Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine never had the literary cachet of its slicker rivals (Ellery Queen was the king) in the 1960s, but those of us with a taste for stories by writers with strong beliefs turned there often. Dennis Lynds, who died last year, wrote many stories for Mike Shayne under his Michael Collins pseudonym, and now Crippen & Landru, the publishing house named after two famous murderers, has collected 13 of his terrific stories about a private eye called Slot-Machine Kelly, a one-armed detective who Lynds later turned into the unforgettable Dan Fortune. None of these Kelly pieces have appeared in book form; as Robert Randisi says in his introduction, “they are pulp writing at its best, but they are also the early work of a man whose social conscience peers over his shoulder at every word he writes.”