WorldCat Identities

Fair, A. A. 1889-1970

Works: 113 works in 544 publications in 9 languages and 4,753 library holdings
Genres: Fiction  Detective and mystery fiction  Juvenile works 
Roles: Author
Classifications: PS3513.A6322, 813.52
Publication Timeline
Most widely held works by A. A Fair
All grass isn't green by A. A Fair( Book )

4 editions published in 1970 in English and held by 301 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

It all started with Milton Carling Calhoun, a wealthy young tycoon, who hired Bertha Cool and Donald Lam to find a writer named Colburn Hale. The reason? Calhoun just wanted to talk to Hale. The search begins in the novelist's pad and leads to a beautiful woman named Nanncie, who in turn leads to Mexico, marijuana and murder. As the plot thickens and twists, it forms a rope that nearly lands around Calhoun's neck
Widows wear weeds by A. A Fair( Book )

8 editions published between 1966 and 1973 in English and held by 290 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Donald Lam and Elsie Brand are on a coffee break when Nicholas Baffin joins them and asks for help because of blackmail. Does paying off a blackmailer work? Lam meets Starman Calvert, gets the photo negatives and a receipt for the money (a confession), and leaves. But when he tries to deliver the goods a new mystery develops! Nicholas Baffin thanks Lam & Cool by giving them a free meal, and they invite Sergeant Frank Sellers. Gratitude, or for another reason? Lam continues his investigation, and takes some pictures to recreate the events around the time of the murder, showing the waitress who found the victim. This leads him and Sergeant Sellers to re-question Baffin and get the information that basically solves the murder, and exposes the wider scandal of campaign contributions to legislators
Fish or cut bait by A. A Fair( Book )

13 editions published between 1963 and 1997 in 3 languages and held by 275 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Jarvis C. Archer was a very big fish in a very big pond. He also was one of those "Big I -- Little You" types. And he was insisting on twenty-four-hour protection for his secretary who, despite an unlisted number, was being harassed by threatening telephone calls. At first Bertha Cool was outraged by the sweatshop hours (for obvious reasons she would have to take the night shift), but the size of the fee was both soothing and persuasive. So Cool and Lam take on the case, and in no time at all Donald knows he is going to have to fish or cut bait
Cut thin to win by A. A Fair( Book )

10 editions published between 1965 and 1997 in 3 languages and held by 268 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

When Donald Lam and Bertha Cool cut in on a deal, they "Cut thin to win." The man's name was Clayton Dawson. The Cool-Lam Agency was so well known he'd come from Denver for help on highly confidential matter . . . After adjusting to the fact that "Cool" was a woman (a "Big Bertha" as it turned out) and "Lam" looked like he couldn't hurt a fly (an outrageous deceit), Dawson shelled out a fat retainer and put his cards on the table. The question was: Were they from a marked deck?
Traps need fresh bait by A. A Fair( Book )

7 editions published between 1967 and 1973 in English and held by 259 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Bertha Cool was purring like a kitten. A client had just hired the agency to investigate a suspected insurance swindle, and in Bertha's glittering eyes, that was just the respectable sort of case they needed. Donald Lam had his doubts, but he began looking around for suitable bait to set a trap. What he didn't know was that the trap was already baited -- and more than ready to spring
The knife slipped by Erle Stanley Gardner( Book )

5 editions published in 2016 in English and held by 238 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

"Lost for more than 75 years, The Knife Slipped was meant to be the second book in the series, but shelved when Gardner's publisher objected to (among other things) Bertha Cool's tendency to "talk tough, swear, smoke cigarettes, and try to gyp people." But 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. Donald Lam has never been cooler--not even when played by Frank Sinatra on the U.S. Steel Hour of Mystery in 1946. Bertha Cool has never been tougher. And Erle Stanley Gardner has never been better."--Back cover
Up for grabs by A. A Fair( Book )

6 editions published between 1964 and 1966 in English and held by 233 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

In this case concerning a whiplash injury, it's a question of whose neck is at stake. . . Bertha Cool was in a flap. The distinguished Mr. Homer Breckinridge had been waiting twenty minutes for Donald Lam to make an appearance, and around Mr. Breckinridge was the heady aroma of C-A-S-H. Then Donald appeared and in no time found himself hired to investigate an insurance claim. "Such nice, safe, respectable work," purred Bertha, "and it's up for grabs." But it didn't take Donald long to find out it was anything but safe, and that he was the one up for grabs
Try anything once by A. A Fair( Book )

