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Pretty Good
gordonl5625 July 2013
Warning: Spoilers
MICHAEL SHAYNE - Murder in Wonderland – 1960

This is episode 13 from the 1960 to 61 P.I. series, MICHAEL SHAYNE. Richard Denning headlines as the famous detective based on the Brett Halliday series of books. The regular cast includes, Herbert Rudley as the local Police Detective, Pat Donahue as Denning's secretary. Rounding out the group, is newsman, Jerry Paris as well as Gary Clarke as the company leg-man.

Denning is about to head home from the office when he gets a phone call. The man, Herbert Lytton, barely has time to tell Denning who he is and where he is calling from (a tobacco shop) before Denning hears shooting come over the line. He grabs his car and heads out to the shop.

Already at the murder scene is his buddy, Police Detective Rudley. Denning informs the Detective about the phone call. "The man was shot before he told me what he wanted." says Denning. It turns out that Lytton was the book keeper for local mob boss, Anthony Caruso. Rudley figures the man had info on the mobster he wanted to pass on but was rubbed out before he could do it.

Denning returns to his office where whom do you think is waiting? Caruso and several of his gunsel's would like a word. "What did Lytton tell you on the phone?" Denning tells Caruso the truth, "Nothing." Caruso and his boys leave without resorting to any rough stuff. The next day, secretary Donahue is kidnapped after stepping out for lunch. Denning gets a call that they want the info Lytton had, or the girl "gets it." A thoroughly annoyed Denning of course pulls out all the stops as he hunts down the swines' responsible for the kidnapping. It seems there is a book missing with all the book-keepers info in it.

Now a slew of red herring are thrown in Denning's way. Lytton's daughter, Carol Kearney and a crooked lawyer, Wesley Lau slow down the investigation. Denning is sure mobster Caruso has set the whole train of events in order. He just needs to prove it. Denning's follows all leads and discovers that one of Rudley's Detectives, Frank Maxwell is running with the bad boys. He sets up a sting and both Caruso and the bent cop, Maxwell, are arrested. Donahue is also freed and everyone is pleased.

Not bad at all. Plenty of twists and turns for a television show. The writers here are William Link and Richard Levinson. These two knew how to twist a yarn as they wrote and produced over 60 episodes of the Peter Falk series, COLOMBO.

The director was veteran actor, Paul Stewart. Stewart had roles in, CITIZEN KANE, CHAMPION, 12 O'CLOCK HIGH, THE WINDOW, ILLEGAL ENTRY, WALK SOFTLY STRANGER, APPOINTMENT WITH DANGER, LOAN SHARK, EDGE OF DOOM, THE WILD PARTY and KISS ME DEADLY. He started directing television as his film roles started to thin out.
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Gangsters kidnap Lucy
Paularoc5 April 2013
Warning: Spoilers
After calling Shayne, a man is shot to death in a phone booth in a tobacco store. Shayne rushes to the store and finds Gentry and other cops there. It seems that the dead man was an accountant for the biggest criminal gang in the state and had a list of names of all the gang associates. But upon opening the accountant's briefcase, all they find is a copy of the book "Alice In Wonderland." Even after the book is examined in the police lab, no coded list of names can be found in the book. Then thugs kidnap Lucy, Shayne's secretary, and tell Shayne that she will be killed unless he steals the book out of Gentry's office and delivers it to him. Using a simple stratagem, Shayne does steal the book which Gentry pretty quickly discovers and puts out an APB on Shayne. While the story moves along at a good pace, the resolution to where the list is hidden is neither plausible nor entirely satisfying. It's amazing that Gentry remains good friends with Shayne given how often Shayne messes about with evidence. The director of this episode was Paul Stewart, better known as an outstanding character actor, mostly in film noir and crime movies.
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