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Saturday, May 26, 2012

A quick primer on Ellery Queen.

I've been suggesting other Golden Age detectives lately on Twitter; but not because I dislike Arthur Conan Doyle. Some readers may, like me, find that ACD isn't enough for a year or more.

I'm quite fond of GAD mysteries. :)

Ellery Queen was several things. The pseudonym of a writing team, two cousins, who I tend to call the Queen cousins. A gentleman detective who writes detective novels. A detective character in novels. And, not least, the name of a man whose true name we never know: Ellery Queen is not his name.

Plus the Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine still going strong. "And there's EQMM, bless its bloody heart" Ellery writes to Tony Boucher [paraphrased].

This is not counting the Ellery Queen house novels -- contracted out to ghostwriters, see Wikipedia -- nor the Barnaby Ross novels.

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Golden Age of Detection.

Skating past That Show, I was thinking of some other famous detectives. JDCarr is a forum for mystery fans who love that era.

I found it after I got addicted to Ellery Queen.

It's John Dickson Carr I was thinking of, though. Not because he's the best writer -- no, alas, he's not. For bizarre puzzles that were locked-room mysteries, Carr was the very king.

Some I'd recommend:

The Arabian Nights Murder
The Case of the Constant Suicides
He Who Whispers

Patrick Butler for the Defence

(one of my very favorite Carr characters, Patrick is)

The Problem of the Wire Cage
The Burning Court
The Crooked Hinge
The Hollow Man

Note that I do NOT recommend Carr's historical novels. They make me crazy in a bad way. I struggled through The Devil in Velvet and that's not something I'd wish on anyone. Oy. I know I read some Merrivale, but he's an exceedingly annoying character; as bad as Poirot used to be. I can read Poirot now, he hasn't the power to frustrate or annoy me any more. :D

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Sherlock links today.

I can foresee that I may need another place to store my BBC Sherlock links. Hmmm.

Maybe this is why people get Tumblr accounts! :)

ETA: Following that plan: The rest of this post moved to Ariel's Miscellany.

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Sherlock candy &c.

This post now lives at Ariel's Miscellany...

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Speech tags: volume 1

I'll be typing up a short series of posts about speech tags. I want to lay down what speech tags are -- and why action tags don't replace speech tags -- and where you really deeply need to use them. What the point of having speech tags is. All that good stuff.

I'm going to pretend for this that exceptions don't exist until I'm done with these posts.

Let's start with my best worst example, Ellery Queen.

"That's it!" cried Ellery.

"Well, if that's what you think," laughed Ellery.

"Not again," Ellery muttered to himself.

Only one of these is a speech tag. One is almost a speech tag.

The first two are action tags. If Ellery 'cried out' then it would be a real speech tag. Crying is an action; laughing is an action.

A speech tag is what you use with dialog -- he said/she said, or asked, or any of a number of words that mean you spoke. Exclaimed is a speech tag. Whimpered, giggled, gasped, smiled, frowned, sighed... are all action tags. They're actions. Hissed is an action, even though it's often used [without sibilants!] as a speech tag.

Speech tags are important. Readers need them. I'll be saying that frequently, or variants on that theme. I'm not there, I can't see your characters; I'm not on the phone, I can't hear them. Make them clear to me when they speak!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Still here in the rain.

Been a little crazy-busy. Also began watching the new PBS Sherlock from BBC1 as season 2 just kicked off last weekend here. Wicked good, as a friend says. Addictive, clever, brilliant... :D

Will post a bit more a week hence. Some about Penguicon, most likely.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

More on 2012 cons, etc.

I met a lot of folks over the weekend, some I knew, some I didn't. I also passed out my card a lot.

Many thanks to Saladin Ahmed, Scalzi, Jim Hines, Daniel Hogan, Daniel Pipe II, Dave Klecha, and everyone else who I met over the weekend for bending my ear (and letting me bend yours as well).