The SFFaudio Podcast #428 – READALONG: Burglars Can’t Be Choosers by Lawrence Block

July 3, 2017 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Aural Noir, Podcasts 

Podcast
Lawrence Block's Burglars Can't Be Choosers
The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #428 – Jesse and Maissa Bessada talk about Burglars Can’t Be Choosers by Lawrence Block.

Talked about on today’s show:
1977, a Matt Scudder book: A Walk Among Among The Tombstones, cut-up women, he most brutal book Maissa’s ever read, sex, comedy and mystery, a treasure hunt, little gems, is that ever cool!, the 2 cassette audiobook (heavily abridged), just under six hours, it percolated along, coffee drinking, word humour and word play, why I love to read Lawrence Block books, 11 books in the series, 4 short stories, percolating dialogue, an Agatha Christie style mystery, Lawrence Block is an excellent narrator, you’re intellectually engaged, turning the horror of crime into a cozy murder mystery, a magician, sleight of hand, false directions, The Purloined Letter, the Blackstone Audio afterword, maybe I’ll try crime, everything you see on the page is Block’s brain, sparkling personality, Bernie doesn’t age, his burglar charms, Ruth Hightower, you can call me Roger, subsequent books, a front for a burglary business, Block’s dialogue and writing, the whole back end, seeing things we’re not allowed to see, what is happening?, the psychology of the character is a mystery to himself, Carolyn the lesbian poodle groomer, Carolyn is the Watson to Bernie’s Sherlock, it always was a parody, that love of books, contemplating a life of crime, Robin Hood, what kind of dog?, maybe a stuffed dog, no shedding, it’s obvious who the murderer is, carefully set like a jewel, a lot is unconscious, Ruth’s the murderer, suspects, some lurker in the shadows, how small New York is, it fits to Agatha Christie neat, that’s the genre, he’s playing totally by the Hal Clement rules, Mission Of Gravity, Two If By Sea, putting all the evidence before us, a particular hobby horse, The Burglar Who Liked To Quote Kipling, Kipling, The Burglar Who Painted Like Mondrian, Piet Mondrian, baseball, The Burglar Who Thought He Was Bogart, The Burglar In The Library, locked room murder mystery, The Burglar In The Rye, The Burglar Who Counted Spoons, told in first person, Like A Thief In The Night, A Bad Night For Burglars, from this character’s point of view, fitting in to one area of art or collecting, this is the theater one, everybody’s an actor, everybody in the book has another name or a hidden identity, Lauren, the 85 bucks, a burglar code of ethics, “I never believed in overlooking cash”, choices, the cop costume, which one is the real burglar?, they totally switch, Wesley Brill, playing “the heavy”, he’s lost his skill, this is the book where he gets his skill back, writing fiction is a kind of magic, losing the magic, Lawrence Block is always retiring from writing, staying in hotels, breaking into his own hotel room, writers who write for a living, Bernie’s lifestyle is Block’s lifestyle, going through a divorce, moving to California, an amazing soup of goodness, he’s a soup fiend, he’s also the “Man In The Middle”, Russian dolls, why isn’t this book much better known, Burglar (1987), gender swapped, Bobcat Goldthwait, too much in the words, it would make a great comic, imagery, exposition is not great for comics, a Hercule Poirot ending, Penguin Audio audiobooks, Richard Ferrone’s narration, Recorded Books, masks, Roger Armitage, they’re lying to each other, call me “Wes”, John Wesley, oh there you are!, fake names, really recognizable, how you know someone, Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, The Maltese Falcon (1941), two guys looking for the bird, the rara avis, the pear shaped man, a pre-telling, Ms. Brill by Katherine Mansfield, an ESL teacher in France, creating an internal life, an active imagination, moth powder, his yacht, a fried whiting, a flounder, a fox stole, honey cake, Maissa misread it, Reading, Short And Deep, Julie Hoverson’s narration of Ms. Brill, a little box room, Lawrence Block were you inspired by Katherine Mansfield’s story…?: No., a brill is a fish, the ermine toque = fur hat, knocked on the nose, everything is reflecting everything else, without even having read it, echoes of brill, Goldilocks, archetypes, Bernie assumes Ruth has a husband, Ellie, cheating, the ultimate woman, Darla Sandoval, he hasn’t cheated…yet, his cop costume, you don’t even need those burglar’s tools, a break in as a sexual thing, the ability to open locks, modelling a life on Bernie Rhodenbarr, locks and keys, how many passwords, one password, power and speed, a ream of keys, access, keys are responsibilities that weigh you down, physically and metaphorically, memorization, having lockpicks, lockpicking, water my plants, his burglary life, Mrs. Hesh, power is attractive, like sexual triumph, tumblers finishing, he doesn’t want it to be too clear, on the tip of understanding, “I suppose you’re wondering why I’ve gathered you all here”, Rex Stout, Raymond Chandler, a true consulting detective, Archie Goodwin, Nero Wolfe is a cogitating machine, perfect recall, fine living, food, a reveal, parceled out, we get all of the story, The Hound Of The Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle getting bored of the form, we are Bernie’s Watson, The Silver Blaze, he totally cheated us, cheating, honest cheating cops, the person behind everything, the second gun, triggering, a real play?, second cabbie, James Garner, “Sound Of Distant Drums”, phrases, things that suggest, suggesting rather than saying, a certain feeling, Block is a master manipulator, you flinched, he charmed me out a lot of money, playing a role from the very beginning, he’s an actor, really great, incredibly enjoyable, examining the furniture, shaking out the books, so much in there, intellectual exercise, whodunit?, if you want to know about Watergate now’s the time to read about it, wait twenty years, a good mystery novel gives you all the facts, I feel like Ray Kirschmann, we were totally cheated, a bed is a bed is a bed, no bed of roses, set apart from our world, everybody smokes, no internet, cellphones, computers, answering services, the world has been transformed, visiting a simpler time, sexism of the period is quaint, slightly askew.

