Tag Archives: mysteries

Movie Review – Murder On the Orient Express (2017)

God damn.  Hercule Poirot is one bad ass baller.  Kickin’ ass, takin’ names and givin’ free mustache rides.

BQB here with a review of “Murder on the Orient Express.”

New life has been breathed into Agatha Christie’s long lasting tale of murder most foul.

Have you ever been to a murder mystery party?  A series of interesting characters are introduced, someone is murdered, and a wise detective spells out how he cracked the case?

Well, you can thank Ole Aggie for that.  Here, the classic formula is revisited.  In the 1930s, internationally infamous detective/Frenchman/mustache enthusiast Hercule Poirot (Kenneth Branagh) boards a train, headed for his next case.

Alas, our mustachioed friend can’t catch a break.  Instead of catching some “Zzz’s” on his trip, he catches a case when of the passengers is murdered.  Yes, murder!  Murder, I say!

Poirot is a cursed genius – a genius because he can focus in on key details that most gloss over, but cursed because this makes life very hard for him.  Most people are able to set aside life’s little flaws whereas Poirot sees disorder and disarray wherever he goes, to the point where it makes him uncomfortable to see a disheveled tie.

Throughout the investigation, he puts the screws to a rogue’s gallery of potential murderers.  It’s a star studded cast with the some pretty big names – Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Dame Judy Dench, Willem Dafoe, Josh Gad, just to name a few.

Overall, it’s a fun walk back into time.  There are some social justice twists for the modern viewer.  The film largely takes place on the train so at times it feels like a play unfolding before your eyes.  Poirot is one of the more beloved characters in the mystery genre, perhaps even in literature, so Branagh has a big score in this role.

God, I remember having the hots for Michelle Pfeiffer when I was a kid, watching her play Catwoman in “Batman Returns.”  Now she likes Granny-ish, though honestly, she’s held up pretty good.  I’d still do her.  Call me, Michelle.

It’s fun, at times a bit dark and gloomy.  The story itself is a master class in how mystery stories are crafted so any aspiring writers out there should check it out.

STATUS:  Shelf-worthy.

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Nine Weeks of Toilet Gator Sundays!

Happy Easter, 3.5 readers.  Do yourself a favor.  Cancel all your plans with family and friends.

Instead of that whole mess, kick back with a beer and a chocolate bunny and read the greatest novel ever written about an alligator who pops out of toilets and bites people on the butt.

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TV Review – Pushing Daisies (2007-2009)

This is the best show that you probably never saw.

Dead revival powers + lighthearted mysteries + awkward (and dangerous) romance = Pushing Daisies.

BQB here with yet another TV review.

It often astounds me what the network suits decide should be cancelled and what should stay on.  It was truly a “grave” (ha, puns!) injustice that this show didn’t get more seasons.

How to explain it?

As a child, Ned learns he has a mysterious, supernatural power – he can bring the dead back to life with his touch.

Of course, nothing is that simple and there are some catches:

  • If he brings a dead someone or some thing back to life, a live someone or some thing in the surrounding area will die to balance things out.
  • If he touches the revived dead again, he/she/it will die again, this time permanently, and the touch will not work on that subject again.

As an adult, Ned (Lee Pace) has opened up his own pie show, “The Pie Hole” but it is failing financially.

So, he teams up with private investigator Emerson Cod (Chi McBride).  Ned touches murdered people, he and Emerson ask them how they died and (hopefully if they know, who killed them).  They only have sixty seconds to make their inquiries and then Ned must touch the person before someone else in the area dies in the revived dead person’s place.

Emerson then passes it all off as though he solved the crime through his masterful detective skills and splits any ensuing reward money with Ned.

The situation becomes complicated when his childhood friend Charlotte aka “Chuck” (Anna Friel) returns to her hometown, but not as Ned would have hoped.

Chuck has been murdered, but when her body is shipped home for burial, Ned brings her back to life.

Chuck is grateful and joins in Ned and Emerson’s crime solving routine.  Alas, Ned and Chuck must figure out a way to keep their romance alive despite Ned not being able to touch Chuck ever again because if he does…she’ll die.

Without giving too much away, it involves a lot of plastic wrap.

I’m not sure where you’ll be able to watch it, 3.5 readers. At the time of this writing, I wasn’t able to find it on Netflix.  I’m sure it must be around somewhere and I suppose if you have the dough and love the show enough you could buy it but if you know where it can be streamed let my 3.5 readers and I know.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.

