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Lighting the Pipes
41 minutes | Nov 8, 2022
LTP Noir: Dark Passage (1947)
“Dark Passage” is one of Film Noir's most unique thrillers. The 1947 film boasts an all-star cast, innovative use of first-person subjective camerawork and some remarkable on-location shooting. What's more, it was the inspiration for "The Fugitive" TV series of the 1960s as well as its 1993 feature film remake (...minus the plastic surgery of course!). In this episode of our cinematic side-series, Josh navigates the murky waters of Delmer Daves’s tense and visually compelling manhunt.
88 minutes | Oct 5, 2022
The Body in the Library (1942)
Our first Agatha Christie read takes us to Gossington Hall where the body of a young woman is found, dead and spread, upon the floor of Colonel Bantry's library. Invited to snoop and sleuth by the Colonel's wife, the quiet and calculating Miss Marple lends her expertise when the investigation moves from country manor to seaside hotel. Published in 1942 and featuring a complete set of supporting players and red-herrings, "The Body in the Library" is the fourth Marple investigation and one of her most celebrated. Before diving into the narrative we shed light on the author's fascinating life and share some equally fascinating links to the world of table-top gaming! Cluedo anyone?
62 minutes | Sep 20, 2022
LTP Noir: The Blue Dahlia (1946)
In this episode Josh discusses the troubled and time-pressed production of George Marshall's "The Blue Dahlia". Penned by hard-boiled novelist, Raymond Chandler, and starring Alan Ladd, Veronica Lake and William Bendix, the story behind this gritty man-on-the-run thriller is as compelling as the adventure itself.
138 minutes | Aug 16, 2022
Better know, perhaps, for his writing in the expanded universes of Star Wars, Star Trek and Blade Runner, K W Jeter is nevertheless one of the pioneers of cyberpunk fiction. The sub-genre's gritty, challenging tropes are equal parts prophetic and perplexing for readers. Into its tech-heavy milieu of corrupt appetites and dispossessed culture, Jeter situates John McNihil, a singular detective with a unique and nostalgic view of his world, the Gloss of the Pacific Rim. There's not much that Jeter's narrative and world-building shy away from here so hold on to your hats (...fedoras, of course) as we delve deeply into this complex and prescient thriller.
35 minutes | Aug 7, 2022
LTP Noir: Laura (1944)
Otto Preminger's "Laura" from 1944 is considered a classic of the noir genre. Expertly cast and masterfully directed, "Laura" has remained among cinema's most stylistic of psychological thrillers for nearly 80 years. So set your clocks and hide your shotguns - in the second feature of this intriguing side-series, Josh explores the context behind Laura's production and considers the factors of its enduring influence.
60 minutes | Aug 1, 2022
LTP Selects: The Empty House (1903)
Ten years after propelling his protagonist off the page via Reichenbach in "The Final Problem", Arthur Conan Doyle returns Holmes to his adoring public. Published in Autumn of 1903, "The Empty House" gave eager readers what they'd been seeking for a decade - key answers to the past, a wild villain of the present and much hope for the future. First released in November 2017, this episode has been lovingly reworked for presentation and brings this Summer's Sherlock Selects Series to an end!
63 minutes | Jul 17, 2022
LTP Selects: The Final Problem (1893)
Good news, Sherlock fans! Summer has arrived (in the northern hemisphere at least) and that means the return of our world-famous "Sherlock Selects" Summer Series! Last year, we featured four classic stand-alone installments. This season we're tackling the Holmesian mythology with revamped presentations of "The Final Problem" and "The Empty House". First up, Conan Doyle's intrepid attempt to bid farewell to his great detective from December 1893. Our conversation here was first presented in September 2017. Enjoy!
113 minutes | Jul 11, 2022
Anatomy of a Murder (1958)
Inspired by real events, Robert Traver's 1958 novel was the first of its kind - a true "courtroom thriller". Showcasing the genial narrative perspective of every-man defense attorney, Paul Biegler, "Anatomy" couldn't be better named as it guides readers through the crooks and crevices of the legal corpus of a murder trial. Groundbreaking and controversial in equal measure for its detailing and confrontation of sexual assault, Traver's story was immediately adapted for the screen by Hollywood legend Otto Preminger, where it gathered further acclaim and social traction. As fiction, "Anatomy" holds up well and, propelled by its warmth and wisdom, offered us a mill's worth of grist for conversational grind.
21 minutes | Jun 20, 2022
LTP Selects: Quantum of Solace (1959)
In this pint-sized episode, we reach into the archives and present a conversation from July 2016 on Ian Fleming's "Quantum of Solace". A divisive short story that had James Bond fans scratching their heads, Fleming's narrative experiment positions 007 as after-dinner audience to a morality tale of greed, revenge and marital conflict. It's a curious short story and well worth checking out!
33 minutes | Jun 10, 2022
LTP Noir: Intro & The Maltese Falcon
In this engaging side-series, Josh flies solo in exploring the production, features and influences of Film Noir. Taking the shape of compact film reviews, the first of these complementary capsule episodes sets the stage for the genre's American premiere by looking at its European origins. Informative context then gives way to review as John Huston's 1941 adaptation of "The Maltese Falcon" by Dashiel Hammett goes under the microscope. "The stuff that dreams are made of..." Enjoy!
105 minutes | May 11, 2022
The Maltese Falcon (1930)
Dashiell Hammett's "The Maltese Falcon" wastes no time cutting shapes and setting angles in its pursuit of modelling the hard-boiled genre. The opening sentence alone produces enough sharp edge to slice through a striploin at Herbert's on Powell Street: "Samuel Spade's jaw was long and bony, his chin a jutting V under the more flexible V of his mouth." However, in spite of its influence, the whetted and defining weaponry of Hammett's straight-ahead narrative isn't to everybody's literary taste and debate remains strong over this classic crime story. Join us as we light the pipes and share conversation over this perennial text.
