Short stories and serial novels by Donald Hamilton

Most of Donald Hamilton's short fiction and several of his novels were published in weekly magazines during the 1940's and 1950's. This list identifies the magazines. Why bother, some might ask? The serialized novels were all published in hardcover and/or paperback, and reprinted several times. They aren't difficult to find. Hamilton's better known short stories have been collected in several anthologies. Isn't that good enough? Well, no. Hamilton passed away November 2006 and he was much more than the creator of Matt Helm. I'd like to remember him for all of his work. Four of his short stories have never been reprinted. Some of the magazines have spectacular color illustrations.

The entire Matt Helm series will be back in print and also available in digital formats by mid-2017. A pastiche by Keith Wease, Matt Helm: The War Years, was published in 2013. Wease has published an homage to the agent code-named Eric, titled Age of Terror: The New Generation. He has also edited the manuscript of the last Matt Helm novel, The Dominators, with Gordon Hamilton's permission, so perhaps there is hope it can be published someday.

A few of the movies based on Hamilton's novels are still available. An e-book about the Matt Helm films, Booze, Bullets & Broads, was also published in 2013.

You can view a gallery of his book covers, movie memorabilia, and a list of online references.

My thanks to Robert Skinner, who suggested I contact Ray Peters, and to Ray, for his help identifying missing stories, providing photocopies to read, and for giving me a treasure trove of Hamilton's books. Thanks also to Mike Leggett and David Keller for providing additional content.

Ray maintains US (updated 2010) and UK (updated 2009) publishing chronologies of Hamilton's fiction and shared photos of his visits with Don.

If you know where I can find copies of articles written by Donald Hamilton, if you know about any missing articles on writing, if you have book cover scans, movie-related images, or anything else interesting that should be added to this site, please email Mark Martinez, stcomix at mac dot com. Thanks.

Last modified: 8 January 2017

Story Title Magazine Title Issue Date Notes
Stranger's Return Collier's 1946-06-01 Uncollected short story. Hamilton's first published fiction. This issue contains a photo and brief biographical sketch of Hamilton.
Magnolia Collier's 1946-11-23 Uncollected short story.
The Black Cross The American Magazine 1947-09 novella collected in Murder Twice Told, 1950 (hardcover) and 1952 (paperback).
The Steel Mirror, 1 of 8 The Saturday Evening Post 1948-08-21 Serial novel published as The Steel Mirror, 1948 (hardcover) and 1950 (paperback). Filmed as Five Steps to Danger with several posters, 1957. This issue contains a biographical sketch of Hamilton.
The Steel Mirror, 2 of 8 The Saturday Evening Post 1948-08-28 -
The Steel Mirror, 3 of 8 The Saturday Evening Post 1948-09-04 -
The Steel Mirror, 4 of 8 The Saturday Evening Post 1948-09-11 -
The Steel Mirror, 5 of 8 The Saturday Evening Post 1948-09-18 -
The Steel Mirror, 6 of 8 The Saturday Evening Post 1948-09-25 -
The Steel Mirror, 7 of 8 The Saturday Evening Post 1948-10-02 -
The Steel Mirror, 8 of 8 The Saturday Evening Post 1948-10-09 -
Deadfall, 1 of 3 Collier's 1949-09-03 Serial novella collected in Murder Twice Told. Adapted as a live teleplay, Dead Fall, by Victor Wolfson and broadcast 23 Jan 1951, during the third season of Suspense.
Deadfall, 2 of 3 Collier's 1949-09-10 -
Deadfall, 3 of 3 Collier's 1949-09-17 -
The Black Cross Newark Sunday News Novel 1950-10-29 novella collected in Murder Twice Told. Printed on newsprint and published as an insert in the Newark Sunday News.
Mask for Danger, 1 of 5 Collier's 1951-06-16 Serial novel published as Night Walker, 1954. Reprinted by Hard Case Crime.
Mask for Danger, 2 of 5 Collier's 1951-06-23 -
Mask for Danger, 3 of 5 Collier's 1951-06-30 -
Mask for Danger, 4 of 5 Collier's 1951-07-07 -
Mask for Danger, 5 of 5 Collier's 1951-07-14 -
Throwback Manhunt 1953-08 Uncollected short story.
Smoky Valley, 1 of 4 Collier's 1953-12-11 Serial novel published as Smoky Valley, 1954. Filmed as The Violent Men with several posters, 1955.
Smoky Valley, 2 of 4 Collier's 1953-12-25 -
Smoky Valley, 3 of 4 Collier's 1954-01-08 -
Smoky Valley, 4 of 4 Collier's 1954-01-22 -
Too Soon Dead Bluebook 1955-05 Uncollected novella.
Mad River, 1 of 3 Collier's 1956-01-06 Serial novel published as Mad River, 1957.
Mad River, 2 of 3 Collier's 1956-01-20 -
Mad River, 3 of 3 Collier's 1956-02-03 -
Ambush at Blanco Canyon, 1 of 4 The Saturday Evening Post 1957-02-02 Serial novel published as The Big Country, filmed as The Big Country with several posters, a soundtrack, and a comic, 1958. This issue contains a photo and brief biographical sketch of Hamilton.
Ambush at Blanco Canyon, 2 of 4 The Saturday Evening Post 1957-02-09 -
Ambush at Blanco Canyon, 3 of 4 The Saturday Evening Post 1957-02-16 -
Ambush at Blanco Canyon, 4 of 4 The Saturday Evening Post 1957-02-23 -
The Mile Gun Sports Afield 1958-09 Short story collected in On Guns and Hunting, 1970.
The Last Gunman The Saturday Evening Post 1959-05-02 Short story collected in Spurs West, S. Omar Barker (ed.), 1960, The Gunfighters, Bill Pronzini and Martin H. Greenberg (ed.), 1987, and other anthologies.
The Guns of William Longley - 1967 Short story published in Iron Men and Silver Stars, Donald Hamilton (ed.), 1967. Won the 1967 Western Writers of America Spur Award for best short material. Reprinted in many anthologies over the years. Also contains an essay, The great tradition, originally published in 1956. Bill Longley was an outlaw with a ruthless reputation. Unabridged audio adaptation performed by Joe Barrett for Dove Audio, 1999.