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Top Ten Things Your Girlfriend Might Say About You if She Were a Classic Film Noir Detective

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Fear not, 3.5 readers.  Jake Dashing continues to file his pop culture mystery reports.

I’m just so bogged down with all my work here at Bookshelf Q. Battler Headquarters that I never have time to edit and post them.

I really need to hire an assistant.

I head a rumor though that after being told to pound sand one too many times by Attorney Donnelly, Jake has set his sights on a lady detective who he shares some uh, let’s say, “personality traits” with.

Here the mystery woman is, with the Top Ten Things Your Girlfriend Might Say About You if She Were a Classic Film Noir Detective.

(Translated from English to Film Noir Speak.)

10.  ENGLISH: Babe, you left the bathroom a mess!

FILM NOIR SPEAK:  Another day, another dollar and another twenty-four hours closer to meeting my maker. I gave up on a perfect life long ago but call me crazy, I feel like even a gal like me has a right to five minutes of peace alone in the powder room.

Sigh.  No such luck.  I open the door and find the floor covered with enough water to float the Titanic, which is ironic, because the floor is also littered with enough towels to soak up the Pacific Ocean.

I need to think.  I go to the sink and turn on the faucet, hoping a splash of cool water on my face will subdue my burning rage.  No such luck.  The sink is filled with a twisted concoction of whisker hairs, shaving cream, and toothpaste.

Just what ever gal wants. A furry viscous fluid waiting for her.  Lucky me.

Thirty seconds with a washcloth would have spared my eyes from this sight.  What’s the skinny on this palooka? Is he stupid? Rude? Was he born in a barn? Raised by hobos?

Is this some kind of bizarre power play? Leave a mess to see if the little woman will clean it up?

Or is he just that obtuse that he doesn’t notice things like this?

Speaking of noticing things, out of the corner of my eye I spot that the toilet is filled with more skid marks than the Indy 500 race track.

Men. Can’t live with ’em.  Sorry. There isn’t a second verse to that old song and dance number.

9.  ENGLISH:  I love you.

FILM NOIR TRANSLATION: Love.  That and a plug nickel will buy you a cup of coffee, but at least you never have to worry about your java sprouting legs and walking away.

Men, on the other hand, have a bad habit of becoming gold medal marathon runners when you least expect it.  There one day, gone the next, the only memories he leaves you with are his silhouette against the moonlight as he makes a beeline for the door and that old familiar throbbing in your ticker…

…ba-dump…ba-dump…ba-dump.

Then again, it could just be gas.

8.  ENGLISH: I wish you’d take me somewhere nice.

FILM NOIR TRANSLATION:  There’s a part of me that wants to dance. Not that I’m a spritely ballerina type mind you but the madcap irony of life is that the less you have of it, the more you want to embrace it.  Rattling around in the back of my mind like so many marbles shot by the kid with the best aggie in school are images of myself as a wrinkled up old broad, wrapped up in a shawl, rocking away in my wheelchair, cursing myself for not having danced more in my youth.

I owe it to that old gal to trip the light fantastic fella, so either cut a rug with me or I’ll find someone who will.

7.  ENGLISH:  I baked you cookies.

FILM NOIR TRANSLATION: Sweets.  They’re one of the many cruel jokes played on us by the man upstairs.

Surely you’ve realized by now that the Almighty  has a peculiar sense of humor, right?

Cookies are delicious, but too many and you’ll end up looking like the love child of Fatty Arbuckle and King Kong.

Making whoopee is an equally pleasant pastime, but pick the wrong person and you’ll end up with some kind of dirty social disease.  You know, the kind that makes your privates shrivel up, turn green, and that’s only if you’re lucky.

Still, everything in moderation is the way to go, so here are some cookies. One a day makes the blues go way.

Two a day will make me go away.

Make your choice, Jack.

6.  ENGLISH:  Do these jeans make my butt look big?

FILM NOIR TRANSLATION: Sizes are like opinions.  They vary greatly depending where you go, and they all leave you feeling like you’re going to explode.

In this case, I feel like there’s going to be an ass explosion. I’m not about to share my size with you, Nosebox McGee, but let’s just say I’ve always fit in the same number except for today, as I tried a new boutique where apparently it’s the company creedo that everyone should have an ass flatter than everyone thought the pre-Columbus world was.

I can tell you’re burning a hole in the back of my jeans with your lustful eyes, because like bathroom cleanliness, subtlety has never been your strong suit.