115 minutes | Apr 24, 2022
The Moonstone (1868)
"The Moonstone" is regarded by many as the progenitor of the detective novel in English. Published in 1868, it marks, perhaps, the peak of Wilkie Collins's career as a novelist and emerged onto the scene at a time of great change for Scotland Yard and the British Empire at large. Steeped in foreign intrigue and trapped within a casing of disguise, mistaken identity and class conflict, "The Moonstone" offers a wealth of intrigue for genre readers and literary historians alike. So, please take your seat at Lady Verinder's table with us and prepare for the most prophetic 18th birthday party you can imagine - the Moonstone is in the building!
105 minutes | Mar 4, 2022
The Talented Mr. Ripley (1955)
In 1955 Patricia Highsmith introduced the world to Tom Ripley, a young and ambitious con-man who gets the break of a lifetime when serendipity (in the form of an acquaintance's rich father) sends him to Italy on a rescue mission. Haunted by insecurities and struggling against his own ego, Tom "fakes it till he makes it", drawing on deep reservoirs of charm and industry, and for a while his many demons are quietly contained. But invisible appetites are always sharpening their teeth and Highsmith soon ratchets up the tension to let the beast off the leash. It's been a while in arriving but we're excited to finally be lighting the pipes over this enduring psychological thriller!
102 minutes | Jan 4, 2022
The Stories of C. Auguste Dupin
Edgar Allan Poe's contributions to literary form can hardly be overstated. Among many accomplishments, he is widely regarded as the progenitor of the detective story. His character, C. Auguste Dupin first appeared in 1841's "Murders in the Rue Morgue" and returned the following year for "The Mystery of Marie Roget" and again in 1844's "The Purloined Letter". These three stories had an enormous impact on the development of mystery and the evolution of crime fiction, influencing many writers and artists. Perhaps chief among these was Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. In this episode, Josh and Scott reflect upon Poe's three 19th Century tales of "ratiocination".
111 minutes | Nov 29, 2021
The Black Echo (1992)
In Michael Connelly's debut novel, readers meet Detective Harry Bosch of the LAPD. Bosch is haunted by several demons from his past, each of which comes out to play in "The Black Echo". First, there's the tragedy of his mother's murder and the childhood wounds of growing up in the system. Then there's his time as "tunnel-rat" in Vietnam as part of the 1st Infantry Division. Finally, his fumble over the so-called "Dollmaker" serial killings: an accidental shooting which saw him cut from the lofty heights of Robbery-Homicide and redeployed within the Department's Hollywood Division. These compelling factors combine with other narrative features in setting the context for our introduction to Connelly's principled protagonist. Here, LTP deep-dives through the first appearance of one of the genre's most celebrated characters.
86 minutes | Oct 28, 2021
The 39 Steps (1915)
What do you get when an adventurous British writer combines suspension of disbelief, war-time propaganda and a patriotic dose of daring-do? John Buchan's "The 39 Steps", of course, a "shocker" that pleased troops and arm-chair generals alike and introduced the literary world to the character of Richard Hannay. In 1915, this novella seemed to strike all the right chords with British (and allied) audience. But more modern tuners are challenging the culturally-insensitive sharps and flats of Buchan's compositions. Season 3 continues as Josh and Scott light pipes and chat over the narrative and legacy of "The 39 Steps".
76 minutes | Oct 21, 2021
The Quiet American (1955)
In 1955, Graham Greene published "The Quiet American", part character confession and part political allegory, set amidst the changing of the colonial guard in Southeast Asia. As the French powers puff their last breaths in Vietnam the American agenda starts making its strident moves and there, observing all from the inside, is cynical British journalist Thomas Fowler. Forced into defending his own private sanctuary and selfishness, Fowler grows embroiled in a conflict with CIA agent Alden Pyle that is as symbolic as it is sympathetic. Josh and Scott talk PIPES and chase the metaphorical dragon over this sophisticated narrative as Season 3 continues.
57 minutes | Sep 1, 2021
LTP Selects: The Copper Beeches (1892)
Our "Sherlock Selects" summer series concludes here with a real show-stopper! "The Copper Beeches" is one of Conan Doyle's most atmospheric and engaging mysteries, featuring a female client with moxie and a country manse full of fear. We had a great time talking over this story back in May of 2017 and proudly re-present it here today in wrapping up our seasonal series.
31 minutes | Aug 15, 2021
LTP Selects: The Creeping Man (1923)
When old age hands you lemons... it's time to take monkey gland injections from a quack Czech doctor! Or, at least, that's what Professor Presbury might have once suggested. This curious tale is as close as Conan Doyle ever gets to showcasing the hardships of graceful aging to the love-struck pensioner. Yes, "The Adventure of the Creeping Man" is full of crazy moments but it is not bereft of relevance: anti-aging creams, experimental diets, airbrushed photographs... how many of us wish for greater powers of attraction and vitality? Presbury might be an unhinged "monkey man" but his actions hold an awkward mirror up to ourselves. We had a fun time talking over this tale back in September of 2018 and are excited to revive it now for our Summer series!
76 minutes | Aug 8, 2021
Knots & Crosses (1987)
In this gritty crime thriller, Detective Sergeant John Rebus makes his literary debut. Ian Rankin draws on rich material from the city of Edinburgh and his native Scotland in sculpting his protagonist's first adventure. From the dank alleyways of Auld Reekie to the spirited influence of Stevenson's "Jekyll and Hyde", Rankin works hard with his first Rebus novel to establish an immersive world of conflict and consequence.
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