27 articles

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The Last Werewolf

15 Mar 20113 stars

Glen Duncan's mystery thriller balances a penchant for culture references with a gripping narrative

(Canongate) Glen Duncan’s The Last Werewolf may be about a supernatural being but this is no ordinary fantasy. The novel is framed as the diary of 200-year-old Jacob Marlowe, the last werewolf on earth, who is pursued by government-sanctioned hunters…

Ed Helms says The Hangover is a 'mystery'

14 Feb 2011

Music Gossip

Ed Helms thinks 'The Hangover' is a "mystery movie". The actor - who will reprise his role as dentist Stu Price for the film's sequel - understands why fans can't wait to see what happens in 'The Hangover 2' because he thinks it is more than just a…

Louise Welsh's Naming the Bones

17 Aug 2010

The author's newest novel meanders between boozers and burial grounds

Louise Welsh’s latest novel was inspired during a trip to Germany, but set in her beloved Scotland, though it’s not the reverie of an expat looking through tartan-tinted glasses. Naming the Bones meanders between Edinburgh boozers and Highland burial…

Adam Ross - Mr Peanut

3 Jun 20103 stars

(Jonathan Cape) A terse thriller, Mr Peanut pivots along three narrative threads, each of which takes a look at the sinister side of marriage, and two of which end in murder. That they do not become entangled is a testament to the skilfulness with…

First Word: Jeffery Deaver

21 Aug 2009

The American mystery and murder author waxes lyrical

First record you ever bought The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan. Last time you were chatted up I had a marriage proposal from a woman I’d never met about two years ago at a bookstore in New York City. Does that count as chatting up? I declined.

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19 Mar 20094 stars

MYSTERY/DRAMA With his latest work, filmmaker Michael Winterbottom doffs his cap to the literature of mystery, coincidence and suggestion exemplified in the short stories of WW Jacobs (The Monkey’s Paw), Saki and Daphne Du Maurier. Following the…

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

5 Feb 20093 stars

MYSTERY/ROMANCE What would it be like to live in reverse? Born as an old man only to die as an infant, the Benjamin Button character created by F Scott Fitzgerald in his 1922 short-story gets the full ‘prestige picture’ treatment in David Fincher’s…

Yaba Badoe - True Murder

5 Feb 20094 stars

MYSTERY DRAMA Ever attempted to get inside the head of an adolescent girl? It’s a veritable minefield. Yaba Badoe achieves it effortlessly, however, in this tale of Ajuba, a Ghana-born youngster who rather unhappily moves to boarding school in Devon…

The Man From London

8 Jan 20093 stars

DRAMA/MYSTERY Given Hungarian filmmaker Béla Tarr’s penchant for prolonged gloomy probings into the nature of human existence (see his 450-minute Satan’s Tango), this adaptation of a lesser-known novel by Belgian crime writer Georges Simenon would…

Tobias Hill - The Hidden

8 Jan 20094 stars

MYSTERY DRAMA Uncovering the mystery of Tobias Hill’s new Greek-set novel is as slow and meticulous as the archaeological dig at its centre. Hill revels in detail: historical descriptions of mysterious Sparta, moments from a memory best forgotten…

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Far North

11 Dec 20084 stars

(15) 89min After an auspicious debut with The Warrior, writer-director Asif Kapadia went to Hollywood with disastrous results in the form of super-lame Sarah Michelle Gellar horror flick The Return. Adapted from the short story True North by Sara…

Charles Berlitz - The Bermuda Triangle

11 Dec 20083 stars

MYSTERY RE-ISSUE Christopher Columbus was the first recorded individual to find something peculiar about the area dubbed Devil’s Triangle, writing in his log about ‘strange dancing lights on the horizon’. Five centuries on and Barry Manilow remains…

Fear(s) of the Dark

16 Oct 20084 stars

ANIMATION/MYSTERY The Gallic term ‘outre’, meaning beyond or excessive, perfectly describes this imaginatively conceived and immaculately executed French language portmanteau horror. Much of its impact is derived from its unique nature: the…

The X-Files: I Want to Believe

31 Jul 20082 stars

MYSTERY/SCI-FI (15) 104min Ten years after the first X-Files film, and six years after the end of the series, Mulder and Scully are back and they are together-together. When Scully persuades Mulder to get involved in a case involving psychic priest…

Will Lavender - Obedience

5 Jun 20083 stars

MYSTERY THRILLER (Macmillan) Will Lavender’s debut is a taunting puzzle mystery which explores the dark side of academia. The strangely enigmatic Professor Williams of Winchester University sets his logic and reasoning class a challenge: an…

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One Missed Call

27 Mar 20082 stars

HORROR/MYSTERY (15) 86min Actors Shannyn Sossamon (Wristcutters: A Love Story, The Holiday) and Edward Burns (Confidence, The Brothers McMullen) might have hoped that appearing in a remake of a Miike Takeshi 2003 J-Horror would give their stalling…

The List of Adrian Messenger

27 Mar 20084 stars

MURDER/MYSTERY (PG) 95min (Metrodome DVD retail) John Huston’s playful 1963 thriller is the solution to a regular trivia question at film quizzes: which movie features the combined talents of Kirk Douglas, Frank Sinatra, Burt Lancaster, Robert Mitchum…

The Orphanage (El Orfanato)

13 Mar 20084 stars

HORROR/MYSTERY (15) 105min It’s only March but you’re unlikely to see a better ghost story at the cinema this year than The Orphanage. First-time director Juan Antonio Bayona has obviously taken great inspiration from his producer Guillermo del Toro…


13 Mar 20084 stars

MURDER/MYSTERY (15) 132min (Paramount DVD retail) If you were a ‘bluddy idiot’, as Maurice Micklewhite might say, you could purchase both versions of Sleuth, which are being released on the same day, and then compare the two: this 1972 original…

National Treasure: Book of Secrets

31 Jan 20082 stars

(PG) 124min

Replace the religious sub-plot from The Da Vinci Code with some spurious blather about the history of the US Constitution and you have the successful formula for the National Treasure franchise. The second instalment finds adventurer Ben Gates (Nicolas…

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Ecoute Le Temps

20 Sep 20073 stars

MYSTERY/CRIME (15) 87min There are echoes of Brian de Palma’s superb 1981 thriller Blow Out in this low-budget, high-concept drama from writer/director Alanté Kavaïté. A documentary sound engineer Charlotte (Émilie Dequenne, best known for her debut…

Jason Starr - The Follower

2 Jul 20071 star

A story about a stalker is hardly a novel idea, and Brooklyn-born and bred Jason Starr’s unimaginative treatment of the phenomenon brings absolutely nothing new to it. Set in a Manhattan populated with jocular and bimbotic college graduates, The…

Inland Empire

27 Feb 20073 stars

(15) 180min

Going into any David Lynch film there is an expectation that you’ll leave the cinema a little confused. As he’s demonstrated with Blue Velvet, Mulholland Drive and Lost Highway, he loves a mystery, especially if it involves doppelgangers, strange…

The Good German

27 Feb 20074 stars

Steven Soderbergh said he decided to direct this adaptation of Joseph Kanon’s murder mystery novel set in Berlin at the end of WWII because he wanted to make a movie in the classic film noir style. Soderbergh, who also produced, photographed, and edited…

The Illusionist

27 Feb 20073 stars

(PG) 110min

The thing about the relationship between history and magic is that one man’s magic is another man’s engineering. This is the second film in as many months about the developments made in the dark arts of magic in Europe at the turn of the 20th century.