Roadtrip

Road Trip 1

She hadn’t expected to be left in the middle of nowhere and wasn’t up for hoofing it in heels all the way back to town. But the cab fare for this ride would be a little steep even for her, and Lord knows she’d paid her dues before.

Some excerpts from Danish photographer Signe Vilstrup’s 2011 editorial “Road Trip”, a vignette for a story in the making if ever I saw one.

Roadtrip 2Roadtrip 3Roadtrip 4

The Dames

pulp fiction the dames

Otto Penzler’s Pulp Fiction: The Dames is a follow-up to his previous anthologies Pulp Fiction: The Crimefighters and Pulp Fiction: The Villains. My copy shown here is a 2008 Quercus UK edition, a big fat 500+ page trade paperback which includes 22 stories plus two saucy Sally The Sleuth comic strips from 1930’s – 40’s pulp fiction magazines, including the top tier mags like Black Mask, Dime Detective and Detective Fiction Weekly, right down to the bottom rung in publications like Gun Molls, and Spicy Romantic Adventures. Penzler’s preface and Laura Lippman’s well-written introduction frame the material well. As she writes, “The pulps of the early 20thcentury will never be mistaken for proto-feminist documents…(but) there is just enough kink in these archetypes of girlfriend/hussy/sociopath to hint at broader possibilities for the female of the species.” Indeed, the roots of V.I. Washawski, Kinsey Millhone and even Lippman’s own Tess Monaghan can be traced right back here.

Pulp Fiction The Dames Back

The anthology opens with a terrific Cornell Woolrich 1937 tale, Angel Face, about a chorus girl trying to keep her wayward younger brother out of trouble, but when he’s framed for murder, she ignores the cops and does her own sleuthing to nab the mobster she’s sure did the deed. It may end abruptly and even a bit implausibly, but every sentence absolutely sings with vintage slang and retro word-smithing that’s a dark delight. That’s followed by Leslie T. White’s Chosen To Die from 1934 with husband and wife team of P.I. Duke Martindel and attorney Phyllis Martindel, the well-intended gumshoe relying on his savvy spouse to get him out of jams with the law. The book includes stories from Dashiell Hammett, a Lars Anderson’s Domino Lady tale, a T.T. Flynn Trixie Meehan story and even Raymond Chandler’s 1935 Killer In The Rain, which he cannibalized (along with material from other short stories) for The Big Sleep. Read it and see if you don’t spot some mighty familiar scenes and passages, even if the private eye isn’t named Marlowe.

‘The Dames’ from pulp fiction aren’t all snoopy reporters, private investigators or even uniformed cops (rare as those were). The bad girlz might be some of the more memorable characters in this anthology, from gun molls to gang leaders. Unlike Penzler’s recent – and enormous – The Big Book Of Female Detectives (see link below for a post on that book) this one’s strictly vintage pulp fiction. Which isn’t always literary, can sometimes be a little squirm-worthy, but is almost always entertaining, and the female private eyes, girl reporters, sleuthing secretaries and, yes — even former chorus girls – make for one terrific tale after another.

https://thestilettogumshoe.com/2019/03/09/the-big-book-of-female-detectives/

Chilean Pulpy Noir Art: Carlos Valenzuela

Miami Confidential

Fabulous poster art by Chilean artist-illustrator Carlos Valenzuela. The fact is, I’m not entirely certain if the projects — Miami Confidential and Sleep Well, Sleep Forever — are real or not, but the art is so cool, I kinda don’t care!

Sleep Well Sleep Forever

And The Real Nancy Drew Is…?

Pamela Sue Martin - Nancy Drew

Bonita Granville, Emma Roberts and then only last month, Sophia Lillis as Nancy Drew in the Katt Shea-directed feature film (which kind of vanished in a blink). Now there’s Kennedy McMann, who’ll assume the role of the plucky ‘girl detective’ in the upcoming CW series due this Fall, which from all advance news sounds more like Veronica Mars meets Riverdale than a Carolyn Keene novel, which may not be an entirely bad thing, after all.

