sexta-feira, 30 de março de 2012

Peter Cheyney (1896-1951)

Peter Cheyney was, and so far remains Britain's leading writer of hard-boiled fiction. He created three memorable characters: Lemmy Caution, a ruthless machine-gun toting FBI agent; Slim Callaghan, a British private eye; and himself. According to his friend and fellow writer Dennis Wheatley "he was the greatest liar unhung but a magnificent story teller."

Born Reginald Evelyn Peter Southouse Cheyney in London's Whitechapel, he was the youngest of five children, and was originally known as Reg. He tried various names including Evelyn and Everard, before finally settling for Peter. His father was a thoroughbred Cockney who worked at the Billingsgate fish market, a man who preferred drink to work. His wife eventually sent him packing. She was an industrious woman who would earn enough from making corsets to send young Reg to good schools. Her ambition was for him to become a solicitor.

War intervened and Cheyney was commissioned as a Lieutenant. According to Who's Who, he had been 'seriously wounded', but this was not a view shared by the medical board which soon rescinded his pension. He had lost part of an ear lobe.

Life in a solicitor's office didn't appeal to Reg who wanted to follow his oldest brother into show business. He picked up a few small parts, wrote some sketches and songs, and married a dancer. His wife then won a leading part in an Edgar Wallace musical Whirligig. Wallace was the leading popular novelist of that period and Cheyney tried his hand at fiction but without making any impact.

The turning point for Cheyney occurred in 1926, when he volunteered to serve the semi-official Organisation of the Maintenance of Supplies (OMS) which had been set up in anticipation of the General Strike. The strike only lasted nine days, thanks in part to OMS which assembled 100,000 volunteers to handle essential services, including a daily newspaper - The British Gazette - edited by Winston Churchill.

OMS was managed by Sir George Makgill who also ran the Industrial Intelligence Board (IIB), a very secret intelligence service funded by big business. The IIB had strong links with Special Branch, MI5 and Britain's first fascist party - the British Fascists (BF) - which was founded in 1923.

During those nine days with OMS, Cheyney endeared himself to Colonel Ralph Bingham, one of Makgill's men who had been a member of the General Council of the BF. According to Bingham, 'Cheyney was very efficient · but he made a lot of enemies'.

Fortunately for Cheyney, Bingham - who was very well connected - had taken a shine to the younger man, and he made the right introductions. After Cheyney had met a senior police officer, he started ghosting true-crime stories for publication. Soon, Cheyney was running his own agency that handled both literary work and investigations.

In 1931, Cheyney joined Sir Oswald Mosley's New Party which had been funded by William Morris (later Lord Nuffield) the motor mogul. Cheyney headed up the youth movement, a gang of toughs popularly known as the 'biff boys' whose job was to counter the violence which characterised many political meetings. He also wrote a few articles for Action, the New Party's journal. According to Mosley, Cheyney was particularly good at the job of handling those who disrupted their meetings.

The New Party failed to make any electoral impact and it had folded by the end of the year. With financial backing from Mussolini, the Italian dictator, it was resuscitated the following year as the British Union of Fascists (BUF). Mosley then persuaded several key members of the BF to defect to his cause.

Cheyney was not involved with the BUF and he continued with his mixture of private eye work - both fact and fiction - until he hit pay dirt with This Man is Dangerous (1936). Thereafter, he continued to write at least two books a year until his health gave way.

Cheyney was a big man (6'2") who soon went bald. He was a flamboyant character and he sported a gold monocle, a red carnation, an ornate cloak and a double-barrelled name when such things were in fashion. He was good at golf, fencing, judo and boxing, and he ran a snazzy sports car.

He always tried to distance himself from his humble beginnings, as evidenced by his entry in Who's Who. Also, he only listed the last of his three wives, even though his second wife had brought two children with her. He never had any children of his own. After living in great style, he still left £53,000 - which was pretty serious money in those days.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The incredibly prolific Cheyney didn't limit himself to the exploits of Caution or Callaghan, both of whom became quite the sensations in France, and inspired a rash of popular film adaptations, most starring American actor Eddie Constantine. He created several other series characters, incuding Alonzo MacTavish, a sort of Saint-like adventurer, as well as Julia Herron, Abie Hymie Finkelstein, Etienne MacGregor, Shaun O'Mara and Everard Peter Quayle, and private eyes Nicholas Gale, Terence O'Day, Johnny Vallon and Carlyl O'Hara . Some of these charactrers appeared in a loosely connected series of books, all which had the word "dark" in their titles, that featured British and Nazi agents going at each other during and after WWII. Many consider these Cheyney's best work. Mind you, that's relative.

