Welcome to Mystery Crime Blog

In 1998, if someone had told me I would be spending the next eight years of my life involved in injustice, I would have said "You are stark raving mad!". Well, I am here to eat those words.

In 1997, a friend was telling me about twin sisters, Betty Wilson and Peggy Lowe, from Alabama who were arrested and tried for supposedly hiring an alcoholic, drug addict con-man, James Dennison White, to kill Betty's wealthy husband, Dr. Jack Wilson, who was a very well-liked and well-known eye doctor in Huntsville. Both sisters were tried on the same evidence and lying testimony. Betty was convicted and sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole because she was a rich bitch and slept with a black man in Alabama. Peggy, the saintly one, was acquitted. The convicted con-man, who never really admitted to killing the doctor, has come up for parole several times but is still incarcerated.

After spending six years studying this case including both trial transcripts, putting up an extensive website (http://hankford.com/bettywilson) and spending the remaining two years putting together a book about this case Killer For Hire - The Final Chapter of the Alabama Twins Murder Case, I, as many others, believe that the real killer of the doctor is walking around free. Neither of the twin sisters had a motive to have the good doctor put away but the doctor's ex-wife and son did.

As time permits, I hope to present other similar cases of injustice along with information on books, movies, TV shows, video games, etc., related to mystery crime. In the meantime please visit http://mysterycrimescene.com/.

What two words can cost an innocent man $1 million?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Posted by Crimesider Staff (CBS)
April 22, 2011 2:59 PM

The Anthony Graves case has been a wild ride in every sense. After years of long shot legal maneuvers on his behalf - that worked - "48 Hours Mystery" producer Jenna Jackson and I found ourselves careening through the Texas countryside from Houston to Brenham.

After serving 18 years in prison, 12 on death row, for killing six people, the charges against him had just been dropped.

We wanted to be there when he took his first steps as a free man. We got there literally with not one second to spare - to an empty parking lot - with a man looking dazed, walking toward us carrying everything he owned in a cardboard box and an onion bag. It was one of the most emotional scenes we have ever witnessed.

It was the beginning of a new life for Anthony Graves - and the beginning of one of the most dramatic stories in the history of "48 Hours Mystery."

Since that day, we have followed Graves and documented his life - the last 18 years and the several months since his unexpected release.

All the details of the case can be found here.

In Texas, if a person is wrongfully convicted, he is entitled to $80,000 a year for his trouble. For Anthony Graves, that would add up to $1.4 million - tax free. But he hasn't gotten a dime. He hasn't even gotten an apology. That's despite the fact that a woman most people consider the toughest prosecutor in the state, Kelly Siegler (well-known to "48 Hours Mystery" viewers as a pit bull in the courtroom, afraid of nothing) announced Graves was innocent. She started the process that finally allowed him to walk out of prison.

Why no compensation for Mr. Graves?

It's because Graves' dismissal papers don't include two words: actual innocence. That's all he needs, those two words.

We asked the elected D.A. of that county, Bill Parham (the man who hired Siegler to try this case), why he didn't just change the dismissal papers to include those two words. He says it's a technical legal issue - and won't do it. He believes those words are intended to cover situations where a defendant is exonerated - for example through DNA evidence - and worries that it's not clear they were intended for circumstances like Graves'.

Parham told us he believes Graves is "absolutely innocent" but not actually innocent, as the paperwork requires. And Parham says he is not the one with the power to fix this mess - that the Texas Legislature should take that on.

Governor Rick Perry has called for a change to happen so that Anthony Graves will get the money he has coming. Nothing has happened so far. The Texas Legislature meets until the end of May.

On Saturday, "48 Hours Mystery" viewers got an in-depth, emotional look at how this case has unfolded for Anthony Graves. For his part, Graves says he is through waiting - he is moving on with his life and his new-found freedom.

But his lawyers and supporters are not nearly as patient. They've won the big victory - they cleared Graves. Now they want the state to pay him. It won't give him back 18 years of his life, but it will at least help him to begin life again.

For more on Anthony Graves, watch "48 Hours Mystery: Grave Injustice".

