I could not have passed up these books because most of them had covers by Robert McGinnis. Luckily this was identified on the back cover of the books, because even though I have two books about McGinnis's book covers and art in general, I cannot identify them without help. He does have a distinctive style but there were other cover artists with similar styles. The books were not in great condition but the cover illustrations are still lovely and the text is readable which is a big plus.
I had no idea if I would want to read these books or just have them for my collection of vintage book covers. When I got home I started investigating and discovered that his books will be well worth reading, or at least sampling them to see what I think.
At Mysterious Press:
Miami-based Michael Shayne is at once a hardboiled private eye and a methodical, Nero Wolfe-esque classical detective. In the early books in the series, his tightly-plotted investigations are complemented by humorous episodes involving his wife, offering some relief as he tangles with all sorts of criminals, be they blackmailers (The Private Practice of Michael Shayne), scammy realtors (The Uncomplaining Corpses), or murderous politicians (Bodies Are Where You Find Them).
The first thirty novels in the series were written by Davis Dresser, using the pseudonym Brett Halliday. The remaining novels (there were over 70) were written by other authors. Many were written by Robert Terrall; Dennis Lynds (a Santa Barbara resident) and Ryerson Johnson also wrote a few. I will have more on Robert Terrall in a later post.
If you want to learn more about this series, see this post at Killer Covers:
At this post by J. Kingston Pierce of the Rap Sheet, there are many links about Brett Halliday and the Mike Shayne series, plus illustrators of book covers for that series.
The Thrilling Detective website is a wonderful resource for fictional private eyes. See the page there for Mike Shayne.