#139: Hard Case Crime Publishing ‘Lost’ Erle Staney Gardner Novel!


Well, well, well, how’s this for a turn up: one of Erle Stanley Gardner’s early books from his A.A. Fair days is due to be published this December for the first time ever.

The lovely people are Hard Case Crime will be putting out The Knife Slipped, intended to be the second of Gardner’s Cool and Lam series following 1939’s The Bigger They Come (a.k.a. Lam to the Slaughter).  I’ll let the run-down on Hard Case Crime’s website fill in the gaps:

At the time of his death, Erle Stanley Gardner was the best-selling American author of the 20th century, and world famous as the creator of crusading attorney Perry Mason. Gardner also created the hardboiled detective team of Cool and Lam, stars of 29 novels published between 1939 and 1970—and one that’s never been published until now.

Lost for more than 75 years, THE KNIFE SLIPPED was meant to be the second book in the series but got 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.

Exciting times!  It was under the Fair nom de plume that I first read Gardner (I think it was Owls Don’t Blink) and Don and Bertha are awesome company — if you’ve yet to check them out, here’s your chance; if you know them already…rejoice!  A legitimate new book from the actual author, none of this Sophie Hannah well-that’s-not-really-how-you’re-supposed-to-go-about-it nonsense.

And Hard Case would like you to know that the cover features a painting of Dita von Teese, because we’re supposedly meant to know and/or care who that is.  Roll on December when, if only for a brief moment, we’ll have ESG back in our midst again, which seems like the far greater achievement…

9 thoughts on “#139: Hard Case Crime Publishing ‘Lost’ Erle Staney Gardner Novel!

    • Seems a shame that the website plays up her burlesque work so much and fails to really focus on the “eyewear” designs for which I’m sure she’d rather be remembered…


  1. “none of this Sophie Hannah well-that’s-not-really-how-you’re-supposed-to-go-about-it nonsense.”

    That made me burst out laughing!

    I’ve seen this book touted elsewhere but your post is the first I’ve read about it in detail. Someone recently gave me an Amazon gift card with a hefty chunk of change on it. Excellent excuse to get a copy of THE KNIFE SLIPPED. Thanks for this post, JJ.


  2. Well, JJ, what’s the matter ? No post last Thursday and today also no post till now. Are you finding The French Powder Mystery so dull ? 🙂


  3. Pingback: #151: Harper Collins’ The Detective Club Republishing The Conjure-Man Dies (1932) by Rudolph Fisher! | The Invisible Event

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