About This Issue


No big rip-off from the past this time. Just a quickie assemblage of the covers of this year’s Shamus winners, with the official Private Eye Writers of America logo by illustrator and comics artist (and P.I. guy) Terry Beatty (Ms. Tree, Mike Mist, Johnny Dynamite, etc.).

As I said, it was a quickie job, slapped together over night, in between PWA Awards Chairguy John Shepphird telling me who the winners were, and me frantically updating the PWA site (and this one), so that we could officially announce the winners on the morning of August 4.

Without getting scooped.

Like we usually are…

But we beat ‘em all this time. No leaks. We had the pleasure of breaking the news ourselves.

This year’s Shamus Awards, however,  are special to me in another way. I don’t know Gregory Stout, who won Best First P.I. Novel for Lost Little Girl, and is probably a nice guy. Like, I’m sure he doesn’t mistreat puppies.

But I actually know—at least enough to say “Hey” to–S.J. Rozan (Best P.I. Novel for Family Business) who I’ve crossed paths with several times (and whose short stories in P.I. Magazine I was reading back before she’d even published her first book).  Ever better, though, is that I count Rick Helms (Best P.I. Short Story for “Sweeps Week”) and fellow Canadian and Greenfield Park homey John McFetridge (Best P.I. Paperback for Every City is Every Other City) as true pals (and fellow Convention Imbibers) in the Shamus Game.

You can find all the winners and finalists here.


I’ll return to our regularly scheduled cover (see below) in a few days, but right now I’m still high on passing the California Notary Public Exam. In honour (or possibly relief), I’ve decided to mark this auspicious occasion by creating (ie: ripping off) an image of one of my newest heroes, Lance Parkertip, Noted Notary Public and Private eye.

He’s the creation of none other than MAD Magazine‘s Don Martin, who was a major inspiration of mine back when I was a shy and insecure but mouthy kid at Richelieu Valley Regional High School. Always drawing, I mimicked Martin’s wild style endlessly, doodling on binders, exercise books, scrap paper, whatever, finally concocting a silly but oh-so-clever takeoff on Burt Reynold’s infamous centrefold, done in what was an obvious and blatant rip-off of Martin style.

I adorned each sketch with the caption “Burt Reynolds, Eat Yer Heart Out!” and it soon became a sort of rallying cry.

It went from a bored personal doodle to everybody wanting a copy seemingly overnight, and when yearbook time came around, I was very much in demand. I was shicked, I tell you, SHOCKED!

Suddenly kids (GIRLS!) who’d never given me the time of day wanted me (ME!) to draw one in their books, and I must have done hundreds in the last few weeks, chewing up valuable yearbook autograph real estate with my hastily scribbled depictions of ol’ Burt discreetly covering his private parts.

And now, a long-time favourite, Lance Parkertip, has returned to my life, in a way I never saw coming. Talk about a long strange trip.

Ever in Palmdale and you need something notarized, gimme a call.

And for those of you (ie: all of you) less than fascinated by my life, we’ve got a great piece by noted P.I. writer and hot shot Canuck Sam Wiebe, who shares his intro to Francis Ford Coppola’s 1974 film noir classic, The Conversation, which recently wowwed ’em at when he presented it in Vancouver.


Our re-purposed cover this go-round comes from the Dell paperback Due or Die (1961), written by Frank Kane, and featuring his long-running private eye Johnny Liddell.

It was painted by Harry Bennett, one of the more distinctive pulp artists of the century. And BOY! Could he do private dicks and their women–always tough, classy and dressed to kill. In fact, I’m slowly starting to transfer a few mini-bios of some of the great pulp and paperback cover artists, so if you’re interested, head on over to Dare to Judge This Book. But like I said, I’ve only just begun…

What else is new? A new job, new responsibilities (like McGee, I seem to be taking my retirement in installments), and less time to deal with this site. But April 1st marks this site’s 24th anniversary and we’re still here, so we must be doing something right. And to honour this auspicious (and slightly embarrassing) occasion, I’ve tossed in an inside joke for Canadians on the cover.

And how are you doing?

If you’ve ever darkened our cyber doorstep before you already know the drill, and know what to expect.

If you’re a virgin to this site, welcome, and please allow us to introduce ourselves:

“If trouble is your business, murder is your meat or gumshoes are your glory, you picked a good time to drop in. This site is now twenty-two years old, which means it can now drink legally in every state of the union. Please browse responsibly.”

Me? Well, I’m still working on The Big Move–what else can I do? Right now, there’s no real rhyme or reason as to what gets moved here, and when–it’s all pretty much impulse and stream-of-consciousness, as I try to figure it all out. But don’t panic–we’ll get there. Likewise, don’t get your panties all twisted about us losing anything. We’re going to save it all. We’re simply tweaking and simplifying and updating it, moving things from one site to another. Yes, it’s taking a while, but it’s also sorta fun, as entries that haven’t been touched for years suddenly get tasered back to life, and decades-old typos and run-on sentences get slapped into submission (replaced, of course, by brand new typos and new run-on sentences).

Kevin Burton Smith

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