So make like a tipped over milk carton and spill, Jack. Is it round like a candy apple or does it look like it’s got its own gravitational pull?

5.  ENGLISH: You forgot my birthday, jerk.

FILM NOIR TRANSLATION:  Time. Oh how that relentless son of a bitch enjoys teasing me. Taunting me. Yanking days off the calendar of my life with reckless abandon, leaving me with little more than fuzzy memories of cheap men and even cheaper vodka.

Eighteen.  Twenty-one. All the best birthdays are gone now.  What’s left to celebrate to celebrate now other than being one year closer to shaking hands with Mr. Grim Reaper himself?

Now there’s a celebrity whose autograph you don’t want.

Still, it’s perfectly normal for anyone with a pulse to feel a burning desire to be remembered. In the end, when all is said and done, when the last clump of dirt is heaped on our graves and the undertaker collects his due, all we are to the people we leave behind is the sum total of the memories they carry with them in their minds.

And apparently, my fella isn’t carrying many thought drops about me in his brain bucket.

I saw a bum shivering on a park bench this morning.  Cold. Alone. Forgotten. Cared for by no one.

Whenever my man screws up like this, it’s hard not to see myself as ending up just ike that lowdown vagrant one day.

Cold. Alone. Forgotten.  Cared for by no one.

Thanks a lot, Jack.

4.  ENGLISH: Let’s move in together.

TRANSLATION:  Space. I have it. You have it. Who needs it? Let’s live in the now and share the cow.  My milk. Your milk.  Who cares whose gullet it goes down when it all comes out yellow anyway?

Splitting digs is always a big step in any relationship.  And sure, it might turn out to be the step that lands our feet on an emotional land mine that blows our psyches to kingdom come.

Then again, it could also be the step that leads us to the American Dream.  A nice house with a front yard, a white picket fence, three kids, a dog, and our very own shared subscription to Better Homes and Gardens.

Mull it over, palooka. For as Custer said on the way to his last stand, “What’s the worst that could happen?”

3.  ENGLISH: I forgive you for (whatever dumb thing you did recently.)

FILM NOIR TRANSLATION: They say love is blind but in my case, she must have had her eyes gouged out with rusty razors because despite all the strike marks you’ve got against you, you’re still aces in my book, bub.

2.  ENGLISH: We should get married.

FILM NOIR TRANSLATION:  Here we are, two dopes stuck on a big blue marble, our lives as insignificant as a couple of ants to the shoe of a random passerby.

Call me naive. Call me crazy. Call me late for dinner but I love ya, ya big lug. There, I said it. Write it down, rubber stamp it, set it in a frame and hang it on the wall for the whole world to see.

Sure, we could end up crashing in flames like the Hindenburg but we might just circumnavigate the globe like Lucky Lindy. We’ll never know until we flap our wings and take that leap.

There’s no one I’d like to take that leap with more than you, see?

  1.  ENGLISH: I think we should break up.

FILM NOIR TRANSLATION: Alright, buster. Clean the wax out of your ears and listen up.

You and I are over. We’re done. Kaput.  It’s like seeing the final credits roll at the end of a three hour Judd Apatow film. I feel depressed that I wasted my time yet elated that this bullshit is finally out of my life now.

Take a long walk off a short pier, palooka.  Dumpsville just held an election and you’re the Mayor, the Alderman, and the dog catcher all rolled into one.

Aww, pipe down with the waterworks, see?  Like my Aunt Edna’s underpants, a crying man is a sight no one wants to see.

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SNEAK PEEK – All Day Sucker – Chapter One

On Jake’s last day in the 1950’s, a blonde femme fatale/movie starlet offers him a deal that lands him in hot water. Here’s the first chapter.

Let me know what you think, ya mugs. When I’m done working on Jake’s report, I’ll have it up on Wattpad and later on popculturemysteries.com

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May 31, 1954

I’ve always been a sucker for a pretty face and on the last day I can recall from the 1950’s there wasn’t an exception. 

Alana Harris. What…a…woman.  Whenever I spy my eyes toward a dame like Alana then peep at an old bag lady who collects cans on the street corner with her stolen shopping cart, I wonder how its possible that both creatures are labeled as females.  I’m not trying to be politically incorrect as I know that sort of talk will get a fella drawn and quartered these days.  All I’m trying to say is that Alana’s beauty was at such a high level that she defied any form of scientific nomenclature.  She was a member of a species of one and what I wouldn’t give to classify her genus.

