Created by Richard Burke
How the hell did this guy ever survive childhood with a monicker like that?
But I guess he did survive, first as a cop and later as a cocky, derby-wearing private dick around town.
Not that he’s some swanky member of the elite–nope, Quinny definitely a working class kinda dandy, the kind of jasper who’s been known to cut a few corners, maybe, but still remains pals with most of the cops in town. He’s just that sort of guy. He has an office in Times Square, and a soft spot for his best gal, Joan, whom he’s about to marry in the first pages of the the series debut, The Dead Take No Bows (1941).
“Times Square’s own sleuth” appeared in four more lightly-boiled, semi-humorous mysteries, all heavy on wackiness (and occasionally only reality-adjacent). Some folks think they’re a hoot; your mileage may vary.
The series is probably the best known for its first entry, not because The Dead Take No Bows is some lost classic but because it formed the basis for Dressed To Kill, a Mike Shayne B-flick starring Lloyd Nolan, and given how loopy the plot is, it’s rather amazing how closely it follows the book (of course, Quinny is now Mike, but Joan is still absolutely–some might say annoyingly–desperate to get him to the altar).
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Richard Willis Burke was born in Los Angeles in 1886, and worked as a typesetter for more than 60 newspapers in his career, mostly in California. He also worked as a theatrical photographer, a Shakespearean actor and a world traveler, while the back cover author bio (not always the most trustworthy source) for an edition of The Fourth Star also credits him with time spent as a cabin boy, a traveling linotype operator and three years with the China Press in Shanghai.
STRAIGHT FROM THE AUTHOR’S MOUTH
- “There is an incipient Quinny Hite in every urchin you see trying to grow up in this neighborhood. Almost any of them would make fine detectives, with their hard shrewdness, resourcefulness in difficulties, and innate distrust in others. Quinny stems from all of these”
— Richard Burke
FUN WITH COVERS
- Reader Bruce Nordstrom writes:
Just visiting, and wonder if you can help with some info. I bought a really beautiful old paperback the other day–Here Lies the Body by Richard Burke. Published by Popular Library (#310) in January, 1951. And I am trying to find out who drew this cover (that’s it over there to the right–ed.). Do you know who drew this, or how I can find out?”
Well, folks, any ideas? If so, feel free to contact Bruce at Ccjune@aol.com.
- The Dead Take No Bows (1941) | Buy this book
- Chinese Red (1942) | Buy this book
- Here Lies the Body (1942) | Buy this book
- The Fourth Star (1946) | Buy this book
- Sinister Street (1948) | Buy this book
- “The Corpse in Grampa’s Bed” (1946, Murder Calvacade)
- Chinese Red/Here lies the Body (2014) | Buy this book
- The Fourth Star/Sinister Street (2014) | Buy this book
Collects the last two novels, plus the short story “The Corpse in Grampa’s Bed”
- DRESSED TO KILL | Buy this DVD
(1941, 20th Century Fox)
Based on characters created by Brett Halliday and Death Takes No Bows by Richard Burke
Screenplay by Stanley Rauh, Manning O’Connor
Directed by Eugene Forde
Starring Lloyd Nolan as MICHAEL SHAYNE
Also starring William Demarest, Mary Beth Hughes
Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.