Archaeological Detectives: an Emma Fielding Mystery, on TV

One of my colleagues in crime is Dana Cameron.  Dana is a for-real professional archaeologist, but in her odd spare moments she also writes murder mysteries and supernaturals.  

Almost inevitably one of her detectives is an archaeologist, called Emma Fielding, whose first adventure is called Site Unseen.

Site Unseen has been picked up and made into a movie for television!

Site Unseen is coming out from Hallmark in only a few days.  If you want to see an archaeological detective written by someone who actually knows archaeology, this is your big chance.  

Dana by the way has the most amazing New England accent, which people outside the US don't typically hear.  She should totally be doing podcasts.

Dana Cameron

Dana Cameron

The detectives, as viewed if you happen to be the victim.

The detectives, as viewed if you happen to be the victim.

A recommended reading list

Poisoned Pen is a well-known -- one might even say famous -- book store that specializes in mysteries, thrillers and spy stories.

I won't copy the list here because it's their copyright, but it's only a click away and will open in a separate window.  They have it sorted by category, type and period.  As it happens, I am <ahem> on the list in the Greek/Roman section.

Casting aside what few dregs of modesty I possess, I'm going to suggest that this is a really, really good list.  I haven't read everyone on it, but I've read well more than half, and these are quality writers, even if you ignore yours truly.  If you read everyone on this list, you'd come away with a very extensive and a very broad knowledge of the genre.  

I was really quite impressed.  

Death on the Nile

We have quite a few Agatha Christie movies on DVD, the ones in which Peter Ustinov plays Hercule Poirot.   Of these, I think probably the best is Death On The Nile.  I'm talking about the movie adaptions here, not the original books.  I presume I'm safe mentioning spoilers on a story that was published 75 years ago...if not, avert your eyes now.

Would you go on a cruise with these people?
These films are done very well indeed.  The cast probably helps.  Even when they're hamming it up as hard as they can go, actors like Ustinov, David Niven, Bette Davis and Angela Lansbury can hardly go wrong, and in passing, it's fascinating to watch the future Miss Marple as a suspect who dies.

I tend to watch these films with the critical eye of a mystery writer.  They're traditional mysteries, of course, and that's quite a different thing to a modern cozy.  My own stories have more than a little in common with Poirot's traditional methods, because Nico, like Poirot, has no CSI to spoil the pure logic of the puzzle.

Yet in Death on the Nile, I was deeply struck by how, in the traditional denouement during which Poirot reveals all, that at the last moment, he tells Doyle that gunshot residue can be lifted from his hands using hot wax.  This is indeed a test that works.  The interesting thing is that this is early CSI, and it's in an Agatha Christie.  Poirot does so because the perps have correctly pointed out that he doesn't have any evidence that would fly in court.  The test is what provokes the inevitable confession.

If a CSI team had been available, this story would have been over within 5 minutes of the murder.

Death On The Nile would be absolutely unwriteable in the modern world.  And that's a pity, because it's brilliant fun.  I have a theory that's why so many recent mysteries have retreated into past times.

Hey, there's a dead guy in the living room

One of the more interesting blogs around that's dedicated to mysteries is a place called Hey, There's a Dead Guy in the Living Room. It's one of those shared blogs; in this case the contributors have ranged from specialist mystery bookstore owners to publicists to publishers to authors to literary agents. My own dear agent was a regular there a couple of years ago. So too is the very charming and terrifically nice Robin Agnew, who runs Aunt Agatha's.

Right now over at Dead Guy, Robin is holding a competition. Match the opening line to the correct book, for 15 different books, for a chance to win an advance copy of Death on Tour, by Janice Hamrick.

If you're a reader of this blog then you're starting with a natural advantage, because one of the 15 books used in the competition is mine.

Recovering old fingerprints

And in other news...researchers at the University of Technology Sydney have found a way to lift previously unrecoverable fingerprints.  Lovely news for crime fighters, not so good for crime writers.  I suspect it's getting harder and harder to write a contemporary mystery in which the traditional puzzle predominates.  It does however underline one of the basic rules of real crime: if you want to murder someone, it's very important to deny the police a crime scene.