Friday, November 16, 2018

📘🎥Friday's Film Adaptation🎥📘: The Bishop Murder Case by SS Van Dine

When a man known as Cock Robin appears murdered with an arrow in his chest, John Markham, a prosecutor in New York's judicial district, calls for investigation Philo Vance. Vance soon marks the reference to a well-known childhood lengalenga. And it quickly becomes clear that this will be the pattern in a series of extraordinary crimes, engineered by a perverse-minded murderer, who keeps a constant provocation to the police through letters sent to the newspapers, all with the signature "The Bishop."

In a simple and straightforward style, built by the hand of SS Van Dine, this is a story full of death, suspicion and surprising details - like chess pieces or theater. A brilliant cop, a classic work of mystery literature.

Of all the criminal cases in which Philo Vance participated as an unofficial investigator, the most sinister, the most bizarre, the seemingly most incomprehensible, and certainly the most terrifying, was the one that followed the famous Greene murders. The orgy of horror at the old Greene mansion had been brought to its astounding close in December; and after the Christmas holidays Vance had gone to Switzerland for the winter sports. Returning to New York at the end of February he had thrown himself into some literary work he had long had in mind—the uniform translation of the principal fragments of Menander found in the Egyptian papyri during the early years of the present century; and for over a month he had devoted himself sedulously to this thankless task.

Whether or not he would have completed the translations, even had his labors not been interrupted, I do not know; for Vance was a man of cultural ardencies, in whom the spirit of research and intellectual adventure was constantly at odds with the drudgery necessary to scholastic creation. I remember that only the preceding year he had begun writing a life of Xenophon—the result of an enthusiasm inherited from his university days when he had first read the Anabasis and the Memorabilia—and had lost interest in it at the point where Xenophon’s historic march led the Ten Thousand back to the sea. However, the fact remains that Vance’s translation of Menander was rudely interrupted in early April; and for weeks he became absorbed in a criminal mystery which threw the entire country into a state of gruesome excitement.

This new criminal investigation, in which he acted as a kind of amicus curiæ for John F.-X. Markham, the District Attorney of New York, at once became known as the Bishop murder case. The designation—the result of our journalistic instinct to attach labels to every cause célèbre—was, in a sense, a misnomer. There was nothing ecclesiastical about that ghoulish saturnalia of crime which set an entire community to reading the “Mother Goose Melodies” with fearful apprehension; and no one of the name of Bishop was, as far as I know, even remotely connected with the monstrous events which bore that appellation. But, withal, the word “Bishop” was appropriate, for it was an alias used by the murderer for the grimmest of purposes. Incidentally it was this name that eventually led Vance to the almost incredible truth, and ended one of the most ghastly multiple crimes in police history.

The series of uncanny and apparently unrelated events which constituted the Bishop murder case and drove all thought of Menander and Greek monostichs from Vance’s mind, began on the morning of April 2, less than five months after the double shooting of Julia and Ada Greene. It was one of those warm luxurious spring days which sometimes bless New York in early April; and Vance was breakfasting in his little roof garden atop his apartment in East 38th Street. It was nearly noon—for Vance worked or read until all hours, and was a late riser—and the sun, beating down from a clear blue sky, cast a mantle of introspective lethargy over the city. Vance sprawled in an easy chair, his breakfast on a low table beside him, gazing with cynical, regretful eyes down at the treetops in the rear yard.

I knew what was in his mind. It was his custom each spring to go to France; and it had long since come to him to think, as it came to George Moore, that Paris and May were one. But the great trek of the post-war American nouveaux riches to Paris had spoiled his pleasure in this annual pilgrimage; and, only the day before, he had informed me that we were to remain in New York for the summer.

For years I had been Vance’s friend and legal adviser—a kind of monetary steward and agent-companion. I had quitted my father’s law firm of Van Dine, Davis & Van Dine to devote myself wholly to his interests—a post I found far more congenial than that of general attorney in a stuffy office—and though my own bachelor quarters were in a hotel on the West Side, I spent most of my time at Vance’s apartment.

I had arrived early that morning, long before Vance was up, and, having gone over the first-of-the-month accounts, now sat smoking my pipe idly as he breakfasted.

“Y’ know, Van,” he said to me, in his emotionless drawl; “the prospect of spring and summer in New York is neither excitin’ nor romantic. It’s going to be a beastly bore. But it’ll be less annoyin’ than travelin’ in Europe with the vulgar hordes of tourists jostlin’ one at every turn…. It’s very distressin’.”

Society sleuth Philo Vance investigates a series of murders inspired by Mother Goose rhymes.

