Mickey Ashford
Created by
Max Allan Collins and Matthew V. Clemens

The jazz-age story "East Side, West Side" in the 2004 anthology Murder...And All That Jazz introduces 38-year-old MICKEY ASHFORD, one-time piano man, now the suave and successful owner of a 50-man Chicago detective agency.

On the eve of his ritzy New York wedding, Mickey is mulling buyout offers from Pinkerton and Hargraves. Mickey's fiancee, MaryAnne Wallace, is a 29-year-old up-and-coming actress and friend of Mae West's.

West, in fact, becomes important to the story when she -- MaryAnne's maid of honor -- goes missing. In the course of locating her, Mickey and MaryAnne run into a couple of heavies from Paramount security, a chance for MaryAnne to show she's good with a gun.

The real appeal here is the chemistry between Mickey and MaryAnne, very reminiscent, in fact, of Nick and Nora Charles, with maybe a touch more mischief -- including a well-done erotic scene perhaps more graphic than any of Nick and Nora's.

Here's hoping for more from this duo.

Max Allan Collins is, of course, the author of the long-running Nathan Heller series as well as numerous graphic novels, TV-, and movie-tie-ins. He and Matthew V. Clemens have collaborated for about five years, notably on the C.S.I. tie-in novels.

SHORT STORIES

Respectfully submitted by Gerald So.


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