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THE MOST NOTORIOUS CRIMES IN AMERICAN HISTORY: Fifty Fascinating Cases from the Files – in Pictures


(Time Inc. Home Entertainment, November 6, 2007; $29.95 hardcover)

Featuring well over 100 images, many of them from the LIFE picture collection and several shot exclusively for LIFE at the time of the crime, this book reveals the details of the most famous crimes in U.S. history: the Lindbergh baby kidnapping, the murder of Nicole Simpson, the Boston Strangler, the Manson Family, the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, the Oklahoma City Bombing, and many more.  It’
s a fascinating, insightful look at how Americans—and our journalists, and our novelists, and our movie-makers in Hollywood—look at the compelling subject of crime.

And from Acorn Media, check out some great ideas below for fans of thrilling mysteries, thrillers, and even music in DVD!

For buying information, please visit their site at:

The Acorn Media DVD Release Calendar below includes the conclusion of three popular, critically acclaimed series Prime Suspect 7 starring Oscar®-winner and 2007 Emmy®-nominee Helen Mirren (The Queen) in her most famous television role; Cracker: A New Terror starring Robbie Coltrane (Harry Potter films); and the final 13 episodes of the definitive retelling of the Robin Hood Legend with Robin of Sherwood, Set 2.  

Two compelling documentaries, Clive Cussler’s Sea Hunters, Set 1 with real-life explorations of some of the most significant undersea relics of World War II; and Monarchy with David Starkey, Set 2 bringing nearly 250 years of English royal history to life. 

The Complete Collections of three acclaimed series Hetty Wainthropp Investigates, 13-Disc Collector’s Edition with all 27 episodes co-starring Dominic Monaghan (Lost, The Lord of the Rings) in his first breakout role; The House of Eliott, a 12-Disc Set of the award-winning BBC drama series, and Two’s Company, the popular British sitcom. Additionally, the latest editions of the popular mystery series’ Agatha Christie’s Marple, Series 3, Ruth Rendell Mysteries, Set 2 and Midsomer Murders, Set Nine, among many other releases below.

Acorn Media DVD Release Calendar 

Da Vinci’s Inquest, Season 2 and Day One on November 13.

October 30:

The Amazing Mrs Pritchard – A provocative modern drama produced for the BBC with a terrific cast including Golden Globe®-winner Jane Horrocks (Little Voice, Absolutely Fabulous) and Janet McTeer (Tumbleweeds); swept up in an improbable campaign for Parliament, a former supermarket manager succeeds Tony Blair as Prime Minister; six episodes. 

Monarchy with David Starkey, Set 2 – Eminent historian and masterful storyteller David Starkey brings English royal history to life; these five episodes cover nearly 250 years, from Charles II to Victoria; replete with infidelities, betrayals, and rivalries, English history emerges as a compelling family saga.  

October 23:

Clive Cussler’s Sea Hunters, Set 1 – 3-volume box set presented by bestselling action-adventure author Clive Cussler and renowned maritime archaeologist James Delgado offers eight episodes with dramatic action and fascinating history; history buffs and scuba enthusiasts alike will thrill to these real-life explorations of some of the most significant undersea relics of World War II.

The Ruth Rendell Mysteries, Set 2 – Six spellbinding, feature-length crime dramas based on Ruth Rendell’s revered and bestselling fiction; mysteries range from classic whodunits to tense psychological dramas and darkly comic genre-benders.

October 9:

Agatha Christie's Marple, Series 3 – 4-vol. boxed set of Emmy®-nominated series, starring Geraldine McEwan (The Magdalene Sisters, Mapp & Lucia); episodes premiere on Mystery! this summer and feature the usual top-notch guest stars, including Jane Seymour (Dr. Quinn) and Peter Davison (The Last Detective). 

Robin of Sherwood, Set 2 – Conclusion to the acclaimed, definitive retelling of the Robin Hood legend with breakthrough roles for Jason Connery and Ray Winstone (Indiana Jones 4, The Departed, Sexy Beast); 5-volume DVD box set includes the final 13 episodes with more than nine hours of special features.

September 25:

Cracker: A New Terror – Robbie Coltrane (Harry Potter films) comes back for a purported final turn in the role that made him famous: the brilliant but deeply flawed forensic psychologist Dr. Edward “Fitz” Fitzgerald; the feature-length episode offers an edgy, contemporary crime drama dealing with hot-button political issues; includes 45-minute retrospective documentary.

Midsomer Murders, Set Nine – Four stand-alone, contemporary British mysteries from the hit, ongoing series featuring sly humor, eccentric characters, and idyllic settings; a clever update of the classic English village mystery, starring John Nettles (Bergerac).

September 11:

Prime Suspect 7 – Starring Oscar®-winner and 2007 Emmy®-nominee Helen Mirren (The Queen) in the final act of TV’s most acclaimed crime series; the conclusion to this edgy, engrossing police drama finds Jane Tennison at the end of her career, facing the imminent death of her father, struggling with alcoholism, resisting pressure to retire, and hunting the killer of a 14-year-old girl; among the most-honored franchises in TV history, winner of the Peabody Award, multiple Emmys®, and many more laurels, including four 2007 Emmy nominations.

Lilies – BBC period drama series features fresh faces and superb storytelling; coming of age in impoverished Liverpool just after World War I, the three Moss sisters learn to rely on one another as they make their way in a harsh, sometimes brutal world on the brink of change.