Richard Schlesinger is a "48 Hours Mystery" correspondent

For More Information about Innocent in Prison Click Here
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A True Crime: Texas Exonerated

Sunday, April 24, 2011

These men were exonerated through DNA testing. But not before they spent years in prison for crimes they didnt commit.
Video Rating: 5 / 5

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The Killer Spinsters: 1941 TRUE CRIME CASE

Vintage 8mm home movie video highlights the 1941 true crime tale of Ethel George and Rita Crawford, two middle aged spinsters who murdered seven men after taking out life insurance policies on their lives. Subtitles tell the tale of death.
Video Rating: 4 / 5

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Thriller Books: The world of books is finally coming out of the Blues

Article by Raisa Raima

The world of books has seen many changes and if one goes by the continuing and unprecedented reading preferences of the present day readers, there is no doubt that the world is likely to see some favourable trends in the coming years.

It has always been said that books are a man's best friend, this is because a man can learn several lessons of life without actually getting involved in them in the real sense. Apart from that, one can have an easy access to writings of knowledge, poetry, fiction, non-fiction, thriller and biography to stay in touch with the writing world.

In the recent years, there has been a phenomenal change in the number of people who have moved to readership and involved themselves with books of all tastes and titles. This change can be easily attributed to a number of factors, such as the emergence of new market players, easy availability of books online and favourable reader's preferences. A few decades ago, what was dismissed as a shrinking world of books has now evolved itself as an ever-growing world with immense options for all. The reading audience, writers and publishers are enjoying these trends like never-before and the time is not far when all the readers of the world will have access to brilliant pieces of writings with a single-click of the mouse.

Every reader has a different flair for his preferences when it comes to reading materials. If you are into crime fiction then books such as the Dead Man's Handle, Cobra Trap, Last Day in Limbo, The Night of Morningstar and Pieces of Modesty are good reading options for you. The Cobra Trap, a thriller book, is one of the finest works of Peter O'Donnell, the creator and best selling author of the Modesty Blaise series. The thriller book - Cobra Trap, has all the essence of a timeless and treasured book and is lucidly written for the delight of its reading audience. Apart from it, the crime fiction books by O'Donnell are good enough to find a place on every reader's study table.

So, if you have always looked for books but could not find the resources to place your hands on them, you now are longer deprived of them. Just make a visit to the Internet and get flooded by millions of book titles by your favourite authors.

About the Author

The author is a specialist in retail writing. Her writing skills reflect the outcome of years of exposure to the retail industry. Working with retail giants as a consultant has enriched her knowledge base and her passion for writing got fire. She can be read regularly on RetailsDirect.com. For details please visit: http://www.retailsdirect.com.

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True Crime with Aphrodite Jones- What Happened to Chandra Levy?

For more, visit investigation.discovery.com | Years after her murder, investigators finally have clues as to what really happened to Chandra Levy that fateful day in Rock Creek Park.

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Michael Savage Reviews James Ellroy's Blood's a Rover - Part 1

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Blood's a Rover is a 2009 crime fiction novel by American author James Ellroy. The book's title is taken from a poem titled "Reveille" by AE Housman: Clay lies still, but blood's a rover; Breath's a ware that will not keep. Up, lad; when the journey's over There'll be time enough for sleep.
Video Rating: 5 / 5

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Law Enforcement and Latent Fingerprints-How Do They Find Them at Crime Scenes

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Article by Don penven

The wildly popular TV show, CSI-Crime Scene Investigationhas changed the public view on how crimes are investigated and solved.

In a sense this show has accomplished two points:

1. It has given the public first hand information about the tools and procedures that crime scene investigators use to solve crimes.

2. It has given the public unrealistic expectations in believing all law enforcement agencies should be able to catch the criminal in just 60 minutes--including commercials.

Budget constraints often hamper investigative agencies in procuring the latest tools needed for effective crime scene investigation. Budgets also restrict training opportunities for officers too. Yet the locating, collecting, preserving and evaluating physical evidence from crime scenes is what helps to get convictions and /or exonerate a falsely accused suspect.

Latent fingerprints remain one of the most valuable kinds of physical evidence, and although DNA evidence is becoming increasingly valuable, latent prints have an excellent track record.

Latent fingerprints are the result of physical contact with a surface by the fingers or palms of the hands.

Both the palms and soles of human feet are covered with friction ridges, and these ridges are dotted with sweat pores. These pores are part the body's waste disposal system and they secrete mostly water that is populated with a variety of waste products like amino acids, urea, sugar, creatinine and choline.

But the fingertips are often contaminated by oily secretions from contact with other parts of the body that harbor sebaceous glands. The face, ears and upper body are covered with pores that secrete oily sebaceous content, which includes fatty acids, glycerides and hydrocarbons.