5 editions published between 1962 and 1976 in English and held by 218 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Carleton Allen visits the Cool & Lam agency because he has been indiscreet in taking a young woman to a motel. But an argument erupted, and Sharon Barker left Carleton, who slept it off before he left for home. But a Deputy DA was murdered that night, and the police are looking for those who were at that motel! This may affect his wife, his social position, and his job. So Carleton wants Donald Lam to return and pretend he was there that night, since Carleton would have in-law trouble if he went to the police. This red-herring act could be dangerous, but money and the promise of future business wins in the end. Deputy DA Fisher had been prosecuting a murder case, and the police investigation was red-hot. So the meeting occurs, but the detectives recognize Donald Lam, and the security officer knows it wasn't Lam that night. Another plan that goes awry due to an overlooked detail? Donald Lam soon finds out that the police were watching his act, and knew everything except who hired him. Keeping the client's name secret is now a very hot potato (Chapter 6)! Lam returns to the motel room to try to identify the previous occupants (Chapter 8). But more complications and problems arise to advance the plot, and bring in other suspects. Chapter 14 tells what its like to spend the night in a drunk tank. The continuing investigation leads to the solution of Deputy DA Fisher's death, and conviction in the murder case. Cool & Lam keep their license and the monies
The count of nine by A. A Fair( Book )

12 editions published between 1958 and 1971 in English and held by 208 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

It was Bertha Cool's job. She was to insure nobody gate crashed a party. It was added security for an apartment that had already been robbed once. Between Bertha Cool and an x-ray scan installed in the elevator, nobody was going to steal anything from the client's collection of artifacts. However, despite the precautions, two items did end up missing - a 6 foot blowgun, and a valuable jade figurine. It was up to Donald Lam to figure out just how these items were stolen - and how to retrieve them. Figuring out how a 6-foot blowgun and a jade figurine were stolen despite Bertha and the x-ray machine, and then retrieving them was an easy task for Donald Lam. What was harder to solve was the death of the client - apparently shot with a dart from his own blowgun. As usual, Donald gets beat up, takes his lumps, and then outwits those who crossed him
Top of the heap by A. A Fair( Book )

14 editions published between 1952 and 2004 in English and held by 203 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Private eye Donald Lam, of the Los Angeles agency of Cool & Lam, lands in San Francisco while investigating a spoiled rich kid who hired him to establish a phony alibi. While in the city, he digs up a mining scam, an illegal casino, and a couple of murders
Shills can't cash chips by A. A Fair( Book )

1 edition published in 1961 in English and held by 197 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Money in the bank has always been a persuasive factor in Bertha Cool's life -- and Lamont Hawley represented a lot of it. He also represented an insurance company that smelled a rat about a traffic accident claim -- 30,000 smackers for a whiplash injury. The trouble was the claimant had drifted away -- a beautiful blonde who had been most co-operative and levelheaded. In fact, too levelheaded -- she sounded almost professional. Donald didn't like it. Why should a large insurance company need an outside investigator? But Bertha's greedy little eyes were already registering $$$$ . . . So Donald gets cracking, and in no time is the prime object of Sgt. Sellars' suspicion. For what on earth was a body doing in the trunk of Donald's car?
Beware the curves by A. A Fair( Book )

8 editions published between 1956 and 1965 in English and held by 156 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

The first job was simple. Find the name of a man. He was to get the name of a man who provided the plot of a book. With just a few things to go on Donald Lam does exactly that - much to his frustration. He provides that information to his client - the name of the man, then acts surprised when his client really wanted more. Lam points out that if he was REALLY interested in the murder of the man, he made three big mistakes. The first was not telling him, so Lam could cover his back trail. The second was not telling him the man the police were interested in fit his description. The third was not leaving a phone number so Donald could warn him that the police might just be interested in a private eye who was looking up a famous murder case. Still, he was all business after that - pay him for the job. However, his partner accepts a second job - find out if it is safe for the client to come back since the death of the only man who could identify him in the murder case. It wasn't, but the man is arrested. Still, even Lam's job as a jury consultant to a law school friend of his wasn't the key to the case - it was Donald's own legal knowledge and ability to bait a trap. Maybe the real killer would never be prosecuted for it, but Donald's job was saving his client
Pass the gravy by A. A Fair( Book )

