I came to be a Mike Shayne fan long after Davis Dresser had ceased writing the redheaded PI’s adventures. 1958 was the last one and I started reading the paperbacks in the late sixties/early seventies. I bought and read the magazine as well, though, to my regret, I stopped those before James Reasoner and his wife, Livia Washburn, began their run of Shayne stories.
This is the first Dresser novel I’ve read, though I do have a western I have’t gotten to as yet.
Dividend on Death was the first Michael Shayne novel published in 1939. Though it’s been a good many years since I last read a Shayne novel, this one was much different than memory serves of those others near the end of the series run.
Shayne was that wise-cracking, cigarette smoking, liquor drinking PI, but there is an added dimension to this one. A touch of humor is mixed in with the usual dead bodies, stonewalling the rigid cop, beatings, attempted murder. Throw in a valuable painting, a hood and his gang, a strange doctor, it all makes a strong mix that our favorite private eye is trying to unravel before it’s too late. He even manages that old plot device of bringing all the principles together at the end. That ending isn’t quite the same as usual though.
A satisfying novel and one that makes me anxious to read the next few in the series. I will need to track them down I guess.