Robert Lopresti Recalls Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine

Mike Shayne June 1981

Mike Shayne June 1981

Shortly after meeting mystery writer Robert Lopresti at the 2015 Left Coast Crime convention held in Portland last year, I had the pleasure of interviewing him for TDE2. Below is an excerpt that exemplifies the dry wit he brings to his series character Leopold Longshanks. Note, the cover shown is the second issue of Mike Shayne that included Rob’s work, not the issue under discussion here:

“I started sending stories to publishers in 1976 and they sent them back with a great sense of urgency. In 1979 I sent out a bunch and all were rejected except one. I was too depressed to contact the publisher and ask what happened. Then, one day I received a small envelope with no return address. I opened it and a check fell out; there was nothing else in it. The check was from, as I recall, Renown Publications, and at the bottom it said “The Long Treason.” That was how I found
 out the story had been published.

“I called my parents to tell them the good news and then I sat down to dinner. Before we were done the phone rang. My parents, bless ‘em, had rushed out and found a copy of Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine with my story in it. So they saw it before I did.

“What made me most excited was that the story was illustrated. I mean, the editor could have published my tale without reading it, but the illustration was proof someone had actually taken the time to think about it.

“The next day I took the magazine to work and showed it to my assistant. I pointed to the byline and said ‘that’s me!’ She shoved it back and said ‘No, it isn’t.’ Such faith.

“The story ends with the protagonist planning an evil deed he intends to do years in the future. My wife showed it to a co-worker and from then on every time she saw me that woman asked, ‘Then what happened?’ I assured her I had no idea. For some reason this did not satisfy her.”