7 editions published between 1959 and 1961 in English and held by 151 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Kept women can't quit by A. A Fair( Book )

11 editions published between 1960 and 1992 in 4 languages and held by 145 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

The opening chapter tells of a stealth theft from an armored car that was only discovered when the money went missing after the driver and guard stopped for coffee and doughnuts. The "Cool & Lam" agency gets a visit from Detective Sergeant Sellers because their name and number was found on a piece of paper in a suspect's possession - the alleged girlfriend of a criminal found with half the loot. The police think this money was ordered by a big bookmaker. This girlfriend, Hazel Downer, visits Donald Lam to find her missing husband, and the money she inherited. Coincidentally, this money matches the amount missing in the robbery! Chapter 2 gives a quick introduction to the public relations racket and its use in merchandising. Donald Lam follows the clues he discovers. A duplicate trunk is shipped to San Francisco, and Lam follows. Lam meets Hazel and goes for a ride. Their meeting is interrupted by Sergeant Sellers. How will Donald Lam get out of this mess?
Some women won't wait by A. A Fair( Book )

12 editions published between 1953 and 1977 in English and Undetermined and held by 134 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Some slips don't show by A. A Fair( Book )

8 editions published between 1957 and 1998 in English and Chinese and held by 125 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Fools die on Friday by A. A Fair( Book )

22 editions published between 1947 and 2009 in 8 languages and held by 98 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

"How to keep a man from being murdered (in four easy lessons -- and one hard one!)." 1. Collect $250 in advance from a trim brunette whose interest in the man is vague. 2. Give the man's playgirl-wife some good reasons to let her husband live. 3. Figure out why two women should die when one man was the intended victim. 4. Keep one step ahead of the law throughout. These were the easy lessons for Donald Lam and Bertha Cool, and they breezed through the course "summa cum laude." The hard lesson came when they found how easy it is to be accused of the murder you are hired to prevent
Gold comes in bricks by A. A Fair( Book )

21 editions published between 1940 and 1997 in 3 languages and held by 87 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Donald Lam, the diminutive detective who works for Bertha Cool of B. Cool Investigations, is hired by Henry Ashbury to check up on his daughter's finances. She has been making some strange withdrawals of late and is concerned, particularly if word got out. The last thing Ashbury wants is a financial scandal. Ashbury also doesn't want his daughter to know that Lam is a detective, so he uses the front that Lam is a jujitsu expert who will be working as his trainer, a cover that is doomed from the start. It doesn't take Lam long to find where the money's going, but in carrying out his investigation he uncovers blackmail, fraud, business scams and even a murder. There is no shortage of intrigue but Lam always seems to be one step ahead of everyone else, thanks in no small part to his previous experience as a lawyer. Thanks to Lam's quick-witted observations and his sharp eye for detail the story zips along at breakneck speed. A feature of this story also comes from the barbs traded by Lam and Bertha as Lam is beginning to exert himself as an influential member of their partnership. It's fun watching just how Lam is going to turn every situation to his own advantage
Crows can't count by A. A Fair( Book )

19 editions published between 1946 and 2016 in 3 languages and held by 86 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

EMERALDS ARE FOR EVIL Shirley was sultry, sexy, smashing-a sweet young thing to make a sugar daddy's mouth water. This luscious lass loved pretty baubles, so no wonder men showered her with jewels. But when a deluge of emeralds turned into a reign of terror, Shirley needed someone to bail her out. That brought Bertha Cool and Donald Lam into the act, as the indomitable detective duo discovered that emeralds could be a girl's worst enemy when they carried a price tag of murder
Owls don't blink by Erle Stanley Gardner( Book )

17 editions published between 1942 and 2013 in 5 languages and held by 82 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

In this case, the Cool and Lam agency is hired to find a woman that has gone missing for three years. While Bertha is overjoyed when Donald finds her right away, Donald smells a rat. The stench overpowers him so he moves deeper into the case, where two women named Roberta and Edna swapped identities. There is also a reference to a murder case in Roberta's life years before. Although she was cleared in that case, the new murder in her apartment is one murder too many. From the way Donald approaches the case, you know that he has suspicions, even to the point that he protects the women when they are wanted by the law for questioning
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Audience Level
  Kids General Special  
Audience level: 0.29 (from 0.19 for All grass ... to 0.66 for Owls don't ...)

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Alternative Names

controlled identityGardner, Erle Stanley, 1889-1970

Fair, A. A.

フェア, A. A

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