Mike Blair

Created by Hank Searls
Pseudonyms include Lee Costigan & Anthony Gray
(1922-2017 )

MIKE BLAIR was a San Francisco private dick who had a short run in the later pulps. Nothing exceptional — he was suitably hard-boiled, and despite getting knocked about on a regular basis (his creator once noted that Blair “gets beat up in almost every story I wrote”), he tended to get the job done, whether it was finding a missing blonde or handling a particularly nasty blackmail case. His clients were often shady characters, bookies and the like, and Mike himself wasn’t above doing matrimonial work, which lent the stories a light patina of grit that helped distinguish them from his more upright contemporaries and their always somehow-innocent clients. Still, Mike himself was a pretty decent guy. Mostly.

The real mystery may be why, when Mysterious Press unleashed a series of collections of Dime Detective repeats in the late eighties, they decided that the relatively obscure Blair ranked a collection of his own, alongside such much more celebrated characters as Carroll John Daly’s Race Williams, Norbert Davis’ Max Latin, Erle Stanley Gardner’s Paul Pry and Frederick Nebel’s Cardigan. Not that the Blair stories are lame or anything (they’re not–they definitely scratch that pulp itch), but huh?

It made a lot more sense in 2020, when Steeger Books released The Complete Cases of Mike Blair, which rounded up all seven stories, as part of their Dime Detective Library, because they seem to be reprinting everything.

The author wrote crime, sci-fi, thrillers, mainstream novels and such classics of tie-in literature as Jaws 2: A Novel (1978) and Jaws: The Revenge (1987). He also wrote for television, most notably for The Fugitive.

SHORT STORIES

  • “Shiv for Your Supper” (June 1949, F.B.I. Detective Stories)
  • “Kickback for a Killer” (August 1949, All-Story Detective)
  • “A Dish of Homicide” (November 1949, Dime Detective)
  • “Lethal Legacy for the Lady” (March 1950, Dime Detective)
  • “Let’s All Die Together” (June 1950, Dime Detective)
  • “Keep Your Money Side Up” (August 1950, Dime Detective)
  • “For Auld Lang Crime” (December 1950, Dime Detective)

COLLECTIONS

Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

 

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