Saturday Art: The Greatest Year in Movies 75 Years Later

Stagecoach (1939)
Stagecoach (1939)

I’m taking a break today from my series on personally Influential Authors to talk about movies. Specifically, movies from 1939, a year that I (and many film critics) consider the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time.) This is not a unanimous choice as a couple of links will show. Nevertheless, if you do a Google search of “greatest movie year of all time” the first item is the wiki page for “1939 in film” which opens with:

The year 1939 in motion pictures is widely considered the most outstanding one ever,[1] when it comes to the high quality and high attendance at the large set of the best films that premiered in the year (considered as a percentage of the population in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom at that time).

A few years ago I did an eighteen diary series for Saturday Art on “Essential Movies” as defined by me (the link is to the last diary which has links to the other seventeen diaries). I’m not going to go through all the diaries and list all the 1939 movies I discussed but I can guarantee that there are numerous movies from the year that I covered.

Saturday Art: The Greatest Year in Movies 75 Years Later

Stagecoach (1939)
Stagecoach (1939)

I’m taking a break today from my series on personally Influential Authors to talk about movies. Specifically, movies from 1939, a year that I (and many film critics) consider the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time.) This is not a unanimous choice as a couple of links will show. Nevertheless, if you do a Google search of “greatest movie year of all time” the first item is the wiki page for “1939 in film” which opens with:

The year 1939 in motion pictures is widely considered the most outstanding one ever,[1] when it comes to the high quality and high attendance at the large set of the best films that premiered in the year (considered as a percentage of the population in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom at that time).

A few years ago I did an eighteen diary series for Saturday Art on “Essential Movies” as defined by me (the link is to the last diary which has links to the other seventeen diaries). I’m not going to go through all the diaries and list all the 1939 movies I discussed but I can guarantee that there are numerous movies from the year that I covered.

Gone with the Wind and The Wizard of Oz are in the top ten of The American Film Institute’s 100 Years…100 Movies. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington is number twenty-six on the list. All three were nominated for Best Picture from that year’s Academy Awards. There were ten Best Picture nominations that year and the other seven nominees were Dark Victory, Goodbye Mr. Chips, Love Affair, Ninotchka, Of Mice and Men, Stagecoach, and Wuthering Heights. Gone with the Wind of course, won the Best Picture award that year.

Thomas Mitchell, winner of the 1939 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Stagecoach also appeared in Gone with the Wind (Gerald O’Hara, Scarlett O’Hara’s father), and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. He also had roles in two other 1939 movies, Only Angels Have Wings (Cary Grant and Jean Arthur) and The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Charles Laughton and Maureen O’Hara).

1939 brought the first movie with Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes in The Hound of the Baskervilles. Later that year, the second Rathbone Holmes appears with The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. The year also brought the first two appearances by George Sanders as The Saint with The Saint Strikes Back and The Saint in London.

I think I have seen all of the movies I have mentioned so far although maybe not Ninotchka but there are a whole lot of other 1939 movies that I have seen besides these. From the list of the Top 20 Grossing films for the year there’s Jesse James with Tyrone Power and Henry Fonda, Dodge City with Errol Flynn and Olivia de Haviland, Gunga Din with Cary Grant, Victor McLaglen, and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr, Drums Along the Mohawk with Claudette Colbert and Henry Fonda, Another Thin Man with William Powell and Myrna Loy, and Destry Rides Again with Jimmy Stewart and Marlene Dietrich.

A few more movies from 1939 that I know are good are Allegheny Uprising with John Wayne and Claire Trevor, the Marx Brothers in At the Circus, Beau Geste with Gary Cooper, Each Dawn I Die with James Cagney and George Raft, Jamaica Inn another starring Charles Laughton and Maureen O’Hara (to go with The Hunchback of Notre Dame), Shirley Temple’s The Little Princess, Louis Hayward in The Man in the Iron Mask, The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex with Bette Davis, Errol Flynn, and Olivia de Haviland, W. C. Fields in You Can’t Cheat an Honest Man, and Young Mr. Lincoln with Henry Fonda.

