Nostalgia City Mysteries

Mark S. Bacon

Tag Archives: Robert B. Parker

The Maltese Falcon reexamined


“And when you’re slapped, you’ll take it and like it.” Sam Spade to Joel Cairo.

With apologies to Robert B. Parker, Agatha Christie, Raymond Chandler and a few others, Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon is the quintessential murder story. Although Sam Spade appeared in only one novel, the cynical, hardboiled detective who bends the rules but still lives by a code, set the standard for all the gumshoes who would follow in the 85 years hence. “I don’t mind a reasonable amount of trouble,” he tells the comely and mysterious Brigid O’Shaughnessy.Bogie-&-Elisha-Cook

Although Spade is such a well-defined and described character, it is difficult for me to separate him from Humphrey Bogart, the actor who portrayed Spade in the 1941 noir film of the same name. Bogart’s height and general appearance don’t match Hammett’s description, but by every other measure, Bogart is Sam Spade.

Recently I reread the novel and, for perhaps the 10th time, watched the film. The similarities and the few differences are worth examining. In fact, there are at least two mysteries within the mystery. And at this point, if you haven’t seen the movie or read the book, do so. Then come back and read the rest of this article. Continue Reading →

A sample of deadly holiday gifts

Santa’s helpers, a sugar plum fairy, cozy carolers and children at the fireside are the usual cast of characters for holiday scenes.  But for any mystery fan, a lurking shadow is all that’s needed for an enjoyable winter read.  Here are some Christmastime homicides.

A Christmas Tragedy

by Agatha Christie

This “Kindle short” story finds Miss Marple at a resort wondering if a man is about to murder his wife.

The Big Book of Christmas Mysteries

Edited by Otto Penzler

Sixty holiday-themed crime short stories by such authors as Sara Paretsky, Ed McBain, Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, John D. MacDonald and John Mortimer.

A Christmas Tragedy++

Christmas Is Murder

by C. S. Challinor

An English manor house in the country during the holidays, a blizzard and a body.

Christmas Carol Murder

by Leslie Meier

When the owner of a mortgage company who is profiting mightily from other’s misfortunes is found dead, suspects abound.

The Christmas Secret

by Anne Perry

Unsavory secrets swirl around an English village vicar during the holidays.

Silent Night: A Spenser Holiday Novel

by Robert B. Parker and Helen Brann

Parker’s longtime agent, Brann, completed this unfinished manuscript.  Spenser helps the operator of an unlicensed shelter who has been receiving threats.

Parker's Silent Night

Murder She Wrote: Murder Never Takes a Holiday

by Jessica Fletcher and Donald Bain

Two holiday-themed mysteries, “Manhattans & Murder”and “A Little Yuletide Murder,” are combined in one volume.

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