Davis Dresser

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General Information

Name: Davis Dresser

Pen Name: Brett Halliday, Asa Baker, Matthew Blood, Kathryn Culver, Don Davis, Hal Debrett, Anthony Scott, Peter Field, and Anderson Wayne

Genres: Fiction, Mysteries,

Born: July 31, 1904 in Chicago, Illinois

Died: February 4, 1977 in Santa Barbara, California

Illinois Connection

Halliday was born in Chicago, Illinois.

Biographical and Professional Information

Dresser was best known for his long-lived series of Mike Shayne novels written under the pen name of Brett Halliday but in 1958 he ceased publishing novels under the pen name. Ghost writers penned the Brett Halliday books after that.

The Shayne series went on to be highly successful and twelve motion pictures were made, seven of them featuring Lloyd Nolan as Shayne. Five of the Nolan films, which were produced by 20th Century Fox, have been released on DVD: Michael Shayne, Private Detective; Sleepers West; Dressed to Kill; Blue, White and Perfect; and The Man Who Wouldn't Die.

After the Fox series ended, five more Shayne films were made by PRC which featured Hugh Beaumont as the detective. There was also a TV series in 1960, starring Richard Denning. The 2005 film Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is based partly on Halliday's novel Bodies Are Where You Find Them.

Dresser also wrote non-series mysteries, westerns and romances under the pen names Asa Baker, Kathryn Culver, Don Davis, Anthony Scott, Peter Field and Anderson Wayne. He wrote under the joint pen names of Hal Debrett with his wife Kathleen Rollins and Matthew Blood with Ryerson Johnson. He edited several books including: Big Time Mysteries, Murder in Miami, Best Detective Stories of the Year, 16th and 17th Annual Collections, Dutton, 2 vols. With his wife Helen McCloy, Dresser also edited: 20 Great Tales of Murder and Murder, Murder, Murder: 10 Tales from 20 Great Tales of Murder.

A founding member of the Mystery Writers of America, Dresser was presented with an Edgar Award for Outstanding Mystery Criticism in 1954. He lived in Santa Barbara, California, until his death at the age of 72.

Published Works

Written under the pen name, Brett Halliday:

  • Dividend on Death, Center Books, 1939
  • The Private Practice of Michael Shayne, 1940
  • The Uncomplaining Corpse, Holt, 1940
  • Tickets for Death, Dell, 1941
  • Bodies are Where You Find Them, Holt, 1941
  • The Corpse Came Calling, Dodd Mead, 1942
  • Murder Wears a Mummer's Mask , Dodd Mead, 1943
  • Blood on the Black Market, Dell, 1943
  • Michael Shayne's Long Chance, Dell, 1944
  • Murder and the Married Virgin, Dell, 1944
  • Murder is My Business, 1945
  • Marked for Murder, Grosset and Dunlap, 1945
  • Blood on Biscayne Bay, Dell, 1946
  • Counterfeit Wife, Dell, 1947
  • Blood on the Stars, Dell, 1948
  • A Taste for Violence, Dodd Mead, 1949
  • Call for Michael Shayne, Dodd Mead, 1949
  • This is It, Michael Shayne, Dell, 1950
  • Framed in Blood, Dell, 1951
  • What Really Happened, Dell, 1952
  • When Dorinda Dances, Dell, 1951
  • One Night with Nora, Dell, 1953
  • She Woke to Darkness, Torquil, 1954
  • Death Has Three Lives, Torquil, 1955
  • Stranger in Town, Dell, 1955
  • The Blonde Cried Murder, Dell, 1956
  • Weep for a Blonde, Dell, 1957
  • Shoot the Works, Dell, 1957
  • Murder and the Wanton Bride, Torquil, 1958
  • Fit to Kill, Dell, 1958

Written under the pen name, Asa Baker:

  • Mum's the Word for Murder, Dodd, 1938
  • The Kissed Corpse, Carlyle House, 1939

Written with Ryerson Johnson under the joint pen name, Matthew Blood:

  • The Avenger, Fawcett, 1952
  • Death Is a Lovely Dame, Fawcett, 1954

Written under the pen name, Kathryn Culver:

  • The Feminine Touch, Phoenix Press, 1936
  • Love Is a Masquerade, Phoenix Press, 1935
  • Million Dollar Madness, Hillman-Curl, 1937
  • Too Smart for Love, Hillman-Curl, 1937
  • Green Path to the Moon, Hillman-Curl, 1938
  • Once to Every Woman, Godwin, 1938
  • Girl Alone, Grammercy, 1939