This by no means is any where near an inclusive listing of the movies produced in 1939. Just the great movies from that year that I have seen, often more than once as they are visual tales told well.

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Saturday Art: Influential Authors: Anne Rice

30/365: time for the Anne Rice books to go. except the withching hour  <3
Stack of Anne Rice books

Please Note: When I began this series, it was to cover a lot of authors whom I have found personally influential, even though this may only be because I enjoyed the stories they have told in their books or short stories. I’m just fortunate enough and well read enough that many of the authors I have personally enjoyed have also been influential on a macro scale as well as micro. rrt

I stopped by my local Barnes & Noble store to kill some time Thursday afternoon and saw where Anne Rice has her first new book for The Vampire Chronicles in ten years. Prince Lestat is the eleventh book in this series.

From the Goodreads.com intro for Rice:

Anne Rice (born Howard Allen Frances O’Brien) is a best-selling American author of gothic, supernatural, historical, erotica, and later religious themed books. Best known for The Vampire Chronicles, her prevailing thematical focus is on love, death, immortality, existentialism, and the human condition. She was married to poet Stan Rice for 41 years until his death in 2002. Her books have sold nearly 100 million copies, making her one of the most widely read authors in modern history.

She uses the pseudonym Anne Rampling for adult-themed fiction (i.e., erotica) and A.N. Roquelaure for fiction featuring sexually explicit sado-masochism.

In a somewhat unusual (for me) situation, the first book of Rice’s that I read just happened to be the first she wrote – Interview with the Vampire. My sister had a copy and I read it some time around ’83 or ’84 and that started the two of us reading and sharing the Vampire and Mayfair Witches books. I have not read all of the Vampire books but besides Interview… I have read The Vampire Lestat, Queen of the Damned, The Tale of the Body Thief, Memnoch the Devil, and Blood and Gold. From the Mayfair Witches I have read The Witching Hour, Lasher, and Taltos.

As much as I have enjoyed the Vampire and Mayfair Witches books my absolute favorite of Rice’s is The Mummy or Ramses the Damned (from Goodreads):

Ramses the Great has reawakened in opulent Edwardian London. Having drunk the elixir of life, he is now Ramses the Damned, doomed forever to wander the earth, desperate to quell hungers that can never be satisfied. He becomes the close companion of a voluptuous heiress, Julie Stratford, but his cursed past again propels him toward disaster. He is tormented by searing memories of his last reawakening, at the behest of Cleopatra, his beloved queen of Egypt. And his intense longing for her, undiminished over the centuries, will force him to commit an act that will place everyone around him in the gravest danger.

From the wiki for The Mummy…:

During the Edwardian period in 1914, a wealthy shipping-magnate-turned-archaeologist, Lawrence Stratford, discovers an unusual tomb. The mummy inside, in its left-behind notes, claims to be the famed pharaoh Ramses II, despite the tomb’s dating only to the first century B.C. (the historical Ramses II died in 1224 B.C.). Before he can fully investigate this claim, Lawrence unexpectedly falls dead, and those around him fear he was the victim of a curse placed on the tomb. Nonetheless, the mummy and other belongings are shipped off to London, and placed on temporary display in Lawrence’s house before they are taken by the British Museum.

Lawrence’s daughter Julie Stratford is the designated heir to her father’s shipping company, as well as the dysfunctional family that surrounds it. Her cousin Henry is an alcoholic and gambling addict who has been draining the family fortune with the aid of his uncle. Julie is engaged to marry Alex Savarell, a viscount and son of Elliott, the current Earl of Rutherford. Although the marriage is a standard alliance between the wealthy Stratfords and an impoverished family of nobles, Alex truly loves Julie, though she is unable to return these feelings.

