RARA-AVIS: Mike Shayne: Marked for Murder

From: William Denton ( buff@pobox.com)
Date: 11 Dec 2000

I read MARKED FOR MURDER (1945), the twelfth Shayne book, today. It was an enjoyable fast read, certainly capable, but not above average.

Shayne's in New Orleans by now, but he comes back because a reporter friend has been badly beaten and is in the hospital. He'd been investigating some murders connected to some illegal casinos run by a Miami Beach gangster. (Shayne and cops he likes are in Miami, or maybe it's the other way around. I can't keep those two straight.) The first day Shayne's in town, he borrows a gun off the Miami chief of police. punches out a hood, flirts with some women, talks to the gangster, finds a beautiful dead woman who's dressed only in black stockings, has a good-time girl come onto him, talks a postman out of a letter, and swigs back a lot of booze. The next day he's up early to pull a ridiculous trick so he can intercept a letter, and later he crashes his car into a limo, runs it off the road, and shoots a guy in the gut. The entire mystery is wrapped up in the last fifteen pages or so and by that time I was having trouble keeping it straight which deadly blonde was which.

I must say Shayne's a good character, though. And I'm a sucker for anything where a guy blows into town and never stops moving until everything's shaken up. The masterpiece there, of course, is RED HARVEST.

I hope the middling reviews the old books have had aren't discouraging people from trying out Mike Shayne. Everyone should read at least one.


William Denton : Toronto, Canada : http://www.miskatonic.org/ : Caveat lector.

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