Slot Machine Kelly
Created by
Dennis Lynds

Dennis Lynds' SLOT MACHINE KELLY was the dry run for another one-armed misfit private peeper based in the Big Apple, Dan Fortune, which he wrote under his Michael Collins pseudonym.

"Slot" showed up in thirteen short stories, mostly in Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine back in the sixties. The 5'8'', 160-pound, slightly shady PI, proud of being "almost legal" for twenty years, shared several traits with Dan, including his distaste for violence, and his compassion for life's victims. He also shared some of Dan's pals, most notably tough cop Captain Gazzo of the NYPD and bartender Joe Harris, who actually narrates at least one of the stories.

But the stories are more than just an interesting footnote, and stand up very well on their own. "Slot" played it a bit looser than Dan, was a bit more willing to cut corners, perhaps, and his past was a considerably murkier, and darker. Still, many of the traits that make the Fortune books such a treat to read are already in place.

A few years ago, I pondered whether, maybe someday, some enterprising publisher will put 'em all in one volume, and concluded that "until then, they were worth tracking down." Well, it turns out that maybe, just maybe, Crippen & Landru were listening.

In 2005, Slot-Machine Kelly: The Complete Private Eye Cases of the One-Armed Bandit, a collection of almost the entire run, was released, complete with an intro by Robert J. Randisi. Was that cool, or what?

Prolific Dennis Lynds has also written as William Arden, John Crowe, Carl Dekker, and Mark Sadler. His most famous creation may be Dan Fortune, but he's also found time to create PI's Paul Shaw and Kane Jackson. He also wrote many of the Mike Shayne short stories for Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine under the monicker of Brett Halliday.

SHORT STORIES

  • "It's Whiskey or Dames" (August 1962, MSMM; aka "If the Whiskey Don't, the Women Will")
  • "The Dreamer" (September 1962, MSMM)
  • "The Bodyguard" (October 1962, MSMM)
  • "The Carrier Pigeon" (February 1963, MSMM)
  • "The Blue Hand" (April 1963, MSMM)
  • "The Price of a Dollar" (June 1963, MSMM)
  • "Even Bartenders Die" (August 1963, MSMM)
  • "Death for Dinner" (October 1963, MSMM)
  • "The Heckler" (November 1963, MSMM)
  • "No Way Out" (February 1964, MSMM)
  • "Winner Pay All" (May 1964, MSMM)
  • "The Hero" (May 1965, MSMM)
  • "Viking Blood" (1966, Manhunt; also 1999, Pure Pulp)

COLLECTIONS

  • Slot-Machine Kelly: The Complete Private Eye Cases of the One-Armed Bandit (2005). Buy this book

RELATED LINKS

  • Dennis Lynds
    It may have taken a while, but Dan Fortune's creator finally got his own site. Albeit perhaps a little reluctantly. Here's how he announced it in March 2000: "Please forgive this mass e-mail, but did want you to know that not only did the Berlin Wall go down, so did my resistance to having a website, although it took me another 13 years." Eerily, it's still live, and features an extensive bibliography, a list of his numerous awards, ordering info on his books, even some of his short stories, including one of his last stories, the Edgar-nominated "The Horrible, Senseless Murders of Two Elderly Women."

  • Dennis Lynds, 1924-2005
    The Mystery Community Pays Their Respects...

Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.


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