And, as contributor Philip Eagle correctly points out, no discussion of Cheyney can go by without at least mentioning "the oddest of Cheyney-derived projects -- Jean-Luc Godard's famous dystopian art movie Alphaville. It was originally subtitled "a strange adventure of Lemmy Caution" and featured Cheyney's character thrust into a surreal SF thriller with heavy philosphical overtones. Caution was played, as usual, by Eddie Constantine, who had played the role in most of the earlier, mainstream, French Caution films."

"The film credited Cheyney as writer of the original novel. I haven't read any Cheyney myself," Philip admits, "but from what I've heard I sincerely doubt that the film was actually based on a Cheyney book. The credit was probably simply an acknowledgement of the character's origins. I don't know if you like philosophical French art-house films, but I'd recommend you see it, if only to see one of the stranger uses to which the hard-boiled archetype has been put." In fact, in this one, Caution is, theoretically, a private eye, searching for a missing scientist in a futuristic Paris run by robots and overseen by a dictator.

NOTE: Much of Cheyney's short fiction was apparently first published in Britain in pamphlet form.

"A Double Double-Cross" (May 1924, Hutchinson's Mystery Story Magazine)
"Nice Work" (October 5, 1936, London Evening Standard; Lemmy Caution)
"G" Man at the Yard" (June 26, 1937, The Thriller)
"Night Club (1945, Poynings)
"The Man with the Red Beard" (1943, Todd)
"The Murder of Alonzo" (1943, Polybooks; Alonzo MacTavish)
"The Gangster" (June 1953, MacKill's Mystery Magazine)
"Matter of Habit" (August 1954, MacKill's Mystery Magazine)
"Love Can Be Deadly" (March 1955, The Saint Mystery Magazine)

