RARA-AVIS: Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine

From: Moorich2@aol.com
Date: 07 Dec 2000

Although I never ghosted the Mike Shayne stories, I did have several stories published in Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine beginning in 1978. MSMM always had a special place in my heart. It was the first mystery magazine I purchased
(Oct 1959) as I could not resist a mag with both a Mike Shayne novelet and a Robert Bloch short story. MSMM later gave me a boost when I really needed one. In 1971 when I was recently back from Vietnam and my plans to write fulltime were being upset by family illnesses, I managed to write three short stories. All were rejected, but the third came back from Mike Shayne (the last possible market) with a brief but encouraging note from editor Cylvia Kleinman. Her note kept my hopes alive for several black years that maybe, perhaps, one day I might be a published writer.

I sold stories to both Sam Merwin Jr. as well as Charles Fritch. Until James Reasoner's posting I did not realize that Larry Shaw had only been around for one issue. My one contact with him was a rejection but it was the sweetest rejection I ever received. I remember also a letter from him about his editorship of the SF mag Infinity, wherein he still lamented loosing serial rights to Heinlein's CITIZEN OF THE GALAXY, which he thought would have put Infinity at the next level of mags. He also said there was a deal cut by the publisher where he had to accept all sorts of crap from the Scott Meredith Agency. But this is off-topic. Shaw was a great guy and much lamented.

The issues of the late 70s had some good stuff by Reasoner, Lansdale, Ernest Savage, and a few others. About that time I met Landsdale in person and we corresponded for a bit. I have a vague memory that Rara-Avian Frank Denton had one story in MSMM. Is that right Frank?

MSMM was never a top market. I very much liked the Dennis Lynds Slot-Machine Kelly stories in the 60s. The mag also had some good ones by long-forgotten Fletcher Flora. Flora had a nice touch with a story. Now and then a Jack Ritchie would appear, no doubt after first being bounced by Alfred Hitchcock.
 Pronzini was a regular for years.

I liked MSMM because it was more receptive to tougher stories but the pay was terrible. Once, however, Renown Publications sent me a second check for a story by mistake and I mailed it back. There was no thank you. They were probably too shocked.

But, no, MSMM was not a great magazine. It was a lot of fun and I was a subscriber to the day it folded.

Richard Moore

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