When Dorinda Dances

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Author: Halliday, Brett (1904-1977) [Pseudonym for Davis Dresser]

Year: 1951

Publisher: Dodd, Mead & Co

Place: New York


215 pages. Small octavo (7 3/4" x 5 1/2") bound in publisher's original black with orange "red badge" insignia on front cover and orange lettering to spine in original pictorial jacket. First edition.

To save a judge’s daughter, Mike Shayne must invade the red-light district. For twenty years, Judge Nigel Lansdowne has been one of Washington’s greatest progressives. The red-baiters in Congress would do anything to destroy his reputation, and they may have found the perfect weapon. Her name is Julia, but when she dances she goes by Dorinda. The judge’s daughter came to Miami in search of a new life, and she found it dancing nude in the city’s infamous red-light district. Mike Shayne is hired to bring Julia home before the judge’s enemies learn of her new career, but his real job will be keeping her alive. Someone in Miami wants this beautiful dancer dead, and only Mike Shayne can help her. In the nightclubs of Miami Beach, music is played to a deadly beat.

Dresser was born in Chicago, Illinois, but mostly grew up in West Texas. Here he lost an eye to barbed wire as a boy, and thus had to wear an eye patch for the rest of his life. At the age of 14, he ran away from home and enlisted in the U.S. 5th Cavalry Regiment at Fort Bliss, Texas, followed by a year of Border Patrol duty on the Rio Grande. After his service, he returned to Texas to finish high school. In search of adventure, Dresser traveled throughout the Southwest working at various odd jobs, including that of muleskinner, farm hand, deckhand on a freighter in the Gulf of Mexico, laborer in the California oilfields, etc. Eventually, he went to Tri-State College of Engineer, where he received a certificate in civil engineering. Back in Texas, he worked as an engineer and surveyor for several years before turning to writing in 1927. After his first marriage (to Kathleen Rollins, who had two daughters from a previous marriage), Dresser was married to mystery writer Helen McCloy from 1946 to 1961; they had a daughter named Chloe. As partners, they formed a literary agency called Halliday and McCloy. Dresser also established a publishing company Torquil Publishing Company, which published his books as well as those of other authors, from 1953 to 1965. In 1961, he married Mary Savage, also a writer; their son was born in 1965. The first Shayne novel was rejected by 21 publishers before being accepted by Henry Holt & Co. in 1939. The Shayne series went on to be highly successful, reprinted in many editions and translated into French, Spanish, Italian, German, Swedish, Japanese and Hebrew. A radio series based on the Shayne character was heard during the 1940s.


Page ends soiled, light rubbing to spine heal. Jacket corners chipped at spine head and corners, lightly soiled, small closed at edges else a better than very good copy in like jacket.

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