POCKET BOOKS - Burglars Can't Be Choosers by Lawrence Block

Posted by Jesse Willis

Waldentapes PRINT AD: “Stop Reading Mysteries!”

May 13, 2013 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: News 

SFFaudio News

Waldentapes, an imprint of Waldenbooks, produced some very interesting audiobooks in the mid 1980s. They are now all out of print. Do you have any?

Waldenbooks - Stop Reading Mysteries

Here’s are two that I have:

WALDENTAPES - The Purloined Letter and The Black Cat by Edgar Allan Poe

WALDENTAPES - To Your Scattered Bodies Go by Philip Jose Farmer

Posted by Jesse Willis

Aural Noir review of No Score by Lawrence Block

May 20, 2010 by · 4 Comments
Filed under: Aural Noir, Reviews, SFFaudio essential 

Aural Noir: Review

CHIVERS - No Score by Lawrence BlockSFFaudio EssentialNo Score (book #1 in the Chip Harrison series)
By Lawrence Block; Read by Gregory Gorton
6 Cassettes – Approx. 5 Hours 30 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Chivers Audio
Published: 1999
ISBN: 0792722620
Themes: / Crime / Sex / Quest / Pornography / Chicago /

It is a mystery why a street-smart young man like Chip Harrison has to resort to elaborate plans to attract a young woman like Francine. But someone turns Chip’s dream into a nightmare of danger. Chip has to act fast and furiously in a sizzling and suspenseful adventure that only Edgar Award-winning Lawrence Block could have written. Chip Harrison rightfully takes his place beside Block’s best known characters.

Seventeen year old Chip Harrison is a virgin. Francine, the narcissistic sexpot sitting on his bed, is two years older than Chip. All that stands between Chip and Francine is a tight yellow sweater and a green plaid skirt. Chip’s been preparing for this situation for a while now. He’s read all the right books, practiced all his moves on other girls, and now it’s all actually going to happen! And then, just as the deed is about to be done, a man with a gun walks in and shoots poor Chip! That’s chapter one. In chapter two Chip fills in some details about what happened before that – he’s an orphan, the son of a pair of con-parents. With no funds in the bank and not enough game on the basketball court. Poor Chip was kicked out of his prep school just a couple of months shy of graduation! Now, with little more than the clothes on his back, Chip Harrison has to meet and lay the girl of his dreams – the question is, will he get to do it? Or will he die trying?

