Fancy This – A “Life in Crime” Link and Farewell to Non-Fiction

October 5th, 2021 by Max Allan Collins

Fancy Anders Goes to War comes out today.

I haven’t seen the print version yet and will report my reaction when I have, but I encourage you to take a risk — the paperback is a modestly priced $6.99 at Amazon and it’s only $2.99 on Kindle. NeoText has been great on this and the forthcoming Dave Thomas project, The Many Lives of Jimmy Leighton, so I hope you’ll support what is frankly an experiment with your hard-earned dollars.

This week the meat of the update is again an installment of my ongoing literary memoir A Life in Crime, which focuses on Fancy Anders and how it/she came to be written. Additionally the essay/article discusses female detectives of fiction who impacted Fancy’s creation as well as ones I’ve created, including the Borne “girls” of the Antiques series I do with my wife Barb.

There’s also a stunning gallery of Fay Dalton’s artwork, including but not limited to her illos for Fancy Anders.

Illustration from Fancy Anders Goes to War
E-Book: Amazon Purchase Link
Paperback: Amazon Purchase Link
* * *

All the copies of Bombshell by Barb and me have gone out in the latest book giveaway. If you’ve never read it, this new Wolfpack edition is a very attractive way to do so.

I am currently working on the Mickey Spillane biography with my collaborator James Traylor for Otto Penzler’s Mysterious Press. My office looks like a hurricane hit, a result of my gathering all of my Spillane material – articles in magazines and newspapers, personal correspondence, print-outs of web stuff – in one place. This is an accumulation that began, literally, about 1962 when I was too young to be reading Mickey Spillane.

And because I move fast – this is common with the Heller books, too – material is tossed here and there, hither and yon, and my office becomes a mess that requires a day of cleaning at the end of every project. Yesterday I finished a chapter and decided, though I was at the midpoint not the end of the bio, I would clean my office and get things re-ordered and file away material I wouldn’t need at this point.

In doing so, I ran across a stack of clippings I’d overlooked that gave me information that, if I could motivate myself, could be used to improve the chapter I’d just finished. Make that “finished,” because I bit the bullet and rewrote the chapter.

I have decided I will never write non-fiction again. I haven’t done much, but projects like The History of Mystery, the Elvgren and other pin-up books, the men’s adventure magazine book with George Hagenauer, two previous Spillane non-fiction works with Jim Traylor, and the two Eliot Ness biographies with Brad Schwartz, were just too punishing for me to consider doing non-fiction again at this stage and age. The Spillane bio is going to be something very good, I think, and will make an excellent capper to this niche of my career.

This does not count historical fiction, by the way. Much more of that to come.

* * *

I’ve done several interviews – both print and podcast – in support of Fancy Anders Goes to War, mostly in the comics realm because of the great Fay Dalton artwork. Hoping this doesn’t sound patronizing or ass-kissy, I want to say how pleased I was by the experience – these comics fans are smart and articulate and had done their homework. I was impressed.

In the crime fiction area, however, Crime Reads gives you a sample chapter (the first) and a look at many of those illustrations.

Here’s what strikes me a strong interview from ComicXF.

This Geek Vibes Nation is a good one, too.

Finally, though I was totally incompetent in my Luddite way before we got things figured out, this is a video podcast I really enjoyed doing.


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4 Responses to “Fancy This – A “Life in Crime” Link and Farewell to Non-Fiction”

  1. Fred Blosser says:

    “Anders” — maybe an unconscious call-back to Merry Anders, the pert blonde who made scores of B-movies and TV shows in the ’50s and ’60s, including a recurring role on DRAGNET 1967 and guest-appearances on most if not all the iconic Warner Brothers cowboy and PI series?

  2. Maybe. But she’s not somebody who was on my radar in any way. I think it was something that flowed out of “Fancy” — I guess “Merry” and “Fancy” are similar in number of letters, final “y’…but they come off the tongue differently enough that I kind of doubt it.

    On the other hand, she was on DRAGNET….

  3. Joseph Maniscalco says:

    Just sat down with the ebook edition of “Fancy”. The pics are gorgeous, and so is Fancy.
    Its a quick read…. already a quarter done. But expect to finish before lights out tonight. Full review on Amazon to follow, but so far, I’m really impressed.

    Can’t go wrong at the price. Take a chance!

  4. Andrew Rausch says:

    I just ordered the Fancy Anders book. That cover looks spectacular.