Publication Date Unknown
"Abie Always Pays (Abie Hymie Finkelstein)
"Abie and the Gangsters (Abie Hymie Finkelstein)
"Abie in Hollywood (Abie Hymie Finkelstein)
"Abie the Sleuth (Abie Hymie Finkelstein)
"Account Overdue"
"Account Rendered" (Slim Callaghan)
"The Affair of Mrs. Lotis Leaf (Etienne MacGregor)
"After Fiesta"
"Ain't Love a Scream (Lemmy Caution)
"Alonzo-Sportsman!" (Alonzo MacTavish)
"Angel in the Sky "
"The Arrest (Alonzo MacTavish)
"At the Grape-Vine" (Slim Callaghan)
"La Belle Dame Sans Souci"
The Big Bluff" (Slim Callaghan)
"The Big Shot" (Lemmy Caution)
"Big-Time Stuff" (Lemmy Caution)
"Birthday for Callaghan" (Slim Callaghan)
"The Biter Bit" (Alonzo MacTavish)
"The Black Mantilla" (Alonzo MacTavish)
"Black-Out" (Slim Callaghan)
"The Bump-Off"
"Callaghan Plus Cupid" (Slim Callaghan)
"The Callaghan Touch" (Slim Callaghan)
'Cash, Please!" (Etienne MacGregor)
"Checkmate" (Etienne MacGregor)
"Chicago Pay-Off "
"China Tea" (Etienne MacGregor)
"Chinese Music" (Alonzo MacTavish)
"Christmas for Callaghan" (Slim Callaghan)
"Clash with Doctor Klaat" (Alonzo MacTavish)
"Cocktail for Cupid"
"Cocktail Party"
"Dames Are So Dizzy" (Lemmy Caution)
"Dance Without Music" (Caryl O'Hara; possibly rewritten as a Slim Callaghan story)
The Date After Dark" (Slim Callaghan)
"The De Lanier Technique"
"Death in the Lift"
The Death on Panhandle"
"Delayed Action" (Terence O'Day)
"The Demure Lady" (Etienne MacGregor)
"The Dencourt Stiletto" (Slim Callaghan)
"The Diamond Scarab" (Alonzo MacTavish)
"The Disappearing Diamonds" (Slim Callaghan)
"Documentary Evidence" (Slim Callaghan)
"Double Alibi" (Slim Callaghan)
"Duet for Mobsters" (Lemmy Caution)
"Enter Alonzo MacTavish" (Alonzo MacTavish)
"Escape for Sandra"
"Exit Permit"
"Fast Work"
"Fifth Column" (Slim Callaghan)
"From the Neck Up!" (Lemmy Caution)
"Gangster Stuff"
"Getlin's Perfect Suicide"
"The Gigolo"
"Green in My Eye"
"Greensleeves" (Etienne MacGregor)
"The Guess Comes Off" (Slim Callaghan)
"Gun Moll Blues"
"The Gypsy Warned Me"
"He Walked in Her Sleep" (Alonzo MacTavish)
"He Who Laughs Last" (Alonzo MacTavish)
"The Heat for Six" (Lemmy Caution)
"Hey...Duchess!" (Lemmy Caution)
"Hey...Sherlock" (Lemmy Caution)
"Honour Among Thieves"
"The House with the Glass Roof" (Alonzo MacTavish)
"The House with the Yellow Bricks" (Alonzo MacTavish)
"The Humour of Huang Chen"
"The Humour of Lo-Chung"
"I Should Know Better"
"In the Bag" (Slim Callaghan)
"In the Hall" (Slim Callaghan)
"Information Received"
"It Comes Off Sometimes" (Slim Callaghan)
"It Runs in the Family" (Slim Callaghan)
"Julia Rose Petal" (Etienne MacGregor)
"The Key"
"Lady in Green" (Alonzo MacTavish)
"Lady in Love" (Slim Callaghan)
"Lady in Luck" (Julia Herron)
"The Lady in Tears" (Slim Callaghan)
"A Lady of Quality"
"The Last Straw"
"A Life for a Lamp"
"Love and Larceny" (Terence O'Day)
"Love with a Gun"
"Luck...and a Lady" (Alonzo MacTavish)
"The Lucky Chance"
"The Man with the Eyeglass"
"The Man with the Red Beard"
"The Man with Two Wives" (Slim Callaghan)
"A Matter of Cooperation" (Slim Callaghan)
"A Matter of Luck" (Alonzo MacTavish)
"The Mauser Pistol" (Alonzo MacTavish)
"Mayfair Melody"
"The Missing Bullet" (Slim Callaghan)
"The Missing Rembrandt" (Alonzo MacTavish)
"The Mouthpiece Talks" (Lemmy Caution)
"The Murder of Alonzo" (Alonzo MacTavish)
"Murder with a Twist" (Slim Callaghan)
"The Mystery Blues" (Alonzo MacTavish)
"The Net of Dr. Klaat"
"Night Club"
"Not So Dumb"
"Not-So-Secret Service!" (Julia Herron)
"Of a Delay in the Post"
"Of an Experience of Pierre Duchesne"
"Of Honoria Dove-Mellifleur"
"Of Pastoral Blackmail"
"Of Perfume and Sudden Death"
"Of the Demise of Mr. Evelyn Sout"
"Of the Dream of Erasmus Bellamy"
"Of the King of Tarragona"
"Of the Reclamation of Captain Kidd"
"Of the Vengeance of Hyacinth Jones"
"On the Cards" (Slim Callaghan)
"One Born Every Minute"
"One for the Dutchess"
"One for the Heiress" (Lemmy Caution)
"The Orange Kid"
"The Other Uncle" (Etienne MacGregor)
"The Pay-Off"
"The Peacock Fan" (Alonzo MacTavish)
"The Perfumed Ghost"
"The Pin"
"Poets Can't Take It"
"Portrait of a "G" Man"
"The Return of Klaat" (Alonzo MacTavish)
"The River That Ran Sideways" (Etienne MacGregor)
"A Set-Up for Psychology"
"The Sleeping Car"
"The Sleeping Glass"
"The Sliding Scale" (Etienne MacGregor)
"The Smoking Lamp" (Etienne MacGregor)
"Sob-Stuff" (Lemmy Caution)
"Sold!" (Alonzo MacTavish)
"A Spot of Murder" (Slim Callaghan)
"A Square Deal"
"Sweet Murder at Figg's End"
"The Sweetheart of the Razors" (Etienne MacGregor)
"The Telephone Talks" (Slim Callaghan)
"They Had an Alibi" (Lemmy Caution)
"They Had It Comin'" (Lemmy Caution)
"They Kidnapped Cecelia" (Slim Callaghan)
"This "Other Woman" Stuff" (Julia Herron)
"This Intuition Business" (Carew)
"The Three Grey Men of Mote Hall" (Alonzo MacTavish)
"Three Men on Tampa"
"The Tiger at Twelve"
"To Him Who "Waits"" (Alonzo MacTavish)
"Too Many Cooks" (Alonzo MacTavish)
"A Tough Spot for Cupid" (Carew)
"Truth Is Never Acceptable"
"The Unhappy Lady" (Alonzo MacTavish)
"Velvet Johnnie"
"Vengeance with a Twist" (Slim Callaghan)
"We Girls Must Hang Together"
"The Weeping Lady"
"The Wine Glass" (Lemmy Caution"
"The Wo Hang Coffin" (Alonzo MacTavish"
"A Woman Scorned"
"The Yellow Kaffir (Etienne MacGregor)
"You Can't Hit a Woman"
"You Can't Trust Duchesses (Slim Callaghan)
"You Can't Trust Husbands"
"You'd Be Surprised" (Julia Herron)
"Your Deal Madame"

