Aug 23, 2012
Steve Gomez - Chief Investigator

Murder Ink – Murder on Broadway

Murder Ink

Murder Ink – The Grandmother of Mystery Bookstores

For over thirty years the greats lived between 91st and 92nd Streets in New York. Philip Marlowe rubbed shoulders with Nero Wolfe, Mickey Spillane sat beside Dashiell Hammett, and Robert Parker passed the time with Arthur Conan Doyle.

This was no boys club, however. Dame Agatha Christy proudly sat beside Dorothy Sayers, keeping an eye on newcomers like Sue Grafton and Sara Paretsky. And for over thirty years, the mystery community was the better for it.

Murder Ink was the first of its kind; a bookstore specializing in mysteries. Opened in 1972, the store was founded by Dilys Winn, who wrote a novel of the same name. (Mystery Ink: The Mystery Reader’s Companion)
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Aug 3, 2012
Steve Gomez - Chief Investigator

“Bring ‘Em Back Alive” Frank Buck

frank buckWho was Frank Buck?

In the 1920’s, when pulp magazines ruled the planet, stories of larger-than-life characters were their stock in trade. The heroes were steeped in mystery, intrigue, and danger, and were often globe-trotters, found in settings and plots that most of America could only dream of.

The world of the 20’s and 30’s was immensely larger than it was today, and places like Africa, South America and Asia represented not just foreign cultures, but alien worlds.

For everyday America, the “Orient” represented a culture as different to what they knew as Mars did. Writers of the day, when they needed big characters to interact with mysterious plots, only needed to look as far as the newspaper.

Frank Buck grew up a terrible and mostly absent student in the area surrounding Dallas, Texas. As a boy, he collected birds and small animals, often dreaming of a life of adventure. While he was still a boy he went to work as a cowpuncher, and rode cattle cars to Chicago. Once there, he never looked back.
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Jul 26, 2012
Steve Gomez - Chief Investigator

Beware The Black Mask

The Black MaskThere’s a feeling you get walking into a newsstand or a drugstore and looking at the magazine rack, and sadly, the feeling is disappearing.

It’s similar to looking at the departure board of a railroad station or the flight schedule of an airport. When you look at row after row of magazines, comic books, and newspapers, it’s almost impossible to keep a smile from crossing your face.

All the magazines ask the same question, but the answer changes all the time.

Where do you want to go today?

In 1920, drama critic George Jean Nathan and legendary critic and journalist H.L. Mencken were hungry, both idealistically and literally. Both men worked and edited Smart Set, a literary magazine that gave up-and-coming writers a chance to put their work in front of a large audience and be discovered.

Smart Set also operated at a staggering loss, and was a labor of love for both Nathan and Mencken. To keep their baby alive, they resorted to putting out sensational pulps such as Parisienne and Saucy Stories to generate enough money to keep Smart Set alive.

In 1920, they decided to go another way, and take some of the best young mystery writers of their day to create a hard-boiled pulp of their own.
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Jul 20, 2012
Steve Gomez - Chief Investigator

The Spider – Master of Men

The SpiderWho was The Spider?

In the early 1930’s, powerhouse pulp publishers Popular Publications began to lose sales to their main rivals, Street and Smith Publications.

While Popular Publications continued to produce such titles as Dime Detective, Dime Mysteries, and Ace-High Westerns, the public fell for the king of the radio detectives, the mysterious Shadow.

There was only one thing to do.

The Spider – Master of Men was first published by Popular Publications in the 1933. Similar in feel to Street and Smith’s The Shadow, the Spider was secretly Richard Wentworth, former military officer and World War I veteran.

To fight crime in New York City, Wentworth donned the familiar uniform of urban heroes: the dark cape and black hat.
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Jul 13, 2012
Steve Gomez - Chief Investigator

Your Batman Moment

“I shall become a bat….” – Bruce Wayne, Detective Comics #27

batman momentThe Dark Knight Rises, the newest Batman film, comes to theaters everywhere in a few days, amid speculation as to whether or not it will be the biggest opening ever for a movie, or simply one of the biggest. There is no doubt that the movie will be huge, and if the previous movies are any indication, it will be a great movie, but the question at the heart of the movie is more fundamental.

What is the movie about? Who is the Batman?

For me, and other geeky fan-boys alike, Bruce Wayne’s alter-ego is the guy we’ve always dreamed of being: cool car, great belt, man-cave, and kick-ass reputation. And that doesn’t even touch on the whole Catwoman thing. But that also begs the question: “Why not Superman, or Spiderman, or any of the multitude of comic heroes?”

Because in theory, any one of us can be Batman. But mostly we aren’t.

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