Several methods are available to CSIs for use at the crime scene. Below are tools and materials used to locate and develop latent fingerprints:

1. Latent print development powders: Latent powders include a variety of formulations. The first consideration facing the evidence collection team is the type of surface to be processed. Nonporous surfaces like metal, painted wood, glass and most plastics generally require the use latent print powders.

But specialized powders have been developed that improve chances of getting useable latent prints on a variety of surface textures. Background color is also a consideration. A light colored powder is used on dark surfaces and dark powders are used on light surfaces to ensure good photographic contrast. Latent powders are applied to surfaces using soft bristle brushes.

Highly polished surfaces like chrome-plating and silver objects require the use of powders formulated from metallike aluminum, copper and brass particles. Other non-porous surfaces are processed with Oxide formulated powders like black, white, gray, and red.

2. Porous surfaces such as paper, cardboard and raw wood are best treated with chemicals like DFO, Ninhydrin, Silver Nitrate or Physical Developer. These chemicals are used in liquid form and are either sprayed onto the evidence or development in a tray is used.

3. Chemical fuming is the third choice for latent print development. There are two popular fuming processes: Iodine fuming and Cyanoacrylate (Superglue) fuming. Iodine fuming works best on porous surfaces (paper, cardboard and raw wood). Iodine crystals undergo a transformation when low heat is applied to them. This causes the Iodine to sublimate, which is when a solid like the crystals transforms in to a gas (fumes).

Iodine fuming is practiced in an enclosed area of some sort. At the crime scene a zip-top plastic bag may be used as a fuming chamber.Iodine fumes react with the oily contents of latent print residue and an orange-brown color appears that conforms to the ridge structure of the print.

Cyanoacrylate or superglue fuming is used on nonporous surfaces like metal, painted wood, glass and plastic. Again a sealed chamber is needed for development. Superglue forms a very persistent bond with many surfaces, but it does not work unless moisture is present on the surfaces to be bonded.

Normal humidity can fulfill the moisture requirement. A small amount of superglue is paced inside the chamber with the evidence undergoing evaluation. It could take typically two to three hours for the fumes to polymerize, or to cover and harden on the moisture content of a latent print.

Development may be accelerated by the addition of heat (like a small coffee warmer) or by applying the glue to a cotton pad. The cellulose content of cotton causes considerable heat to develop.

In review, latent powders, chemicals and fuming techniques fill the crime-solving toolkit of the CSI.

The following link will take you to a website where you can learn a great deal more about latent print development: Download this training free guide: Overview of Latent Print Development.

Training Manual

About the Author

Expert author Don Penven is a freelance writer and photographer based in Raleigh and Morehead City, NC

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Vintage film footage tells the 1974 true crime case of Samantha Clairmont, an 11 year old girl with muscular dystrophy who was murdered and stuffed into a sofa. Subtitles tell the tale of death and the arrest of her killers.
Video Rating: 4 / 5

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Considering Crime Scene Jobs As A Career Path

Article by Albert Werfert

There truly can be no more a fascinating and rewarding job then a crime scene job in the field of criminal justice. The fact is, that much of the evidence that is gathered at crime scenes is done by trained experts that have attained a degree in the field of criminal justice.

If you have watched any crime dramas on your TV then you have seen just a small sprinkling of what actually goes into dissecting a crime scene for evidence. Every shred of evidence down to the most minuscule trace evidence must be carefully gathered and then meticulously documented.

Then still one more crime scene job is analyzing the evidence that has been gathered in a crime lab. The fact is, that solving crimes involves the efforts of many well trained individuals in the field of criminal justice.

If working as a member of a team of law enforcement professionals to solve crimes in your community seems like something that you would enjoy doing, then you may in fact be cut out for a lucrative and personally rewarding crime scene job.

Also, one new area of law enforcement that has opened up is in field of counter terrorism and solving the horrendous crimes that international terrorists commit.

If the idea of traveling to foreign countries and working as a covert agent for the U.S. government to detect and neutralize Islamic terrorists before they have chance to strike again seems like something you might be interested in, then the time to begin your training is now.

Every time a terrorist strikes they leave some type of evidence hidden in the carnage. It is the crime scene job of people like yourself to find that evidence, so the animals that commit those horrendous acts can be found and eliminated before they can strike again.

Taking your first steps toward a degree in criminal justice are your first steps towards landing the type of job that can truly change your life.