This Man Is Dangerous (1936; Lemmy Caution)
Dames Don't Care (1937; Lemmy Caution)
Poison Ivy (1937; Lemmy Caution)
Can Ladies Kill? (1938; Lemmy Caution)
The Urgent Hangman (1938; Slim Callaghan)
Dangerous Curves (1939; Slim Callaghan)
Don't Get Me Wrong (1939; Lemmy Caution)
Another Little Drink (1940)
You Can't Keep the Change (1940; Slim Callaghan)
You'd Be Surprised (1940)
It Couldn't Matter Less (1941; Slim Callaghan)
A Trap for Bellamy (1941)
Your Deal, My Lovely (1941; Lemmy Caution)
Dark Duet (1942)
Never a Dull Moment (1942; Lemmy Caution; Slim Callaghan)
Sorry You've Been Troubled (1942; Slim Callaghan)
Alonzo MacTavish Again (1943; Alonzo MacTavish)
Farewell to the Admiral (1943 )
Premeditated Murder (1943)
The Stars Are Dark (1943; Everard Peter Quayle)
The Unscrupulous Mr. Callaghan (1943; Slim Callaghan)
You Can Always Duck (1943; Lemmy Caution)
Account Rendered (1944)
The Counterspy Murders (1944)
The Dark Street (1944; Everard Peter Quayle)
The London Spy Murders (1944)
They Never Say When (1944; Slim Callaghan)
Escape for Sandra (1945; Everard Peter Quayle)
I'll Say She Does! (1945 ; Lemmy Caution)
Sinister Errand (1945; Michael Kells)
Dark Hero (1946)
The Dark Street Murders (1946)
Time for Caution (1946; Lemmy Caution)
Uneasy Terms (1946; Slim Callaghan)
The Case of the Dark Hero (1947)
Dark Interlude (1947; Shaun O'Mara; Everard Peter Quayle)
Dark Wanton (1948; Everard Peter Quayle)
Try Anything Twice (1948)
The Man Nobody Saw (1949)
One of Those Things (1949)
You Can Call It a Day (1949; Johnny Vallon)
Dark Bahama (1950; Johnny Vallon)
Lady Beware (1950 )
Lady, Behave! (1950; Johnny Vallon)
Set-Up for Murder (1950)
Ladies Won't Wait (1951; Michael Kells)
Mistress Murder (1951)
Dressed to Kill (1952)
I'll Bring Her Back (1952)
Cocktails and the Killer (1957)
Sinister Murders (1957)
Case of the Dark Wanton (1958)
The Terrible Night (1959)
Undressed to Kill (1959)
Callaghan (1973)

You Can't Hit a Woman and Other Stories (1937)
Knave Takes Queen (1939; enlarged edition 1950)
Mr. Caution-Mr. Callaghan (1941; Slim Callaghan, Lemmy Caution)
Calling Mr. Callaghan (1943; Slim Callaghan)
The Adventures of Alonzo MacTavish (1943; Alonzo MacTavish)
Love with a Gun and Other Stories (1943)
Making Crime Pay (1944)
A Spot of Murder and Other Stories (1946; Slim Callaghan)
Vengeance with a Twist and Other Stories (1946; Slim Callaghan)
Dance Without Music (1945; Slim Callaghan)
EA Tough Spot for Cupid and Other Stories (1945)
You Can't Trust Duchesses and Other Stories (1945)
Date After Dark and Other Stories (1946; Slim Callaghan)
G Man at the Yard (1946; Lemmy Caution)
He Walked in Her Sleep and Other Stories (1946; Alonzo MacTavish)
The Man with Two Wives and Other Stories (1946; Slim Callaghan)
Lady in Green and Other Stories (1947; Alonzo MacTavish)
A Matter of Luck and Other Stories (1947; Alonzo MacTavish)
The Curiosity of Etienne MacGregor (1947; Etienne MacGregor; AKA The Sweetheart of the Razors)
Cocktail for Cupid and Other Stories (1948)
Cocktail Party and Other Stories (1948)
Fast Work and Other Stories (1948)
Information Received and Other Stories (1948)
The Lady in Tears and Other Stories (1948)
No Ordinary Cheyney (1948)
The Unhappy Lady and Other Stories (1948; Alonzo MacTavish)
Velvet Johnnie and Other Stories (1952)
G Man at the Yard (1953; Lemmy Caution, Slim Callaghan, Alonzo MacTavish)
The Adventures of Julia and Two Other Spy Stories (1954; Julia Herron; AKA Killing Game, You'd Be Surprised)
The Best Stories of Peter Cheyney (1954)
He Walked in Her Sleep (1954; Alonzo MacTavish; AKA MacTavish)
The Mystery Blues and Other Stories (1954)
The Mystery Blues and Other Stories Peter Cheyney (1954; AKA Fast Work)



Peter Cheyney
An extensive bibliography.
Contributed by Bryan Clough, author of Approaching Zero, Cheating at Cards and the upcoming Malignant Moles, the true story of the British fascist parties in the 20's and 30's, which will include several references to Cheyney. Also, thanks to Philip Eagle for some of the info on this page.