Release Date: January 3, 1930
Release Time: 88 minutes

Basil Rathbone as Philo Vance
Leila Hyams as Belle Dillard
Roland Young as Sigurd Arnesson
Alec B. Francis as Professor Bertrand Dillard
George F. Marion as Adolph Drukker
Zelda Sears as Miss Drukker ("Mrs. Otto Drukker" in the screen credits)
Bodil Rosing as Grete Menzel
Carroll Nye as John E. Sprigg
Charles Quatermaine as John Pardee
James Donlan as Ernest Heath
Sidney Bracey as Robin Pyne
Clarence Geldart as John F.-X. Markham
Delmer Daves as Raymond Sperling
Nellie Bly Baker as Beedle

Author Bio:
S. S. Van Dine is the pseudonym used by American art critic Willard Huntington Wright (October 15, 1888 – April 11, 1939) when he wrote detective novels. Wright was an important figure in avant-garde cultural circles in pre-World War I New York, and under the pseudonym (which he originally used to conceal his identity) he created the once immensely popular fictional detective Philo Vance, a sleuth and aesthete who first appeared in books in the 1920s, then in movies and on the radio.



👀Amazon US, UK, & B&N is a Philo Vance Collection👀

Release Blitz: The Husband Gambit by LA Witt

Title: The Husband Gambit
Author: LA Witt
Genre: M/M Romance
Release Date: November 15, 2018
Marry me for 1 year. Payment: $1.2 million.

Hayden Somerset is convinced the ad is a joke, but he responds anyway because, hello, $1.2 million. He’s broke, living in a tiny apartment with two roommates, and exhausted from praying his ancient car survives just one more week. His skyrocketing rent and crushing student loans aren’t helping either. At this point, there isn’t much Hayden wouldn’t do for that kind of cash.

The ad isn’t a joke. Jesse Ambrose is absolutely serious. His father, the charismatic patriarch of a powerful Hollywood dynasty, has his eye on politics, and he’s counting on California’s liberals and progressives to elect him. But Jesse knows what his father believes when cameras and voters aren’t around. As the election looms, he’ll do anything to force the man’s hand and show the public who Isaac Ambrose really is.

Anything, including marrying a stranger so his father will make good on his promise to disown Jesse if he ever takes a husband.

Now he just has to wait for his father to take the bait… and try not to accidentally fall in love with his fake husband.

Author Bio:
L.A. Witt is an abnormal M/M romance writer who has finally been released from the purgatorial corn maze of Omaha, Nebraska, and now spends her time on the southwestern coast of Spain. In between wondering how she didn’t lose her mind in Omaha, she explores the country with her husband, several clairvoyant hamsters, and an ever-growing herd of rabid plot bunnies. She also has substantially more time on her hands these days, as she has recruited a small army of mercenaries to search South America for her nemesis, romance author Lauren Gallagher, but don’t tell Lauren. And definitely don’t tell Lori A. Witt or Ann Gallagher. Neither of those twits can keep their mouths shut…


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Book Blast: The Awakening by A Drew

Title: The Awakening
Author: A Drew
Series: Dark Terror #2
Genre: LGBT, Paranormal, Supernatural, Horror
Release Date: October 28, 2018
A near-fatal incident stirs an awakening of an adolescent's ability to connect with entities from the deep and dark hidden world, that which is beyond our natural awareness. A world of lost souls, both good and bad, all trying to reach out to the boy now that they are aware of his surreal capability.

Coming to terms with his psychic ability that he neither asked for nor knew how to wield it, he is unwittingly drawn into solving a grisly mystery from beyond the grave. This will become the greatest test of his faith in himself.

Will he survive?

On Phil’s fourteenth birthday in 1974… Miserable simply did not describe how he felt. He couldn’t wait to be discharged from the mid-century built community hospital. The building was covered in dark gray walls which had seen better days, cloistered by gardens that struggled to survive. Phil reflected on the state of the hospital and pondered upon whether it matched his own mental state because he was convinced something was seriously wrong with his head since the accident.

He desperately tried to keep his eyes firmly shut, doing his best to relax and with a bit of luck, bring his heart rate down to a respectable level. Praying for the morning to arrive, he beseeched, “Dear God. I’ll never try to impress Jason again …or anyone else for that matter. I’m so sorry that I tried to show off by jumping into the river.”

Tragically, it was this birthday, his fourteenth one, when he nearly drowned after he jumped off the tree. That day would be forever etched in his memory. He trailed along with his friends who hung out with the older kids from school as they cooled off in the river.

Jason who was one of the oldest in the group brought out a long rope from his backpack and deftly tied it around a strong looking branch off a tree as it extended over the river. The dare was simple. Each boy had to swing over the river as far as he could in readiness to release their hold of the rope just before it started to return to the shore.

