Friday, November 29, 2019

From Page To Screen: My Washington Times Review Of 'The Big Book Of Reel Murders'

The Washington Times ran my review of The Big Book of Reel Murders: Stories That Inspired Great Crime Films.

Almost as much as I love novels and short stories, I love films, especially crime films. 

Throughout my life I’ve watched many good films that led me to read the novels or short stories that the films were based on. Likewise, I’ve also gone to see films that were based on novels and short stories I’ve read and enjoyed.

Delving behind the movie theater’s curtain, as it were, “The Big Book of Reel Murders: Stories That Inspired Great Crime Films” offers a collection of fine short stories that were later made into classic crime films. The book is edited by Otto Penzler, who previously edited other books in “The Big Book” series. Mr. Penzler knows crime stories. In addition to being an editor, he is the president of and the owner of the Mysterious Bookshop in New York City.

In “The Big Book of Reel Murders” he has selected a good variety of stories from well-known writers, as well as some writers that are not as well-known by today’s readers. From Robert Louis Stevenson’s story that was the basis for “The Body Snatchers” film, to Aldous Huxley’s story that was the basis for “A Woman’s Vengeance,” Mr. Penzler offers notes on the film adaptations and the accompanying stories.

“The history of motion pictures is closely intertwined with mystery, crime, suspense, espionage, and detective fiction,” Mr. Penzler writes in his introduction to the stories. “Crime is a greater motivating factor in motion pictures than any other — even love — and audiences delight in seeing the criminal confronted and defeated on the silver screen.

“The detective, whether amateur sleuth, official crime fighter, private eye, or espionage agent, is a necessary component of these narratives. These (mostly) heroic figures have had a rich life in films, and this volume barely scratches the surface as it focuses on a single literary form, the short story.”

You can read the rest of the review via the below link: 

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