Book Review: Top of the Heap A. A. Fair


Those who travel in the mystery circuits know that Erle Stanley Gardner, most famous for the Perry Mason series of mysteries, also published under a number of pseudonyms. Each of these was usually dedicated to a given series. The series published under the name A.A. Fair is Bertha Cool and Donald Lam.

Bertha Cool is a large woman who runs a private detective agency out of Los Angeles. In the earlier books in the series she contributes more to the story and the solution of the mystery. In this entry she acts mainly as catalyst and obnoxious obstacle. Lam does all of the footwork. And fancy footwork it is indeed. The mystery is multilayered and starts when a wealth young San Franciscan comes to the Cool and Lam agency looking for detectives to procure him an alibi for a night on which a notorious gangster was shot.

Well, that's only the beginning of a noir roller-coaster ride that uncovers a stock scheme, a double murder, a hit-and-run driver and other incidentally related crimes and criminal activities.

Unusally well-crafted for this series and available now in the new Hard Case line of classic and nouveau noir entries. Worth your attention if you need a light read.

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on January 5, 2006 6:14 PM.

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