Bertha Cool-Donald Lam Series (1939-1970) by A.A. Fair (Erle Stanley Gardner)

A lot of fans and critics thought this series was better than Perry Mason and actually Gardner’s best of all. I really enjoyed it but I’m also a fan of the Mason series and the short D.A. series. From a storyline standpoint, it is more interesting than the Mason series and the characters aren’t locked into the same degree of samness as Perry, Della and Paul.

The strange duo in this series is the five foot tall Donald Lam and the two hundred fifty pound plus Bertha Cool. She’s the head of a one person detective agency and has the personality of a rabid grizzly except when a potential client is offering money. Then, she’s all sweetness and light. She’s also not adversed to soaking a client for as much as she can. Lam is a lot more brains than brawn and he knows how to handle Bertha . The opener of the series is 1939’s “The Bigger They Come” aka/”Lam To The Slaughter.”

Lam gets hired by Bertha to be her investigator. The first case involves serving divorce papers. Sandra Birks says hubby Morgan has been abusing her. Morgan has disappeared and is wanted by the police regarding a slot machine outfit. Lam and Bertha track him down to a hotel and serve the papers. Lam is then snatched and taken to the mysterious chief.

Lam is released and his investigation takes him to Yuma, Arizona. Things get complicated along with a mistaken identity plot turn. To get all the nuances of the story this is not a quick read. It takes some time and it’s worth it as things unravel.

It’s terrific series than spanned twenty-nine books. The last published is 1970’s “All Grass Isn’t Green.”

Erle Stanley Gardner

About vintage45

I'm a big fan of vintage books,movies,TV shows and music. I encourage everyone to patronize your local used book/record store and pick up some of the good stuff. My posts are capsule reviews of some favorites that you may want to investigate. The albums posted aren't really reviews but items from my collection that are still available. I try and point out highlights of each one and let the music speak for itself. Thanks to all for checking out the blog.
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