WorldCat Identities

Fair, A. A. 1889-1970

Works: 155 works in 549 publications in 8 languages and 4,557 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 315 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 300 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
Cut thin to win by A. A Fair( Book )

8 editions published between 1965 and 1992 in 3 languages and held by 274 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?
Fish or cut bait by A. A Fair( Book )

8 editions published between 1963 and 1966 in English and Undetermined and held by 268 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
Traps need fresh bait by A. A Fair( Book )

6 editions published between 1967 and 1973 in English and held by 267 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
Up for grabs by A. A Fair( Book )

5 editions published between 1964 and 1966 in English and Undetermined and held by 242 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 225 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 209 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
Shills can't cash chips by A. A Fair( Book )

2 editions published between 1961 and 1963 in English and held by 208 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?
Top of the heap by A. A Fair( Book )

14 editions published between 1952 and 2004 in English and Undetermined and held by 207 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
Beware the curves by A. A Fair( Book )

7 editions published between 1956 and 1964 in English and Undetermined and held by 164 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

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

Gold comes in bricks by Erle Stanley Gardner( Book )

25 editions published between 1940 and 1992 in 6 languages and held by 150 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
Kept women can't quit by A. A Fair( Book )

4 editions published between 1960 and 1961 in English and held by 148 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 slips don't show by A. A Fair( Book )

6 editions published between 1957 and 1963 in English and held by 120 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Some women won't wait by Erle Stanley Gardner( Book )

18 editions published between 1953 and 2013 in 6 languages and held by 120 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Sous ce pseudonyme, Erle Stanley Gardner a écrit plusieurs romans assez humoristiques où, délaissant le fameux ##Perry Mason##, il donne la vedette à un inénarrable couple de détectives privés
Crows can't count by A. A Fair( Book )

19 editions published between 1946 and 1997 in 7 languages and held by 111 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

In this story, a client (Harry Sharples) asks for assistance in determining why the beneficiary of a trust (Shirley Bruce) that he co-administers is behaving the way she is. There are two beneficiaries, the other; (Robert Hockley) is a spendthrift who is always asking for more money. By the terms of the trust, it is possible for the relative amounts of the disbursement to be changed; however Shirley is willing to allow Robert to receive more money than she does. The story revolves around a necklace made from emeralds. The trust has major holdings in Columbia, specifically gold and emerald mines. The Colombian government has a monopoly on emeralds, so the output of the mine is strictly regulated. Things change quickly when the other trust administrator (Robert Cameron) is found stabbed to death. Lam and Sharples discover the body and Lam immediately suspects a set-up. What further confuses the issue is that loose emeralds seem to be present in abundance. Cameron has a pet crow that moves between two nests and Lam finds emeralds in both locations. There is a beautiful artist and her hotheaded mother, who tries to knife Lam. With so many characters having their own contributions to the mystery, there are more than enough suspects to obfuscate the culprit
Fools die on Friday by A. A Fair( Book )

9 editions published between 1947 and 1975 in English and Undetermined and held by 77 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
You can die laughing by A. A Fair( Book )

8 editions published between 1957 and 1959 in English and Undetermined and held by 61 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Bats fly at dusk by A. A Fair( Book )

10 editions published between 1942 and 1997 in English and Chinese and held by 58 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

A blind street peddler visits the Cool & Lam detective agency. Rodney Kosling has money for an investigation. His hearing allows him to "see" the people passing by. An unknown young woman was hurt in an automobile accident last Friday, and hasn't returned to work by Tuesday. He wants to know why. A newspaper ad brings a key witness, but he asks for too much, and leaves. Later he returns with a name: Josephine Dell. She suffered a concussion, and wants compensation. Josephine Dell's employer has died. The $10,000 in his wallet disappeared, and Bertha Cool will try to find it by interviewing Harlow Milder's housekeeper. Due to complications, Bertha corresponds with Donald Lam for his advice. Donald points out differences in wording in the will; he also asks about the cause of Harlow Milder's death. When Bertha goes to visit Rodney Kosling, she finds a dead body; its time for the police. Bertha finds out the likely cause of Harlow Milder's death - a poison! Donald telegrams that the original story of a car accident seems "impossible". Chapter 24 tells how Bertha Cool makes sure no one is following her, and how to hide a visit to a hotel. The information learned brings Bertha back to Kosling's home, where she discovers something, and is discovered in turn. Chapter 30 winds up this story with a deus ex machina ending that explains and solves the mystery. Its as if "A. A. Fair" wanted to quickly end this story without the usual dialogue. The details, like "parol evidence" point to the legal knowledge of the author. The background describes an America gone forever. People leave their doors not just unlocked but open! Where a dime is a great tip! Those were the days. It also has scenes where an automobile accident victim seems reluctant to sue (or was that just for humor?). This plot, where half the detective team is on the case and communicates by letters, echoes the scenes in A. Conan Doyle's "The Hound of the Baskervilles"
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Audience Level
Audience Level
  Kids General Special  
Audience level: 0.25 (from 0.16 for All grass ... to 0.59 for Crows can' ...)

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Alternative Names

controlled identityGardner, Erle Stanley, 1889-1970

Fair, A. A.

フェア, A. A

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