About the Author

Written by Albert Werfert. Find the latest information on a Crime Scene Job at http://ronsmithandassociates.com/crime-scene-job.htm

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Famous Crime Scenes

Selena Quintanilla: VH1 Famous Crime Scene - Part 1 of 4
Video Rating: 4 / 5

On the night of September 7, 1996, Shakur attended the Mike Tyson - Bruce Seldon boxing match at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. After leaving the match, one of Suge's associates spotted 21 year-old Orlando "Baby Lane" Anderson, a member of the Southside Crips, in the MGM Grand lobby and informed Shakur. Shakur then attacked Anderson. Shakur's entourage, as well as Suge and his followers assisted in assaulting Anderson. The fight was captured on the hotel's video surveillance. A few weeks earlier, Anderson and a group of Crips had robbed a member of Death Row's entourage in a Foot Locker store, precipitating Shakur's attack. After the brawl, Shakur went to rendezvous with Suge to go to Death Row-owned Club 662 (now known as restaurant/club Seven). He rode in Suge's 1996 black BMW 750iL sedan as part of a larger convoy including many in Shakur's entourage. At 10:55 pm, while paused at a red light, Shakur rolled down his window and a photographer took his photograph.[52] At around 11:0011:05 pm, they were halted on Las Vegas Blvd. by Metro bicycle cops for playing the car stereo too loud and not having license plates. The plates were then found in the trunk of Suge's car; they were released without being fined a few minutes later.[52][53] At about 11:10 pm, while stopped at a red light at Flamingo Road near the intersection of Koval Lane in front of the Maxim Hotel, a vehicle occupied by two women pulled up on their right side. Shakur, who was standing up through the sunroof ...
Video Rating: 4 / 5

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CSI: The anatomy of an Uber Franchise

Article by Groshan Fabiola

The CSI formula seems very simple: film noire with copious violence mixed with high brow techie detective work. Part Quincey, Part X-files, CSI has become an international phenomenon spawning a host of extracurricular projects including two highly successful spin-offs - Csi Miami, and CSI NY. Looking back over the success of CSI, it's hard to imagine that it wasn't a hit from the beginning; none-the-less, the show that came to be the yard stick for police procedurals struggled in the beginning to secure a place on the top ten in its freshman 2000 season. Just two seasons later, CSI landed in the top three most watched for the season with a staggering 26.2 million viewers; a number not so uncommon in short run high-profile reality shows like American Idol, but completely unparalleled for a drama.Part of the CSI phenomenon has been its social impact. Suddenly millions of viewers found themselves deluged with what they thought were the essentials of crime solving. Few other shows purported to educate viewers more on crime solving than CSI. Surprisingly though, the techniques and procedures shown on CSI are far removed from the real world of crime investigation. In fact, a lot of the technology used on CSI doesn't even exist! This fact was so prominent in the show that the Saturn Awards, the Sci-Fi world's equivalent of the People's Choice awards, nominated CSI as a science fiction show at its 2004 awards ceremony (it lost). Crime fiction purists have used CSI as a punching bag since it was released, pointing out numerous flaws in its portrayal of crime scene investigation. The most prominent is the fact that in CSI, the Crime Scene Investigators actual participate in disseminating the information gathered from the crime scene in solving the crime. In real CSI's, the team merely captures and catalogues the information which is then given over to detectives.Regardless of whether CSI serves as a visual text book for crime scene investigation, The dynamic, percussive filming style of CSI, seemed to educate an entire generation of film makers looking to make a stylistic splashdown. CSI's staccato cutting, skewed frame rates, chiaroscuro lighting, and destabilized hand-held work fuse into a visual styling that has proliferated onto the big screen.The subject matter cannot be discounted though, CSI is more than just a light show. Edgy plots that push the envelope of what is acceptable for violence and sexuality are the hallmark of the CSI motif, making CSI one of the most watched shows at the FCC offices as well. On many occasions, CBS has been admonished about the shows frequent place at the edge of acceptable broadcasting.None-the-less, the CSI producers, and CBS, have remained true to the CSI formula. In 2002 the first attempt to replicate the CSI formula was a grand success when CSI: Miami, resurrecting a triumphant David Caruso, debuted to universal praise. While not the gate crasher that its progenitor was, CSI: Miami opened in the top fifteen and has remained in the top ten since its debut. The second attempt, CSI: New York, has yet to break the top twenty but continues to add in excess of fifteen million viewers per season to the CSI coffers.How long can it last? Will CSI eventual succumb to the implosion of its formula ala ER and settle into an admirable, yet degrading holding pattern? While CSI, and its offspring, don't seem to be slowing down, one can only remember that timeless aphorism that eventually... all good things will come to an end.