quarta-feira, 28 de março de 2012

Única livraria de poesia do país fecha as portas “sem dívidas”

  • Poesia Incompleta funcionava em Lisboa há quase três anos e meio


    27.03.2012 - 17:59 Por Hugo Torres
Mário Guerra, único responsável pela Poesia Incompleta, que abriu portas em Novembro de 2008Mário Guerra, único responsável pela Poesia Incompleta, que abriu portas em Novembro de 2008 (João Gaspar/arquivo)
 Lisboa perdeu a sua única livraria exclusivamente dedicada à poesia. Lisboa e o país. A Poesia Incompleta era caso sem-par em Portugal até hoje, terça-feira, dia em que fechou as portas. O proprietário, Mário Guerra, admite reabrir num outro espaço, mas não consegue esconder a profunda desilusão com o rumo do país.
“Está a respirar-se mal neste país. Este país não é para velhos, nem para novos, nem para os do meio. Estou a pensar emigrar, como sugeriu um ministro qualquer”, afirma ao PÚBLICO, num tom irónico que o leva a dizer que vai “doar” os volumes de poesia que sobraram na livraria ao ministro adjunto e dos Assuntos Parlamentares, Miguel Relvas.

O que é dizer muito. A Poesia Incompleta tem um fundo de oito a dez mil volumes de e sobre poesia, em mais de 30 línguas, e com mais de 260 editoras, segundo a Lusa. A livraria, que estava aberta ao público desde Novembro de 2008, tinha três salas por onde se espalhava todo este espólio, que incluía raridades e antiguidades.

Mário Guerra partilhou os títulos que foram chegando à livraria ao longo destes quase três anos e meio no blogue onde, nesta segunda-feira, anunciou o fim da linha para a Poesia Incompleta. A curtíssima nota acabava com a possibilidade de abrir num outro espaço: “Amanhã, a PI fechará portas. Espera-se que as reabra em breve, num novo local.”

Questionado pelo PÚBLICO sobre a eventual reabertura, volta a ironizar: “Vamos reabrir no estádio nacional”. O que Mário Guerra enfatiza é que a Poesia Incompleta chega ao fim “sem uma única dívida”. “A Poesia Incompleta fecha sem ninguém poder dizer que temos sequer uma dívida. E isso é óptimo. E raro.”

“Não quero relacionar de maneira nenhuma o fecho da minha livraria com o fecho das outras. A Poesia Incompleta fecha porque tem de fechar”, acrescenta. “Não me queixo de nada. A crise é espiritual.”

domingo, 25 de março de 2012

Mickey Spillane


Mickey Spillane
(Frank Morrison Spillane)
"Those big-shot writers could never dig the fact that there are more salted peanuts consumed than caviar."
Mickey Spillane

"Anyone who doesn't recognize Spillane's importance is an idiot."
Max Allan Collins

Frank Morrison Spillane was a Brooklyn kid, born on March 9, 1918, the only child of Catherine Anne and John Joseph Spillane, an Irish-American bartender who nicknamed him "Mickey."

He passed away July 17, 2006 at his home in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina, leaving behind a wife, a couple of ex-wives, four children, possibly as many as 200 million copies of his books in print and plenty of satisfied customers.

The most popular of those books, of course, feature Spillane's hard-boiled gumshoe/avenger Mike Hammer, the New York eye whose every case turned into a personal vendetta that -- following a suitable number of trysts with beautiful and generally willing babes and raw scenes of brutality -- inevitably ended with Hammer serving up his own kind of justice, usually out of the smoking barrel of a .45.

The critics may have sneered at Spillane's sex-and-violence-filled romps (and admittedly, sometimes it was difficult to tell where the sex ended and the violence began), and he may have been denounced in churches and at US Senate hearings, but the public ate up his books.

Spillane became, easily, the best selling private eye writer of his time and Hammer became a multi-media juggernaut, appearing on radio and in films, a daily newspaper comic strip and not one but two popular television series, as well as, of course, thirteen best-selling novels, stretching from I, the Jury in 1947 and wrapping up with Black Alley in 1996.

Spillane became something of a media star himself himself, playing the part of Hammer in the 1963 film version of The Girl Hunters and appearing as a spokesman for Miller Lite beer TV ad for almost two decades.

Spillane wrote about other memorable tough-guy characters, including super-spy Tiger Mann in a spate of novels written in the mid-1960s, Dogeron Kelly in The Erection Set (1972) and Mako Hooker, a semi-retired spy in Spillane's last novel, Something's Down There, published in 2003, when the author was 85.

But it was Hammer, and Spillane's take-no-prisoner's blend of blood and lust and vengeance that captured the imagination of Cold War audiences and influenced countless imitators.

