Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Elizabeth Duncan

Elizabeth J. Duncan is a winner of the Malice Domestic Best First Traditional Mystery Novel Competition. She was shortlisted for the Agatha and Arthur Ellis Awards.

Her new book is Slated for Death, the sixth volume in the Penny Brannigan series.

Recently I asked the author about what she was reading. Duncan's reply:
You've caught me reading two non-fiction books.

Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M. That's the time and place the opening sequence of Breakfast at Tiffany's was filmed (on October 2, 1960, to be exact). You'll remember it. A yellow cab approaches on an empty street and stops. A beautiful woman gets out, holding a cup of coffee and a pastry which she eats while looking in the window of a jewellery store ... all to the strains of Henry Mancini's "Moon River."

The full title of the book is Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M.: Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany's and the Dawn of the Modern Woman. This stylish little book by Sam Wasson examines how the film helped drive the cultural transition from the straight-laced 1950s into the liberal 1960s. It also provides a cool, behind the scenes look at how the producers got Audrey Hepburn to play the role of Holly Golightly, how her character was changed from the way Truman Capote wrote her, how then mid-list director Blake Edwards came to direct it, how Mickey Rooney pulled off a ridiculous publicity stunt and so much more. Not so much social history as the little black dress of the film history genre written in snappy, hipster style.

(Did you notice I got through this without once using the word 'iconic')?

The second book is The King's Grave by Phillipa Langley and Michael Jones. Langley was the driving force behind the 2012 discovery of the skeletal remains of King Richard III beneath what is now a car park in Leicester, England.

The whole story, from the Plantagenet/Tudor rivalry that led to Richard's death on Bosworth Field in 1485 to the DNA identification of his remains is fascinating. History has not been kind to him (l blame William Shakespeare who fell for all that Tudor propaganda), but public opinion may be changing. I was in the U.K. when the discovery was made and I was in the U.K. in March when the bones were re-buried, with the dignity befitting a British king, in Leicester Cathedral. I'll be back in the U.K. later this year and I plan to visit his tomb. The life of the last English king to die in battle is certainly worth re-examining and remembering.
Visit Elizabeth J. Duncan's website and blog.

Coffee with a Canine: Elizabeth J. Duncan and Dolly.

The Page 69 Test: The Cold Light of Mourning.

The Page 69 Test: A Brush with Death.

The Page 69 Test: Never Laugh As a Hearse Goes By.

--Marshal Zeringue