For all the fanfare Rice’s Vampire and Mayfair Witches books have brought, a couple of her other stand alone books may be the most consequential just because of the topics she covered, even as fiction. Feast of All Saints is set in the pre-Civil War New Orleans and covers “free people of color” – predominantly mixed race. Cry to Heaven is set in 18th Century Venice among the castratii.

I am among the people, including Rice herself, who questioned the casting of Tom Cruise as Lestat in Interview with the Vampire yet had to admit that he pulled the role off. I have never made it through Queen of the Damned. She has seven total IMDB writing credits though her wiki does discuss some possible future movies and/or TV productions.

According to the critics and such, Rice’s writing is supposed to contain heavy elements of eroticism of various flavors, especially the books she has written under the names Anne Rampling and A. N. Roquelaure. I have not read any of these books though I have watched the movie for Exit to Eden which I consider a “good” bad movie.

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Saturday Art: Influential Authors: Paul Gallico

mrs. 'arris goes to new york
Mrs. ‘Arris Goes to New York

Please Note: When I began this series, it was to cover a lot of authors whom I have found personally influential, even though this may only be because I enjoyed the stories they have told in their books or short stories. I’m just fortunate enough and well read enough that many of the authors I have personally enjoyed have also been influential on a macro scale as well as micro. rrt

As is often the case, I’m not real sure when I first became aware of Paul Gallico and his writing. It may well have been reading something of his in some anthology of various sports writing or it could have been short stories in the Saturday Evening Post or it may have been just seeing his novels on the shelves at the public library. Here’s his wiki intro:

Paul William Gallico (July 26, 1897 – July 15, 1976) was an American novelist, short story and sports writer. Many of his works were adapted for motion pictures. He is perhaps best remembered for The Snow Goose, his only real critical success, and for the novel The Poseidon Adventure, primarily through the 1972 film adaptation.

Gallico appears to have been one of the breed of writer who covered sports rather than just a “sports writer.” From the Goodreads.com bio:

He went to school in the public schools of New York, and in 1916 went to Columbia University. He graduated in 1921 with a Bachelor of Science degree, having lost a year and a half due to World War I. He then worked for the National Board of Motion Picture Review, and after six months took a job as the motion picture critic for the New York Daily News. He was removed from this job as his “reviews were too Smart Alecky” (according to Confessions of a Story Teller), and took refuge in the sports department.

During his stint there, he was sent to cover the training camp of Jack Dempsey, and decided to ask Dempsey if he could spar with him, to get an idea of what it was like to be hit by the world heavyweight champion. The results were spectacular; Gallico was knocked out within two minutes. But he had his story, and from there his sports-writing career never looked back.

He became Sports Editor of the Daily News in 1923, and was given a daily sports column. He also invented and organized the Golden Gloves amateur boxing competition. During this part of his life, he was one of the most well-known sporting writers in America, and a minor celebrity. But he had always wanted to be a fiction writer, and was writing short stories and sports articles for magazines like Vanity Fair and the Saturday Evening Post. In 1936, he sold a short story to the movies for $5000, which gave him a stake. So he retired from sports writing, and went to live in Europe, to devote himself to writing. His first major book was Farewell to Sport, which as the title indicates, was his farewell to sports writing.

It appears Gallico was George Plimpton before Plimpton was even born. Further from his wiki:

Gallico’s career was launched by an interview with boxer Jack Dempsey in which he asked Dempsey to spar with him, and described how it felt to be knocked out by the heavyweight champion. He followed up with accounts of catching Dizzy Dean’s fastball and golfing with Bobby Jones. He became one of the highest-paid sportswriters in America. He founded the Golden Gloves amateur boxing competition. His book, Lou Gehrig: Pride of the Yankees (1941) was adapted into the sports movie The Pride of the Yankees (1942), starring Gary Cooper and Teresa Wright.

I definitely was not aware of his involvement with the Golden Gloves. Just that information alone makes him influential but that is just a start.

