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