About the Author

So if you want to find our more about CSI New York or even about CSI Miami, you should visit this website CSI Crime Scene Investigation

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The Mystery of Character

Article by Robert Wilson

Author of The Hidden Assassins

The second most asked question of any writer after: Where do you get your ideas from? is: How do you think up your characters? The answer to the first question is that they just pop out of my diseased brain. The answer to the second is more complicated, but linked to the first.

I am a great observer of people, whether sitting in bars and cafés, or walking in the street, I am always looking at men, women and children and subconsciously making notes. I study not just what they're wearing, but also what they're trying to achieve. Are they being flashy or flirtatious, sober or sensible, casual or classy? I watch how they comport themselves. Are they hiding a pot belly, a bald head, a weak chin? How do others react to them? Do they turn heads? Are they an affront to other people? If someone particularly fascinates me I imagine the life they've lived or, more accurately, I give them a life to suit their look.

When it comes to writing I draw on these subconscious notes. They are rarely written down. The test is that if I have remembered them then they must have some importance. Quite often walk-on characters have assumed far greater roles in the story than I initially envisioned. A woman I may have seen in a cake shop and had conceived of as nouveau riche, materialistic, conservative, firmly embedded in her social class and concerned about her position in it, can be transformed by fiction. She may suddenly refuse to behave in the way in which I imagined. Once I've put her in a scene, say, the grieving widow being interviewed by the detective investigating her husband's murder, she may start to fight her way out of my fictional strait jacket. This is the wonder of being a writer; when characters assume life and take on an even greater reality.

Characters, like people, do not appear out of nowhere. First they have to belong somewhere. My first stop on the way to developing a character is to have the setting in mind. In my case I had decided that Seville in Spain would make a great setting for a crime novel. But why? Seville has one of the lowest murder rates in Spain, is recognized as one of the most beautiful cities in the world, with people who are amongst the most vivacious in Europe. And it was precisely for these reasons that I decided it would be the perfect setting for mayhem and murder.

One of the fundamental themes of crime fiction is: appearance and reality. What better place to set a crime novel than in a place which appears to be beautiful and full of attractive people, but which, like all cities, has a dark underbelly of crime, vice, drugs and racial tensions?

Even at this early stage there is a recognizable process. Characters are coming into being because I'm asking myself a series of questions. Their development, and that of the plot, will come from my answers to those questions. So because of the nature of my setting I decided that my detective hero was going to appear to be one sort of person, but in reality be someone completely different.

In The Blind Man of Seville when we first come across the Spanish detective, Chief Inspector Javier Falcón he is Mr. Straight. He is perfectly groomed in a suit which he wears buttoned up, a white shirt and tie and lace-up shoes. He is contained, some might say restrained. He is not liked by his colleagues, who find him cold and uncommunicative. They have given him the nickname of The Lizard. I began by creating a hero who was not instantly likeable. But what this gave me was the opportunity, in the course of the book, to change him.

Policemen are naturally conservative people, engaged in a profession with a hierarchy. In order to be a homicide detective you have to be a senior policeman and therefore middle-aged -- and middle-aged men do not change. They might tell a new joke (if you're lucky) or give up smoking or try out all the facial hair options, but they will not, fundamentally, change. So how could I change Javier Falcón? After some thought I realized that only a major psychological trauma was going to be able to wreak havoc (and therefore change) in the mind of such a person.

Our lives are built on the foundations of belonging. We have family who give us a sense of our place in the world. Rock those foundations and our world falls apart. This was what I did to Javier Falcón. In investigating a brutal murder in Seville he finds himself digging around in his own history. In doing so he uncovers some terrible truths about his own father and the way in which his beloved mother, who had died when he was only five years old, had met her end. They are shattering revelations. They break him as a human being and leave him hanging on to his new, terrible world by the thinnest of shreds.

This is another important part of character development --the back story. Where does your character come from? Where was he born? Where did he grow up? What is his relationship to his parents, siblings, friends, colleagues and lovers? Where did he go to school? Did he go to university? What was the political climate like? Why did he choose his current profession?

The answers to these questions can help you determine a character's development, but what are the techniques that help you show these answers to your reader? Unless back story and the book's plot are interwoven the reader does not want to know it. The reader is only interested in what's happening now and what is going to happen.

There's a limit to how much you can show through action and reaction -- think how little you learn about people in everyday life from what they do and say, and I don't just mean politicians. People have a habit of being deceptive, to protect themselves from intrusion. They are not usually open, especially if they have something terrible to hide.

