Saturday, July 21, 2018

Bachelors Get Lonely--and Sometimes Killed--in this Novel from A. A. Fair

This is a fairly typical entry in the Donald Lam/Bertha Cool series. Bertha is delighted to have found a new client for the firm--a fine, upstanding businessman named Montrose Carson. Bertha believes that the kind of clients they usually recruit keep getting the firm into trouble. A substantial, impeccable client like Carson will raise them above all that.

Carson is a developer who is suddenly facing a new competitor. Carson believes that someone in his office is leaking information to the competitor who is then stealing deals out from under Carson. Even before Donald can enter the picture, Bertha has already designed a plan to root out the leaker and is extremely proud of herself for doing so.

Inevitably, of course, the case will blow up; someone will be murdered; Donald will be left to pull the chestnuts out of the fire; Detective Frank Sellers will be in hot pursuit of Donald for any number of alleged infractions, and Bertha will be freaking out, believing Seller's accusations and accusing Donald of betraying her and the firm. The only question that remains is whether this will finally be the time when Donald is unable to do so.

It's a quick read that should appeal to any fan of the series. The plot is horribly convoluted, but no more so than most of those created by Erle Stanley Gardner. The edition I read was published in 1963. The book itself was first published in 1961, although it reads like a book written in the late 1940s. 

I believe I inherited this copy from my father, and bound in with the book is an opportunity to join the Detective Book Club. By doing so, you can get nine "great mysteries," including seven Perry Masons, for only a dollar. It's a "treasure chest of crackling, high-voltage mysteries at a sensational low introductory price," and so how could I resist? I've torn off the attached post card, filled it out, and will be dropping it into the mail tomorrow. 

I'm a little nervous because this offer seems to predate the invention of zip codes. The address is only "The Detective Book Club, Roslyn, L.I., New York." On the other hand, though, how many detective book clubs could there possibly be in Roslyn? I imagine the mail carrier will have no difficulty in finding them, and I can hardly wait to get my new books and have the chance to read and review them!

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