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/.

The True Golden Age Of Pulp Fiction Mystery

Sunday, May 31, 2015

From America, in the pages of the Pulp Magazine Black Mask, came the shattering of the refined and ornate mystery. These thrilling pulps, full of sensational violence and raging plot, told of a witty world of sultry gals and private eyes who would rather crack knuckles on enemy skulls than talk the polite symmetry of clues amongst cowering dinner guests drinking port. In essence they told of a different world, one more unrelenting and tough. It wasn't the "who done it" of keen inquiring minds but a bare knuckled expose of murder and mayhem and the men and women who fought it.

Led by Dashiell Hammett, author of the Maltese Falcon, the Hard-boiled School of crime writing challenged the conventions of detective fiction with an emphasis on stories not rooted in pedigree, stories not birthed on an old English manor amongst Earls and Lords, but on the American mean streets where cops carried guns close to their hearts and the bad guys would rather say it with bullets. Hammett, Carroll John Daily, Raymond Chandler, Erle Stanley Gardner, James C Cain, and many others created a new and more intense way of writing crime fiction. These hard-boiled writers influenced cinema in the forties and fifties in what became known as film noir: a golden age of Hollywood cinema immortalized by such great actors as Humphrey Bogart and Robert Mitchum.

Galaxy Press, through audio dramatization and books brings us back to this golden era of the mystery pulps through the writings of Ron Hubbard whose stories, written in the hard-boiled style, are action centered and full of criminals and the men and women who hate crime. Stories like the Brass keys to Murder, Dead Men Kill, Murder Afloat and The Blowtorch Murder showcase heroes bold and dashing in the face of unrelenting danger and mayhem. The Villains are painted as they were: grotesque and vividly twisted so when they were faced they were faced in the hearts of all engaged readers who longed for their heroes to overcome the corruption that was seemingly all persuasive. Because of the economic unrest and underworld crime syndicates that were stark realities in everyday newspapers these pulps allowed readers to find hope in the chaos and adventure in the fear. This tough minded goodness was one that every day Americans could identify with.

Though dealing with true and violent themes, Hubbard never forgot that the pulps were also to entertain, to offer escape and to sweep the reader away into a world of intrigue and romance. Though the zombies and blow torches rage there is always a pulpish flair that make the stories fun and highly readable. Where hard-boiled novels often dealt with pessimistic themes of urban chaos and alienation, the mystery pulps are action adventures from start to finish. One gets both a dose of life as it is, gritty and tough, but also of life as it's longed to be lived: bristling and fun. It reminds us that faced with evil we can still laugh and hold on tight for help will soon come.

Raymond Chandler in his famous essay "The Simple Art of Murder" told of how the American hard-boiled school of writing created a crime fiction that more akin to the real nature of crime than the detective story that was heavy on convention but reduced the "infinite cruelty of murder" to an abstract puzzle of clues. According to Chandler "murder had now been taken out of the Venetian Vase and dropped into the alley". We are paradoxically, yet wonderfully, reminded that these stories could also be fun and rich in adventure and therein lies part of their timelessness. Though murder was never something to laugh at or enjoy, the triumph over such cruelty was.

Frederick Hail is a passionate advocate of lifelong learning through audio books on cd collections.

Bookmark and Share


Post a Comment

And what say you?