FFB: The Private Practice of Michael Shayne by Bret Halliday

this is the 96th in my series of forgotten or seldom read books

The Private Practice of Michael Shayne by Bret Halliday © 1940, Dell 1958 mass market paperback, mystery – 2nd Michael Shayne

I have a slew of Mike Shayne mysteries on the shelf – though not all by any means – and every now and then I like to read one of them, since I’ve read only about a quarter of them. Every time I do read one, I enjoy it and want to read more, but of course there are always so many other books waiting on the TBR that I usually just enter it in my books I read list and move on to the next one. It will take me a while, at this rate, to read all I have, let alone all there are.

This one starts with Shayne arriving at Larry Kincade’s office. Kinkcade is a struggling young laywer and needs work, desperately. His wife is complaining about not having nice things and he’s guilty at not giving them to her. So he calls Shayne to help him out on a tough one. A client has asked him to take on: talk to a hoodlum and get some blackmail money back, along with the damning evidence.

It feels like a crooked deal to Shayne, and he refuses. That angers Kincade, who, after calling Shayne a lot of nasty names, swears he’ll handle it himself while Shayne storms out of the office. It’s the last time Shayne sees him alive. Later, Shayne goes to a casino to see if he can get a line on the case and has a run-in with the supposed blackmailer. After threatening to break the fellow’s neck, he storms out. Later he gets a call asking him to go to a certain dead-end street for a meeting with the anonymous caller. Any reader of mysteries knows this is a setup, and so does Shayne, but he goes anyway. There he finds a dead body, his own gun, which had been stolen earlier in the day, and the cops just screaming to a stop. Frame job, for sure. In order to stay out of prison, Shayne must unravel the case and present the true facts to the police. Also, as you can see, this one also has a very nice cover by Robert McGinnis.

Not a terribly original plot these days, but it may have been in 1940 when this one was written. Through the expected twists and turns, and the side stories of a girlfriend who loves-hates-loves him, the thing unfolds. As usual, after reading one I want another, and this time I might just do it. Next up is The Uncomplaining Corpses (also written in 1940).

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The rest of the Friday Forgotten Book posts
can be found at Patti Abbott’s blog Pattinaise

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9 Responses to FFB: The Private Practice of Michael Shayne by Bret Halliday

  1. Second book in the series. The earlier Dell Mapback edition has a pretty good cover by Robert Stanley, but of course it’s hard to beat McGinnis. I loved the book the first two times I read it (once in high school and then again about ten years later when I was reading a bunch of Dresser’s novels in preparation for writing the Shayne stories in MSMM). I read it a third time a few years ago out of curiosity and didn’t think it held up as well as I’d hoped, but it was still fun. All of the Shayne novels from the Forties are pretty good as far as I’m concerned.

  2. Haven’t read this one. I’ve been through all that I have, a few early ones and some late in their history when Dresser wasn’t actively writing.

  3. Certainly sounds like fun Richard – I read a few of these years ago, though I believe that they were mostly the later ones that were ghost-written. I’m a big fan of the movies featuring Lloyd Nolan as Shayne – I’ll have to seek out some of the novels pre 1958 I think to get the reall Halliday flavour – thanks.

  4. Jeff Meyerson says:

    I like the cover a lot.

  5. I’m with James: the Mike Shaynes from the Forties are fun reads. And, Jeff’s right about that McGinnis cover. McGinnis created some fabulous covers for the series.

  6. cgramlich says:

    Fun is the key word here.

  7. Carl V. says:

    I have a number of Mike Shayne books that I bought solely for the McGinnis covers, although I do have good intentions of actually reading them some day. Like you there are always too many books that look interesting and even when I’m juggling several reads I can only read one book at a time. Hardly seems fair given all the books out there. :)

    I know I’d enjoy this one and I’ll have to keep my eye out to add it to my collection. And maybe actually read.

  8. Richard says:

    I just noticed the link to the cover had an error, so I fixed that, and it’s now clickable. See it nice and big!

  9. Yvette says:

    Haven’t read any Michael Shayne books though I am a fan of the films with Lloyd Nolan. I’ve always meant to read a few, but things got in the way – namely other books. I’m still trying to figure out how to read (or re-read) the oldies while keeping up with the newsies. If there is a solution I still haven’t found it. :)

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