The Great Detectives of Old Time Radio The great ones are back in action.

21Apr/120

EP0650s: Mystery Award Theater: The Screwball Division

The youngest and oldest detectives on the force turn to a drunk former detective to solve three murders that occurred at the same time.

Original Air Date: June 13, 1949

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20Apr/120

EP0650: Yours Truly Johnny Dollar: The Jones Matter

 John Lund

Johnny investigates the theft of a $30,000 necklace from an aging, let alluring actress.

Original Air Date: June 30, 1953

 

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19Apr/120

EP0649: Sherlock Holmes: The Case of the Illustrious Client

Sherlock Holmes is brought in by the request of a certain noble client to protect the daughter of  a general from the notorious criminal, Baron Gruener.

Original Air Date: May 9, 1948

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18Apr/120

EP0648: Let George Do It: Christmas in January

Bob Bailey

A controlling and manipulative gossip columnist is getting Christmas presents in January from people who despise him.

Original Air Date: January 29, 1951

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17Apr/120

EP0647: Hercule Poirot: The Deadest Man in the World

Harold Huber

A crafty couple plan to use Poirot to provide a perfect alibi.

Original Air Date: July 19, 1945

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16Apr/121

EP0646: Barrie Craig: Ghosts Don’t Die in Bed

William Gargan

Barrie and a beautiful young woman are invited to the house of a wealthy man. They find the house is owned by someone else and rumors of ghosts abound.

Original Air Date: September 7, 1954

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15Apr/120

Book Review: The Black Mountain

Having firmly established the rules of Nero Wolfe's first few books, Rex Stout felt free to force Wolfe to bend or break some of his rules.  Other than In the Best Families, Stout never forced Wolfe to break so many rules as he did in The Black Mountain.

Wolfe's lifelong friend Marco Vukcic is killed and Wolfe leaves the Brownstone in a cab to pay a visit the crime scene and goes to question witnesses. Then, tracing Marco's murder to his support of Montenegrin rebels opposing the Yugoslav Government under Tito, he and Archie  fly to Italy and cross the Adriatic an old boat and begin a hike to the place o f Wolfe's birth under assumed names with no passports. Archie doesn't speak any of the languages, so he has to rely on Wolfe's translations to even let us know what is being said.

This is definitely not the typical Nero Wolfe story, which is what some people don't like about it. However, I thought this story worked very well. It was thought provoking in many ways, not the least of which was how much of Wolfe's eccentricity was put on as he abandons many of them in order to complete this mission to track down Vukcic's killer. We also have a few hints of what Wolfe's life was like before he departed for America.  Stout as he does in countless novels, breathes life into his setting.

Stout's Yugoslavia is a Cold War backwater where you don't know quite who to trust and the oppression of the Communists has cowed the Montenegrin people, a fact that clearly pains Wolfe.  The story is filled with intrigue and espionage on multiple levels.

The story does lack the same level of influence for Archie. There's no girl for Archie to chase  as he can't understand one word of the languages, thwarting any romantic inquiries.  Archie also gets little chance to mouth off to authority except in the first few chapters which are set in New York.

However, this is one novel where the spotlight is rightly on Nero Wolfe, who shines. The story encounters Wolfe dealing with his most personal loss. Wolfe, ever the master of words, uses action instead to show his feelings about Marco as he travels half way around the world to bring Marco's killer to justice. Of course, words come in handy when, in the face of the lawlessness dominating his homeland, he decides to get killer back to the United States trial without extradition. To achieve this, he has to create one of his most elaborate and risky rouses he's ever undertaken. And even then, the action doesn't let up until the final page.

Overall, one of the best I've read yet.

Rating: Very Satisfactory

You can find all the Nero Wolfe books in Kindle, Audiobook, and book form on our Nero Wolfe page.

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14Apr/120

The Top Ten Perry Mason TV Movies, Part Two

Continued from Part One

6) Perry Mason and the Case of the Avenging Ace (1988): Prior to the first movie, Perry Mason had been elevated to appellate court judge. In this film, he revisits a case he'd heard on appeal and declined the Defendant's appeal because the trial was fear. But when the convicted murdered (an Air Force officer) has a new witness come forward, Mason steps in to help clear the man.

This case is far more complicated than that.  The witness changes his testimony at the last minute so it no longer helps the convicted man and Perry's client apparently escapes, and is set up to take the fall when the wavering witness is murdered. This movie takes Perry Mason to a different: A lot more action, suspense, and intrigue than usual. In addition to this, the Producers take full advantage of the Colorado location to produce some great scenic shots.

5) Perry Mason and the Case of the Fatal Fashion (1991) : Perry is in New York and this time he defends a long time friend (Diane Muldaur) of Della's who is accused of killing the editor of a rival fashion magazine.

This episode has a lot going for it. Ken Malansky finds himself dealing with the mob when a relative of the head of the family is killed before he can reveal vital information to Perry.  He finds a mob tough guy assigned to "help" him investigate, but how far can Malansky trust him. This works out to a lot of excitement in New York City.

This movie also features a rare prosecutorial highlight with the appearance of Scott Baio in his first post-Charles in Charge appearance as Assistant DA Peter Whelen. Baio makes a solid competitor for Mason as the young upstart New York D.A. You knew he wasn't going to win, but he made it interesting for a while.

The episode ends with an emotional punch and a murderer you'd never guess.

4) Perry Mason and the Case of the Lost Love (1987):

Perry's old flame  (Jean Simmons) is being appointed to a vacant United States Senate seat, but it's all put at risk when her husband is accused of murdering a man who knew a secret that could have destroyed her political career.

The chemistry between Simmons and Raymond Burr is incredible. The mystery is well-plotted and we're left with a powerful and very surprising ending as Mason faces one of his most unpleasant tasks.

Continued...Next Week

To be Continued...Next Week

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13Apr/120

EP0645:Yours Truly Johnny Dollar: The Jonathan Bellows Matter

 John Lund

Johnny is sent to protect a wealthy businessman who has been shot at it and threatened.

Original Air Date: June 23, 1953

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12Apr/120

EP0644: Sherlock Holmes: The Sinister Crate of Cabbages

Doctor Watson tells of an encounter with Professor Moriarty that left him hating cabbages.

Original Air Date: May 2, 1948

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