Authors > Erle Stanley Gardner

U.S. Mystery writer most famous for his character Perry Mason and the 82 novels which featured this hard hitting defense lawyer.

A lawyer by training, Mr. Gardner is one of the most successful authors of all time with over 300,000,000 copies sold and counting. With a huge body of literary work, he also had many other interests including work for radio, television, the establishing and running of the legal entity Court of Last Resort, plus an active lifestyle and many hobbies.

In addition to the Perry Mason novels, Mr. Gardner had written 24 mysteries under the pseudonym of A.A. Fair featuring Bertha Cool and Donald Lam; 9 mysteries featuring Doug Selby; 7 non-series mysteries; four collections of novellettes and short stories; 13 non-fiction accounts of exploring Baja California, the American desert and the Sacramento delta; 2 non-fiction books on crime; and countless short stories for the pulps and slicks.

During the pulp era, his series characters included Speed Dash, Senor Arnas deLobo, Jax Bowman, Sidney Zoom and his police dog, Ed Jenkins (the phantom crook), Whispering Sand, Major Brand (free lance Secret Service), El Paisano, Bob Larker, Black Barr, Bob Crowder, Dane Skarle, Sheriff Bill Landon, and Lester Leith. His first story published was "Nellies Naughtty Nightie" published in 1921 for the spicy pulp Breezy Stories. At his peak of writing production, it is claimed that he was producing more than one million words per year with stories appearing in the pulps every week.

From his paperback era, his series characters included Doug Selby, Terry Clane, Gramps Wiggins, Bertha Cool, Donald Lam, and Perry Mason.

He has had used a number of pen names including: A.A. Fair, Charles M Green, Kyle Corning, Grant Holliday, Robert Parr, Carleton Kendrake, Charles J. Kenny, Arthur Mann Sellers, Less Tillray, Dane Rigley, and Charles M. Stanton.

Featured Titles:

The Knife Slipped

This tale of adultery and corruption, of double-crosses and triple identities--however shocking for 1939--shines today as a glorious present from the past, a return to the heyday of private eyes and shady dames, of powerful criminals, crooked cops, blazing dialogue, and delicious plot twists.

Year: 1939     Genre: Hardboiled Detective

Turn on the Heat

Hired by a mysterious "Mr. Smith" to find a woman who vanished 21 years earlier, Donald Lam finds himself facing a sadistic cop, a desperate showgirl, a duplicitous client, and one very dogged (and beautiful) newspaper reporter - while Bertha Cool's attempts to cut herself in on this lucrative opportunity land them both hip-deep in murder...

Year: 1940     Genre: Hardboiled DetectiveMissing Person

Top of the Heap

When the beautiful girlfriend of a notorious gangster vanishes, the last man to be seen with her needs an alibi - and fast. Enter Donald Lam of the Cool & Lam detective agency. Donald tracks down the two women with whom his client claims to have spent the night and the client declares the case closed.

Year: 1952     Genre: Hardboiled Detective

Shills Can't Cash Chips

Has Donald Lam gone to the dark side? From the world-famous creator of "Perry Mason," Erle Stanley Gardner - at his death the best-selling American writer of all time - comes another baffling case for the Cool & Lam detective agency. Return to the 1960s as a simple insurance investigation into a car accident puts Bertha Cool and Donald Lam on the trail of murder - and Donald hip-deep in danger when he poses as an ex-con to infiltrate a criminal gang.

Year: 1961     Genre: Hardboiled Detective

Jul 27, 1889 -- Mar 11, 1970
Author, Attorney

My Library


Series & Characters

Primary Genres & Topics

See Also: Authors



Want ItGot ItRead ItYearTitle

1933The Case of the Sulky GirlLegal Thriller, Perry Mason
1933The Case of the Velvet ClawsExtortion, Perry Mason
1934The Case of the Curious BrideExtortion, Perry Mason
1934The Case of the Howling DogDomestic Suspense, Legal Thriller, Perry Mason
1934The Case of the Lucky LegsLegal Thriller, Perry Mason
1939The Knife SlippedHardboiled Detective, Cool & Lam
1940Turn on the HeatHardboiled Detective, Missing Person, Cool & Lam
1945The Court of Last ResortTrue Crime, Non-Fiction
1947The Case of the Lazy LoverCourtroom Drama, Perry Mason
1948The Case of the Lonely HeiressMurder Mystery, Perry Mason
1949The Case of the Dubious BridegroomMurder Mystery, Perry Mason
1952The Case of the Grinning GorillaLegal Thriller, Perry Mason
1952Top of the HeapHardboiled Detective, Cool & Lam
1953The Case of the Green-Eyed SisterExtortion, Legal Thriller, Perry Mason
1956The Case of the Gilded LilyExtortion, Perry Mason
1956The Case of the Terrified TypistMissing Person, Perry Mason
1958The Count of 9Murder Mystery, Cool & Lam
1961Shills Can't Cash ChipsHardboiled Detective, Cool & Lam




Vintage Library at is an online bookstore with a mission to financially support local, independent bookstores.