While I am fairly certain I had read some of Gallico’s sports writing as I mentioned above, I do know the first of his novels I ever read was Mrs. ‘Arris Goes to Paris. This book and its companions in the Mrs. ‘Arris series (includes Mrs. ‘Arris Goes to New York, Mrs. ‘Arris Goes to Parliament, and Mrs. ‘Arris Goes to Moscow) might best be described as fluff but they were still quite enjoyable tales.

A few of his books may well be described as children’s books but they never seemed to talk down to the children. As a cat person, I did enjoy Jennie. Thomasina may be better known as a Disney movie.

While the wiki intro mentions The Snow Goose is most likely his best known work, it is the other book mentioned that most likely merits that description today. While most people may know The Poseidon Adventure as an epic movie, I remember the book first as a stirring adventure. I do know I never saw the movie until it had been out for years as the movie can rarely match the book.

Gallico has forty-four total writing credits at IMDB.

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Saturday Art: Influential Authors: Frederik Pohl

Frederik Pohl - Gateway
Frederik Pohl – Gateway (First of the Heechee series)

Please Note: When I began this series, it was to cover a lot of authors whom I have found personally influential, even though this may only be because I enjoyed the stories they have told in their books or short stories. I’m just fortunate enough and well read enough that many of the authors I have personally enjoyed have also been influential on a macro scale as well as micro. rrt

When I started to write this diary, I could think of a couple of books that I had read from Frederik Pohl but when I started going through his titles, I was a bit surprised that I had as many as I had, even though they were still only a fraction of his writing output. Here’s his wiki intro:

Frederik George Pohl, Jr. (/?po?l/; November 26, 1919 – September 2, 2013) was an American science fiction writer, editor and fan, with a career spanning more than seventy-five years—from his first published work, the 1937 poem “Elegy to a Dead Satellite: Luna”, to the 2011 novel All the Lives He Led and articles and essays published in 2012.[1]

…snip…

The Science Fiction Writers of America named Pohl its 12th recipient of the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award in 1993[4] and he was inducted by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame in 1998, its third class of two dead and two living writers.[5][a]

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Saturday Art: Influential Authors: Frederik Pohl

Frederik Pohl - Gateway
Frederik Pohl – Gateway (First of the Heechee series)

Please Note: When I began this series, it was to cover a lot of authors whom I have found personally influential, even though this may only be because I enjoyed the stories they have told in their books or short stories. I’m just fortunate enough and well read enough that many of the authors I have personally enjoyed have also been influential on a macro scale as well as micro. rrt

When I started to write this diary, I could think of a couple of books that I had read from Frederik Pohl but when I started going through his titles, I was a bit surprised that I had as many as I had, even though they were still only a fraction of his writing output. Here’s his wiki intro:

Frederik George Pohl, Jr. (/?po?l/; November 26, 1919 – September 2, 2013) was an American science fiction writer, editor and fan, with a career spanning more than seventy-five years—from his first published work, the 1937 poem “Elegy to a Dead Satellite: Luna”, to the 2011 novel All the Lives He Led and articles and essays published in 2012.[1]

…snip…

The Science Fiction Writers of America named Pohl its 12th recipient of the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award in 1993[4] and he was inducted by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame in 1998, its third class of two dead and two living writers.[5][a]

Pohl’s NY Times obituary had some interesting details:

Mr. Pohl was involved in publishing since he was a teenager, when he served as a literary agent for his science fiction-writing young friends. He went on to edit magazines and books before finding renown as a writer, often with collaborators.

…snip…

Mr. Pohl’s grasp of science was impressive; although entirely self-taught, he was elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1982. He was also in demand as a so-called futurist, speaking to business executives and other audiences about the shape of things to come in a science-dominated future — and about the unreliability of even short-range predictions.

…snip…

With a handful of like-minded young men, including Isaac Asimov, James Blish, Damon Knight and Mr. Kornbluth, Mr. Pohl threw himself into the burgeoning phenomenon of science fiction fandom. In 1936 he and a dozen other enthusiasts gathered in the back room of a bar in Philadelphia for what many regard as the world’s first science fiction “convention.”

