Erle Stanley Gardner

Pseudonyms include A.A. Fair, Carleton Kendrake, Charles J. Kenney, Charles M. Green
(1889-1970)

Although critics sneered and many felt that Erle Stanley Gardner was not a very good writer (Rex Stout, for example, once claimed that the Perry Mason books weren't even novels), Gardner was one of the bestselling writers of all time, and certainly one of the best-selling mystery authors ever. And he was amazingly prolific.

He was best known, of course, for creating the world's most famous fictional lawyer, Perry Mason. If that were all he ever did, he'd probably still rank a bio on this site, given that Mason, in his earliest books, was little more than a unliciensed private eye who just happened to practise law. But Gardner did more, much more...

He was not just a writer, but also a practising lawyer, a humanitarian and an adventurer. He was born in Massachusetts, but his father's job as a mining engineer took the family all over--sometimes as far as the Klondike. A bit of a roughneck as a lad, he was constantly getting into brawls. He once boasted he was kicked out of Indiana's Valparaiso university for "slugging a professor." He also participated in (and allegedly organized) several illegal boxing matches.

Somewhere around this time, young Erle eventually decided that a little knowledge of the law might come in handy, so he landed a gig as a typist at an Oxnard, California law firm. He stuck around, picking up what legal knowledge he could, and three years later, without any formal training, he passed the bar in 1911, and began to practise law himself.

The fledgling lawyer soon found himself gaining a rep among the Chinese and Mexican communities, with whom he developed some long-standing friendships. (To his credit, characters from these communities who appeared in his fiction were not the usual stereotypical villains so popular at the time, but actually appeared as real people, or at least as real as any of Gardner's characters ever were. Let's just say in-depth characterization wasn't his strong suit.)

Always on the eye to increase his income, Gardner abandoned the law for a short stint, working as a tire salesman, but soon realized he missed the law and returned, this time signing on with a Ventura, Californuia firm. About this time, he also began to write, forcing himself to churn out four thousand words a night. It took two years, but he made his first sale to the pulps. It wouldn't be the last. He pounded out a staggering amount of short stories and novelettes -- almost 600 of them, mostly crime and detective stories.

In fact, before he'd even written a single novel, Gardner was one of America's most successful writers. He was truly the king of the pulps, writing millions and millions of words, cranking out a steady barrage of characters in everything from Black Mask to Argosy. Most of his stories dealt with one side or the other of the law (and often, both). A contemporary of Carroll John Daly and Dashiell Hammett, Gardner had the longest run of any author in Black Mask, and wrote more stories for the magazine (more than a few under pseudonyms) than any other author. In fact, he probably created more characters, particularly continuing characters, for the magazine than any one else. Asked once why he wrote, Gardner confessed that "I write to make money, and I write to give the reader sheer fun." He succeeded on both counts. He favoured action and dialogue over characterization or overly-complicated plots, and tended to stress "speed, situation and suspense." It was just what the pulps wanted.

And although his greatest creation never appeared in its pages, in the early 1930s Black Mask published a string of six short stories starring crusading defense lawyer Ken Corning who fought against injustice in a corrupt city. In many ways, Corning served as a rough template for Mason.

But Gardner created a veritable rogues' gallery of colourful and sometimes downright odd characters for the pulps in the twenties and thirties, before turning towards the more lucrative field of novels, and many of them, perhaps by necessity, shared occasional similarities.

Gardner wrote for all kinds of pulps, not just Black Mask and Argosy, but also Clues, All Detective, Dime Detective, Detective Story, Dime Detective, Detective Action Stories, Double Detective, This Week, Detective Fiction Weekly, West and some other cowboy pulps). He also wrote for slicks such as The Country Gentleman, Cosmopolitan and The Saturday Evening Post.

The last year that he wrote exclusively for the pulps, 1932, saw Gardner earning around 20,000 bucks, and that's at a few cents a word! Maybe not a fortune these days, but this was the Depression. To put it in perspective, those are Stephen King-like numbers.

In his pulp days, Gardner was notorious for killing off the final heavies with the last bullet in the hero's gun, which led to some editors teasing him about how all his good guys seemed to be such bad shots.

Gardner's alleged explanation? "At three cents a word, every time I say 'Bang' in the story I get three cents. If you think I'm going to finish the gun battle while my hero still has fifteen cents worth of unexploded ammunition in his gun, you're nuts."

In 1933, Gardner unleashed his first full-length novel, The Case of the Velvet Claws, which introduced hard-boiled, two-fisted attorney Perry Mason. It was a hit right out of the gate, and Gardner soon turned his attention to books, averaging about one book every four months until his death in 1970.