Pamela Sue Martin - Playboy

But there’s still one more Nancy Drew we shouldn’t forget: Pamela Sue Martin, who played the part in the late 1970’s The Hardy Boys-Nancy Drew Mysteries series on ABC, which alternated between Parker Stevens and puppy-love heartthrob Shaun Cassidy as the Hardy Boys one week, then Pamela Sue Martin as Nancy Drew the next. A largely forgotten bit of 70’s era TV, perhaps, but episodes are actually all over the place online, and I assume available as DVD’s…I mean, every  television series good or bad seems to be. Martin went on to do some films (the original The Poseidon Adventure, for instance) and more TV series, initially stirring up quite a to-do when she tried to rev up her clean-cut ingenue image by posing for several men’s magazines including France’s Lui and U.S. Playboy. Now Pamela Sue Martin will join the CW’s Nancy Drew series, playing Harriet Grosset, a psychic who assists the teen detective with her murder investigation, though the clues will lead to some seemingly otherworldy mysteries.

Playoby 1978

The CW network seems to enjoy inside-TV nostalgia casting. Supergirl, starring Melissa Benoist as Kara Danvers/Kara Zor-El/Supergirl has included Helen Slater (star of the one-shot 1984 film Supergirl) as Kara’s earth stepmother Eliza Danvers, while Dean Cain (Clark Kent/Superman in ABC’s Lois & Clark: The New Adventures 1993-1997) as her stepfather, and Terri Hatcher (Lois Lane on that same show) was a villainous alien mother of Supergirl’s season two love interest. Oh yeah, and Linda Carter, star of ABC’s kitschy 70’s Wonder Woman series, played the President (who turned out to be an alien).

Listening To: Diana Krall

diana krall

All last week the grass was greening, the trees were budding. Later this week we should be in the 70’s. Spring’s here. But Mother Nature wanted to thumb her nose at us one last time on Sunday, lobbing a snowstorm into the upper Midwest with gusty winds and half a foot of the wet heavy stuff that blew from mid-morning till I turned in around 1:00 AM. So other than picking up some groceries really early (with an in-car coffee break with the New York Times) when it was still only cold, rainy and windy, it was definitely a stay-in kind of day. A good day to stay huddled behind the computer and marvel at the icy ugliness churning around out the window.

diana krall 2

The soundtrack for all that blizzardy bluster: Diana Krall, though not in order, just however they all ended up on the turntable and in the CD player. Suitable sounds for pounding the keyboard on a scene set in a 1959 cocktail lounge for the re-activated follow-up to The Stiletto Gumshoe.

diana krall 1

Shots In The Dark

Shots In The Dark

Rose McGowan’s been busier as an activist, rather than an actor, and even a writer, her recent memoir a pretty moving and thought-proving read. But she did some fun (and dark!) roles earlier in her career, even if we didn’t know what was going on behind the scenes. And she posed for some whimsical and intriguing photo shoots. Case in point: Shots In The Dark, a 1996 Henry Mancini tribute album, with covers of the composer’s film themes by various punk, surf and garage bands, the title from the 1964 Peter Sellers-Elke Sommer movie A Shot In The Dark, the second (I think) Pink panther film.

Shots In The Dark CD BackShots In The Dark Alt

Tinsel Town

Masthead

I never saw this five-issue series from Alterna Comics which apparently ran last year, and just happened to stumble across it recently at a blog. I’ve looked for it since with no luck. But a trade pb collecting the whole series is due out this summer, though not till the end of July (which could just as easily mean anywhere from August through Autumn). I suppose I’ll pre-order now.

 

Tinsel Town 1 Cover

 

Sure looks interesting: David Lucarelli writes a story drawn by Henry Ponciano set in the silent film era, when Abigail Moore dreams of becoming a police officer. Of course, women weren’t welcome then, but she takes a job as a studio security officer, where soon enough she’s mixed up in a noir-ish behind the screen mystery. Well, that cover art’s a little bright for ‘noir-ish, but I’m still eager to check this out.

Your deal…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I learned the hard way back in high school that poker and I would never get along. Suckered into card games during college, and I still didn’t wise up.

The picture’s called “6016760”. Now I don’t know what UK photo-artist Patryk Madej (AKA ‘Sorenquist’) means by that cryptic title. It could be something secret and personal or it could just an image file number. But I do know that I’d think twice before getting into a card game with model Sonia Aneila.

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