Category: Michael Shayne

Book Review: Dividend on Death


Dividend on Death is the first Michael Shayne novel by Brett Halliday. In it, eighteen-year-old rich girl Phyllis Brighton tries to hire Shayne to protect her mother by watching Phyllis to ensure she doesn’t kill her. A psychologist wants Shayne to work for him for a similar reason. However, the mother is dead by the time Shayne arrives, and he takes on the task of sorting things out.

Having read many of the later Shayne books from the 1950s, I have to admit  this book surprised me. The professional detective who is assisted by a loyal secretary and a reporter friend is nowhere to be seen in this book. Rather, he comes off as a bit of a poor man’s Sam Spade mixed with the roughneck redhead private eye that inspired Halliday to write Shayne. You don’t see much of the charm that made the best Lloyd Nolan Michael Shayne films so enjoyable. This book does explain what might have inspired the worst Nolan film, Dressed to Kill. In, Dividend on Death, Shayne is the uncharming, evidence-destroying oaf of that picture. There’s a sense that Halliday is trying too hard to be hard-boiled in his first detective novel.

That’s not to say it’s all bad. The plot is quite intricate and the solution is clever. The story has some good moments that foreshadow the type of Shayne stories that would come in the future, but it’s not quite there yet. If you’ve read Shayne books before, it’s an interesting curiosity as to how the character began, but if you’re new to the character, I don’t recommend this as it may give a distorted view of what the series will be like.

Rating: 3.0 out of 5.0

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EP2019: Michael Shayne: The Case of the Queen of Narcotics

Vinton Hayworth
A father asks Mike to help his drug-addicted son who put him in the hospital.

Original Air Date: April 3, 1953

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Support the show on a one-time basis at http://support.greatdetectives.net.

Mail a donation to: Adam Graham, PO Box 15913, Boise, Idaho 83715
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Video Theater 096: Michael Shayne: The Trouble with Ernie

A celebrity hero gets caught up in a murder.

Episode 29
Original Air Date: April 21, 1961

EP2013: Michael Shayne: The Purloined Corpse

Jeff Chandler

A hated wealthy man hires Shayne to retrieve the body of his son.

Original Air Date: Sometime in 1948

Support the show monthly at patreon.greatdetectives.net

Support the show on a one-time basis at http://support.greatdetectives.net.

Mail a donation to: Adam Graham, PO Box 15913, Boise, Idaho 83715

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EP2007: Michael Shayne: The Case of the Phantom Neighbor

Jeff Chandler
A woman calls Michael Shayne up to report a dead man in her apartment and that she may have killed him.

Original Air Date: Sometime in 1948

Support the show monthly at patreon.greatdetectives.net

Support the show on a one-time basis at http://support.greatdetectives.net.

Mail a donation to: Adam Graham, PO Box 15913, Boise, Idaho 83715
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