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Brett Halliday was a renowned writer of mystery and western novels. He left such an indelible impression on the literary arena that authors and movie producers from the 21st Century have cited him as one of their most significant influences. This is despite the fact that the author died in 1977.
Order of Michael Shayne Series
|1||Dividend on Death||1939||Description / Buy|
|2||The Private Practice of Michael Shayne||1940||Description / Buy|
|3||The Uncomplaining Corpses||1940||Description / Buy|
|4||Tickets for Death||1941||Description / Buy|
|5||Bodies Are Where You Find Them||1941||Description / Buy|
|6||The Case of the Walking / Corpse Came Calling||1943||Description / Buy|
|7||Murder Wears a Mummer's Mask / In a Deadly Vein||1943||Description / Buy|
|8||Blood on the Black Market||1943||Description / Buy|
|9||Michael Shayne's Long Chance||1944||Description / Buy|
|10||Murder and the Married Virgin||1944||Description / Buy|
|11||Murder is My Business||1945||Description / Buy|
|12||Marked For Murder||1945||Description / Buy|
|13||Blood on Biscayne Bay||1946||Description / Buy|
|14||Counterfeit Wife||1947||Description / Buy|
|15||Blood on the Stars / Murder Is a Habit||1948||Description / Buy|
|16||A Taste for Violence||1949||Description / Buy|
|17||Call for Michael Shayne||1949||Description / Buy|
|18||This is it, Michael Shayne||1950||Description / Buy|
|19||Framed in Blood||1951||Description / Buy|
|20||When Dorinda Dances||1951||Description / Buy|
|21||A Taste for Cognac||1951||Description / Buy|
|22||What Really Happened||1952||Description / Buy|
|23||One Night with Nora / The Lady Came By Night||1953||Description / Buy|
|24||She Woke to Darkness||1954||Description / Buy|
|25||Death Has Three Lives||1955||Description / Buy|
|26||Stranger in Town||1955||Description / Buy|
|27||The Blonde Cried Murder||1956||Description / Buy|
|28||Heads You Lose||1956||Description / Buy|
|29||Weep for a Blonde||1957||Description / Buy|
|30||Shoot the works||1957||Description / Buy|
|31||Murder and the Wanton Bride||1958||Description / Buy|
|32||Fit to Kill||1958||Description / Buy|
|33||Date with a Dead Man (Short Story)||1959||Description / Buy|
|34||Target||1959||Description / Buy|
|35||Die Like A Dog||1959||Description / Buy|
|36||Murder Takes No Holiday||1960||Description / Buy|
|37||Dolls Are Deadly||1960||Description / Buy|
|38||The Homicidal Virgin||1960||Description / Buy|
|39||Killers from the Keys (Short Story)||1961||Description / Buy|
|40||Murder in Haste||1961||Description / Buy|
|41||The Careless Corpse||1961||Description / Buy|
|42||Pay-Off in Blood||1962||Description / Buy|
|43||Murder by Proxy||1962||Description / Buy|
|44||Never Kill a Client||1962||Description / Buy|
|45||Too Friendly, Too Dead||1962||Description / Buy|
|46||The Corpse That Never Was (Short Story)||1963||Description / Buy|
|47||The Body Came Back (Short Story)||1963||Description / Buy|
|48||A Redhead (Short Story)||1964||Description / Buy|
|49||Shoot to Kill||1964||Description / Buy|
|50||The Violent World of Michael Shayne||1965||Description / Buy|
|51||Nice Fillies Finish Last||1965||Description / Buy|
|52||Murder Spins the Wheel||1966||Description / Buy|
|53||Armed... Dangerous...||1966||Description / Buy|
|54||Mermaid on the Rocks||1967||Description / Buy|
|55||Guilty as Hell||1967||Description / Buy|
|56||So Lush, So Deadly||1968||Description / Buy|
|57||Lady, be Bad||1969||Description / Buy|
|58||Six Seconds to Kill||1970||Description / Buy|
|59||Fourth Down to Death||1970||Description / Buy|
|60||Count Backwards to Zero||1971||Description / Buy|
|61||I Come To Kill You||1971||Description / Buy|
|62||Caught Dead||1972||Description / Buy|
|63||Kill All the Young Girls||1973||Description / Buy|
|64||Blue Murder||1973||Description / Buy|
|65||Last Seen Hitchhiking||1974||Description / Buy|
|66||At The Point of A .38||1974||Description / Buy|
|67||Million Dollar Handle||1976||Description / Buy|
|68||Win Some, Lose Some||1976||Description / Buy|
Order of Brett Halliday Standalone Novels
|1||You Killed Elizabeth||1960||Description / Buy|
|2||Mum's the Word for Murder||1969||Description / Buy|
|3||Before I Wake (Short Story)||2016||Description / Buy|
|4||Charlie Dell||2016||Description / Buy|
|5||The Kissed Corpse||2016||Description / Buy|
Brett Halliday Anthologies
Halliday’s real name was Davis Desser. ‘Brett Halliday’ was the pen name he chose to use when he wrote the Michael Shayne series. Halliday was born in 1904 in Chicago, Illinois. He often stood out from his fellow authors because of his eye patch which he had to wear after barbed wire took his eye as a boy.