September 4:

Hetty Wainthropp Investigates: The Complete Collection – 13-Disc Collector’s Edition with all 27 episodes plus pilot program of the hit BBC series seen on PBS Mystery!; starring Patricia Routledge as the late-blooming sleuth, and Dominic Monaghan (Lost, The Lord of the Rings) in his first breakout role. 

Sherlock Holmes and the Baker Street Irregulars – Starring Jonathan Pryce (Pirates of the Caribbean, Brazil) as Sherlock Holmes and six rising young stars as the plucky Irregulars in this gripping family drama produced for the BBC; features a fast-paced story with lots of excitement—thievery, chases, murders, and kidnappings.

August 28:

A Dance to the Music of Time – Epic, British miniseries available to U.S. audiences for the first time; based on Anthony Powell’s 12-volume literary saga; first-class cast features John Gielgud, Simon Russell Beale, Edward Fox, James Purefoy, Miranda Richardson.

Two’s Company: The Complete Collection – All 29 episodes of the popular British sitcom that sustained a hilarious four-year run on PBS in the 1970s and later on A&E; stars Tony-winner and two-time Emmy-winner Elaine Stritch.

Gideon’s Trumpet – In one of the finest and final performances of his distinguished career Henry Fonda stars in a Hallmark Hall of Fame classic seen on CBS; Fonda portrays Clarence Gideon, the destitute prisoner whose handwritten plea for justice changed the course of American legal history; based on the book by Pulitzer Prize-winning author and journalist Anthony Lewis; nominated for three Emmys® and winner of the prestigious Peabody Award. 

August 14:

The House of Eliott Complete Collection – 12-disc set of the award-winning BBC drama series set 1920s London with two beautiful sisters struggling to the top of the fashion world; Emmy® and BAFTA wins for costume design. 

Father Brown, Set 2 – The concluding episodes of the beloved mystery classic starring Kenneth More as G.K. Chesterton’s kindly priest and amateur detective; seen on the PBS Mystery! Series. 

July 31:

Rebus, Set 2 – The hit series based on the thrillers by Ian Rankin, the U.K.’s bestselling crime writer; starring Ken Stott (Casanova, Messiah, The Vice) as rumpled, hard-drinking Detective Inspector John Rebus; 4-Vol. Box set includes behind-the-scenes documentary with Rankin, Stott, among others. 

July 17:

Foyle’s War, Set 4 – One of the most highly acclaimed and popular programs on PBS; DVD release of the 4-volume box set coincides with its television debut; Set on the home front at the height of World War II, Michael Kitchen (Out of Africa) returns as the detective chief superintendent in the English town of Hastings. 

Rising Damp, Series 4 - Concluding episodes of the hilarious British comedy classic starring comedy great Leonard Rossiter (The Rise and Fall of Reginald Perrin). 

July 3:

Slings & Arrows, Season 3 – Final season of the universally acclaimed, hit series starring Paul Gross (“Due South”) and Mark McKinney (“The Kids in the Hall,” SNL, “Studio 60”); combing hilarious satire with heartfelt human drama, the series continues to mine dramatic and comic gold from the personal and professional crises of a dysfunctional theatre troupe; seen on the Sundance Channel . 

Chancer, Series 1 - Clive Owen (Children of Men, Closer, The Bourne Identity, Croupier) in his first breakout role as Stephen Crane - who’s rude, arrogant, ingenious, unprincipled—and utterly charming; North American debut of the early 1990s hit British series. 

June 26:

Poirot: The Classic Collection 2 - As portrayed by David Suchet, Agatha Christie’s brilliant Belgian sleuth became the most-watched detective in the history of PBS Mystery!; 10-disc collector’s edition features all nine movie-length mysteries plus bonus program. 

Porterhouse Blue - Based on Tom Sharpe’s bestseller, a hilarious romp through the hallowed halls of British academia starring Ian Richardson (Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy) and David Jason (A Touch of Frost); winner of an International Emmy® and two BAFTA Awards. 

For buying information, please visit their site at:


And speaking of movies, you might want to check out this movie called BROKEN.  New Mystery Reader's first full-length movie recommendation (hoping more to follow). 


Synopsis: "A naïve Midwesterner, Hope, played by Heather Graham, leaves Cleveland with ambitions of becoming a rock star, but instead becomes intimate with Will, Jeremy Sisto, and is led astray by his negative influences and hard drugs.  Even after breaking up with Will, she’s haunted one fateful night at the dive diner where she works by harmful temptations manifesting themselves as each of the seven deadly sins: Sloth, Gluttony, Envy, Lust, Greed, Pride and Wrath.  Hope’s confrontations climaxes when she faces Wrath in the form of her ex- boyfriend Will, who will risk everything to win her back." 

Review: Usually I immerse myself in books and the type of DVDs taken from books such as in the list above, but on a whim I decided to digress from routine and watch this film with the same intent.  To my delight, not only did I find myself as thoroughly engrossed throughout as with a good book but, even more importantly, I was also  left thinking of what it all meant long after the film was over.  Not only are Heather Graham and Jeremy Sisto riveting in their roles as obsessives addicted to drugs and each other,  but the provocative and ever-changing realities compel one to continuously reconsider the ultimate meaning behind it all -  which really does give meaning to the word "mystery." And even though  I've yet to come to a definitive conclusion of what it DID mean, the fact that I'm still thinking about it and talking about it is more than enough for me to recommend it.