His success also had a major impact on publishing. Although I, the Jury sold a respectable 10,000 or so copies in hardcover, it was the then-unheard sale of over two million copies of the paperback edition that got the industry's attention. Seemingly overnight, the previously neglected paperback was everywhere, appearing in spinner racks from coast to coast, as publishers rushed to tap into the public's hunger for inexpensive literary thrills, even launching entire paperbacklines such as the legendary Fawcett Gold Medal that published original novels, not reprints.

* * * * *

Spillane grew up in Brooklyn and Elizabeth, New Jersey and graduated from high school in Brooklyn right at the height of the Depression. A natural storyteller, he managed to sell a story or two to various magazines, but mostly he worked odd jobs (including a stint as a lifeguard) before enrolling at Fort Hays State College in Kansas, where he played football and swam competively.

He never graduated, though, and by 1940, he was working part-time in a New York department store during the Christmas rush. There he met another Brooklyn-born youth who introduced Spillane to his brother, Ray Gill, an editor in need of someone to churn out short pieces for his Timely Comics line (including prose in their comics allowed publishers to qualify for cheaper postal rates). Spillane proved up to the task, but left to join the U.S. Army Air Force in the wake of Pearl Harbor.

He served his time as a flight instructor in Mississippi, where he met his first wife, Mary Ann Pearce. After the war, the couple returned to Brooklyn, with dreams of buying a house and some land. Spillane hooked up with the Gill brothers again, this time in a new comic-book freelancing venture. He came up with the idea for new comic, based around a tough, hard-boiled private eye called Mike Danger.

"I wanted to get away from the flying heroes, and I had the prototype cop," Spillane explained.

Unfortunately,Danger failed to sell. Spillane then tried to sell it as a comic strip. According to Mike Benton in his The Illustrated History of Crime Comics, "In 1947, Spillane wrote a "Mike Danger"comic strip for the newspapers. Drawn by Mike Roy and offered by Jerry Iger's syndicate, the comic strip appeared briefly in New York area newspapers and disappeared. Spillane decided to leave the world of comics to become a mystery writer."

He retooled Danger, re-named him Mike Hammer and supposedly cranked out I, the Jury in three weeks. With the help of Ray Gill, he sold it to E. P. Dutton & Co, whose editors weren't apparently all that impressed with Spillane's writing, but nonetheless thought there might be a market for it. So they gave it a shot.

The rest is history. Always a fast -- if not particularly prolific -- writer, he cranked out six more novels, all bestsellers, in the next five years, including My Gun is Quick, One Lonely Night and Vengeance is Mine.

Despite his staggering success, though, in his private life Spillane lived simply. He became a Jehovah's Witness in the early 1950s and moved his family (by then he and Mary Ann had four kids) to Murrells Inlet, a quiet beach community in South Carolina, where he continued to pound away on a manual typewriter.

Unfortunately, the marriage ended in divorce. In 1964, he married an actress, Sherri Malinou, who posed nude on the cover of The Erection Set, but that marriage also ended. In 1983, Spillane married Jane Rodgers Johnson.

* * * * *

Spillane never took himself too seriously, at least publicly, spurning the moniker of "author,'' insisting he wrote simply for the money, and cheerfully admitting he represented "the chewing gum of American literature."

Certainly, Spillane was no great stylist -- his prose was, at best, blunt, direct and workmanlike, just like Hammer. But at its worst it was occasionally so overboiled as to approach parody.

As in "her breasts were laughing things"? And I'm still trying to figure out what "he took off like a herd of turtles," from I, the Jury, actually means.

He was also something of a rarity in publishing -- he was unapologetically conservative, an "unconditional believer in good and evil" who seemed to delight in rattling cages in his fiction, slamming Communists and liberals and anyone else he took exception to. He wasn't above dishing out often crude (even for the era) caricatures of independent women, homosexuals and various racial and ethnic groups (in the early novels, for example, the depiction of blacks -- almost all of whom are domestics or criminals -- still manages to make one cringe -- mostly because it seems simply so gratuitous and mean-spirited). And the virgin/whore complex Hammer had towards women and particularly in regards to his peculiar relationship with Velda, his long-suffering secretary, was nothing short of just plain twisted.

And yet, for all his ham-handed excess and unapologetic worldview that even then must have raised a few eyebrows, the best of Spillane's books, and particularly the Hammer novels, possess a fierce, driving energy and white-hot passion that cannot be denied; one that drags the reader along in its wake and keeps them turning pages.

You step into Hammer's world at your own risk, but by the end of the book, you'll know you've read something, damn it.


