Film for a Friday: Possessed (1947) – K. A. Laity

Like so many films noir, Possessed begins after most things have happened then backtracks to find out how we got there. A surprisingly unglamorous and decidedly untethered Joan Crawford wanders down the empty roads of early morning Los Angeles. When a tram driver stops to let her on, she can only ask for David. She’s…

Pest Control by Jason Beech

Pest Control by Jason Beech   It took Jeff ten-or-so steps out of his van to loosen his sore back. The old lady who opened the door released him from the mood that grabbed him up the long solitary road to her house. That sweet smile, a waft of home cooking, and a phrase all…

Overlooked Noir: Crack-Up (1946) by K. A. Laity

No surprise that this one would appeal to me: Noir ambience? Check. Art and art forgery plot? Check. Mind manipulation? Check! Yeah, art and a sort of Hannibal connection, well – I’m sold. Never mind that Crack-Up stars Pat O’Brien, an unlikely everyman as its hero. It’s got Claire Trevor though, with a wild swathe…

Noir Classics: Those Who Walk Away – Patricia Highsmith by K. A. Laity

Don’t let the pull quote form Slavoj Zizek put you off. This too-little read classic by Highsmith is a cracking read. It’s suffused with an existential dread so thick you could cut it with a Derwatt paint knife. It starts in Rome and quickly moves to Venice, currently repopulated with swans and dolphins, which is…

Kiss Like a Fist by Graham Wynd

She had a mouth that could raise the dead. It had raised me plenty over the years, but I’d never been close enough to Rosaline’s orbit to do anything about it. Until tonight. I brought her a third martini and her tongue had loosened enough to share some sage advice with me as she leaned…

Noir Classics: Vera Caspery’s Bedelia (1946) by K. A. Laity

Having finally caught the film I knew I had to get around to the novel. A key change: the novel is set during 1913, when the writer herself had been in high school. Caspary must have decided the past was a better setting; there’s the practical matter of being truly snowbound in the last part…

Neglected Noir: Bedelia (1946) by K A Laity

I finally got around to watching this because I am still (again, always) obsessing about Hannibal and the presentation I’ll be giving on it in April. What’s the connection? Show runner Bryan Fuller named a new character after her, Bedelia du Maurier (obviously the Rebecca author for the other half of her name). The novel…

If you have to say anything, say nothing at all by E F Fluff

On a little island on the edge of the world. That you’ll be tortured, degraded, humiliated, and ultimately, hardened to a strange faraway horizon point no one else will really understand; was something, we all, ultimately, later, laughed about. There was a time, where if these childhood experiences fractured you, to a point of inability…

Grifter Life: Can You Ever Forgive Me? by K A Laity

Behind the terrific 2018 film is the slim volume penned by serial forger/biographer Lee Israel. Memoirs of a Literary Forger fascinates not only for its insight into how Israel managed to pull off not one but two iterations of forgeries, but also for the evident joy the process brought. She found great pleasure in channeling…

The Small Matter of a Murder By Martin Mulligan

You don’t expect to fall in love with the midget who hires you to kill her husband. She was wearing daffodil-yellow high heels the first time we met at a Frankie & Benny’s on the outskirts of a drab northern seaside resort in dead midwinter. Outside, a freezing wind howled through the empty bus station….