Afoot, the mystery podcast! What makes a mystery a mystery? It’s a genre with a puzzle at the middle, but which takes many forms across all media. We talk books, comics, TV, movies, audio plays, theatre, and more, and stretch boundaries while staying true to the form. Find us on Twitter @afootcast and our reading recommendations and upcoming books at Goodreads.

12

Forget It, Fake, It’s Chinatown

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.

Glenn Fleishman with David J. Loehr, Erika Ensign, John McCoy and Suzi Steffen


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11

When You Come to a Falk in the Road, Take It

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.

David J. Loehr with James Callan and Jean MacDonald


10

Phryne with a Fringe on Top

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.

Glenn Fleishman with Jean MacDonald, Katie Lane, Shannon Sudderth and Suzi Steffen


9

Bugs Meany Was Framed

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.

Glenn Fleishman with James Callan, Erika Ensign, David J. Loehr and Shannon Sudderth


8

And We Would Have Recorded Away with It, Too

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.

Glenn Fleishman with David J. Loehr and Shannon Sudderth


7

When a Man’s Partner Is Killed (Several Times)

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.

Glenn Fleishman with Brock Winstead, Dylan Meconis and James Callan


6

Veronica Mars: Season 1

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.

Glenn Fleishman with Erika Ensign, James Callan, Jenni Leder and Katie Lane


5

Heaping Helping of Holmes, Part 2

Sherlock Holmes is the most portrayed, parodied, adapted, and extended detective in the history of the genre. In this episode (part 2 of 2), Afoot panelists discuss more of their favorite Holmes' depictions and extensions. This time: Failed TV pilots that use Holmes or Holmes-like characters, the movie Young Sherlock Holmes, House, M.D., Robert Downey, Jr's portrayal in movies, the movie of The Seven-Percent Solution, and the Mary Russell series by Laurie R. King.

Glenn Fleishman with David J. Loehr, Monty Ashley and Shannon Sudderth


4

Heaping Helping of Holmes, Part 1

Sherlock Holmes is the most portrayed, parodied, adapted, and extended detective in the history of the genre. In this episode (part 1 of 2), Afoot panelists discuss their favorite Holmes’ depictions and extensions. This time: Jeremy Brett, Sherlock (BBC), an episode of Magnum, P.I., the movie They Might Be Giants, Elementary (US TV), and The Great Mouse Detective.

Glenn Fleishman with David J. Loehr, Monty Ashley and Shannon Sudderth


3

Radio Mystery Shows

From nearly the dawn of broadcast radio came scripted shows, and the biggest genre outside of soap operas were radio mysteries. Remarkably, these not only thrived across dozens and dozens of shows during radio’s heyday, but for decades beyond, into the 1980s. And podcasting has offered some new life, from Thrilling Adventure Hour to…The Incomparable Radio Theater. We discuss our favorite shows, some great episodes, how we grew up with radio mysteries, and where to find them, old and new.

Glenn Fleishman with Monty Ashley and David J. Loehr


2

Make Mine Marple!

Miss Marple may have been a pioneer crime-tape crosser, but there are oodles of women writing detective fiction and starring in it. In this episode, we talk about our faves, what a woman detective brings to the picture (Miss Fisher!), and introduce folks to perhaps some lesser-known treasures.

Glenn Fleishman with James Callan, Katie Lane, Jean MacDonald and Shannon Sudderth


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