Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Paperback Babylon vol. 2

Just to prove even the blogosphere isn't immune to sequel-itis, here's a follow up to an earlier post sharing a taste of my Wife's grandmother's cache of sordid paperbacks.

Once again we've got Brett Halliday's hard boiled shamus MIKE SHAYNE. (Many sources refer to him as "Michael" Shayne, but that doesn't really sound two-fisty enough.) While not so famous these days, Mike Shayne had a pretty good run back in the day. Not only did the novels come out for almost half a century, but he was also adapted into radio, TV, comic books and a slew of movies. (The recent Robert Downey Jr./Val Kilmer film "Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang" was partially based on the accurately titled Shayne mystery "Bodies Are Where You Find Them". For several movies Shayne was portrayed by Hugh "Beaver's Dad" Beaumont!) It should be noted that Halliday had turned over the series to ghost writers by the time all three of the books here appeared, which makes some of the back cover praise for the last one here seem a little off.

Also, once again we have covers by the king of the paperback paint slingers Robert McGinnis. Man could that guy paint the dames! McGinnis' covers are the main draw for me to these books, and luckily he was extremely prolific. Unfortunately the book of his paperback covers I plugged last time has gone out of print and has apparently become an expensive collector's item, which sucks for you but is good for me should I ever become financially desperate enough to sell my copy.

So here's three more cover images and back cover blurbs. (With a little snarky commentary by me.)



A newspaper want ad, asking for a red-blooded American male who was willing to do anything, repeat, anything.

(Okay, does that sound like a Craigslist hookup or what?)


Michael Shayne, alias Mike Wayne, the big gambler from New Jersey; and Jane Smith, obviously using an assumed name, and obviously very young, very pretty and very scared.

(Note to the Jane Smiths of the world: WE ARE TOTALLY ON TO YOUR BULLSHIT.)


Fifty grand



(The back cover also notes "RICHARD DENNING stars as MICHAEL SHAYNE in the weekly NBC TV series". Denning notably played Lucille Ball's husband on the radio show "My Favorite Husband" which was kind of like "I Love Lucy" except Denning never sang "Cuban Pete".)


at the Pink Flamingo hotel was drinking away his conscience, aware only of his $200,000 in stolen cash ... and the uninhibited young thing who hung around to help him spend it... until his time ran out and the syndicate dropped in.

(It's not in the Keys, but I did find motel in Florida with cabins and the same name. Looks cute enough, and I imagine staying there is even more fun if you imagine the guy in the cabin next to you is on the lam and getting drunk with an uninhibited young gold digger.)

MIKE SHAYNE joins forces with a strange ally-the baron of a Chicago vice syndicate-to solve one of his most startling and shocking cases.


"Salute! True to the proud tradition of the bona fide detective story" -REX STOUT

"Here's a toast-with brandy of course-to Michael Shayne and another quarter century of crime fighting" -BRUNO FISCHER

"Fifty books...congratulations to Brett Halliday" _GEORGE HARMON COXE

(Okay, I'm calling it...George Harmon Coxe, creator of Jack "Flashgun" Casey, just phoned that one in. This is all like "Oh hey, fifty books. Looks like I lost that bet.")

"Brett Halliday never forgets the fair-play game of wits between author and reader. His last pages produce legitimate surprises that deserve a toast in nothing less than Martel Cordon Bleu" _ANTHONY BOUCHER

(Now by contrast, Anthony Boucher, founding editor of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, totally brought his "A" game! He even upped the stakes over Bruno Fischer by toasting not just with brandy, but one of France's oldest and fanciest cognacs! Too bad he left out an "L"in it's name. An editor should've caught that...oops.)

"One of the truly impressive peaks in the whole range of mystery-suspense fiction" -WILLIAM P. McGIVERN

"Entertaining, fresh, intriguing" _BILL S. BALLINGER

And so we finish with Bill S. Ballinger, one time producer of "The Dinah Shore Show" and mystery writer, who is either describing this book or a bottle of beaujolais nouveau. Be good and stay well faithful readers, because as one later Mike Shayne short story title points out ""Three Strikes-You're Dead!"

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