She was a blonde, as all the femme fatales typically are.  I don’t know what it is about yellow hair that can turn even the brightest fella into a chuckling chowderhead.  Someone ought to commission a study on that one.  She had a set of curves, the kind you’d need a high performance Italian race car to drive around and a pair of lips so luscious you didn’t know whether to kiss them or frame them and hang them on a wall.  Hers belonged in the Smithsonian.

There Alana was, right in front of me on the big screen, her enchanting assets so enormous that it felt like I could crawl up in her bosom and take a nap.  I’m not talking about resting my head there. I’m saying the screen at the Montoya Theater was so big it looked like an actual me could fit between those casabas and go to sleep forever.  Talk about the sweet life.

The flick was Love Is Not Enough. What an understatement. Folks dug it back then.  It was a decent picture but it never generated any long lasting oomph.  I doubt any of you mugs have ever heard of it, and I’m not trying to be one of of those dirty hipsters by saying that.

“Johnny!” Alana said, only in this flick she wasn’t Alana.  She was Maggie, an ordinary housewife with a big secret.  Alana as a housewife.  Yeah right.  If that broad ever touched a vacuum cleaner one day in her life then I’m Mickey Rooney.

“Johnny, whatsamatter? Don’t you love me no more?!”

Zip Rogers.  As a certain cartoon rabbit would say, “what a maroon.”  Most actors were charming and handsome but this fella was as plug ugly as they come.  Yet somehow, he always got cast opposite the most alluring chickadees.  I swear, that dim bulb must have had pictures of studio executives in compromising positions with barnyard animals or something.

Zip was Johnny in this film.  For some reason, every male lead was named Johnny.  Writers had a very limited frame of reference for names at the time.

“Love you?” Zip/Johnny asked.  “Why, I can’t even stand the sight of you, you shameless, four flushing, two timing Jezebel!”

The theater was cold.  I needed a little sip of the old Irish courage to warm me up.  Luckily, I never went anywhere without my own supply.  I reached into my trench coat, withdrew my flask and treated myself to a nice long pull.

Tsk. Tsk.  The old broad behind me was flabbergasted.

“How dare you?!” she asked.

I turned around and offered her the flask.

“Sorry sweetheart. I didn’t know you wanted some.”

I might as well have asked her to make whoopee with the look she shot me.  Not that there was any chance of that happening.  I wouldn’t have touched her with your finger, Jack.

“Why, I never!”

“Well maybe you should, lady,”  I said.  “It might lighten your disposition.”

I returned my eyes to the screen.  Zip/Johnny and Alana/Maggie gazing deeply into each others’ eyes.

“You don’t understand what’s going on, Johnny,”  Alana/Maggie said.  “I know it looks bad but I swear I never did anything wrong.  I would never hurt you, my love.”

I took another swig. I felt a finger poke me in the shoulder.

“Sir!” the old bag behind me said.  “Put that away!  This is a respectable establishment.”

“I doubt it, Grandma,” I replied as I pointed at the screen. “If it was, they wouldn’t be showing this stinker.”

Some degenerate in the back got all heated.  “HEY!  SHUT YOUR FACE, MAC!  I’M TRYING TO WATCH A PICTURE SHOW HERE!”

“AHH, GO SOAK YOUR HEAD YA MOOK YA!” was my earnest reply.  The Irish courage medicine was kicking in.

“The butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker?”  Zip/Johnny asked Alana/Maggie.  “What about the podiatrist?  Was he for ‘us’ too?”

Alana/Maggie bit her lip and turned away dramatically, unable to face her accuser.  “That one was…an accident.”

“An accident my eye,” Zip/Johnny said as he put his hand on Alana/Maggie’s chin and gently pushed her face towards his.  “Now you see here, doll.  You and I are calling it quits.  It’s Oversville, baby. Population: You. We’re through, even.  This screwy fling we’ve got going on is done and I don’t wanna hear another word about it, see?”

I took another sip.  That old broad was birddogging me but good.

“Disgraceful,”  she said.  She tugged on the shoulder of the old man next to her.  “Reginald!  Reginald, do something about this brute at once!”

By the looks of Reginald, he’d been henpecked till there wasn’t much left.  He was all skin and bones, nothing but a few tufts of gray hair on his head.  A good, swift breeze could have knocked that old bastard over.