The Washington Post obituary put Pohl’s career this way:

Mr. Pohl touched on many common sci-fi themes in his writing: interplanetary travel, overpopulation, cryogenic preservation, cities under domes, parallel universes and colonies on Mars. But he may be most important as a pioneer of what has been called the “anti-utopian” branch of science fiction — or “sf,” as its aficionados often call it — in which an outwardly well-organized society disintegrates from internal pressures, rivalries and greed.

His first major novel, “The Space Merchants” (1953), written with Cyril Kornbluth, was built around the idea that the values of business and advertising had replaced governments, creating disastrous effects.

“They invented and played with ‘Sociological SF’ — alternate futures here on Earth, exaggerating and satirizing real-life social ­forces and trends,” author and critic Charles Platt wrote in “Dream Makers: The Uncommon People Who Write Science Fiction.”

My bold. Seems like Pohl was one of those who could read a bit of human nature, although his work is set much further into the future than we are currently living.

I really have no idea which of Pohl’s works was my first read of his. I do think it was while I was in the USAF, stationed in Hawai’i as that is when I dove headlong into the world of sci-fi. I know I read his two book Space Merchants series, the first of which titled The Space Merchants was a collaboration with Cyril Kornbluth while the second book, The Merchant’s War was Pohl’s alone. I’ve also read a couple of his Heechee books, Gateway and Heechee Rendezvouz.

Among the stand-alone books from Pohl that I have read are The Coming of the Quantum Cats, The Cool War (set in the 2020s so we’ll soon know how close he may be to reality here,) Narabedla, Ltd and Gladiator-at-Law.

Pohl also authored an impressive number of short stories. Many of the short stories were published in magazines that Pohl edited including Astonishing Stories, Super Science Stories, Galaxy Science Fiction, and If. He was also a contributor to numerous anthologies over the years including a number of Best of… Sci-fi/Fantasy collections.

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Saturday Art: Influential Authors: Betty Layman Receveur

Cumberland Gap
Cumberland Gap
Betty Layman Receveur was not a well-known, super best selling author nor was she particularly prolific, only publishing five books. There is not a wiki page for her. I found an obit for her from late December of 2003 which I find a bit amazing:

Betty Layman Receveur, a best-selling novelist who completed just one semester of high school before dropping out to marry at 14 and become a mother at 15, died Monday.

Receveur, a Louisville native who had lived most of her life there, died at Meadow View Health & Rehabilitation Center in Salem, Ind., after a long illness. She was 73.

Receveur called her writing a validation of her life in L. Elisabeth Beattie’s book, “Conversations with Kentucky Writers.”

Despite ending her formal education so early in life, Receveur remained an avid reader. “My great fear as a child was that I would read all the books in the world and there would be nothing left to read,” she told The Courier-Journal in 1979, when her first novel, “Sable Flanagan,” was about to be published.

I have only read two of her five books yet I well remember how blown away I was when I read the first one back in the early 1990s. The two books I have read are Oh Kentucky! and My Kentucky Home.

I was living in Rome, NY when I first read Oh Kentucky!. It was an easy decision to pick up the book when I saw the title and read the blurb on the cover. I have always been proud of Kentucky and was quite intrigued to read a tale set in the early days of settlement. I think the only disappointment I had in the book was there was no mention of my six great grandmother, (Elizabeth Boone Grant was Daniel Boone’s younger sister) who was one of the women of Bryan Station just north of Lexington and was the site of a siege by Indians during the Revolutionary War. She covered the siege as well as the Battle of Blue Licks, which was just a few days after the siege ended.

The two books I have read were well researched historical novels that followed the history that I had learned early on. Her other three books, Molly Gallagher, Carrie Kingston, and Sable Flanagan all appear to be Historical Romances leaning more to the romance than the historical side. I have not read them so I can’t say much about them but I can heartily and easily recommend the two I have read.

