Brett Halliday Books

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 Mike Shayne Series

# Read Title Published Details
1 Dividend on Death 1939 Description / Buy
2 The Private Practice of Michael Shayne 1940 Description / Buy
3 Tickets for Death 1941 Description / Buy
4 Bodies Are Where You Find Them 1941 Description / Buy
5 Heads You Lose 1943 Description / Buy
6 Blood on the Black Market 1943 Description / Buy
7 In A Deadly Vein (Murder Wears a Mummer's Mask) 1943 Description / Buy
8 Michael Shayne's Long Chance 1944 Description / Buy
9 Marked For Murder 1945 Description / Buy
10 Murder is My Business 1945 Description / Buy
11 Blood on Biscayne Bay 1946 Description / Buy
12 Counterfeit Wife 1947 Description / Buy
13 Blood on the Stars 1948 Description / Buy
14 Call for Michael Shayne 1949 Description / Buy
15 A Taste for Violence 1949 Description / Buy
16 A Taste for Cognac 1950 Description / Buy
17 The Uncomplaining Corpses 1950 Description / Buy
18 Framed in Blood 1951 Description / Buy
19 When Dorinda Dances 1951 Description / Buy
20 She Woke to Darkness 1954 Description / Buy
21 Stranger in Town 1955 Description / Buy
22 The Blonde Cried Murder 1957 Description / Buy
23 Murder and the Wanton Bride 1958 Description / Buy
24 Fit to Kill 1958 Description / Buy
25 Shoot the works 1958 Description / Buy
26 One Night with Nora 1959 Description / Buy
27 Date with a Dead Man (Short Story) 1959 Description / Buy
28 Die Like a Dog 1959 Description / Buy
29 Target 1960 Description / Buy
30 Dolls Are Deadly 1960 Description / Buy
31 Murder Takes No Holiday 1961 Description / Buy
32 The Careless Corpse (Short Story) 1961 Description / Buy
33 Killers from the Keys (Short Story) 1962 Description / Buy
34 Murder in Haste 1963 Description / Buy
35 Murder and the Married Virgin 1963 Description / Buy
36 Pay-Off in Blood 1963 Description / Buy
37 The Corpse That Never Was (Short Story) 1963 Description / Buy
38 Weep for a Blonde 1964 Description / Buy
39 What Really Happened 1964 Description / Buy
40 The Body Came Back (Short Story) 1964 Description / Buy
41 Too Friendly, Too Dead 1964 Description / Buy
42 The Violent World of Michael Shayne 1965 Description / Buy
43 Shoot to Kill 1965 Description / Buy
44 Mike Shayne's 50th Case (Short Story) 1965 Description / Buy
45 Nice Fillies Finish Last 1966 Description / Buy
46 Armed... Dangerous... 1966 Description / Buy
47 The Homicidal Virgin - a Mike Shayne Mystery 1967 Description / Buy
48 Mermaid on the rocks, 1967 Description / Buy
49 Murder by Proxy 1968 Description / Buy
50 This is it, Michael Shayne 1968 Description / Buy
51 Never Kill a Client 1969 Description / Buy
52 Death Has Three Lives 1969 Description / Buy
53 Lady, be Bad 1969 Description / Buy
54 Mum's the Word for Murder 1969 Description / Buy
55 Murder Spins the Wheel 1970 Description / Buy
56 Six Seconds to Kill 1970 Description / Buy
57 I Come To Kill You 1971 Description / Buy
58 Count backwards to zero 1971 Description / Buy
59 Caught Dead 1972 Description / Buy
60 Blue Murder, a New Mike Shayne Mystery 1973 Description / Buy
61 At The Point of A .38 A Mike Shayne Mystery 1974 Description / Buy
62 Last Seen Hitchhiking 1974 Description / Buy
63 Million Dollar Handle 1976 Description / Buy
64 Guilty as Hell 1977 Description / Buy
65 The Sceptred Isle 2017 Description / Buy

Order of Brett Halliday Standalone Novels

# Read Title Published Details
1 You Killed Elizabeth 1960 Description / Buy
2 Charlie Dell 2015 Description / Buy
3 The Kissed Corpse 2015 Description / Buy
4 Before I Wake (Short Story) 2016 Description / Buy
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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 The Sceptred Isle and was released on August, 17th 2017. It is the newest book in the Mike Shayne Series.