Vintage Golden Age Mystery
Scavenger Hunt Category: Typewriter
Date Finished: January 24, 2016
The second book in the Cool & Lam series by Erle Stanley Gardner (aka A.A. Fair), this one moves along very quickly, in part due to Gardner’s quick, back-and-forth dialogue. It also avoids many of the Gardner formulaic sections that pop up in later books in the series. Here Donald Lam is still only a hired hand in the Bertha Cool Detective Agency, as he is sent to track a long-disappeared woman in a small California town. The man who hired them turns out to be a doctor and politician, running as mayor on a reform ticket in another California town. His opposition is trying to get the background on his long-ago failed marriage, while Donald tries to get at the truth and solve a murder. Needless to say, as is typical of Gardner plots, Donald is also interfering with a police investigation by hiding witnesses and influencing testimonies, while trying to avoid being arrested himself.