skip to content

Fair, A. A. 1889-1970

Works: 147 works in 559 publications in 12 languages and 4,537 library holdings
Genres: Fiction  Detective and mystery fiction  History  Juvenile works 
Roles: Author
Classifications: PS3513.A6322, 813.52
Publication Timeline
Publications about A. A Fair
Publications by A. A Fair
Publications by A. A Fair, published posthumously.
Most widely held works by A. A Fair
All grass isn't green by A. A Fair( Book )
5 editions published between 1970 and 1973 in English and held by 315 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 295 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 281 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 )
13 editions published between 1965 and 1997 in 3 languages and held by 278 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 268 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 held by 237 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
The count of nine by A. A Fair( Book )
13 editions published between 1958 and 1984 in English and German and held by 210 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 )
6 editions published between 1961 and 1998 in 3 languages and held by 209 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 held by 205 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 )
8 editions published between 1956 and 1992 in English and Chinese and held by 163 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 )
8 editions published between 1959 and 1969 in English and Danish and held by 155 libraries worldwide
Sandra Eden is a fifteen-year old girl who wants to find a missing uncle. Amos Gage sent her mother Eleanore money each month but it stopped. Eleanore has been sick and has medical bills (Chapter 1). Bertha Cool tells Donald Lam that working for free doesn't pay the rent (Chapter 2). A paying client, Daphne Beckley, wants to find her missing husband. In Chapter 3 Lam learns more about her missing husband Malcolm (Chapter 4). He gets Malcolm's picture and a handwriting sample. Lam drives that same route to check the garage where Malcolm stopped (Chapter 5). By checking all the motels in Reno Lam found that "Roadracer" car, and a man who first claimed to be Beckley. Lam finds Amos Gage, who tells what happened. (Believable?) Was it a crime? Using this information Lam drives along country roads until he finds a body, then notifies the sheriff (Chapter 6). A polygraph is used the check the responses of a mechanic at an all-night garage. This information leads to a trip to a restaurant in Central Creek (Chapter 7). After they return they learn the "Roadracer" was found abandoned and wiped clean of prints (Chapter 8). Lam tells Daphne she is a widow (Chapter 9). What will people say? How will the newspapers report the murder? When Lam visits Eleanore Eden he learns surprising news about a picture (Chapter 10). Lam drives back to Reno for the agency car. Chapter 11 summarizes the known facts about the crime. A solid case? Lam looks for Edith Jordan, the missing waitress (Chapter 12). Lam meets Goodwin F. James, Amos Gage's lawyer (Chapter 13). In Chapter 14 Lam talks to Daphne Beckley about the picture in the newspaper. Lam talks to Cool about the coincidences in this case. He takes a new look at the known facts. Then Lam is called to see the D.A. Gage has talked, his story is incredible. In Chapter 15 Lam is questioned by the D.A. as a suspected accessory after the fact. Lam makes a telephone call and this provides the facts to prevent a perfect crime! Lam explains to Cool how he came to understand the coincidences in this case, where Daphne Beckley came in about her missing husband before Sandra Eden showed up about her missing uncle
Gold comes in bricks by A. A Fair( Book )
24 editions published between 1940 and 1997 in 4 languages and held by 151 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 )
10 editions published between 1960 and 1992 in 4 languages and held by 151 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 Erle Stanley Gardner( Book )
14 editions published between 1953 and 2013 in 3 languages and held by 136 libraries worldwide
An old and rheumatic man, (Bicknell) comes to the Cool & Lam agency seeking help for a young woman Mira Woolford) who is being blackmailed. Mira had married his partner and when the partner died, she inherited half of his substantial estate. His death was sudden, so there is some suspicion as to the cause. Mira is in Hawaii, so Bicknell hires Bertha and Donald to travel with him to the islands on a deluxe cruise ship. Once they arrive in Hawaii, Donald manages to loosen Bertha up, getting her to wear Hawaiian dresses and even a bathing suit. Donald manages to befriend Mira and Norma, her friend with similar ambitions. There is more than one person attempting to blackmail Mira, and one of them gets a bullet between the eyes. Bertha and Bicknell discover the body in the victim's house and enter the crime scene and remove some evidence. This gets them in trouble and Donald manages to fix some of the damage. The suspicion falls on Mira, and Donald begins working to establish her innocence. The murderer is exposed, largely due to police work. This book is different from most of the other Bertha Cool/Donald Lam books, in that the police are not nitwits. While it appears that Donald is a step ahead of the law, he is not. They are abreast of his every move and identify the killer before Donald does. I enjoyed this plot device, as the recurrent theme of heavy handed, somewhat dull-witted police grows stale after it is used several times. This is one of the better Bertha Cool/Donald Lam mysteries
Some slips don't show by A. A Fair( Book )
10 editions published between 1957 and 1998 in English and Chinese and held by 128 libraries worldwide
It wasn't blackmail -- at least not the ordinary kind. Donald Lam had come to San Francisco to see what he could do for a client who had, it seemed, been indiscreet and had received a letter threatening to tell his wife all. But when Lam met Lois Marlow, she denied a blackmail attempt and was very friendly. She even asked him to make coffee while she dressed. "You watching that coffee, Donald?" she called through a crack in the bedroom door. "Not yet. A watched pot never boils." She opened the door. The light streaming through the bedroom window made an intriguing silhouette. "Your slip's showing." Lois looked down at the silhouette and laughed. "Some slips don't show, Donald."
Crows can't count by A. A Fair( Book )
20 editions published between 1946 and 2016 in 4 languages and held by 108 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 )
22 editions published between 1947 and 2009 in 8 languages and held by 100 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
Owls don't blink by Erle Stanley Gardner( Book )
16 editions published between 1942 and 2013 in 5 languages and held by 80 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
Bats fly at dusk by Erle Stanley Gardner( Book )
18 editions published between 1942 and 2013 in 5 languages and held by 69 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"
moreShow More Titles
fewerShow Fewer Titles
Alternative Names

controlled identity Gardner, Erle Stanley, 1889-1970

Fair, A. A.
フェア, A. A
English (169)
Chinese (23)
French (9)
Danish (7)
Swedish (5)
Finnish (3)
Japanese (2)
Spanish (2)
German (1)
Italian (1)
Russian (1)
Czech (1)
Close Window

Please sign in to WorldCat 

Don't have an account? You can easily create a free account.