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Christopher Fowler
Posted in
The Arts
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As much as I love Golden Age mysteries and 1950s thrillers, they have to be considered in the zeitgeist of the times. The shocking secrets hidden by murderers and their victims are no longer shocking. The motives that women concealed from men and vice versa were once the stuff of great mysteries. Murderous impulses could often be traced to the covering up of sexual indiscretions; secret abortions…
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Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Books
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'No woman in 20th century American mystery writing is more important than Margaret Millar.' So said HRF Keating (and he should know) in his overview of crime and mystery, 'Whodunnit?' Millar was born in Kitchener, Ontario in 1915, but moved to the US and married the crime writer Ross Macdonald (who wisely changed his name from Mr Millar). She had wanted to be a writer from her teens, and…
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Christopher Fowler
Posted in
The Arts
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There were only ever a handful of monsters in movies and books. In the 1930s Universal Pictures cemented the main ones into place, although mummies and werewolves proved harder to make scary than vampires and hand-stitched creations. Zombies were left out on a limb after 'White Zombie' and 'I Walked With A Zombie', until George A Romero came along. Personally I never liked the original 'Night of…
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Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Reading & Writing
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Phyllis Dorothy James, the grande-dame of crime writing, has died at 94. Until pretty recently she was still attending events, which may be proof that writing keeps you young. My pal Barry Forshaw met her many times and is now writing about her in today's Independent. Psychological suspensers make more sense to me than police procedurals, partly because much of what the police really do is boring…
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Christopher Fowler
Posted in
The Arts
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What's the art of suspense? I'll tell you later. In the 1950s, suspense novels and suspense cinema, largely driven by Hitchcock, became very fashionable. Nowadays we rarely find it in films because it requires an unusually slow trajectory, with a long build-up before the slingshot of a defining event which must perforce break the spell of suspense. Suspense relies on uncertainty, and once you know…
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