Gardner gradually toned down Mason, hoping to make him more palatable to the editors of The Saturday Evening Post, a market he was eager to crack. From the early fifties on, many of the Mason novels were serialized or excerpted in The Post prior to book publication, a fact that no doubt contributed to the series success, though successful movies, radio shows, comic strips and a hit TV show certainly played their part as well.

The Mason series proved even more popular than his short fiction. So Gardner started to write novels.

But Gardner, workaholic that he was, continued with his short fiction. Besides the long-running Mason seres, he wrote a series of novels featurng the memorably mismatched private eye team of Bertha Cool and Donald Lam, as well as novels featuring Doug Selby (District Attorney) and Sherriff Bill Eldon. Around this time, to keep up with demand, Garner chucked his typewriter for a bevy of six secretaries. He subsequently dictated everything!

UNDER OATH

  • "The popularity of Mason overshadows his other creations and that's a shame in many ways. Don't get me wrong. I am a sucker for the Mason novels. I just finished The Case of the Terrified Typist (1955) and could not stand any interruption as I neared the conclusion. Whatever his faults, Gardner is a master of pace and I find him compulsively readable....
    Even if Gardner had not created Perry Mason, he would be considered a giant of the Black Mask "school" of writing. In fact, I think the bland, watered down last decade of Perry Masons did considerable damage to the writer's reputation."