Saturday Art: Influential Authors: Betty Layman Receveur

Cumberland Gap
Cumberland Gap

Please Note: When I began this series, it was to cover a lot of authors whom I have found personally influential, even though this may only be because I enjoyed the stories they have told in their books or short stories. I’m just fortunate enough and well read enough that many of the authors I have personally enjoyed have also been influential on a macro scale as well as micro. rrt

Betty Layman Receveur was not a well-known, super best selling author nor was she particularly prolific, only publishing five books. There is not a wiki page for her. I found an obit for her from late December of 2003 which I find a bit amazing:

Betty Layman Receveur, a best-selling novelist who completed just one semester of high school before dropping out to marry at 14 and become a mother at 15, died Monday.

Receveur, a Louisville native who had lived most of her life there, died at Meadow View Health & Rehabilitation Center in Salem, Ind., after a long illness. She was 73.

Receveur called her writing a validation of her life in L. Elisabeth Beattie’s book, “Conversations with Kentucky Writers.”

Despite ending her formal education so early in life, Receveur remained an avid reader. “My great fear as a child was that I would read all the books in the world and there would be nothing left to read,” she told The Courier-Journal in 1979, when her first novel, “Sable Flanagan,” was about to be published.

I have only read two of her five books yet I well remember how blown away I was when I read the first one back in the early 1990s. The two books I have read are Oh Kentucky! and My Kentucky Home.

I was living in Rome, NY when I first read Oh Kentucky!. It was an easy decision to pick up the book when I saw the title and read the blurb on the cover. I have always been proud of Kentucky and was quite intrigued to read a tale set in the early days of settlement. I think the only disappointment I had in the book was there was no mention of my six great grandmother, (Elizabeth Boone Grant was Daniel Boone’s younger sister) who was one of the women of Bryan Station just north of Lexington and was the site of a siege by Indians during the Revolutionary War. She covered the siege as well as the Battle of Blue Licks, which was just a few days after the siege ended.

The two books I have read were well researched historical novels that followed the history that I had learned early on. Her other three books, Molly Gallagher, Carrie Kingston, and Sable Flanagan all appear to be Historical Romances leaning more to the romance than the historical side. I have not read them so I can’t say much about them but I can heartily and easily recommend the two I have read.

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Saturday Art: Influential Authors: Carole Nelson Douglas

cat crimes ii
Cat Crimes II includes the Midnight Louie story “Maltese Double Cross”
I’m not sure exactly when I first picked up something by Carole Nelson Douglas but I’m pretty sure it was sometime in the late ’80s. From her wiki intro:

Carole Nelson Douglas is an American writer of sixty novels and many short stories. She has written in many genres, but is best known for two popular mystery series, the Irene Adler Sherlockian suspense novels and the Midnight Louie mystery series.

Douglas was a theater and English literature major in college. After graduation, she worked as a newspaper reporter and then editor in the [Minneapolis-St. Paul] area. During her time there, she discovered a long, expensive classified advertisement offering a black cat named Midnight Louie to the “right” home for one dollar and wrote a feature story on the plucky survival artist, putting it into the cat’s point of view. The cat found a country home but its name was revived for her feline PI mystery series many years later. Some of the Midnight Louie series entries include the dedication “For the real and original Midnight Louie. Nine lives were not enough.”

She began writing fiction in the late 1970s. The late director/playwright/novelist Garson Kanin, a pleased interview subject, took her first novel to Doubleday and it sold shortly after. Amberleigh is a post-feminist historical Gothic novel. Douglas has always addressed women’s issues in her fiction and preferred mixing genres from contemporary to historical mystery/thriller, romance and women’s fiction, and high and urban fantasy.[1]

As I look through her list of books from Goodreads.com, I think the first book of hers I read was the second of a fantasy series titled Heir of Rengarth. I do know that shortly after, I picked up the first two from her Irene Adler series, Good Night Mr Holmes and Good Morning, Irene then shortly after Irene at Large and Another Scandal in Bohemia. As I noted back last year, I have always been a fan of Sherlock Holmes so it was easy for me to pick up reading an adjunct series based on a character from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. (Irene Adler was featured in the Holmes story A Scandal in Bohemia.)