Opening up characters is a tricky process but I have found one of the more fascinating ways is to put them into a scene with difficult people and in trying circumstances so that they give themselves away. Conflict leads to drama, which leads to revelations.

Another way of demonstrating a character is showing him from a different point of view: A sister may see her brother as lovable. A brother sees him as dependable. A colleague values the same man because of his insight. A lover despises him for some reason. And of course, all these ancillary characters have their own personalities and our understanding of them gives us a different perception of the hero.

But how do we get into the deeply hidden stuff? I chose to put Javier Falcón on the psychologist's couch to reveal to him, and us, the bits that our hero doesn't know himself.

The irony of all this is that in finally understanding Javier, we see him broken and we reach another unknowable area: What does he have inside him so that he can rebuild himself? I had the advantage of rehabilitating my hero in a series of books. In The Vanished Hands he mends himself through communication with others. The gross intrusion of reality into his own life has given him a better understanding of the intrusiveness of investigative police work into other peoples' lives. It is for this reason that the plot and all the characters' stories come out almost entirely in dialogue. In the latest novel, The Hidden Assassins, Javier is in full command of his new talents and has become more intuitive, instinctive and human.

Perhaps, though, the ultimate secret of character development, as with the eternal fascination of lovers, is that there must always be something unfathomable, an element of mystery.

Copyright © 2006 Robert Wilson

About the Author

Robert Wilson is the author of eight novels, including The Hidden Assassins (Published by Harcourt; November 2006;.00US; 0-15-101239-3) as well as A Small Death in Lisbon, which won the Gold Dagger Award as Best Crime Novel of the Year from Britain's Crime Writers' Association. He lives in Portugal and Oxford, England.

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Time Shift - Nordic Noir & Italian Noir

Friday, April 15, 2011

Italian Noir episode www.youtube.com Draw the curtains and dim the lights for a chilling trip north for a documentary which investigates the success of Scandinavian crime fiction and why it exerts such a powerful hold on our imagination. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a literary blockbuster that has introduced millions of readers to the phenomenon that is Scandinavian crime fiction - yet author Stieg Larsson spent his life in the shadows and didn't live to see any of his books published. It is one of the many mysteries the programme investigates as it travels to Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Iceland in search of the genre's most acclaimed writers and memorable characters. It also looks at Henning Mankell's brooding Wallander series, with actor Krister Henriksson describing the challenge of bringing the character to the screen, and it asks why so many stories have a political subtext. The programme finds out how Stieg Larsson based the bestselling Millennium trilogy on his work as an investigative journalist and reveals the unlikely source of inspiration for his most striking character, Lisbeth Salander. There are also segments on Jo Nesbo, the Norwegian rock star-turned-writer tipped to inherit Larsson's mantle, and Karin Fossum, an author whose personal experience of murder has had a profound effect on her writing. Production : BBC Four
Video Rating: 4 / 5

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Documentary which profiles a new wave of Italian crime fiction that has emerged to challenge the conventions of the detective novel. There are no happy endings in these noir tales, only revelations about Italy's dark heart - a world of corruption, unsolved murders and the mafia. The programme features exclusive interviews with the leading writers from this new wave of noir, including Andrea Camilleri (creator of the Inspector Montablano Mysteries) and Giancarlo De Cataldo (Romanzo Criminale), who explains how his work as a real-life investigating judge inspired his work. From the other side of the law, Massimo Carlotto talks about how his novels were shaped by his wrongful conviction for murder and years spent on the run from the police. The film also looks at the roots of this new wave. Carlo Emilio Gadda (That Awful Mess) used the detective novel to expose the corruption that existed during Mussolini's fascist regime and then, after the Second World War, Leonardo Sciascia's crime novels (The Day of The Owl) tackled the rise of the Sicilian mafia. These writers established the rules of a new kind of noir that drew on real events and offered no neat endings. Also featuring Italian writers Carlo Lucarelli and Barbara Baraldi, the film uses rarely seen archive from Italian television. Production : BBC Four
Video Rating: 5 / 5

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Choosing a Book Editor or Novel Editor

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Article by Harry Bingham

It's critical to pick the right editor for your novel or book. Questions for you to think about include:

What experience does my editorial consultant bring to bear?

