Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Evolution of the Mystery Genre

The Spy Who Came in from the Cold

John le Carre

The Spy Who Came in from the Cold is a 1963 Cold War spy novel by British author John le Carré. It has become famous for its portrayal of Western espionage methods as morally inconsistent with Western democracy and values. The story unfolds during the heightened-alert politico-military tensions that characterised the late 1950s and early 1960s of the Cold War, when a Warsaw Pact–NATO war in Europe (Germany) seemed likely. The story begins and concludes in East Germany, about a year after the completion of the Berlin Wall and around the time when double-agent Heinz Felfe was exposed and tried.[4]

A key character is Hans-Dieter Mundt (Blondie), an assassin of the Abteilung, the East German Secret Service, who is working under diplomatic cover in London when uncovered by Circus agents George Smiley and Peter Guillam. When discovered, he escapes from England to East Germany before Smiley and Guillam can catch him. Two years later, Mundt has risen from the field to the upper-echelon of the Abteilung, because of his successful counter-intelligence operations against the spy networks of the British Secret Service.

In an interview with John le Carré, broadcast October 5, 2008 on BBC Four, Mark Lawson asked him to name a Best of le Carré list of books; the novelist answered:

• The Spy Who Came In from the Cold
• Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

• The Tailor of Panama

• The Constant Gardener

John le Carre (David John Moore Cornwell) October 19, 1931
John le Carré (pron.: /lə ˈkɑrˌeɪ/), is a British author of espionage novels. During the 1950s and the 1960s, Cornwell worked for the British intelligence services MI5 and MI6, when he began writing novels under a pen name. His third novel The Spy Who Came In from the Cold (1963) became an international best-seller, and remains one of his best-known works. Following the novel's success, he left MI6 to become a full-time author.

Le Carré has since established himself as an important writer of espionage fiction. In 1990, he received the Helmerich Award which is presented annually by the Tulsa Library Trust. In 2008, The Times ranked Le Carré 22nd on its list of The 50 greatest British writers since 1945. In 2011, he won the Goethe Medal, a yearly prize given by the Goethe Institute

Friday, April 19, 2013

The Evolution of the Mystery Genre

The Thirty-Nine Steps


                                         John Buchan

Thirty-Nine Steps, published in 1915,  is one of the earliest examples of the 'man-on-the-run' thriller archetype subsequently adopted by Hollywood as an often-used plot device. Also a forerunner of the James Bond spy who escapes every unbelievable attemp to twart his mission. In The Thirty-Nine Steps, Buchan holds up Richard Hannay as an example to his readers of an ordinary man who puts his country’s interests before his own safety. The story was a great success with the men in the First World War trenches.

Richard Hannay continued his adventures in four subsequent books. Two were set during the war when Hannay continued his undercover work against the Germans and their allies the Turks in Greenmantle and Mr Standfast. The other two stories, The Three Hostages and The Island of Sheep were set in the post war period when Hannay's opponents were criminal gangs.

The Thirty-Nine Steps became a classic movie directed by Alfred Hichcock in 1939 and the novel was listed as #22 on the Top 100 Mysteries of A1l Time by the Mystery Writers of American.

John Buchan (August 26, 1875 – February 11, 1940)
John Buchan, 1st Baron Tweedsmuir was a Scotish novelist, historian and Unionist politician who served as Govenor General of Canada, the  15th since Canadian Confederation. After a brief legal career Buchan simultaneously began both his writing career and his political and diplomatic career, serving as a private secretary to the colonial administrator of various colonies in Southern Africa. He eventually wrote propaganda for the British war effort in the First World War. Once he was back in civilian life Buchan was elected Member of Parliament for the Combined Scottish Universities, but he spent most of his time on his writing career, notably writing The Thirty-Nine Steps and other adventure fiction. In 1935 he was appointed Governor General of Canada by George V, king of Canada, on the recommendation of Prime Minister of Canada Richard Bennett, to replace the Earl of Bessborough. He occupied the post until his death in 1940. Buchan proved to be enthusiastic about literacy, as well as the evolution of Canadian culture, and he received a state funeral in Canada before his ashes were returned to the United Kingdom.

Friday, April 12, 2013

The Evolution of the Mystery Genre

                                              The Blue Cross
                                                   G. K. Chesterson

The first Father Brown short story was published on June 23, 1910, in the Saturday Evening Post, Philidelphia, and later in London in The Story-Teller magazine of September 1910.

Aristide Valentin, head of the Paris Police, is on the trail of the world's most famous criminal, Flambeau, a master of disguise, and may appear to be anyone, except for the one fact he cannot conceal, he is six feet four inches tall. Valentin encounters a little country Catholic priest, Father Brown. He overhears the priest tell a lady that he is carrying a sterling silver cross, covered in precious blue stones, which Valentin knows to be the famous Blue Cross. The detective cautions the priest on the dangers of advertising the fact that he is carrying an object of great value.

Valentin tries to tail Father Brown, but loses him. The detective comes across an elegant restaurant, with a mysterious dark splash upon one of its walls. He sits down in and orders a cup of coffee. When his drink arrives, he realises that the positions of the table salt and sugar have been switched. He brings this to the attention of the waiter who says it must have been "those two clergymen". Valentin enquires, and finds out that the smaller of the two priests threw his half-empty bowl of soup at the wall before quickly leaving. He comes across a grocer, and brings to his attention atop his display of nuts, a large sign reading oranges, and atop oranges, a sign reading nuts. The grocer tells him a similar story of two priests, one small and one large, and how the little one upset the apple cart and ran.Valentin spots a restaurant with the front window having a large star shaped break in it. Upon questioning the waiter, Valentin learns the plate glass window was smashed by a little priest, who was in earlier with a large companion, and paid over three times his proper bill, then smashed the window with his umbrella. Valentin's final clue is in a sweetshop, where the lady at the counter tells him that two priests were there not a half hour before. Though they left, the smaller of the two soon returned, saying he had misplaced a package, and that if it were found to send it on to an address in Westminster. The shopkeeper did indeed find the package once the priest had left.d. The shopkeeper then saysthe two priests headed for Hampstead Heath.