Yep, that’s it! The whole novel is basically one kid’s quest to make it with a beautiful girl, almost any beautiful girl will do. As such, No Score probably the slimmest connection to mystery and crime of any book I’ve ever reviewed for SFFaudio. Later novels in the Chip Harrison series actually are genuine mysteries (they are all parody/homages to Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe mysteries in fact). Though later books in the series are more properly mystery novels, like No Score they all share Chip’s enthusiasm and all the juvenile charm he brings to the telling. Lawrence Block is probably my favourite writer of first person perspective fiction. His sentences are chock full of wry humor and quick wit. When you pair his terrific writing with a capable narrator the results are explosively good. This is just such a novel and just such a pairing. While there’s not more than one or two actual jokes in No Score the laughs are all out loud and come every few minutes. I sure wish narrator Gregory Gorton was still recording audiobooks. He is a terrific performer with a wide range. In No Score he performs as Chip, a chipper and horny young man, Gregor, a fortyish immigrant from an unnamed Balkan country, and several sexy women in a terrific falsetto.

Posted by Jesse Willis

Some OUT OF PRINT Rex Stout / Nero Wolfe audiobooks

November 24, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Aural Noir, Online Audio 

Aural Noir: News

Listening to the Nero Wolfe radio dramas again has got me on another Rex Stout kick!

So, curious as to what I had left to share, I’ve gone into my stacks and dug out what remains of my once vast Rex Stout stocks. Sadly, I don’t have a whole lot left but I do have a few great productions created by DH Audio as companions to their CBC radio drama releases.

DH Audio started out life as a 1970s audiobook company based out of Ontario, Canada. It first published under the name “Listen For Pleasure.” In the 1980s the name was changed to “Durkin Hayes Audio.” Then finally, in the 1990s, shortly before it went bankrupt, there was a final name change, “DH Audio.”

To make it easy I’m going to bundle four Rex Stout/Nero Wolfe audiobooks (each a single cassette) together and sell them for $20 for the set (the original retail price is $4.99 each). Here’s what I’m offering:

Durkin Hayes, DH Audio - Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe - Invitation To Murder, This Won't Kill You, Not Quite Dead Enough, Omit Flowers

I’ve got 4 of these bundles left. I take PayPal. Shipping by mail will be extra, but these are pretty light so they won’t cost a ton to ship. If you’re interested, send me an email with the subject line:

Nero Wolfe AUDIOBOOK Bundle

and be sure to include your mailing address. I will then send you a PayPal invoice that includes shipping cost.

My email address is: [email protected]

Posted by Jesse Willis

CBC + RR.cc: Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe EXCELLENT RADIO DRAMA from 1982

November 24, 2009 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Audio Drama, Aural Noir, Online Audio 

Aural Noir: Online Audio

RadioArchives.ccIn 1982 the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation aired a fantastic 13-episode radio series:

Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe

It stared Mavor Moore (as Nero Wolfe), Don Francks (as Archie Goodwin), Cec Linder (as Inspector Cramer), Frank Perry (as Fritz), and Alfie Scott (as Saul Panzer).

“It took [Toronto actor and producer] Ron Hartmann two years to adapt, direct and produce the 13 episodes for radio,” reported the Globe and Mail. “Ron and I are ardent Nero Wolfe fans, and we’re out to convert the listener,” Moore said.

The series was released on cassette by Durkin Hayes Audio (aka DH Audio) in the late 1990s. But DH is out of business, the cassettes out of print, and the CBC hasn’t licensed any replacements.

What’s a serious Wolfe fan to do?

Well, he can do do a search on RadioArchive.cc! It’s the premier place to find publicly funded programming, and it just now happens to have a new collection of old-off air recordings!