“Tell you what, Reggie baby,”  I said.  “Let’s ditch this witch and you and I will go get us some real lookers.  Whaddya say?”

Reggie shrugged his shoulders and mulled it over.  That came to an end when his wife whacked him a good one with her purse.  She landed a good one too.  Made a big “thunk” sound.  Oh boy, if looks could kill old Reggie would have been a goner.

“Right away dear,” Reggie said with a resignation of defeat.  Slowly, he rose to his knees and walked away.

“Lady, what’s your problem?”  I asked.

“You should not be consuming illicit beverages in a public place,”  the old bag said, huffily.

“Illicit beverages?”  I asked.  “It’s just a little bit of the old Red Eye, darlin.’”

That big mouthed lug in the back was at it again. “SHUT YER TRAP OR I’LL COME DOWN THERE AND SHUT IT FOR YA!”

“AWW, YOU AND WHAT ARMY?!”  I hollered back.

Everything got quiet for awhile.  Zip/Johnny had a black velvet bag in his hand.  He opened it up, turned it over and dumped out some shiny hot rocks.  Rubies.  Sapphires.  Diamonds.  All kinds of bling.  That’s a word you kids use, isn’t it?

“Do you deny that you stole the Duchess’ jewels?!”  Johnny/Zip asked.

Silence.

“Answer me!” Johnny/Zip said.

Tears streamed from Maggie/Alana’s eyes.  Actresses who can cry on cue are a hot commodity in Tinseltown.  Always be wary of a broad who can turn the waterworks on and off at the drop of the hat. They won’t think twice about using that power on you.

“I do deny it!  I do!”  she cried. “A thousand times I do!”

“Then how did they get in your purse?”  Johnny/Zip said. 

Nothing.

Johnny/Zip stroked his hand through his hair, then grabbed the gal by the shoulders.

“Baby,” he said.  “If you can look me in the eye right here, right now and promise me that you’re a one woman man from here on out then I can forget the past…”

No you can’t,” I thought to myself. “Get outta showbiz, ya’ cheap hack, I’m not convinced at all.”

“I promise Johnny, oh I swear I do,” Alana/Lorna said.

“Good,” the so-called leading man said.  “Now, just explain to me how those jewels ended up in your purse and we can put this whole mess behind us.  We’ll run away and live happily ever after with a nice house, two kids, a picket fence and a car in the garage.”

“I…I can’t.”

“You can’t…or you…won’t?”

“Both,” Alana/Maggie said.  “Please Johnny, just trust me.”

“I can forgive your dalliances, Maggie,”  Zip/Johnny said.  “But I could never marry a wanton criminal…”

Another hand on my shoulder.  It belonged to a pimply faced usher.  Couldn’t of been more than sixteen.

“Sir,” he said in a squeaky voice. “I have to ask you to live.”

“As soon as the show’s over, Jack,” I said. “I paid my dough like everybody else.”

“SHUT THAT DIRTY SO AND SO UP!” the big mouth in the back shouted.

“AWW, YOU’RE ALL WET!” I yelled back.  Nothing like a good 1950’s insult.

“Please sir,” the usher said. “Alcohol isn’t allowed here.”

Here’s where I have to tell you that I’m not very pleasant when I’m drunk and I’m drunk most of the time ergo, I’m generally not a very pleasant person whatsoever.

“Why not?”  I asked. “Last I checked this is America, son.  Dwight D. Eisenhower’s running the show, not some lousy unwashed Stalinist Trotskyite commie.  If a fella can’t enjoy a pull of the old Red Eye without a federal case being made out of it then we might as well lock the doors and turn the keys over to the pinkos lickity split and call it a night.”

The kid was baffled.  “I…I don’t know sir but please leave.  My manager says I have to call the cops if you don’t.”

“Call ‘em, kid,” I said.  “This is about democracy now. What I do, I do for America.”

The usher stormed off.  The emotional temperature in the room was definitely changing for the worse.  The theater was full of hard working decent folk, people just trying to escape their hum drum lives for a couple of hours only to have it all spoiled by a drunk.  That’s how they saw it anyway.  I still blame that old bag.

Back to the movie.

“Maggie,” Zip/Johnny said.  “Surely you realize that if the jewels were in your purse and you refuse to tell me who stole them then the only logical conclusion I can make is that you…”

“I’ve told you I didn’t take them!” Alana/Maggie interrupted. “If you love me then that should be good enough for you.”

With a great flourish, Zip/Johnny spun around and snapped his fingers.  A contingent of coppers walked through the door.