Written under the pen name, Don Davis:

  • Return of the Rio Kid, Morrow, 1940
  • Death on Treasure Trail, Hutchison, 1940, Morrow, 1941
  • Rio Kid Justice, Morrow, 1941
  • Two-Gun Rio Kid, Morrow, 1941

Written with Kathleen Rollins under the joint pen name, Hal Debrett:

  • Before I Wake, Dodd, 1949
  • A Lonely Way to Die, Dodd, 1950

Written under the pen name, DAVIS DRESSER:

  • Death Rides the Pecos, Morrow, 1940
  • The Hangmen of Sleepy Valley, Morrow, 1940
  • Lynch-Rope Law, Morrow, 1941
  • Murder on the Mesa, Ward Lock, 1953
  • Let's Laugh at Love, Hillman-Curl, 1937
  • Romance for Julie, Curl, 1938
  • Gunsmoke on the Mesa, Carlton, 1941

Written under the pen name, Anderson Wayne:

  • Charlie Dell, Coward McCann, 1952, published as A Time to Remember, Popular Library, 1959

Written under the pen name, Peter Field:

  • Guns from Powder Valley, Morrow, 1941
  • Powder Valley Pay-off, Morrow, 1941
  • Trail South from Powder Valley, Morrow, 1942
  • Fight for Powder Valley!, Morrow, 1942
  • Law Man of Powder Valley, Morrow, 1942
  • Powder Valley Vengeance, Morrow, 1943
  • Sheriff on the Spot, Jefferson House, 1943
  • Death Rides the Night, Jefferson House, 1944
  • The Smoking Iron, Books, Inc., 1944
  • Midnight Round-up, Jefferson House, 1944
  • The Road to Laramie, Jefferson House, 1945
  • The End of the Trail, Jefferson House, 1945
  • Powder Valley Showdown, Jefferson House, 1946

Written under the pen name, Anthony Scott:

  • Mardi Gras Madness, Godwin, 1934
  • Test of Virtue, Godwin, 1934
  • Ten Toes Up, Godwin, 1935
  • Virgin's Holiday, Godwin, 1935
  • Ladies of Chance, Godwin, 1936
  • Stolen Sins, Godwin, 1936
  • Satan Rides the Night, Godwin, 1938
  • Temptation, Godwin, 1938

Titles at Your Library

Dividend on Death

Release Date: 1942-11-01

The private practice of Michael Shayne

Release Date: 1942

The Uncomplaining Corpses

Release Date: 1940

Tickets for Death

ASIN: B001R654L6
Release Date: 1941

Bodies Are Where You Find Them

Release Date: 1941

Blood on the Black Market

Release Date: 1947

Michael Shayne's Long Chance

ASIN: B0018Z1258
Release Date: 1955

Murder Is My Business (Hard Case Crime Novels)

ISBN: 0857683470
Release Date: 2011-03-29

Find on World Cat

Marked For Murder

Release Date: 1945

Blood on Biscayne Bay

Release Date: 1960

Counterfeit Wife (Dell #280)

Release Date: 1947

Blood on the Stars (Dell No. 891)

Release Date: 1956

A taste for violence (A Red badge mystery)

ASIN: B0006ARY08
Release Date: 1949

Call for Michael Shayne (A Red badge mystery)

Release Date: 1949

What Really Happened (Mike Shayne Mysteries)

ASIN: B0018Z67AS
Release Date:

One Night with Nora

ASIN: B0018Z4TR6
Release Date: 1960

She Woke to Darkness

Release Date: 1954

Weep for a Blonde: A Mike Shayne Mystery

ASIN: B008N3T872
Release Date:

Murder and the wanton bride (A torquil book)

Release Date: 1958

Mike Shayne : Fit to Kill

Release Date: 1966

The Kissed Corpse

Release Date: 1939

The Feminine Touch

Release Date: 1936

Too smart for love

Release Date: 1937

Before I wake (A Red badge mystery)

Release Date: 1949

Literary Awards

Edgar Award for Outstanding Mystery Criticism, 1954

External Links

Brett Halliday on WorldCat

Asa Baker on WorldCat

Matthew Blood on WorldCat

Kathryn Culver on WorldCat

Don Davis on WorldCat

Hal Debrett on WorldCat

Anthony Scott on WorldCat

Peter Field on WorldCat

Anderson Wayne on WorldCat


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