I think most folks know I am a cat person so how could I begin to resist a “detective” series starring a cat with an attitude? From the wiki for Midnight Louie: (more…)

Saturday Art: Influential Authors: Carole Nelson Douglas

cat crimes ii
Cat Crimes II includes the Midnight Louie story “Maltese Double Cross”

Please Note: When I began this series, it was to cover a lot of authors whom I have found personally influential, even though this may only be because I enjoyed the stories they have told in their books or short stories. I’m just fortunate enough and well read enough that many of the authors I have personally enjoyed have also been influential on a macro scale as well as micro. rrt

I’m not sure exactly when I first picked up something by Carole Nelson Douglas but I’m pretty sure it was sometime in the late ’80s. From her wiki intro:

Carole Nelson Douglas is an American writer of sixty novels and many short stories. She has written in many genres, but is best known for two popular mystery series, the Irene Adler Sherlockian suspense novels and the Midnight Louie mystery series.

Douglas was a theater and English literature major in college. After graduation, she worked as a newspaper reporter and then editor in the [Minneapolis-St. Paul] area. During her time there, she discovered a long, expensive classified advertisement offering a black cat named Midnight Louie to the “right” home for one dollar and wrote a feature story on the plucky survival artist, putting it into the cat’s point of view. The cat found a country home but its name was revived for her feline PI mystery series many years later. Some of the Midnight Louie series entries include the dedication “For the real and original Midnight Louie. Nine lives were not enough.”

She began writing fiction in the late 1970s. The late director/playwright/novelist Garson Kanin, a pleased interview subject, took her first novel to Doubleday and it sold shortly after. Amberleigh is a post-feminist historical Gothic novel. Douglas has always addressed women’s issues in her fiction and preferred mixing genres from contemporary to historical mystery/thriller, romance and women’s fiction, and high and urban fantasy.[1]

As I look through her list of books from Goodreads.com, I think the first book of hers I read was the second of a fantasy series titled Heir of Rengarth. I do know that shortly after, I picked up the first two from her Irene Adler series, Good Night Mr Holmes and Good Morning, Irene then shortly after Irene at Large and Another Scandal in Bohemia. As I noted back last year, I have always been a fan of Sherlock Holmes so it was easy for me to pick up reading an adjunct series based on a character from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. (Irene Adler was featured in the Holmes story A Scandal in Bohemia.)

I think most folks know I am a cat person so how could I begin to resist a “detective” series starring a cat with an attitude? From the wiki for Midnight Louie:

Midnight Louie is the name of a slightly overweight (20 pounds) fictional black cat in a series of mystery novels by author Carole Nelson Douglas, and is the general title for the same series. Each volume of the series is told from the point of view of the cat’s “roommate”, Temple Barr, a freelance public relations consultant, and from the point of view of Midnight Louie, the cat himself. Midnight Louie’s chapters are written in what the author describes as a style reminiscent of Damon Runyan, generic gumshoe, and Mrs. Malaprop. As the Las Vegas-set series continues, three other main human characters have points of view: a hard-boiled female homicide detective, C.R. Molina; Matt Devine, an ex-priest; and Max Kinsella, a stage magician. The mix of adventure, mystery, humor and social issues is why the author describes the series as “cozy-noir.”

There are now 26 novels in the Midnight Louie series. I have not come close to reading them all. In fact, I have only read the first eight or so starting with Catnap through Cat in a Golden Garland. I have also read a number of mystery anthologies that have included Midnight Louie short stories including Cat Crimes II, Cat Crimes for the Holidays, and Cat Crimes Through Time.

If you are a cat person, you need to become familiar with Midnight Louie and with other crime solving felines. Plus, if you are a fan of Sherlock Holmes, you need to read about a woman [Adler] that he admired and with whom he was impressed.

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