At the park, he comes across the two priests. The larger priest reveals his true identity as Flambeau, and demands the package from Father Brown. When Father Brown refuses, Flambeau triumphantly reveals that he has already obtained the cross and slipped the priest a dummy package. Father Brown replies that he has switched the packages back at the candy shop and mailed the cross safely to a friend at Westminster. He explains how he suspected his companion was no priest because he recognized the bulge up his sleeve as the spiked bracelet, a criminal insignia. This suspicion was confirmed when Father Brown tested Flambeau and found that his companion did not want to draw attention to himself in the restaurant (this being tested by swapping the positions of the sugar and table salt, the thief drinking his salty coffee without a word; and modifying the bill so that it shows a value three times higher, the thief merely paying it without complaint). Valentin to follow. On this note, the bobbies and Valentin emerge from their hiding place and arrest Flambeau.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton, (May 29, 1874 – June 14, 1936)

G. K. Chesterton, was an English writer. He wrote on philosophy, ontology, poetry, plays, journalism, public lectures and debates, literary and art criticism, biography, Christian apologetics, and fiction, including fantasy and detective fiction.

Chesterton is well known for his reasoned apologetics, and even some of those who disagree with him have recognized the universal appeal of such works as Orthodoxy and The Everlasting Man. Chesterton routinely referred to himself as an "orthodox" Christian, and came to identify this position more and more with Catholicism, eventually converting to Roman Catholicism from High Church Anglicanism.

Friday, April 5, 2013

The Evolution of the Mystrey Genre

Anatomy of a Murder

Robert Traver

Small-town lawyer Paul Biegler, a former district attorney who lost his re-election bid, spends most of his time fishing, playing the piano and hanging out with his alcoholic friend and colleague Parnell McCarthy and sardonic secretary Maida Rutledge..

Biegler is contacted by Laura Manion wife of US Army Lieutenant Frederick Manion, who has been arrested for the first degree murder of innkeeper Barney Quill. Manion does not deny the murder, but claims that his wife was raped by Quill.

Biegler's folksy speech and laid-back demeanor hide a sharp legal mind and a propensity for courtroom theatrics. However, the case for the defense does not go well, especially since the local assisted by a high-powered big city prosecutor. Biegler eventually manages to get the rape issue into the record and Judge Weaver agrees to allow the matter to be part of the deliberations. However, Dancer's cross-examination of Laura portrays her as a woman who was not satisfied with her marriage and openly with other men, including the one she claimed raped her.

Quill's inn is due to be inherited by Mary Pilant, a mysterious Canadian who is suspected of being his mistress.Mary attends the final day of the trial when the issue is raised about the panties that Laura was wearing on the night of the murder. These panties were never found at the spot she claims the rape took place. Mary, who was unaware of this, later returns to testify that she found the panties in the inn's laundry room, presuming that Quill dropped them down the laundry chute when he returned home. Dancer insistently quizzes her that she was lying and that Quill was her lover. She shocks the court and torpedoes Dancer by stating that Quill was her father.

Biegler has played heavily on the issue that he is "just a humble country lawyer" facing a "brilliant prosecutor from the big city of Lansing". It is to no avail, however: Manion is found "not guilty by reason of insanity".

The next day Biegler and McCarthy go to see the Manions at their trailer park home in order to collect their fee only to find the trailer missing. A note left by Manion tells Biegler that he was "seized by an irresistible impulse"—the defense used by Biegler during the trial. Evidence left lying around indicates that Manion was actually a heavy drinker who beat Laura before they left. This might indicate that Laura's sexual encounter with Quill was consensual (or that Manion believed it was) and that Manion killed Quill out of drunken jealousy; or that Laura was raped but that Manion killed Quill in a drunken rage and not due to irresistible impulse.

Robert Traver (John D. Voelker  June 19, 1903[-March 19, 1991),

Voelker, better known by his pen name Robert Traver, was a renowned fly fisherman, and a member of the Fly Fishing Hall of Fame. His early professional career was as an attorney, judge, and later a writer. He is best known as the author of the novel, Anatomy of a Murder published in 1958. The best-selling novel was turned into an Academy Award nominated film. It is critically acclaimed as one of the best trial movies of all time.

Anatomy of a Murder is based on a real homicide and subsequent trial that occurred in Michigan in July 31, 1952. Coleman A. Peterson, a lieutenant in the Army, was charged with murdering Maurice Chenoweth.Voelker successfully defended Peterson who was found not guilty by reason of insanity.

• Trouble-Shooter: The Story of a Northwoods Prosecutor, 1943 (memoir)

• Danny and the Boys, 1951 (novel)

• Small Town D.A., 1954 (short stories and essays)

• Anatomy of a Murder, 1958 (novel)

• Trout Madness, 1960 (short stories)

• Hornstein's Boy, 1962 (novel)

• Anatomy of a Fisherman, 1964 (non-fiction)

• Laughing Whitefish, 1965 (novel)

• The Jealous Mistress, 1967 (essays)

• Trout Magic, 1974 (short stories)

• People Versus Kirk, 1981 (novel)