Friday, June 01, 2012

Forgotten Books: Mike Shayne's Mystery Magazine 12/71

Yes, I know it's not a book. Still, I'll bet you don't remember it, so it halfway fits here. When I saw this a while back, I couldn't resist picking it up, mainly because it reprints the first Ed Noon story by Mike Avallone, originally published in 1949 (don't ask me where). I'd never read the story, so I thought I'd take a look. Appropriately enough, there's a headnote by "The Editor's" (sic) that promises "the kind of fast, cracking action that has made Mike Avallone one of the very top crime writers today."

"A Bullet for Big Nick" is a revenge tale. Ed Noon, cop turned private-eye, is after the guy who had is former partner killed. That's pretty much it. Lots of violence, with Noon taking enough punishment to put a bull out of commission, while dealing out an equal or greater amount.

For those of you who are wondering, yes, the Avallone writing style was already in full flower: "Big Nick Torrento was staring at me curiously from the depths of a large, square desk."

Avallone's storytelling ability is there, too. The action never slows down, and Noon's first-person narrative takes you right along.

The stories not listed on the cover are by names you'll recognize. Well, I did. Edward Wellen, Jeffrey Wallman, Richard Deming, and Edward D. Hoch.

11 comments:

George said...

Great issue! Digests have completely disappeared in this part of the country.

James Reasoner said...

It'll probably come as no surprise that I not only remember this issue, I've read it. I don't recall who actually wrote the Shayne story in that issue, if I ever knew. The most common Brett Hallidays during that era were Edward Y. Breese and Max Vanderveer, though. Leo P. Kelley, who's mentioned on the cover, wrote a few crime novels, some Westerns for Doubleday, and created and wrote most of the Cimarron Western series for Signet. I think Bob Randisi wrote the last few books in that series under the name Lew Baines. Those Sixties and Seventies issues of MSMM may not have been great, but they were consistently entertaining. I miss 'em.

Bill Crider said...

I miss the SF and mystery digests in general. Somehow reading on Kindle or computer just ain't the same.

Todd Mason said...

Subscribe, subscribe, subscribe.

After all, however irregularly, beyond EQMM and AHMM, there are still digests publishing, even if they are usually (like the Penny Press titles) in more like little-magazine format these years. Only THE STRAND seems to be durable among 8.5 x 11" cf magazines.

Leo P. Kelley was also writing and publishing a fair amount of sf in those years. Wonder what happened to him...

Todd Mason said...

Is Wallman still with us? I know where Wellen, Hoch and Deming are these days, alas...

Anonymous said...

Appropriately enough, there's a headnote by "The Editor's" (sic) that promises "the kind of fast, cracking action that has made Mike Avallone one of the very top crime writers today."

Did Mike write that himself? Sounds like him.

Jeff

James Reasoner said...

Kelley apparently died in 2002, although the SF Encyclopedia says that date isn't confirmed. Wallmann's still alive as far as I know.

Bill Crider said...

Jeff, I thought the same thing about the headnote.

James, I met Wallman once in Houston not long after we moved here. Nice guy. Last I heard he was teaching college somewhere. New Mexico? Can't remember.

James Reasoner said...

I think Wallmann's still at UNLV. I met him once at a WWA convention.

Todd Mason said...

Thanks...I think I knew about Kelley's death, but don't remember why/if he stopped writing so visibly (to me, at least) by the mid 1970s...will go look.

Of course, that blurb looks a bit like what Sam Merwin, Jr. liked to write, sometimes with a bit of a grin, as well...

James Reasoner said...

I don't think Merwin was there then. He was MSMM's first editor (and wrote most of the Shayne novelettes at first) but left after a few issues and didn't come back until the mid-Seventies. In '71 Cylvia Kleinman Margulies (source of the C.K.M. Scanlon house-name in the pulp days) was the editorial director at MSMM, with assorted other people, Frank Belknap Long among them, helping out.