There are four groups of people with real editorial expertise. They are (1) professional authors; (2) editors at good-quality publishing houses; (3) any present or former agent; and possibly (4) any professional creative writing tutor. My own emphatic preference is for authors. If you were building a chest of drawers, you might go to an antiques dealer for a verdict on its beauty, but you'd surely go to a carpenter for advice on its construction. Particularly now, when publishers tend to be marketing-led, someone whose editorial know-how comes only from publishing may not have what it takes to help you demolish and rebuild major aspects of your manuscript.

With agents, there are certainly some who possess real editorial flair, but they are in a minority and I'd advise you to look before you leap. As for professional creative writing tutors, my personal advice is to look hard at their publication record. If they've sold full-length manuscripts to major publishers, then fine. If they've published some short stories, pounded the stage as a performance poet, and are now working with the exciting new publisher HereTodayGoneTomorrow Ltd - well, don't be surprised if you feel let down by what they have to offer. There are a lot of creative writing courses in the world and not all of them are good.

What am I buying?

If you're approaching a British or Australian consultancy, you'll almost certainly be offered an editorial report. That's the core of any editorial service and, if you get a really insightful report, then perhaps that's all that matters. On the other hand, there'll be plenty of times when you'll want to discuss aspects of an editorial report with the person who's written it. Some services offer such access as an automatic part of the package. Some do, but restrict it to an email exchange only. Others don't offer feedback beyond that intial report.

Again, my own view is that you need direct access to your editor for two reasons. First, it's perfectly normal to have questions about what you've been told. You need to be able to address those questions in a flexible and open-ended way. Secondly, if an editor knows that there'll be no follow-up from the client, they may be tempted to skip too fast over issues that they know need to be addressed more fully. If they know they're going to be talking directly to the writer a few days after completing the assessment, they've got a strong incentive to take that extra bit of care.

Does my editor understand and appreciate my own particular brand of manuscript?

On the whole, good writing is good writing. A literary novelist with a taste for crime fiction may be an excellent editor of such fiction. Nevertheless, expertise matters. A non-fiction author should not be asked to comment on novels. (The other way round can often work fine, however, as non-fiction manuscripts are generally less complicated than novels. ) Likewise, a literary novelist with no interest in crime fiction will probably make a bad reviewer of it. A horror novelist is not an obvious choice to work with children's fiction, and so on. The larger agencies have dozens of editors on their books and are usually well able to match writer to editor. Smaller agencies may have access to the right expertise.

You can check out the services offered by our book editors and novel editors by clicking the links.

What access will I get to literary agents?

No honest editorial agency will guarantee to get your work taken on by agents. Life just isn't that simple. Nevertheless, the larger agencies all have excellent access to leading agents, as may some of the smaller operators, but you also need to be clear how precisely a given agency operates. For example, an agency may commit either to tell you why your book is not yet marketable, or to do what it can to help you with the next step (which is usually, but not always, securing an agent). Other agencies are more selective. They'll help you if they think your book has the X-factor, but not otherwise. Or they'll help in return for a chunk of any advance. Or something else. If it's not clear from the company's website, then ask! Remember, though, all an editorial consultancy can do is make connections. If your manuscript is strong enough, then it'll find an agent without outside help. If it isn't, it won't find one, no matter what.

How much will it cost?

Needless to say, there's a range of price and quality on the market. My own view is that bad editorial advice is worse than no advice at all, but I certainly don't mean to imply that cheaper services are always worse. If you find a solo operator with a credible track record and a sympathetic manner, who's willing to work hard with you in a way that you like and at a reasonable price, then you should certainly go for it. The larger operators are likely to be rather more expensive: detailed feedback on a typical manuscript is likely to cost in the region of £400-£500. Long manuscripts may cost a good bit more.

Working with a good editorial agency will significantly increase your odds of success, but it won't work miracles. At the time of writing, the Writers' Workshop has almost never received a manuscript which would have succeeded in finding an agent under its own steam. From that pool of manuscripts, we expect to help about thirty to forty clients in every thousand to go on to get an agent or publisher. In most industries, a success rate of 3-4% would suggest that the company involved was worse than useless. Given the one-in-a-thousand success rate of people applying independently to agents, however, that 3-4% success rate can also be seen as remarkably good. I can't say how successful other agencies are, but I would expect the better-known ones to have track records that are broadly comparable with our own.

It's also true that to focus on the average stats somewhat misses the point. If your manuscript is already strong, working with a good editorial agency may be an excellent way to haul yourself to the finishing tape. If your writing skills are not yet that developed, then you'll learn a tremendous amount from working with an editorial agency, but your manuscript is most unlikely to get from Mediocre to Dazzling in a single leap.