Hamilton also wrote many magazine articles, including a few about his work and writing. Some are listed at the UCLA archive of his papers. The contents of the archive are available in a PDF file. Most of his articles are about hunting and boating. Here are a few.

Article Title Magazine or Book Title Issue Date Notes
The world was full of quail Outdoor Life 1954-05 pp50-51,119-120, collected in On Guns and Hunting
Inside on the rail Outdoor Life 1955-01 pp34-35,92-95, collected in On Guns and Hunting
What's the big mystery? Outdoor Life 1955-06 pp54-55,109-111, collected in On Guns and Hunting
The great tradition The Roundup 1956-04 pp3-4, essay collected in Iron Men and Silver Stars. The Roundup is a newsletter published by the Western Writers of America.
Watch my smoke Outdoor Life 1956-07 pp58-59,111-113,122, collected in On Guns and Hunting
You've got to fake it, 1 of 2 The Roundup 1959-09 pp3-4, contains a photo of Hamilton
You've got to fake it, 2 of 2 The Roundup 1959-10 pp6-7, contains a photo of Hamilton
Arctic hunt The American Swedish Monthly 1961-03 pp12-18, collected in On Guns and Hunting
Just want a deer? Outdoor Life 1961-06 pp66-67,126-130,132-133, collected in On Guns and Hunting
The great Swedish älg The American Swedish Monthly 1961-09 pp12-15, collected in On Guns and Hunting
An Argosy Crime Report: Who murdered Henry Marshall? Argosy 1962-11 pp23-25,91-96
Pronghorns in the pasture Outdoor Life 1966-02 pp54-55,131-133, collected in On Guns and Hunting, this issue contains a brief biographical sketch with a photo and cartoons of Hamilton
Caliber catastrophe Gun World 1967-06 pp34-37,52, collected in On Guns and Hunting
Block that kick! Gun Digest 22nd Edition 1968 pp71-76, John T. Ander (ed.), collected in On Guns and Hunting
Who can afford to write for money? Writer 1968-06 pp19-20,54
Test patterns are necessary! Guns 1968-08 pp34-35,58-60, collected in On Guns and Hunting
How to put the fetch in Fido True's Hunting Yearbook No. 20 1969 pp86-91, collected in On Guns and Hunting as First-year retriever man
The .410: Giant of a pipsqueak True 1971-02 pp82-85
Shadrach, a gun-shy retriever True 1971-10 pp106-111
Stop picking on our little guns! Guns & Ammo 1972-02 pp42-5,65
The ravagers and the rabbits Gun World 1972-06 pp24-27,88, collected in On Guns and Hunting as Cottontail carnival, there may have been an earlier appearance of this article in Gun World
The man who killed himself six times I, Witness 1978 pp71-85, Brian Garfield (ed.), rewrite of an article that appeared in Argosy, 1962
Fastnet I Trailer Boats 1980-01 pp8,70
Guns afloat?
A long short passage
Yachting 1982-02 pp139-141,146-148, two articles in the same issue
Fever-free racing Yachting 1982-03 pp164-166,168
