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Review: Dividend on Death by Brett Halliday August 24, 2015

Posted by sjroby in Book reviews.
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Brett Halliday’s Mike Shayne doesn’t seem to be very well known these days, despite the private eye starring in a series of novels over a few decades, as well as movies, TV series, comics, and the pages of Mike Shayne Detective Magazine. Likewise for Brett Halliday, a pen name initially used by one writer but eventually adopted by quite a few others.

I only remember reading one of the novels before now, a solid PI novel from the 1950s, but I liked it enough to be open to more, So the Mysterious Press/Open Road series of ebook reprints is a good opportunity to get reacquainted.

Dividend on Death is the first novel, published in 1939. It’s a complexly plotted private eye tale involving beautiful women, gangsters, a rich family, what may be a counterfeit painting, and a high body count. It’s more subtle than Mickey Spillane, not as literary as Raymond Chandler, not as innovative in its writing style as Dashiell Hammett. But it is very much in the classic hardboiled PI mode, with violence and double-crossings and a hint of sex.

Older mystery readers who remember Shayne better should be happy to see the books showing up again. For those who missed him, this is a good place to start,

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