March 26, 2019
Way, way, back in the balmy days of 2009, I had a Cocktail Talk post from A.A. Fair, and went through how he was actually a nom de plume
(as they say) of Erle Stanley Gardner, at one time the biggest selling writer around thanks to his books about a certain lawyer named Perry Mason! You can see how I feel about all of that by reading past Erle Stanley Gardner Cocktail Talks
(short version: oddly enough, I tend to like the show better than the books, though they aren’t bad, and tend to have great covers, and I like the A.A. Fair books better for some reason). Here, though, is the neat thing about The Knife Slipped
. It was a lost manuscript, rejected at one time by Gardner’s publisher, and only recently re-found and published by the happening folks at Hard Case Crime. It’s a good read, too, staring Cool and Lam (Donald Cool and Bertha Lam), a detective team, and the book stands out as an early mystery for this detecting duo, giving more history around them, and just being a swell read on every side. Well worth picking up, whether you sit with me on the Gardner questions or not. And, there are slugs of Scotch.
“Dance,” I said.
Her voice was wistful. “Uh-huh. The floor is build out over the side hill, on an enclosed porch. You dance out from the tables onto this porch and look down over the city lights. They keep it almost dark out there, just a starlight effect.”
“It won’t be starlight tonight,” I said, “but a good shot of Scotch might help. How about it? Do you feel the same way about a slug of Scotch I do?
She hesitated a minute, and said, “I don’t know.”
–A.A. Fair/Erle Stanley Gardner, The Knife Slipped
September 25, 2009
A quick break from the Chow tips (check ‘em out below, if’n you haven’t seen them), but only enough so I can slip in a quick quote from a book by A.A. Fair, called Some Women Won’t Wait (amen), with only a quick introductory graph, which I am writing quickly (but lovingly), so I can skedaddle out to the Friends of the Seattle Library Booksale (the most wondrous of events). So, quick (he says): A.A. Fair is, actually, Erle Stanley Gardner, who wrote 3 billion Perry Mason mysteries, and who I don’t tend to like (though, oddly, quickly, I love the Perry Mason TV series), but this book I found fun, probably because there’s lots of drinking, and a mysterious woman with eyes the size of orange slices drinking on the cover. I’m not saying I get easily swayed, but . . .. Anyway, check this out, go buy some books, and then make a big boozy punch and slide into the weekend.
The Royal Hawaiian Hotel was saturated with an atmosphere of deep, quiet luxury. The royal palms furnished dappled shade; the air was a combination of ocean tang and the scent of flowers.
I wandered through the lobby and a couple of shops before I found Bertha Cool seated at a table out on a lanai overlooking the ocean.
There was a planter’s punch in front of her, and Bertha was just a little flushed, her eyes just a little watery, her lips pressed in a tight line.
I took a good look and decided that Bertha was just a little bit high and very, very mad.
— Some Women Won’t Wait, A.A. Fair