04 March 2020

Today in Mystery History: March 4


This is the fifth installment in my series on the history of mystery fiction. Don't worry; I have 361 more to go before I run out.

March 4, 1881.   According to William S. Baring-Gould's  The Annotated Sherlock Holmes, it was on this date that one of the most famous fictional relationships began, when Dr John H.Watson's new roomie invites him to participate in a case.

March 4, 1881. On the same day, but thousands of miles to the southwest, T.S. Stribling was born in Tennessee. He won the Pulitzer Prize for his novel The Store, but we are more interested in his mystery stories about psychologist Dr. Henry Poggioli.  

March 4, 1931. This date saw the publication of John Dickson Carr's The Lost Gallows. It is one of his novels about Henri Bencolin, a French police detective referred to as "Mephistopheles with a cigar."  Where there's smoke...  (By the way, you may notice a French theme in today's entries.)

March 4, 1959.  On this day somebody started leaving severed hands around the streets of Isola.  So begins the plot of Ed McBain's 87th Precinct novel  appropriately entitled Give The Boys A Great Big Hand.

March 4, 1982.  The premiere of Police Squad.  It only lasted six weeks because you actually had to watch it to get the jokes.  Fortunately movie-goers pay more attention so the spin-off Naked Gun movies were more successful.

March 4, 2003. Jean-Baptiste Rossi died on this day. His first novel, about a schoolboy who fell in love with a nun, was published in the U.S. as Awakening in 1952 and sold 800,000 copies.  A decade later, running into money problems, he started writing crime novels  under an anagram of his name: Sebastien Japrisot.  He won several awards for these books and most were made into movies.


March 4, 2014.  The publication date for Murder in Pigalle, Cara Black's fourteenth novel about Aimee Leduc.  In it she is five months pregnant and her neighbor's thirteen year old daughter goes missing.


5 comments:

Paul D. Marks said...

I remember Police Squad, Rob. It, and most of the things from Zucker, Zucker and Abrahams would have me laughing so hard I'd almost wish they weren't so funny.

Don Coffin said...

Every time you do one of these, I wind up buying more books...like I don't have enough already...

Eve Fisher said...

Police Squad! Yes!
I have got to read more Cara Black...

Robert Lopresti said...

Don, on behalf of all writers, I thank you. As for Police Squad, yeah, it was wonderful.

Leigh Lundin said...

Sebastien Japrisot's One Deadly Summer (L'Été Meurtrier), is not a novel you can forget. When you start reading it, I can guarantee you'll have no idea how it will end, except it's shocking. I've read other Japrisot novels, but this is the one that sticks with me. (Shout-out to Micheline who recommended it to me.)