Brett Halliday Books

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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 Mike Shayne Series

1Dividend on Death 1939Description / Buy
2The Private Practice of Michael Shayne 1940Description / Buy
3The Uncomplaining Corpses 1940Description / Buy
4Tickets for Death 1941Description / Buy
5Bodies Are Where You Find Them 1941Description / Buy
6The Case of the Walking/Corpse Came Calling 1943Description / Buy
7Murder Wears a Mummer's Mask / In a Deadly Vein 1943Description / Buy
8Blood on the Black Market 1943Description / Buy
9Michael Shayne's Long Chance 1944Description / Buy
10Murder and the Married Virgin 1944Description / Buy
11Murder is My Business 1945Description / Buy
12Marked For Murder 1945Description / Buy
13Blood on Biscayne Bay 1946Description / Buy
14Counterfeit Wife 1947Description / Buy
15Blood on the Stars / Murder Is a Habit 1948Description / Buy
16A Taste for Violence 1949Description / Buy
17Call for Michael Shayne 1949Description / Buy
18This is it, Michael Shayne 1950Description / Buy
19Framed in Blood 1951Description / Buy
20When Dorinda Dances 1951Description / Buy
21A Taste for Cognac 1951Description / Buy
22What Really Happened 1952Description / Buy
23One Night with Nora/The Lady Came By Night 1953Description / Buy
24She Woke to Darkness 1954Description / Buy
25Death Has Three Lives 1955Description / Buy
26Stranger in Town 1955Description / Buy
27The Blonde Cried Murder 1956Description / Buy
28Heads You Lose 1956Description / Buy
29Weep for a Blonde 1957Description / Buy
30Shoot the works 1957Description / Buy
31Murder and the Wanton Bride 1958Description / Buy
32Fit to Kill 1958Description / Buy
33Date with a Dead Man (Short Story) 1959Description / Buy
34Target 1959Description / Buy
35Die Like A Dog 1959Description / Buy
36Murder Takes No Holiday 1960Description / Buy
37Dolls Are Deadly 1960Description / Buy
38The Homicidal Virgin 1960Description / Buy
39Killers from the Keys (Short Story) 1961Description / Buy
40Murder in Haste 1961Description / Buy
41The Careless Corpse 1961Description / Buy
42Pay-Off in Blood 1962Description / Buy
43Murder by Proxy 1962Description / Buy
44Never Kill a Client 1962Description / Buy
45Too Friendly, Too Dead 1962Description / Buy
46The Corpse That Never Was (Short Story) 1963Description / Buy
47The Body Came Back (Short Story) 1963Description / Buy
48A Redhead (Short Story) 1964Description / Buy
49Shoot to Kill 1964Description / Buy
50The Violent World of Michael Shayne 1965Description / Buy
51Nice Fillies Finish Last 1965Description / Buy
52Murder Spins the Wheel 1966Description / Buy
53Armed... Dangerous... 1966Description / Buy
54Mermaid on the rocks, 1967Description / Buy
55Guilty as Hell 1967Description / Buy
56So Lush, So Deadly 1968Description / Buy
57Lady, be Bad 1969Description / Buy
58Six Seconds to Kill 1970Description / Buy
59Count backwards to zero 1971Description / Buy
60I Come To Kill You 1971Description / Buy
61Caught Dead 1972Description / Buy
62Kill All the Young Girls 1973Description / Buy
63Blue Murder 1973Description / Buy
64Last Seen Hitchhiking 1974Description / Buy
65At The Point of A .38 A Mike Shayne Mystery 1974Description / Buy
66Million Dollar Handle 1976Description / Buy
67Win Some, Lose Some 1976Description / Buy

Order of Brett Halliday Standalone Novels

1You Killed Elizabeth 1960Description / Buy
2Mum's the Word for Murder 1969Description / Buy
3Before I Wake (Short Story) 2016Description / Buy
4Charlie Dell 2016Description / Buy
5The Kissed Corpse 2016Description / Buy

Brett Halliday Anthologies

1 Miami Noir2020Description / Buy
Print: Print PDF

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 Mike Shayne Series.

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