And what a coincidence, a gaggle of coppers strolled down the aisle of the theater at the exact same time.

“Please Johnny, please!”  shouted Alana/Maggie as she was put into cuffs.  “Don’t let them take me away! DON’T YOU LOVE ME?”

“I’m sorry kid, but,”  Zip/Johnny said. “Love is not enough.”

BAH HA HA!” I laughed like an idiot. “He said the name of the movie!”

I knew all of the officers who came to collect me.  Before I went out on my own as a private dick, I served with them on the LAPD.  There was Renault.  Simmons.  Clement.  The sergeant leading them was that Irish prick Declan O’Connell.

Oh, I apologize, 3.5 readers.  I’m from the 1950’s and I’m working on my political correctness and cultural sensitivity skills so I can make a go of it in your time.  What I meant to say was “O’Connell, that prick of Irish descent, but I’m not trying to say he was a prick due to his Irish ancestry but rather, he’d of been a prick no matter what country his parents hailed from.”

Red hair.  Red beard.  The man was practically a damn red haired werewolf he was so hairy.

“Shite, it’s you,” O’Connell said.  Some people said “shite” back then. Folks from the old country, mostly.

“Howdy, Declan,”  I said.

“Hello Dash,” O’Connell said.  “Got a complaint of some horse’s arse ruining the picture show.  Public drunkeness to boot.”

The exasperated crowd gave up on the movie.  Everyone was watching me now.

“That’s terrible,”  I said.  “As a taxpayer, I demand you find that rapscallion posthaste.”

“Are you really gonna make us drag you outta here, boyo?” O’Connell asked.

“‘Fraid so.”

O’Connell nodded at his men. 

“You can’t do this!”  I shouted.  “This is America!  This is no way to treat a war hero!!!”

“War heroes are a dime a dozen around here, Dash,” O’Connell said.  “Let’s go.”

Simmons grabbed my left arm, Clement my right.  They lifted me up but I didn’t budge.  Renault and O’Connell each grabbed a leg.  Everyone in my row got up and moved to make way for the cops as they carried me out.

I screamed like a babbling idiot.  “This is the work of the commies, I tell ya’! They’re coming and they’re just as scummy as the Nazis!  When a man can’t even sneak a little bit of the good stuff without some old battle axe calling the brute squad then we’re all living in a police state!!!”

“Nothing more to see here, folks!”  O’Connell said.  “Enjoy the rest of your show.”

They carried me up the aisle.  Everyone clapped and cheered.

Unfortunately for them, I’d seen that movie before.  It wasn’t like today, where people have thousands of movies at their fingertips.  Back then, you went to the picture house and saw either the first picture, the second picture or once in awhile, the third picture.

“IT WAS HER TWIN SISTER ALL ALONG!!!”  I hollered.  “SHE SLEPT WITH ALL THOSE MEN!  SHE STOLE THE DUCHESS’ JEWELS!  MAGGIE WAS JUST TAKING THE RAP BECAUSE SHE DIDN’T WANT HER SISTER TO WIND UP IN THE SLAMMER!”

The audience let loose with a resounding “BOOOO!!!” then pelted me with popcorn boxes and candy wrappers.

“You always had a way with people, Dash,”  O’Connell said.

“I try,”  I replied.

“WAIT!”  the big mouth in the back yelled.

“WHAT?!”  I screamed as my head just barely avoided slapping into each step as the cops drew closer to the door.

“WHAT ABOUT THE PODIATRIST?!”  the big mouth screamed. 

“IT WAS DARK AND HE PRETENDED TO BE JOHNNY!”  I screamed back.  “IT REALLY WAS AN ACCIDENT!  NOT HER FAULT AT ALL!”

Another “Booo!” from the audience as the fuzz carried me out the door.  They walked through the lobby, lugging me all the way.

“You know Dash, I don’t blame you for hitting the sauce after what you did but do it at home, all right?  I don’t feel like dragging your fat arse all over creation again.”

“Does everyone hate me?”  I inquired.

“Of course,”  Dashing said.  “You got a bunch of your former fellow officers killed and a bunch more are headed to the stoney lonesome on corruption charges.  But at least you get to be the big man that took Mugsy McGillicuddy down.  Was it worth losing every friend on the force you ever had?”

“I haven’t decided yet,”  I said as I looked up at the fellas carrying me. “But then again I never had much use for friends anyway.  Do you hate me too, O’Connell?”

