Mike Strang

Created by Peter Cagney
Pseudonym of Bevis Winter
Other pseudonyms include Al Bocca, Peter Cagney, Sammy Coburn, Bennet Hill & Gordon Shayne; and the house pseudonym Hyman Zore
(1918-1985)

“A new slant on an age-old racket! Mike Strang strikes a fresh note in tough investigators”
— the front cover blurb for Hear the Stripper Scream

According to John Fraser at jottings.ca a great site devoted to, among other things, the Mushroom Jungle:

“Despite its title, (Hear the Stripper Scream is) a squeaky-clean, perfectly blah private-eye novel. California-based MIKE STRANG is brought in when the child of a rich couple is kidnapped, and goes around asking a number of individuals whether they have guilty knowledge of it. Which each denies and sends him along to someone else.”

John goes on to smirk (and rightfully so) at the dedication page:

This book is for my very good friend and fellow-conspirator, the guy who taught me all I know, one of the world’s most brilliant contemporary crime writers…Bevis Winter.

The joke being, of course, that “Peter Cagney” was the pen name of Bevis Winter.

And that, sadly, is about all I could find on Miuke Stranf, Private Eye. Three hardcovers and out. Not even any paperback reprints. Over and done for.

Except…

Peter Cagney was a relatively prolific British writer (some say “hack”) writing under a slew of pseudonyms in the fifties and sixties, including Peter Cagney, a somewhat clumsy and obvious mash-up of Peter Cheyney and James Cagney.  A veteran of the “Mushroom Jungle” era, he even had a hand in publishing and editing Stag, one of the first British mens’ magazine. He also published a non-fiction booklet, The Naked Truth About Freelance Writing in 1948. Although he never really made it in the U.S., where most of his books were set, his “gangster novels” and faux American hard-boiled detective fiction was warmly received in France, Germany and Italy, and across much of the Commonwealth. Other private eyes include Steve Craig  (by far his most popular creation), Major Martin Myers and Al Rankin.

NOVELS

  • Hear the Stripper Scream (1960)
  • No Diamonds for a Doll (1960)
  • A Grave for Madam (1961)

RELATED LINKS

  • Mushroom Jungle Books
    John Fraser’s overview of the genre, with particular emphasis on “the toughie area between 1946 and about 1954.”
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith. Much appreciation to John Fraser, from whom I basically ripped off this entry.

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