Friday, January 23, 2009

Friday's Forgotten Books: What Really Happened by Brett Halliday

From the preface:

He had too many suspects to start with, and all of them were over-anxious to link themselves with murder. Some of them had actually come running to him with their stories before the crime was committed!

The Shamus had to fill in the details himself, and none of them were pretty. They dealt with secret assignations, queer sex exhibitions, blackmail---and brutal death. And the final punch-line was one of the most startling in Mike Shayne's violent career.
I love that old fashion salesmanship, though it wasn't so overstated in Happened. Our favorite redheaded detective has quite a bit of trouble to deal with in this particular story. Before midnight, three ominous phone calls warn him about a package from Wanda Weatherby that will arrive in the morning mail. One call is from Wanda herself who ends up dead within minutes of asking for his help. The other calls are from one individual wishing to scare him off the case and another wanting to hire him. Add cops, gangsters, reporters, and molls, all descending on Shayne at the same time, and you have one helluva entertaining mystery from the golden era.

Related links:

Mike Shayne bio from Thrilling Detective

Shayne reviews by August West

Call for Michael Shayne review by James Reasoner

Mike Shayne mystery movies on DVD review by Mystery*File

15 comments:

Jacob Weaver said...

This is why I love Fridays. I always come away with something new to add to my TBR list. I'd heard of the Mike Shayne series but had forgotten about it somewhere along the line. It sounds right up my alley and it's definitely on my list now. Thanks for reminding me!

pattinase (abbott) said...

Funny how many of these books have a cover with a woman dead on the floor. Wish fulfillment?

David Cranmer said...

Jacob, You can't go wrong with Shayne. He reminds me of Spade's younger brother with all the speed talking and always staying one step ahead of the police.

Patti, You may be onto something. I know Bill Crider's FFB also has a female victim.

Scott Parker said...

I have only one Shayne book. Been wanting to read it but other things get in the way. I've been trying to find Shayne #1 but think I'll just go ahead and read what I have (the title of which escapes me). Thanks for the resource links.

James Reasoner said...

Scott,

There's a little continuity in the first dozen books in the series, but once you get past 1945, they're true stand-alones that can be read in any order. And the continuity's not all that important in the earlier books, although I do think they're best if they're read in order.

Martin Edwards said...

I've never read any Mike Shayne, but that is a very good opening paragraph.

David Cranmer said...

Scott, I see James has already answered your question and I can only add that I've never had a problem bouncing around reading the various Shayne novels.

James, I was wondering how many stories you have written as Brett Halliday?

Martin, You will not be disappointed. One of the great detectives.

Barbara Martin said...

I'm going to put this on my TBR list which grows ever longer.

James Reasoner said...

David,

I believe I wrote 36 Mike Shayne stories, although that number might be off by one or two.

David Cranmer said...

Barbara, My TBR list grows and grows. I do quite a bit of traveling and you should see the boxes of books I collect and send back home.

James, I just stopped by your website and saw the list of Mike Shayne stories. I will check AbeBooks or Amazon to see if I can find a few of these old issues.

JR's Thumbprints said...

I can't say I've ever read any of the Mike Shayne series. For some reason, I've always stuck to those true-crime books, some of which I know the characters.

Kent Morgan said...

Reading my late father's Michael Shayne novels is what got me interested in mysteries. In recent years I have tried to fill in his collection and finally completed it last year when I found a copy of The Uncomplaining Corpses that was published in 1940. Now I'm buying ones that I find with different covers. There are a couple of excellent sites on the Internet that feature Shayne.

David Cranmer said...

JR, You may wanna stay away from those characters! Come to think of it I have never read a true-crime book.

Kent, That must be quite an incredible collection you have. I am going to begin collecting the old Michael Shayne Mystery Magazine and then go back and purchase some more original books. He may not be as popular as he once was but for me Shayne is right up there with Marlowe and Spade.

Barrie said...

I have got to get back on the stick with these FFB posts. I love them!

David Cranmer said...

Barrie, I just got I SO DON'T DO MYSTERIES and my wife starts reading it ahead of me! So far she's lovin' it and I'm going to ask her to do a review.