“Not as such but my goal in life has always been to keep my head down and my nose out of places it doesn’t belong, lad,”  O’Connell said.  “I wish you’d done the same.”

“But I made LA better, didn’t I?” I asked.

“Sure,” O’Connell said. “For about five minutes…until the next snake in the grass rears its ugly head to service the public’s illegal addictions.”

“You have that little faith in people?” I asked.

“You don’t?” O’Connell answered.

“Touche.”

The boys took me outside.  It was warm, but not stifling.  There was a nice breeze in the air.

“Ready, boyo?”  O’Connell asked.

“Ready when you are, ya’ Irish prick,”  I said.

Don’t be scandalized, 3.5 readers.  Back then, O’Connell would have been completely befuddled had I said, “Ready when you are, you prick who happens to be Irish though your Irish ancestry is not the direct cause of your prickosity.”

The boys swung me back and forth like I was lying in an imaginary hammock then let me loose on the third swing, sending me sailing through the air only to land six feet away on the pavement.

“AND STAY OUT!”  O’Connell shouted.

Don’t worry about me.  My face broke my fall. I wasn’t using it for much anyway.

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Coming Soon – Pop Culture Mysteries – All Day Sucker

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Blondes – the bane of Jake’s existence.

June 1, 1954. It was the day Jake Dashing fell asleep at his desk, never to wake up again until June 1, 2014. He slept for sixty years exactly.

Soon, Bookshelf Q. Battler’s 3.5 readers will learn the details behind the last day Jake spent in the 1950’s.

Our resident gumshoe always was a sucker for a pretty face and on the last day from his past, there wasn’t an exception.

Alana Harris. The buxom bombshell actress and star of the film, Love is Not Enough comes to Jake with a proposition: snap some photos of her husband Buck Bettencourt in the throes of passion with his floozy on the side and she will…make it worth his while.

Jake’s pretty sure he knows what that means but demands clarification nonetheless.  Never trust a dame, especially a dazzling one.

But Bettencourt isn’t just any old mark. He’s a major Hollywood power player, the owner of Bettencourt Studios and the friend everyone in Tinseltown wants to have.

Jake arrives on the scene only to find foul play.  Is it a set up? He’ll spend his last day in the 1950’s clearing his name.

Bookshelf Q. Battler is currently reviewing Jake Dashing’s case report and hopes to add it to Pop Culture Mysteries – Season One by New Year’s.

Of course, it’ll become part of popculturemysteries.com later in 2016.

What is it about yellow hair that turns a man into a chuckling chowderhead?  If Jake knew, his life would be a lot easier, but a lot less interesting.

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Now up on Wattpad – Enter the Blonde – Revised Edition

shutterstock_24224476 June 1, 2015. It was the day that Jake Dashing returned to his office to find a beautiful blonde attorney sitting in his desk chair.

She came with an offer: solve 100 “Pop Culture Mysteries” for her eccentric client, the notorious nerd blogger Bookshelf Q. Battler and in exchange, said nerd will dish the details on how Jake can return to his own time.

Delilah K. Donnelly. Was she an angel with the answer to Jake’s prayers, or like so many dames before her, was she just looking to dance the Charleston on Jake’s ticker?

Only time will tell.

Bookshelf Q. Battler reviewed the report Jake filed on this matter earlier this year, fleshed out the details and slapped it up for public consumption on Wattpad.

You can find it in Pop Culture Mysteries – Season One.

Right after the story there’s an ad from the American Organization Against Anti-American Tomfoolery advising you on how to figure out whether or not your neighbor is a smelly communist.

You can never be too careful when it comes to those pinkos.

 

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Pop Culture Mysteries – Season One Ranked #795 on Wattpad

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Take a knee, 3.5 readers, for I have some joyous news to share.

Pop Culture Mysteries – Season One is currently ranked #795 is Mystery/Thriller on Wattpad.

I know! It’s the first time I’ve been ranked on any kind of list, and that includes all of those field day participation ribbons I racked up in elementary school.

You have questions, don’t you?

WHAT IS WATTPAD? 

It’s a great site where writers can publish and share their stories.

WHY WOULD I WANT TO DO THAT?

To gain a following. To share ideas. To get feedback. For me, it has helped me get over that little voice that whispers “you’re not good enough!” in my ear. When people start sharing positive comments, that voice starts to pipe down. I highly recommend it.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE RANKED #795?

