashy officer who handled some of Brooklyn’s most notorious crimes during the crack epidemic of the 1980s and 1990s.
posted by sio42 on Dec 2, 2013 - 82 comments

In my experience, everyone lies the first time

A former LAPD detective gives commentary on the 1940s LAPD simulator, L.A. Noire (previously, previously, and so)
posted by The Whelk on May 4, 2013 - 22 comments

Crime's Grand Tour

Crime fiction is a magnifying glass that reveals the fingerprints of history. From Holmes and Poirot to Montalbano and the rise of Scandi-noir, Mark Lawson investigates the long tradition of European super-sleuths and their role in turbulent times. [more inside]
posted by shoesfullofdust on Oct 27, 2012 - 12 comments

Peter Cheyney, and the strange adventure of Lemmy Caution

Peter Cheyney was a prolific author of pulp thrillers, whose tin-eared appropriations of American hard-boiled detective fiction were nevertheless wildly popular in Britain and France in his mid-20th-century heyday. Among his creations were the cynical British detective Slim Callaghan; the debonair Belgian assassin Ernest Guelvada (one of the lead characters in the so-called ‘Dark’ series of spy novels), and the oddly-named, trenchcoat-wearing FBI tough-guy Lemmy Caution, played on-screen in a series of French movies by the American-born actor & singer Eddie Constantine, a role he would later reprise to striking effect in Jean-Luc Godard’s 1965 movie Alphaville.
posted by misteraitch on Aug 1, 2012 - 13 comments

Woman's Intuition Aids Her

LADIES
When in need of legal
or confidential advice
why not confer with
one of your own sex?

A concise history of Miss Cora M. Strayer's Private Detective Agency.
posted by griphus on Feb 3, 2012 - 21 comments

Charlie Chan: The (Not Entirely) Fictional Chinese Detective

Charlie Chan is more than a fictional character created the author Earl Derr Biggers, or the star of 50 movies (played by 8 different actors). His origin goes beyond the illiterate Chinese-Hawaiian detective with a bull whip instead of a pistol (previously). Charlie Chan is more than racial stereotypes and yellow-face. A part of his far-reaching story is told inside. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Dec 23, 2011 - 19 comments

John Zorn's "Spillane"

Using his "file card" technique to create the title piece "Spillane" (whereby musical ideas written on note cards form the basis for discreet sound blocks arranged by way of a unifying theme), John Zorn forges an impressionistic narrative out of stretches of live-music jazz, blues, country, lounge, thrash, etc., and a variety of samples and spoken dialogue inspired by Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer detective novels (recited by John Lurie). - AllMusic [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Dec 2, 2011 - 7 comments

påske-krim

How do you write crime fiction in the wake of a massacre? The mass slaughter on Utøya in July shook Norway to its core. Now the country's crime writers must come to terms with what happened…
posted by infini on Nov 20, 2011 - 16 comments

Arthur Penn's "Night Moves"

[Arthur Penn's Night Moves] does belong to a traditional, indeed obsolescent genre, but the distance it keeps from it (not an ironic or critical distance, just a distance) is such that genre-related expectations become irrelevant. Most of the time, the story line seems to meander aimlessly, taking in extraneous material, doubling back, going round in circles (the aimless is deceptive, a smoke screen obfuscating the complex, rigorous organization of an exceptionally well-structured script). The "mystery" aspect of the plot is dealt with in the most peculiar, topsy-turvy manner, withholding not the solution of the problem but the problem itself until the very end, when, in a dazzling visual tour de force, both are conjured up almost simultaneously. - Jean Pierre Coursodon [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Oct 1, 2011 - 19 comments

7. Look For "The Signs"

A rare video excerpt from 1994's Law Enforcement Guide to Satanic Cults [more inside]
posted by hermitosis on Nov 16, 2010 - 200 comments

Whop!

Waka Waka Hey Hey - tracing a tune's spread across the world.
posted by jtron on Mar 2, 2010 - 7 comments

"Don't Bring a Gun to a Snowball Fight."

In Washington D.C. yesterday a snowball fight was organized via Twitter. About two hundred people showed up at 14th. and U Streets and were having a fun time. Some cars got caught in the crossfire. The driver of a Hummer was not pleased. He got out of his car and brandished a gun. A 9-1-1 call was made. Police responded to reports of a man with a gun. It turns out that the Hummer driver is a plain-clothes D.C. detective. Detective Baylor admitted to pulling out his gun. [more inside]
posted by ericb on Dec 20, 2009 - 268 comments

Let me dust off my little grey cells!

