From Book to Big and Small Screen
Recently there have been several blockbuster novels made into blockbuster movies, including the Harry Potter series, The Hunger Games series, Twilight series, James Patterson's Alex Cross (partly filmed in Cleveland!), and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo trilogy. Many of the movie premieres were characterized by long lines and midnight showings. Our copies of the books were always checked out, with long waiting lists.
So what about our favorite mysteries? With several TV shows airing this summer that are based on mystery and suspense novels, I wondered just how many of the crime novels-to-TV Shows/Movies there are on record. A little research showed there are an overwhelming number of them.
Take, for example, Sherlock Holmes. Estimates are that he is the most portrayed character on TV or in cinema. The website http://www.imdb.com (Internet Movie Database) has 261 entries for TV shows and movies featuring Sherlock Holmes, dating back to 1900. The most current representation will be on CBS this fall in the show Elementary, featuring Jonny Lee Miller as Holmes and Lucy Liu as Joan Watson. Dame Agatha Christie's works have been filmed for TV and movies over 150 times. The BBC, PBS, and many other stations broadcast a huge number of shows featuring some of the most popular classic mystery characters, such as Maigret, Inspector Lynley, Hamish MacBeth, Inspector Morris, Lord Peter Wimsey, Rebus, Rumpole, Father Brown, Dalgliesh, Brother Cadfael, and Precious Ramotswe of the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency.
American TV has been home to many familiar sleuths: Jessica Fletcher (Murder Sher Wrote), Spenser and Jesse Stone (Robert B. Parker), Father Dowling (Ralph McInerny), Gideon Oliver (Aaron Elkins), Joe
Leaphorn and Jim Chee (Tony Hillerman), Nero Wolfe, Ellery Queen, Mike Hammer, Perry Mason, James Patterson's Women's Murder Club and Ed McBain's 87th Precinct series.
Recent additions to the small screen include Bones (with Fiction author Kathy Reichs' character Temperance Brennan), Rizzoli and Isles (based on the Fiction books by Tess Gerritsen) and this summer's debut of Longmire (featuring Wyoming Sheriff Walt Longmire, created by Craig Johnson). Slated for release later this year is the made-for-TV movie Sworn to Silence, based on the first book of the Ohio Amish mystery series by Linda Castillo. On the big screen, released in January, 2012, was the film One for the Money, with Janet Evanovich's popular bounty hunter Stephanie Plum.
So what comes first - the book or the movie? Sometimes it is the reverse of the book-to-TV/Movie scenario. This would be when an author writes a series of books based on a character in a TV show, usually after the series has ended. Donald Bain continues to write the popular Murder She Wrote mysteries, even though the show ended in 1996. Another popular series in our mystery collection is the Mr. Monk series by Lee Goldberg, from the TV show Monk. And William Harrington wrote mysteries about Columbo after the end of that TV series.
And what do readers/viewers prefer? Many read the book first and can't wait for the movie to come out. Others see the movie first and enjoy it enough that they decide to read the book(s). Sometimes readers choose not to watch the shows and movies. If they're like me, they have created a clear picture in their mind of what the characters look like and don't want to be disappointed by the casting of the screen version.
Whatever your preference, there are certainly lots of options to read about or view your favorite mystery characters.
DON'T FORGET: Bouchercon 2012, Crime Fiction Rocks, the world mystery convention, is being held this year in Cleveland from October 4-7! From their website http://bouchercon2012.com :
"It is open to anyone and is a place for fans, authors, and professionals to gather and celebrate their love of the mystery genre."
Be sure to check their website for information on how to register for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and for a current list of the authors already signed up to attend (many with links to their websites-in blue). See if your favorite author is going to be in Cleveland!
New and Forthcoming Mysteries at WPPL:
Andrews, Donna (Bouchercon attendee) - Some Like it Hawk (Meg Lanslow)
Hamilton, Steve (Bouchercon attendee) - Die a Stranger (Alex McKnight in Michigan's UP)
Housewright, David - Curse of the Jade Lily (Mac McKenzie, PI in St. Paul)
Jance, J.A. - Judgment Call (Joanna Brady, sheriff in Cochise County, Arizona
Krueger, William Kent (Bouchercon attendee) - Trickster's Point (Cork O'Connor)
Martin, Nancy (Bouchercon attendee) - No Way to Kill a Lady (Blackbird Sisters)
Pronzini, Bill - Hellbox (Nameless Detective)