Fame. Fortune. Hot babes throwing themselves at me. (Video Game Rack Fighter is too busy playing Car Thief Mayhem to care.)

No. None of these things. It basically means of all the Mystery/Thriller stories on Wattpad, I’m in the top 1,000.

That was a big boost that I needed. As we head into the new year, there’s been a voice in my head nagging me that I’m wasting my time with this and I needed something like this to happen.

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Aunt Gertie’s going to tell all the gals at the old folks’ home about this!

HOW DID IT HAPPEN?

I’m not sure. If you know how the Wattpad rankings work, please let me know. I’ve been making an effort to comment/share feedback on others’s stories lately, I started a new site for the “Pop Culture Mysteries” –  popculturemysteries.com, a Facebook page  and so on.

I’ve been posting the story in rough draft form on this site, Bookshelf Battle, since June and have been sharing PCM stories on Wattpad for awhile.

BUT – what really surprised me is that this particularly version “Pop Culture Mysteries – Season One” has only been up since the beginning of December. So to get into the top grand people really began taking notice, however it happened.

WHAT’S GOING ON WITH SEASON ONE?

My writing process:

  • I’ve written some posts on this blog. I am writing others in a word document.
  • I’m revising them, polishing them, and posting them in Season One on Wattpad.
  • Eventually, these posts will reach their final home on popculturemysteries.com, which should be “officially” up and running by April 1.
  • Right now, I’m wrapping up a revised edition of “Enter the Blonde” in which Jake and Delilah meet for the first time and negotiate the infamous “Pop Culture Mystery Contract.”

HOW CAN WE HELP YOU, BQB?

An excellent question. Frankly, it’s about time you asked it. The first thought you should have when you wake up in the morning should be, “What can I do to help Bookshelf Q. Battler’s writing career?”

I’m not doing this for me. I’m doing this for Earth. The Mighty Potentate has threatened to conquer our planet if I don’t get myself established as a noteworthy scribe soon.

My hope is to sustain and even surpass this rank. I’d like to move up higher on the charts.

If you’re on Wattpad, please consider following me – @bookshelfbattle and voting for/commenting on “Pop Culture Mysteries – Season One.”

Let me know what’s working and what isn’t. All kidding aside, this is a fun, unique story told in a very distinct hardboiled voice, and I think people are slowly but surely starting to recognize it.

I just need to get my butt in gear to keep them coming back for more.

If you’re not a Wattpadder, become one! Sign up, share some stories, trade ideas with other writers. Maybe this will be your big break. A number of writing careers have been successfully launched thanks to Wattpad.

THANKS 3.5 READERS

You are all appreciated. I couldn’t have done this without you. By the way, do you realize if each of you would just tell one friend about my efforts, I’d end up with 7 whole readers?

So many readers.  Must have more readers…

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Golden Age of Hollywood Interviews

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You’re an expert in Ancient Tinseltown, that era when movies just started
moving and every gal with a pretty face hopped a bus out west in hopes of becoming the next star.

Noir? It’s all up in your reservoir.

Private dicks and foxy chicks are your bag and your bag is full with tales to tell.

Jake Dashing wants to strike up a gabfest with you for popculturemysteries.com, see?

And as you consider this fantastic offer, keep in mind the following:

COMPENSATION – None, as Jake’s boss, Bookshelf Q. Battler, is as poor as a church mouse and twice as homely. BQB will steer his 3.5 readers your way though. Seven extra eyeballs on your Mickey Spillane action ‘aint half bad, kid.

TRUST – BQB has interviewed over fifty authors without a single complaint yet, plus he offers a guarantee. You don’t like the post of your interview?  Toot your horn BQB’s way to let him know and it will come down faster than a starlet’s stockings on a cast couch. No muss, no fuss, no problem. BQB goes out of his way to promote writers and keep them happy.

So whaddya say, mac? If it’s a thumbs up, let Battler know and he’ll get down to writing his questions, the answers to which you’ll write yourself so you’ll be able to get out exactly what you want to say.

But if it’s a big goose egg, that’s fine as wine too, Jack. No hard feelings.

Thanks for your consideration. It’s been a real gas, see?

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Where Can I Find Mystery Writers?

Hello 3.5 Readers,

Can anyone think of some great mystery writers for Jake to interview?  Indie authors usually talk to me the most, but if you can think of some traditional ones that’d be great too.

Hell, if you’ve got a hook up with James Patterson, you’ll become my favorite reader.

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