Phil did his best to hide his attraction towards Jason, after all, if anyone found out that he liked boys, he’d be in deep trouble. As he thought of the consequences for his attraction of other of his own sex, he couldn’t help himself as he gave a furtive glance at the object of his desire.

Jason was considerably taller than Phil and had lustrously dark curly hair. His shoulders were so broad, developed over many years of playing rugby, in fact far more than he should have instead of studying, but he certainly didn’t care. The sports star was the coolest and the most successful player on the field. Even the way he smiled was cool, reminding him of an Elvis Presley impersonator.

While the boys got ready to impress the girls, Phil secretly hoped to gain Jason’s undivided attention. Whoever jumped the farthest in each round, would be rewarded by a kiss from sweet Emily-Lou. She was one of the hot cheerleaders, and it was generally whispered by the boys that she only rewarded tough boys, usually with a kiss on the school grounds. Phil joined the group with only one goal in mind. To be alongside Jason but he didn’t dare let anyone know about it.

Bolstered more by Jason’s gaze on him as he climbed the tree rather than the girls’ attention, from the safety of a thick branch, he held on to the rope with all his might, but something made him freeze. It was pure and simple unadulterated fear. He was so high up on that sinewy tree, perched precariously on the branch. His only savior was the greasy rope, slippery from the countless instances when other children had gripped it firmly before launching themselves off and into the river.

Right now, getting Jason’s attention was no longer was on his priority list, but hearing the taunts from some of the boys shook him up enough to help him take a deep breath. He quickly looked around and noticed Jason and a few of the kids did not take part in the jeering but watched him with some concern.

He wrapped the rope tightly around his hand before shouting bravely, albeit somewhat awkwardly and not feeling very much like the older boys at that moment. In pure fear and with his eyes firmly shut, he jumped, praying that he had swung high enough to release his grip on the rope, effecting a perfect entry into the slow running river rather than slamming into terra firma.

Despite all hopes of swimming majestically in front of his friends after what he thought was a great swing into the river, Phil, in fact, woke up feeling the hard dirt on his back. He wasn’t sure what happened, but the urge to breathe was strong enough for him to push away the frantic hands that prodded over his chest. He felt confused, reeling in pain and completely out of sorts.

His first impulse was to cough and retch while trying to push away a hand that was trying to turn him onto his side. Phil decided to sit up, but darkness quickly enveloped him again, before eventually waking up in the community hospital.

He wasn’t sure how long he had been in the hospital, but Phil seemed to continually repeat cycles of lucidity before lapsing into unconsciousness for the whole time he was there. He didn’t verbalize it, but he wished that all the whisperings stopped around him so he could get some decent sleep.

He wasn’t sure how long it had been, but sometime later when he was fully awake, his gaze was drawn to the familiar sight of his parents who stood before his bed. Their faces said it all, through their deep frowns and pale complexions. This was a worrisome time for them.

His mother tearfully asked as she rushed to his side, “Phil darling, how are you feeling?”

“I’m okay, I think. Not sure what happened though.” He responded, smacking his lips and trying to lubricate his mouth. He was so thirsty. It felt like it had been days since he had a glass of water.

His mother frowned, looking indignant as she sharply responded to him, “What happened? Young man, you nearly drowned! That’s what happened! We told you so many times not to go near the river to swim. That river has many unexpected currents coursing through it! How many times do we need to remind you that many people have tragically died in that river?”

Some things never change. Phil might have nearly died on that occasion, but that still didn’t stop him receiving a lecture from his mother even though he was laying on his hospital bed. Give me a break Mom. I just wanted to impress the others.

What complicates things more was not the shame of being rescued and puking in front of all the kids, particularly Jason, but it was the fact that from the time when he was able to open his eyes, Phil noticed shadows streaming across the walls of his cold room. These shadows seemed to be urgently whispering incoherent words. He couldn’t understand what they were saying, because they all talked over each other, but nevertheless, it was constant chatter.

It was eerie to see them but even more frightening to witness their urgent whispers. Phil had been embarrassed to mention these things to the treating doctor who came to check on him later that afternoon, in case he might have thought Phil was losing his mind. The man spoke like a pompous old schoolmaster, despite his youthful appearance. Phil tried to explain to him about the shadows and their whispers when the man abruptly interrupted him.

Author Bio:
Lily Lamb aka A. Drew is a Turkish Australian multi-genre indie author. She works as a nurse by day where she feeds her soul by caring for others. At night she tends to her imaginative alter-ego by writing tales involving love, passion, mystery and LGBT romance.


The Awakening #2

The Dowling House #1

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