About the Author

Harry Bingham is the prize-nominated best-selling author of 5 novels and 3 works of non-fiction. He also runs The Writers' Workshop, a company with a powerful team of novel editors and book editors - there to help all first time writers. The Writers' Workshop also helps by recommending outstanding work to leading literary agents.

Books by Harry Bingham

The Demon Dog of American crime fiction James Ellroy reads from his latest novel ' Blood's A Rover' which completes his Underworld USA Trilogy. Follow us on twitter at twitter.com
Video Rating: 5 / 5

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US Marshal Teddy Daniels

Plot: It's 1954, and up-and-coming US marshal Teddy Daniels is assigned to investigate the disappearance of a patient from Boston's Shutter Island Ashecliffe Hospital. He's been pushing for an assignment on the island for personal reasons, but before long he wonders whether he hasn't been brought there as part of a twisted plot by hospital doctors whose radical treatments range from unethical to illegal to downright sinister. Teddy's shrewd investigating skills soon provide a promising lead, but the hospital refuses him access to records he suspects would break the case wide open. As a hurricane cuts off communication with the mainland, more dangerous criminals "escape" in the confusion, and the puzzling, improbable clues multiply, Teddy begins to doubt everything - his memory, his partner, even his own sanity. Actors: Leonardo DiCaprio, Ben Kingsley, Mark Ruffalo, Michelle Williams, Patricia Clarkson, Emily Mortimer, Ted Levine, John Carroll Lynch, Elias Koteas, Jackie Earle Haley, Max von Sydow Genre: Drama, Mystery, Thriller Distributed by: Paramount Pictures
Video Rating: 5 / 5

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The Roommate - Official Trailer HD

twitter.com A new trailer of The Roommate Release date: USA: 4 February 2011 Director: Christan E. Christiansen. Writers: Sonny mallhi. Gerne: Crime, Horror, Mystery, Thriller. Synopsis: College student Sara finds her safety jeopardized after she's assigned to a dorm room with a new roommate, Rebecca.

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How Did The Detective Novel Start?

Article by Chris Haycock

I suppose for a beginning we should really consider what detective fiction is. A reasonable definition would probably be that it would be a story based on the investigation of a crime, mostly, but not always a murder. By a detective who in the early days would usually be a gifted amateur of independent means.

Probably, in the broader realm of general crime fiction, detective fiction is the most popular, combining mystery, intrigue, all elements of society, and any physical background you could think of.

As well as independent means, the earliest popular fictional detectives would be somewhat eccentric, and have at least a few character flaws to make them interesting (Sherlock Holmes' drug habits for example). They would often have an assistant (Dr. Watson for Holmes), who would be loyal, staunch, and a little slow on the uptake, although by no means stupid. The assistant would come in handy for talking over theories, and through that character, explaining things to the reader.

It is generally accepted that the first "modern" detective story on these lines was "The Murders In The Rue Morgue" by Edgar Allan Poe, published in 1841. In this short story Poe introduced his detective C. Auguste Dupin. Genius and eccentric, Dupin is generally thought to be the inspiration for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes. Poe worked to a formula that has been used, with a few changes here and there, ever since. The hero has to solve whatever mystery is presented by using logic, observation, and occasional flashes of intuition.

The authorities are usually described as inefficient bunglers, who after a few false trails, often involving accusing the wrong person, grudgingly accept the help (interference) of the lead charcter. Who magnanimously solves the case, and lets the authorities take the credit. Although the main characters and the reader are left in no doubt as to who is really responsible. On occasion the detective will accept a fee from a wealthy client, but will more usually turn it down with just a touch of arrogance.

Sometimes in the early days of detective fiction authors would use real life events as inspiration for a story. One such, was the infamous case of the murder of Mary Cecilia Rogers in New Jersey in 1841. It was a brutal murder, her body found floating in the Hudson River, having been subjected to considerable violence. No-one was ever brought to account for her death. Edgar Allen Poe used this story for the basis of his second novel featuring C. Auguste Dupin. He changed Mary Rogers name to Marie Roget, transporetd the whole thing to Paris and had Dupin solve the case.

From these beginnings grew a whole genre, which we still enjoy, possibly even more so, today.

About the Author

Chris Haycock is an information publisher, one of whose many hobbies includes crime fiction. Early detective fiction in particular. A particular favourite is Sherlock Holmes. If you would like to know more about Sherlock Holmes and an excellent offer, why not go now to http://www.sherlockandwatson.com

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