CBC Radio  - Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe

Episodes:

Episode 01 – Disguise For Murder
Based on a story by Rex Stout; Adapted by Ron Hartman; Performed by a full cast
1 Broadcast – Approx. 55 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: CBC Radio
Broadcast: January 16, 1982
When Wolfe hosts a flower showing, a women is killed by someone she recognizes — but who?
Stars: Mavor Moore, Don Francks, Cec Linder, Frank Perry, Alfie Scott
Special Guest Stars: Layly Cado, Jack Krely, Neil Monroe, Eric Peterson, Fiona Reed
Music by: Don Gillis

Episode 02 – Before I Die
Based on a story by Rex Stout; Adapted by Ron Hartman; Performed by a full cast
1 Broadcast – Approx. 55 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: CBC Radio
Broadcast: January 23, 1982
A mob boss wants Wolfe to stop a blackmailer, and protect his daughter — who then dies.
Stars: Mavor Moore, Don Francks, Cec Linder, Frank Perry, Alfie Scott
Special Guest Stars: Jane Eastwood, August Shellenburg, Maria Loma
Music by: Don Gillis

Episode 03 – Counterfeit for Murder
Based on a story by Rex Stout; Adapted by Ron Hartman; Performed by a full cast
1 Broadcast – Approx. 55 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: CBC Radio
Broadcast: January 30, 1982
An old woman gives Archie a package — containing lots of counterfeit bucks.
Stars: Mavor Moore, Don Francks, Cec Linder, Frank Perry, Alfie Scott
Special Guest Stars: Joy Coghill, Brent Craver, Gilly Fenic, Lynn Griffin, Sandy Webster
Music by: Don Gillis

Episode 04 – The Cop Killer
Based on a story by Rex Stout; Adapted by Ron Hartman; Performed by a full cast
1 Broadcast – Approx. 55 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: CBC Radio
Broadcast: February 6, 1982
Wolfe’s barber is on the run for murder — and Archie hides them in the front room!
Stars: Mavor Moore, Don Francks, Cec Linder, Frank Perry, Alfie Scott
Special Guest Stars: Jackie Buroughs, Brian George, Arch MacDonald
Music by: Don Gillis

Episode 05 – Christmas Party
Based on a story by Rex Stout; Adapted by Ron Hartman; Performed by a full cast
1 Broadcast – Approx. 55 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: CBC Radio
Broadcast: February 13, 1982
Archie, Wolfe and Santa are all under suspicion when a man dies at a Christmas party!
Stars: Mavor Moore, Don Francks, Cec Linder, Frank Perry, Alfie Scott
Special Guest Stars: Marty Meriden, Linda Sorenson, Patricia Hamilton
Music by: Don Gillis

Episode 06 – Cordially Invited To Meet Death
Based on a story by Rex Stout; Adapted by Ron Hartman; Performed by a full cast
1 Broadcast – Approx. 55 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: CBC Radio
Broadcast: February 20, 1982
A prominent woman is blackmailed — then murdered — while Archie is standing beside her!
Stars: Mavor Moore, Don Francks, Cec Linder, Frank Perry, Alfie Scott
Special Guest Stars: Barbra Hamilton, Terry Tweed, Lynn Deigon, Ken James, Tom Harvey
Music by: Don Gillis

Episode 07 – Man Alive
Based on a story by Rex Stout; Adapted by Ron Hartman; Performed by a full cast
1 Broadcast – Approx. 55 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: CBC Radio
Broadcast: February 27, 1982
An heiress’s uncle returns to life — and then dies at her office!
Stars: Mavor Moore, Don Francks, Cec Linder, Frank Perry, Alfie Scott
Special Guest Stars: Lynn Griffin, Neil Monroe, Sandy Webster, August Shellenburg
Music by: Don Gillis

Episode 08 – Instead of Evidence
Based on a story by Rex Stout; Adapted by Ron Hartman; Performed by a full cast
1 Broadcast – Approx. 55 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: CBC Radio
Broadcast: March 6, 1982
A man hires Wolfe to provide evidence if he is murdered — and then he is!
Stars: Mavor Moore, Don Francks, Cec Linder, Frank Perry, Alfie Scott
Special Guest Stars: Laly Cadoe, Sean Sullivan, Eric Peterson, Martha Gibson

