There’s something fishy about the murder in this episode. Novelist W. M. Akers joins us to talk about Murder Under Glass, an episode from the final season of the original NBC run of Columbo featuring Louis Jourdan as a food critic and, of course, a murderer. It is maybe not the most perfect episode, but well worth a visit for the variations on the formula—people are actually happy to see the good Lieutenant for once, and he gets to show off some serious culinary skills.
We also get to talking about Will’s own mystery novels. Somehow, we wind up talking about Mack Bolan, the Executioner, of all things. And role playing games. And baseball. Oh, and there’s a little touch of film noir right at the start…
November 10, 2021 Only Podcasters in the Podcast
As podcasters and fans of podcasts—as well as good murder mysteries—we’ve convened a panel to talk about Only Murders in the Building, the new Hulu series starring Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Selena Gomez, created by Steve Martin and John Hoffman. Yes, there are spoilers, so go watch the series first, trust us. Then come back and listen to us talk about murders, cats, sex toys, animations, El Paso, generation gaps, and dips. As you do. And remember, he’s 76 years old! That takes the slapstick in a whole new direction.
April 1, 2021 Lt. Columbo, but not that one…
Yes, it’s April 1, but this isn’t a joke, Afoot is back from the grave as it were.
And that question doesn’t refer to Glenn—or does it?—but to Lt. Columbo, one of the rare television characters to become as iconic as Holmes, Poirot, Miss Marple, et al, and almost instantly from his first appearance. Or, well, Peter Falk’s first appearance. Because he wasn’t the first actor to portray the good lieutenant…
The UCLA Film and TV Archive presented a special stream of an episode of The Chevy Mystery Show, a 13 episode summer replacement series from 1960. The title? Enough Rope, written by Richard Levinson and William Link, originally aired July 31, 1960. It is the story they would later expand into a stage play, then a tv movie titled Prescription: Murder. The rest is mystery. History. One of those.
January 28, 2018 Mystery series we initially enjoyed and then gave up on
We’ve all started reading down mystery series or authors, and then hit a point where we said, “nah, I’m good.” In this episode, we talk about what we gave up on and why, and some we loved all throughout. This comes from a place of love: we enjoyed early installments enough that we kept reading, but something eventually got lost for us. In fact, we often recommend the first few or even several novels, and tell you when the best point to stop is — the subtitle of this episode is “exactly when to stop reading.”
An important note: this episode was accidentally recorded with macabre timing. The first author we discuss on this show, Sue Grafton, passed away while we were recording the episode — that same evening. We obviously didn’t know while recording, and found out the next morning. Thus, we speak about her as a current writer. We’ve edited the episode to remove some discussion about the planned final novel in her series, Z, which her family says wasn’t written and which they won’t hire someone else to write.
Some Afoot news: we haven’t been able to get enough panelists together for regular tapings, so we’re going on hiatus. We will produce episodes occasionally in the future.
March 29, 2017 Murder By Death and The Cheap Detective
Forty years ago, Neil Simon wrote a pair of parodies in the mystery vein: the 1976 film Murder By Death, which sent up the great movie detectives, and The Cheap Detective in 1978, which took on hard-boiled Bogart characters, like Sam Spade. The two films have a lot in common, including Robert Moore as director, Peter Falk as the Bogie analog, and Madeline Kahn in a wonderful supporting role in each. But the Afoot panel prefers one to the other. Which one? You’ll have to listen to find out.
We have spoiler-free parts of this podcast for each film, so if you just want our overview without any giveaways — hey, they’re parodies, but they’re still mysteries — use the chapter markers in your podcast app or these timestamps:
- 14:03: We start in on Murder By Death spoilers.
- 38:59: We blow the unspoiler horn to start talking about The Cheap Detective, spoiler-free.
- 46:22: Once more, the horn, and we get into the details of The Cheap Detective.
March 10, 2017 Columbo
The original rumpled detective, Columbo, broke the mold of the urbane cogitator or hardboiled world-weary dick who merely needed to assemble all the clues — and keep from being killed. Nearly every episode of the long-running TV character (across two series and 69 episodes) showed viewers the murder at its start. Columbo, a police detective, is brought in on the case, and we see the killer becoming increasingly agitated as he relentlessly circles his prey. We talk about episodes and actors, and why Falk created an enduring character.
February 9, 2017 Phryne Fisher Murder Mysteries
She’s smoothly sensual, a sharp dresser, and has a wicked uppercut. We travel to the Antipodes to visit with Phryne Fisher, the protagonist of a series of 20 murder mystery books and three seasons of an adaptation to television. We like the cut of her jib and the stab of her knife. If you’d like to prep before listening, we read three of the books: Cocaine Blues, our introduction to the cast, which grows and grows; Murder in Montparnasse, which fleshes out her backstory; and Murder in the Dark, which takes place on a rambly country estate and features a sex cult. We fire off the spoiler horn after our initial background discussion.
December 12, 2016 Kids’ mysteries
We talk about mysteries written for kids, which are often good reads for adults! Among panelists, we count six children at home and all of us remain kids at heart. The episode also features special guest Rex Fleishman for a brief discussion of a series he loves. We have dozens and recommendations, and have tried to list most in the show notes.
October 30, 2016 Scooby-Doo
What’s more appropriate for Halloween than Scooby-Doo? Join Afoot as we recount the nearly 50-year history of the show, talk about our favorite and least-favorite eras, praise voice actors, and dissect the problem with the show switching from old men in rubber masks to real ghosts, zombies, and monsters.
September 25, 2016 Maltese Falcon
The Maltese Falcon is one of the noir books that defined the genre. But the first try at making this spare, grim book about a fancy bird into a novel didn’t take. Nor did the second. The third is the one we all recall, with Humphrey Bogart and Mary Astor. And even it’s a bit weird. In this episode, we bring in ringers Dylan Meconis, whose grew up with a Bogart shrine in her home, and Brock Winstead, a Falcon fan.
May 13, 2016 marshmallows in an iron glove
Veronica Mars is the greatest detective series that many people watched, but clearly not enough! A determined, hard-nosed teenager, Veronica had absolutely no concern about invading the privacy of others in her pursuit of solving a case her father is working on, troubles her classmates brought to her, or getting to the bottom of the season’s overall arc—the murder of her best friend. It’s time to revisit the first season of the show 12 years after it debuted, and a bunch of great fans of the show and one newcomer, the host, talk episodes, characters, themes, and comparisons to other programs. We start off without disclosing anything, then blow the spoiler horn at 13 minutes, 20 seconds into the episode.