Halliday was blessed with an adventurous spirit. He ran away from home to join the army at the age of 14. His time at Fort Bliss in Texas did not last. He eventually went to Rio Grande to do Border Patrol duty. No one knew for certain what the author wanted. It could be argued that the author himself did not know. He was simply taking chances and hoping that, along the way, he would find a purpose for his life.
Life eventually took the young man Southwest. He had gone through the trouble of finishing high school in Texas. But once that box was checked, he started doing odd jobs in any state that would have him. That included working as a laborer in the California oilfields, a farmhand, and even a muleskinner.
Considering the uncoordinated path his life had followed, no one could mistake the author for an intellectual. And yet, despite meandering through so many fields, Brett Halliday stumbled his way into Tri-state college where he studied engineering.
He somehow acquired a civil engineering certificate before heading off to Texas. For the people who had known him as a much younger man, it came as somewhat of a shock to learn that he had actually found work as an engineer and surveyor. The writer persisted in the engineering field for some years.
Writing only entered the picture in 1927. The author is best known for the character of Michael Shayne who he introduced in 1939. He wrote 77 novels featuring Michael Shayne. Some of them were directly written by Halliday. The majority were assigned to numerous ghostwriters. The character also appeared in short stories and radio programs, not to mention TV shows and movies.
On the personal front, Brett Halliday’s first marriage was to Kathleen Rollins. Their relationship did not last. The writer moved on to Helen McCloy in 1946. This second marriage eventually ended in 1961. However, it was during his marriage to McCloy, a mystery writer, that Halliday created ‘Halliday and McCloy’, the couple’s literary agency. They also built a publishing company. Their marriage produced one child, Chloe.
His third wife was Mary Savage, another writer. She gave him a son.
Brett Halliday Awards
Halliday was given the Edgar Award along with McCloy in 1954.
Brett Halliday Books into Movies
Michael Shayne, Halliday’s most popular character, appeared in seven movies including Dressed to Kill, Time to Kill, Private Detective, Just Off Broadway, Sleepers West, The Man Who Wouldn’t Die, and Blue, White, and Perfect.
‘Kiss Kiss Bang Bang’ and ‘The Nice Guys’ were loosely based on Michael Shayne stories.
Best Brett Halliday Books
Besides writing westerns and mysteries, Brett Halliday helped create the ‘Mystery Writers of America’, with some of the best books in his bibliography including:
Murder is My Business: Shayne, a private eye, helped a wealthy man in El Paso find dirt on the boy who was pursuing his daughter. Ten years later, the daughter is back. She’s older and not quite as innocent.
The 11th novel in the Michael Shayne series takes place in 1944. The world is still embroiled in conflict. An old woman’s son was killed in El Paso by a wealthy fellow who wants to become mayor. Shayne knows that the old woman has little in the way of money but he is still compelled to investigate.
Dividend on Death: Shayne did not think highly of Phyllis. She was rich, beautiful and clearly paranoid. Phyllis thought she was going to murder her mother. So she hired Shayne to watch her. Shayne wanted to dismiss her claims as nonsense. But then he met the slimy private secretary and phony doctor at Phyllis’ mansion and Shayne realized that there was a mystery afoot.
When Does The Next Brett Halliday book come out?
Brett Halliday doesn't seem to have an upcoming book. Their newest book is Dividend on Death and was released on August, 2nd 2020. It is the newest book in the Michael Shayne Series.