"I don't give a hoot about reading reviews. What I want to read is the royalty checks."
(Mickey Spillane)

"I'm actually a softie. Tough guys get killed too early... I've got a full head of hair and don't wear eye glasses... And I've kept the smoke coming out of the chimney for a very long time."
(Mickey Spillane, 2004)
"Spillane broke down the barriers, where sex and violence were concerned, and this pissed people off. Also, he was perceived as right-wing. The vigilante approach Hammer used turned the stomachs of many liberals... (Spillane) is number three, after Hammett and Chandler (in a list of the 10 most important detective novelists of the 20th century). Anyone who doesn't recognize Spillane's importance is an idiot. There are paperback originals because Gold Medal Books was created to fill the public's demand for Spillane-type fare. Disliking Spillane's writing is one thing -- ignoring history is another. "
(Max Allan Collins, The January Magazine Interview)

"Spillane is like eating takeout fried chicken: so much fun to consume, but you can feel those lowlife grease-induced zits rising before you've finished the first drumstick."
(Sally Eckhoff , The Village Voice)


I, the Jury (1947; Mike Hammer) ...Buy this book
My Gun Is Quick (1950; Mike Hammer) ...Buy this book
Vengeance Is Mine! (1950; Mike Hammer) ...Buy this book
The Big Kill (1951, Mike Hammer)...Buy this book
The Long Wait (1951)
One Lonely Night (1951; Mike Hammer)...Buy this book
Kiss Me, Deadly (1952; Mike Hammer)...Buy this book
The Deep (1961)
The Girl Hunters (1962; Mike Hammer)
Day of the Guns (1964; Tiger Mann)
The Snake (1964; Mike Hammer)
Bloody Sunrise (1965; Tiger Mann)
The Death Dealers (1965; Tiger Mann)
The By-Pass Control 1966; Tiger Mann)
The Twisted Thing (1966; Mike Hammer)
The Body Lovers (1967; Mike Hammer)
The Delta Factor (1967)....Buy this book
Survival Zero (1970; Mike Hammer)
The Erection Set (1972)
The Last Cop Out (1973)
The Day The Sea Rolled Back (1979; young adult)
The Ship That Never Was (1982; young adult)
The Killing Man (1989; Mike Hammer)
Black Alley (1996; Mike Hammer)...Buy this book
Something Down There (2003).. Buy this book
Dead Street (2007) ., Buy this book

Completed by Max Allan Collins
The Goliath Bone (2008; Mike Hammer)... Buy this book....Kindle it!
The Big Bang (2010; Mike Hammer)... Buy this book....Kindle it!
Kiss Her Goodbye (2011; Mike Hammer).. Buy this book
The Consummata (2012)...Buy this book. .Kindle it!
Lady, Go Die! (2012; Mike Hammer).. Buy this book
Complex 90 (2013; Mike Hammer)
King of the Weeds (2014; Mike Hammer)


