RARA-AVIS: More on Halliday, &c.

From: Mark D. Nevins ( nevins_mark@yahoo.com)
Date: 23 Feb 2008

Jim and James, thanks much for your detailed and insightful responses on Halliday--much appreciated.

    Davis Dresser, who also wrote under the pseudonyms Matthew Blood
   (two novels co-authored with Ryerson Johnson)

After a bit of digging on the 'net, I discover these (for the record) to be THE AVENGER (1952) and DEATH IS A LOVELY DAME (1954). I'll add them to my "look for" list.

    To me Mike Shayne is really a character who
    belongs in the Forties, Fifties, and early Sixties. Once the stories
    get past that point, he seems sort of out of place to me, which is
    why I made my Shayne stories in MSMM sort of vague as to their time
    period. I was really writing Forties and Fifties Shayne stories as
    much as I could, even though it was the Seventies and Eighties.

That makes sense--I've only read a few of the very early ones, and it's almost impossible for me to imagine the character in a later period. Much like the Shell Scott stories: I devoured most of those as a teenager, but the later ones felt "wrong" to me (just as "wrong" as the later photo covers, especially after McGinnis!)

Jim, thanks for the very interesting remarks on the "house name" topic and Dresser's role in the series. I only really know the "house name" concept from the DOC SAVAGE pulp series, or maybe "Franklin W. Dixon" and the Hardy Boys, so I'm intrigued that there is indeed a fine point of difference I was missing between "house name" and "nom de plume."

And next time I read a Mike Shayne, I'll make it A TASTE FOR VIOLENCE or FOURTH DOWN TO DEATH (I'm a big NFL fan, so that one should be fun).

In closing, I did not make the connection previously between "James Reasoner" on this list and DUST DEVILS, which is close to the top of my to-read pile. Cool--I'm really looking forward to that one.

I recently finished Vicki Hendricks' MIAMI PURITY--I believe she also posts here. It was highly enjoyable to me to read a re-take on a lot of the "noir" conventions re-told in a (convincing) female voice--I found the novel a fascinating exercise in style that was additionally a really enjoyable, lean, mean, and sweaty tale.

At the risk of "outing" people who don't wish the attention, is there a list of RARA-AVIANS who are also published crime authors?

Best, Mark Nevins

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