Episode 09 – Eney Meeny Murder Mo
Based on a story by Rex Stout; Adapted by Ron Hartman; Performed by a full cast
1 Broadcast – Approx. 55 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: CBC Radio
Broadcast: March 13, 1982
When Wolfe’s necktie is used to kill a potential client visiting his home, he is outraged!
Stars: Mavor Moore, Don Francks, Cec Linder, Frank Perry, Alfie Scott
Special Guest Stars: Charmin King, Bud Knapp, Aileen Seaton, Neil Monroe
Music by: Don Gillis

Episode 10 – The Squirt And The Monkey
Based on a story by Rex Stout; Adapted by Ron Hartman; Performed by a full cast
1 Broadcast – Approx. 55 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: CBC Radio
Broadcast: March 20, 1982
A comic artist hires Wolfe to find his stolen gun – but who uses it to kill his assistant — or is it Archie’s gun?
Stars: Mavor Moore, Don Francks, Cec Linder, Frank Perry, Alfie Scott
Special Guest Stars: Jack Krealy, Patricia Collins, Sheri Flet, David Hemlin
Music by: Don Gillis

Episode 11 – The Next Witness
Based on a story by Rex Stout; Adapted by Ron Hartman; Performed by a full cast
1 Broadcast – Approx. 55 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: CBC Radio
Broadcast: March 27, 1982
Wolfe can’t stand waiting at a trial — so he leaves to solve the murder!
Stars: Mavor Moore, Don Francks, Cec Linder, Frank Perry, Alfie Scott
Special Guest Stars: Dixie Settle, Terry Tweed, Michael Christy
Music by: Don Gillis

Episode 12 – Death Of A Demon
Based on a story by Rex Stout; Adapted by Ron Hartman; Performed by a full cast
1 Broadcast – Approx. 55 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: CBC Radio
Broadcast: April 3, 1982
A women confesses a would-be murder plot, then finds out her husband — the would-be target is dead!
Stars: Mavor Moore, Don Francks, Cec Linder, Frank Perry, Alfie Scott
Special Guest Stars: Mary Peery, Bud Knapp, Patricia Hamilton, Meana E. Meana, Helen Hughs
Music by: Don Gillis

Episode 13 – Murder is No Joke
Based on a story by Rex Stout; Adapted by Ron Hartman; Performed by a full cast
1 Broadcast – Approx. 55 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: CBC Radio
Broadcast: April 10, 1982
Wolfe and Archie hear a murder on the phone — but if it’s real, can they solve it?
Stars: Mavor Moore, Don Francks, Cec Linder, Frank Perry, Alfie Scott
Special Guest Stars: Joy Coghill, Vivian Reese, Noni Griffin, Richard Monet, Murry Westgate
Music by: Don Gillis

[with props to the Wikipedia entry]

Posted by Jesse Willis

P.S. There’s another CBC radio drama that’s been languishing unlisted to, but there’s no chance anybody’s going to get to hear it ever as it HAS NEVER BEEN BROADCAST!

Aural Noir Review of This Won’t Kill You by Rex Stout

April 10, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

Aural Noir: Review

DH Audio Mystery Audiobook - This Won’t Kill You by Rex StoutThis Won’t Kill You
By Rex Stout; Read by David Elias
1 Cassette – Approx. 60 Minutes [ABRIDGED]
Publisher: DH Audio
Published: 1998
ISBN: 0886468655
Themes: / Mystery / Murder / Crime / Baseball /

Nero Wolfe couldn’t care less about baseball, even the World Series final game–until four players are drugged. Now a team’s chances, and maybe their star players, are dead. Evidence is hard to find, so Archie Goodwin dodges fists and acid while the boss keeps one little secret from the police.

There’s a whole team of suspects for Nero Wolfe to confront in this peppy locked stadium mystery.

Narator David Elias is terrific, filling his lungs for the resonant corpulence of Wolfe’s voice, then higher pitching and faster talking-it for the energetic Archie Goodwin. As well, Elias offers many variation’s on accents and voices for the numerous other minor characters filling out this novelette. He also ain’t bad with a falsetto. The abridgment is very skillful. Rex Stout’s plots are often highly complex, and can lead a reader to be confused as it is. Whatever was expunged for this edition, this audiobook abridgment is easy to follow.

Posted by Jesse Willis

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