Decades after it was written on the eve of World War II, a lost Poirot story by Agatha Christie has been found. Today it is published in the Daily Mail for the first time: The Capture Of Cerberus (scroll half way down the page). [more inside]
posted by lioness on Aug 21, 2009 - 19 comments

Camera Found - International effort pays off

The owner of a camera stolen in Krakow and bought on E-Bay is reunitied with their pictures An amazing story about an international effort to track down the owner of a camera stolen in Krakow, Poland. The camera was bought on E-Bay and found to have 1100 pictures on it. Through some fantastic work by members of the Australian Photography Forum, the owner of the camera was found by analysing the pictures.
posted by Man_in_staysis on Mar 16, 2009 - 5 comments

Thomas Pynchon is 71 years old.

"To make off with hubby's fortune, yea, I think I heard of that happenin' once or twice around L.A. And… you want me to do what exactly?" He found the paper bag he'd brought his supper home in and got busy pretending to scribble notes on it, because straight-chick uniform, makeup supposed to look like no makeup or whatever, here came that old well-known hard-on Shasta was always good for sooner or later. Does it ever end, he wondered. Of course it does. It did. Thomas Pynchon's next novel, the 416-page Inherent Vice, is described by Penguin Press as "part noir, part psychedelic romp, all Thomas Pynchon — private eye Doc Sportello comes, occasionally, out of a marijuana haze to watch the end of an era as free love slips away and paranoia creeps in with the L.A. fog." While we wait for its August 4 publication, we can read an essay on the dystopian musical he co-wrote at Cornell or watch a clip of that movie they made of Gravity's Rainbow. [more inside]
posted by Joe Beese on Feb 6, 2009 - 76 comments

Hard-Boiled Detectives, female and male

Early Female Authors of Hard-Boiled Fiction. Chester Himes and Early African-American Detective Novelists. The Detective's Code. The Femme Fatale. Just a few of the many fascinating offerings at detnovel.com.
posted by mediareport on Dec 8, 2008 - 4 comments

In everything that can be called art there is a quality of redemption

The realistic style is easy to abuse: from haste, from lack of awareness, from inability to bridge the chasm that lies between what a writer would like to be able to say and what he actually knows how to say. It is easy to fake; brutality is not strength, flipness is not wit, edge-of-the-chair writing can be as boring as flat writing; dalliance with promiscuous blondes can be very dull stuff when described by goaty young men with no other purpose in mind than to describe dalliance with promiscuous blondes. There has been so much of this sort of thing that if a character in a detective story says, "Yeah," the author is automatically a Hammett imitator. Raymond Chandler, "The Simple Art of Murder" (1950)
posted by Navelgazer on Sep 24, 2008 - 8 comments

Who loves ya, baby?

It's Telly Friday, baby.
posted by miss lynnster on Dec 14, 2007 - 32 comments

Dicks, dames, death

Twenty hard-boiled pulp stories from a revived Black Mask Magazine. (Unfortunately, stories are mostly in PDF form.)
posted by klangklangston on Oct 10, 2007 - 10 comments

Will the Real Mr. Six Please Stand Up?

A creepy old man, known as Mr. Six, has spent the last couple of years dancing on commercials for Six Flags amusement parts. He's clearly a fake old man (a young person in makeup). So who plays Mr. Six? Six Flags won't say, many people speculate, but this guys thinks he knows.
posted by grumblebee on Jul 26, 2005 - 76 comments

A Glossary of HardBoiled Slang

A Glossary of HardBoiled Slang will allow you to understand such wonderful, alliterative phrases as:

"You dumb mug, get your mitts off the marbles before I stuff that mud-pipe down your mush - and tell your moll to hand over the mazuma."

Welcome to the world of HardBoiled Fiction. Take some time to brush up on the classics.
posted by vacapinta on Apr 27, 2002 - 18 comments

37 year old self-appointed detective fools potential pedophiles with usernames like "dadanddaughtersex."

37 year old self-appointed detective fools potential pedophiles with usernames like "dadanddaughtersex." Not only is there no victim, there cannot not be a crime because of the woman's true age, and the method of 'baiting' pedophile suspects looks like a violation of one's civil rights. On top of that her pedophile website is quite the money-maker, churning $1,000 a month in advertising revenue. Illegal entrapment or civic minded vigilante? Obviously this is a touchy subject, but I can't see the different between this and a plain-clothed police officer asking everyone on the street if they want to buy illegal drugs or guns just for a quick bust.
posted by skallas on Jan 18, 2002 - 46 comments

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