"Fresh Meat for a Raider" (Winter 1941, Sub-Mariner Comics #4; also 2004, Primal Spillane)
"Clams Make the Man" (1942, Joker #2; also 2004, Primal Spillane)
"The Sea of Grassy Death" (February 1942, Marvel Mystery Comics #28; also 2004, Primal Spillane)
"The Ship In the Desert" (March 1942, Marvel Mystery Comics #29; also 2004, Primal Spillane)
"Jinx Heap" (March 1942, Blue Bolt, Vol. 2, #10; also 2004, Primal Spillane)
"Lumps of Death" (April 1942, Marvel Mystery Comics #30; also 2004, Primal Spillane)
"Killer's Return" (May 1942, Marvel Mystery Comics #31; also 2004, Primal Spillane)
"Terror in the Grass" (May 1942, Blue BoIt Vol. 2, #12; also 2004, Primal Spillane)
"Creature of the Deep" (May 1942, Target Comics, #27; also 2004, Primal Spillane)
"Trouble - Come and Get It" (Spring 1942, 4 Most Comics #2; also 2004, Primal Spillane)
"Tight Spot" (Spring 1942, Sub-Mariner Comics #5; also 2004, Primal Spillane)
"Devil Cat" (Spring 1942, Human Torch #7; also 2004, Primal Spillane)
"A Case of Poison Ivy" (June 1942, Blue Bolt, Vol. 3 #1; also 2004, Primal Spillane)
"Last Ride" (June 1942, Marvel I Mystery Comics #32; also 2004, Primal Spillane)
"Jap Trap" (July 1942, Marvel Mystery Comics #33; also 2004, Primal Spillane)
"The Curse of Tut Ken Amen" (August 1942, Marvel Mystery Comics #34; also 2004, Primal Spillane)
"'Woodsman's Test" (Summer 1942, 4 Most Comics #3; also 2004, Primal Spillane)
"The Woim Toins" (Summer 1942, All Winners Comics #5; also 2004, Primal Spillane)
"The Sea Serpent" (Summer 1942, Sub-Mariner Comics #6; also 2004, Primal Spillane)
"Flight Over Tokyo" (Summer 1942, Human Torch #8; also 2004, Primal Spillane)
"A Shot in the Dark" (August 1942, Blue Bolt, Vol. #3, #3; also 2004, Primal Spillane)
"Undersea Champion" (August 1942, Target Comics #30; also 2004, Primal Spillane)
"Satan Himself!" (September 1942, Marvel Mystery Comics #35; also 2004, Primal Spillane)
"Man in the Moon" (Fall 1942, All Winners #6; also 2004, Primal Spillane)
"Woe Is Me!" (October 1942, Marvel Mystery Comics #36; also 2004, Primal Spillane)
"Scram, Bugs!" (November 1942, Marvel Mystery Comics #37; also 2004, Primal Spillane)
"Spook Ship" (November 1942, Target Comics #33; also 2004, Primal Spillane)
"Sky Busters" (December 1942, Target Comics #34; also 2004, Primal Spillane)
"The Veiled Woman" (November/December1952, Fantastic; sci-fi; ghost-written by Howard Browne, from an outline by Spillane)
"Together We Kill" (January 1953, Cavalier; also 2001, Together We Kill)
"Everybody's Watching Me" (January-April 1953, Manhunt; serialized in four issues; 2001, Pulp Masters)
"The Girl Behind the Hedge" (October 1953, Manhunt; AKA "The Lady Says Die!")
"The Night I Died" (1953; Mike Hammer; originally an unproduced radio play, tidied up and presented as a short story by Max Allan Collins in 1998's Private Eyes, edited by Spillane and Collins)
"The Pickpocket" (December 1954, Manhunt; 1984, Tomorrow I Die)
"Tonight My Love" (1954, released as 33 1/3 and 45 rpm records Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer Story)
"The Screen Test of Mike Hammer" (July 1955, Male)
"Tomorrow I Die, (February 1956, Cavalier)
"Stand Up and Die!" (June 1958, Cavalier; 1984)
"Me, Hood!" July 1959, Cavalier)
"I'll Die Tomorrow" (March 1960, Cavalier)
"The Seven Year Kill" (July 1960, Cavalier)
"Kick It or Kill" (July 1961, Cavalier; AKA "The Girl Hunters")
"The Affair with the Dragon Lady" (March 1962, Cavalier)
"Hot Cat" (April 1964, Saga)
"The Bastard Bannerman" (June 1964, Saga)
"The Flier (1964, The Flier; AKA "Hot Cat")
"Return of the Hood" (1964, Return of the Hood; 1969, Me, Hood!)
"The Seven Year Kill" (1964, The Flier)
"The Big Bang" (January 1965, Saga; AKA "Return of the Hood)
"Death of the Too-Cute Prostitute" October 1965, Man's Magazine; AKA "Man Alone")
"The Gold Fever Tapes" (1973, Stag Annual #15; 1984, Tomorrow I Die)
"The Dread Chinatown Man" (August 1975, True)
"Toys for the Man-Child" (August 1975, True)
"Sex Is My Vengeance" (1984, Tomorrow I Die)
"Trouble... Come and Get It" (1984, Tomorrow I Die).
"The Killing Man" (December 1989, Playboy; Mike Hammer)
"There's a Killer Loose!" (August 2008 EQMM; co-written by Max Allan Collins)

Me, Hood! (1963)
Return of the Hood
Killer Mine (1968)
The Flier (1964)
The Tough Guys (1969)
Tomorrow I Die (1984)
Together We Kill: The Uncollected Stories of Mickey Spillane (2001)
Collection of "lost" stories, edited by Lynn Myers and Max Allan Collins.
The Mike Hammer Collection Volume 1 (2001)...Buy this book
Handsome paperback omnibus collection of first three Mike Hammer novels, with a new introduction by Max Allan Collins..
The Mike Hammer Collection Volume 2 (2001)...Buy this book
Second trade paperback omnibus collects "One Lonely Night," "The Big Kill" and "Kiss Me, Deadly", plus an introduction by Lawrence Block..
Primal Spillane (2004).. Order this book from Gryphon
Another collection of pulp stories, featuring hard-boiled, crime, WWII, suspense, thrillers, monster stories & even a couple of SF stories. Edited by Lynn Myers and Max Allan Collins..
Byline: Mickey Spillane! (2004)...Buy this book
Edited by Max Allan Collins and Lynn Myers. Final collection of Spillane odds and sods, including work from non-fiction articles about race cars and scuba diving from mens' magazines and a Mike Hammer comedy/fantasy short story circa the late 1950's entitled "The Duke Alexander." Also included is a script for "Tonight, My Love!" from the LP Spillane did in 1954. From Crippen & Landru.
The Mike Hammer Collection Volume 3 (2010)...Buy this book
Third big collection rounds up "The Girl Hunters," "The Snake" and "The Twisted Thing."