A CLASSIC COOL AND LAM NOVEL FROM THE CREATOR OF PERRY MASON, ERLE STANLEY GARDNER
HBO series Perry Mason airs June 2020 starring Matthew Rhys in the titular role.
Erle Stanley Gardner was not just the creator of PERRY MASON – at the time of his death, he was the best-selling American author of all time, with hundreds of millions of books in print. Among those books were the 29 cases of the brash, irresistible detective team of Bertha Cool and Donald Lam. Last year, Hard Case Crime brought out the first new Cool and Lam novel in decades, THE KNIFE SLIPPED, lost for 77 years after Gardner’s publisher refused it. Now, we’re bringing you the book Gardner wrote to replace it, often considered the best in the series: 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…
Out of print for half a century, this competent, snappy novel became the initial entry in the Bertha Cool and Donald Lam detective series in 1940, after the publisher bounced The Knife Slipped, which Hard Case brought into print for the first time in 2016, and published this one instead. Writing under the pen name A.A. Fair, the prolific creator of the Perry Mason legal thrillers wrote 30 novels in which the rotund and conniving Cool sends the diminutive but brassy Lam out to probe and investigate, as well as take the beatings that ensue. In this outing, a Mr. Smith hires Cool's firm to find a woman who's been missing for 21 years, without mentioning he's running for political office. Soon enough Lam finds a corrupt cop on his trail, and of course bodies begin to pile up. Gardner amuses with the authentic period scene and convoluted plot, but he's not writing anything ambitious like The Maltese Falcon or Murder on the Orient Express this is strictly bread-and-butter detection for mystery readers.