Created by James M. Reasoner
James M. Reasoner wrote four stories for Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine (and another for Skullduggery) about dour West Hollywood private detective MARKHAM, and he says that “Death and the Dancing Shadows” is probably his favorite. Very much in the Chandler vein, with a good twist and a snappy ending line. It turned up in the Black Lizard Anthology a few years later and, according to Reasoner, it “caught the eye of a guy in Hollywood who wanted to make a movie out of it. He adapted the story into a screenplay, but nothing else ever came of it. Would have been nice.”
Reasoner is probably best known in this genre for his classic novel, Texas Wind (1980), featuring Texan private eye Cody which was out print forever. He also wrote a series of short stories about another P.I., Delaney, who appeared in Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine mostly prior to the Markham stories. He dismisses the Delaney stories now as “very minor,” but confesses that Markham was in fact a “sort of dry run” for Cody.
Reasoner is married to fellow crime writer L.J. Washburn, creator of private eye Lucas Hallam. Between the two of them, they wrote or co-wrote a ton of Mike Shayne stories under the pseudonym of “Brett Halliday” for Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine, and they’ve also collaborated on Tie a Black Ribbon (2000), a novel featuring bouncer/P.I. Skeeter Barlow. James Reasoner is still writing, but mostly working the Western historical vein with his wife under assorted pseudonyms.
- “All the Way Home” (April 1979, MSMM)
- “Death and the Dancing Shadows” (March 1980, MSMM; also 1987, The Black Lizard Anthology of Crime Fiction)
- “The Man in the Moon” (April 1980, MSMM)
- “The Double Edge” (Summer 1981, Skullduggery)
- “War Games” (April 1982, MSMM)