Old black dog Sports Afield 1982-04 pp98,170,172-173
Murdersville Trailer Boats 1983-08 pp6,35,49
What do you write with? Trailer Boats 1984-05 pp8,9,84,85
Firearms for the mystery reader Trailer Boats 1984-07 pp6,9,64
First person singular Writer 1984-10 pp16-18
Fact and fiction Trailer Boats 1985-06 pp8,97
Going to the dogs Trailer Boats 1985-08 pp6,84,86
Shut up and write Colloquium on Crime 1986 pp99-110, Robin Winks (ed.)
My last boating career Trailer Boats 1986-02 pp8,84-85, last column after about 12 years and 140 columns
Test fire your shotgun! Wildfowl 1986-04/05 pp72-74, sort of a sequel to Test patterns are necessary!
The casual retriever Wildfowl 1986-12/1987-01 pp75-77
The yesterday hunt Colorado Outdoors 1987-01/02 pp6-7
Whose ethics? Wildfowl 1987-04/05 pp56-58
Matt Helm's knives & mine Knives '96, 16th Annual Edition 1995 pp6-9, Ken Warner (ed.)

Hamilton has been the subject of interviews and articles about his work. Here are a few.

Article Title Magazine or Book Title Issue Date Notes
Donald Hamilton Conversations 1967 pp131-132, Ray Newquist (ed.)
The sordid truth: Donald Hamilton The New Republic 1975-07-26 pp21-24, Robin W. Winks
Western motifs in the thrillers of Donald Hamilton Western American Literature 1976 Vol. 10, No. 4, Winter 1976, pp283-292, Fred Erisman, Texas Christian University
The degeneration of Donald Hamilton The Mystery Fancier 1977-11 Vol. 1, No. 6, pp11-12, George Kelley
The Matt Helm series The Mystery Fancier 1978-03 Vol. 2, No. 2, pp3-11, R. Jeff Banks and Guy M. Townsend
Matt Helm The Great Detectives 1978 pp120-126, Otto Penzler (ed.)
Great mystery series: Matt Helm Mystery 1982-07 Vol. 4, No. 2, pp46-52, Andy East
Business before everything: The hard-boiled world of Matt Helm The Mystery Fancier 1988 Vol. 10, No. 1, Winter 1988, pp39-53, Robert E. Skinner
Interview: Donald Hamilton Mystery Scene 1987 Number 12, p10
Donald Hamilton: The writing crew Murder off the rack: Critical studies of ten paperback masters 1989 pp99-111, by Loren D. Estleman, Jon L. Breen and Martin Harry Greenberg (ed.)
The man behind Matt Helm: An interview with Donald Hamilton Mystery Scene 1992-07/08 pp24-28, Michael Pettengel
Donald Hamilton: A paperback original Firsts 1997-11 pp42-47, Robert Skinner, includes Knowing Donald Hamilton by Raymond J. Peters. Collected in The Big Book of Noir, 1998.
Writer at work: Donald Hamilton Thrillers 2002 John Fraser
Donald Hamilton Thriller Writers 2002 John Fraser
The death of Matt Helm? Booklist 2002-05-01 pp1456-1458, Frank Sennett
James Bond and Matt Helm: The Moral Universe of Literature’s Most Famous Spy and His Chief American Rival The Mid-Atlantic Almanack 2009-03 pp103-117, Joseph Allegretti