Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

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

Genre: Fiction Mysteries

Audience: Adult;

Born: July 31, 1904 in Chicago, Illinois

Died: February 4, 1977 in Santa Barbara, California

-- 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 --

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, 1958Written under the pen name, Asa Baker:
  • Mum's the Word for Murder, Dodd, 1938
  • The Kissed Corpse, Carlyle House, 1939Written with Ryerson Johnson under the joint pen name, Matthew Blood:
  • The Avenger, Fawcett, 1952
  • Death Is a Lovely Dame, Fawcett, 1954Written 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, 1939Written 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, 1941Written with Kathleen Rollins under the joint pen name, Hal Debrett:
  • Before I Wake, Dodd, 1949
  • A Lonely Way to Die, Dodd, 1950Written 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, 1941Written under the pen name, Anderson Wayne:
  • Charlie Dell, Coward McCann, 1952, published as A Time to Remember, Popular Library, 1959Written 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, 1946Written 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

Selected Titles At Your Library

Murder is my business /
ISBN: 0857683470. OCLC Number:

Hard Case Crime,. New York, NY :. 2010, ©1945.

Legendary private eye Mike Shayne travels to Texas to investigate a hit-and-run killing that's been laid at the feet of one of El Paso's richest businessmen.


Edgar Award for Outstanding Mystery Criticism, 1954