-- Richard Moore

SHORT STORIES

  • "The Shrieking Skeleton" (December 15, 1923, Black Mask; as Charles M. Green)
  • "The Serpent's Coils" (January 1, 1934, Black Mask; as Green)
  • "The Verdict" (February 1, 1934, Black Mask; as Green)
  • "A Fair Trial" (June 1924, Black Mask; no byline)
  • "Accomodatin' a Lady" (September 1924, Black Mask; Bob Larkin)
  • "Without No Reindeer" (December 1924, Black Mask; Bob Larkin)
  • "Beyond the Law" (September 1925; Ed Jenkins)
  • "Hard As Nails" (March 1925; Ed Jenkins)
  • "Painless Extraction" May 1925, Black Mask; Bob Larkin)
  • "Not So Darn Bad" (June 1925; Ed Jenkins)
  • "Three O'Clock in the Morning" (July 1925; Ed Jenkins)
  • "Ham, Eggs and Coffee" (August 1925, Black Mask; Bob Larkin)
  • "The Girl Goes With Me" (November 1925, Black Mask; Black Barr)
  • "The Triple Cross" (December 1925; Ed Jenkins)
  • "According to Law" (January 1926; Ed Jenkins)
  • "Goin' Into Action" (February 1926, Black Mask; Bob Larkin)
  • "Register Rage" (April 1926; Ed Jenkins)
  • "Thisissosudden!" (May 1926; Ed Jenkins)
  • "Forget 'em All" (June 1926; Ed Jenkins)
  • "Laugh That Off" (September 1926; Ed Jenkins)
  • "Buzzard Bait" (October 1926, Black Mask; Black Barr)
  • "Money, Marble and Chalk" (November 1926, Black Mask; Ed Jenkins)
  • "Dead Men's Letters" (December 1926, Black Mask; Ed Jenkins)
  • "Whispering Sand" (January 1927, Black Mask; Black Barr)
  • "The Cat-Woman" (February 1927, Black Mask; Ed Jenkins)
  • "This Way Out" " (March 1927, Black Mask; Ed Jenkins)
  • "Come and Get It" " (April 1927, Black Mask; Ed Jenkins)
  • "In Full of Account" (May 1927, Black Mask; Ed Jenkins)
  • "Where the Buzzards Circle" (September 1927, Black Mask; Black Barr)
  • "The Wax Dragon" (November 1927, Black Mask; Ed Jenkins)
  • "Grinning Gods" (December 1927, Black Mask; Ed Jenkins)
  • "Yellow Shadows" (February 1928, Black Mask; Ed Jenkins)
  • "Whispering Feet" (March 1928, Black Mask; Ed Jenkins)
  • "Snow Bird" (April 1928, Black Mask; Ed Jenkins)
  • "Out of the Shadows" (May 1928, Black Mask; Ed Jenkins)
  • "Fangs of Fate" (August 1928, Black Mask; Black Barr)
  • "The Devil's Deputy" (September 1928, Black Mask; Black Barr)
  • "Curse of the Killers" (November 1928, Black Mask; Black Barr)
  • "Thec Next Stiff" (December 1928, Black Mask; Ed Jenkins)
  • "Crooked Lightning" (1928)
  • "One Crook to Another" (January 1929, Black Mask; Ed Jenkins)
  • "Bracelets for Two" (February 1929, Black Mask; Ed Jenkins)
  • "The Painted Decoy" (February 23, 1929, Detective Fiction Weekly; Lester Leith)
  • "Hooking the Crooks" (March 1929, Black Mask; Ed Jenkins)
  • "A Tip from Scuttle" (March 2, 1929, Detective Fiction Weekly; Lester Leith)
  • "The Dummy Murder" (March 23, 1929, Detective Fiction Weekly; Lester Leith)
  • "No Questions Asked" (April 1929, Black Mask; Ed Jenkins)
  • "The Case of the Fugitive Corpse" (April 6, 1929, Detective Fiction Weekly; Lester Leith)
  • "The Pay-off" (April 27, 1929, Detective Fiction Weekly; Lester Leith)
  • "A Hot Tip" (May 11, 1929, Detective Fiction Weekly; Lester Leith)
  • "Scum of the Border" (June 1929, Black Mask; Bob Larkin)
  • "All the Way" (July 1929, Black Mask; Bob Larkin)
  • "A Peach of a Scheme" (July 20, 1929, Detective Fiction Weekly; Lester Leith)
  • "Spawn of the Night" (August 1929, Black Mask; Bob Larkin)
  • "Even Money" (August 3, 1929, Detective Fiction Weekly; Lester Leith)
  • "It's a Pipe!" (August 10, 1929, Detective Fiction Weekly; Lester Leith)
  • "Faster than Forty" (August 31, 1929, Detective Fiction Weekly; Lester Leith)
  • "Hanging Friday" (September 1929, Black Mask; Bob Larkin)
  • "Double Shadows" (September 21, 1929, Detective Fiction Weekly; Lester Leith)
  • "The Artistic Touch" (October 26, 1929, Detective Fiction Weekly; Lester Leith)
  • "Straight from the Shoulder" (October 1929, Black Mask; Ed Jenkins)
  • "Brass Tacks" (November 1929, Black Mask; Ed Jenkins)
  • "Lester Takes the Cake" (November 23, 1929, Detective Fiction Weekly; Lester Leith)
  • "Triple Treachery" (December 1929, Black Mask; Ed Jenkins)
  • "Double or Quits" (January 1930, Black Mask; Ed Jenkins)
  • "The Doubtful Egg" (January 11, 1930, Detective Fiction Weekly; Lester Leith)
  • ''The Higher Court" (March 8, 1930, Detective Fiction Weekly; Sidney Zoom)
  • "Willie The Weeper" (March 29, 1930, Detective Fiction Weekly; Sidney Zoom)
  • "My Name Is Zoom" (April 12, 1930, Detective Fiction Weekly; Sidney Zoom)
  • "The Crime Crusher" (May 1930, Black Mask; Ed Jenkins)
  • "Both Ends Against the Middle" (May 3, 1930, Detective Fiction Weekly; Lester Leith)
  • "The Purple Plume" (May 24, 1930, Detective Fiction Weekly; Lester Leith)
  • "Hell's Kettle" (June 1930, Black Mask; also 1985, The Black Mask Boys; Ed Jenkins)
  • "Put It in Writing!" (June 7, 1930, Detective Fiction Weekly; Lester Leith)
  • "Big Shot" (July 1930, Black Mask; Ed Jenkins)
  • "Hot Dollars!" (July 26, 1930, Detective Fiction Weekly; Lester Leith)
  • "In Round Figures" (August 23, 1930, Detective Fiction Weekly; Lester Leith)
  • "The Valley of Little Fears" (September 3, 1930, Argosy Weekly)
  • ''Time In For Tucker" (September 13, 1930, Detective Fiction Weekly; Sidney Zoom)
  • "The Man on the End" (September 27, 1930, Detective Fiction Weekly; Lester Leith)
  • "The Crime Juggler" (October 1930, Gang World; Paul Pry)
  • "The Racket Buster" (November 1930, Gang World; Paul Pry)
  • "Lester Frames a Fence" (December 13, 1930, Detective Fiction Weekly; Lester Leith)
  • "In Round Figures" (1930, Detective Fiction Weekly; Lester Leith)
  • "The Daisy-Pusher" (December 1930 , Gang World; Paul Pry)
  • "Stranger's Silk" (January 3, 1931, Detective Fiction Weekly; Sidney Zoom)
  • "Cold Clews" (January 10, 1931, Detective Fiction Weekly; Lester Leith)
  • "The Death Penalty" (January 17, 1931, Detective Fiction Weekly; Sidney Zoom)
  • "Wiker Gets the Works" (January 1931, Gang World; Paul Pry)
  • "A Double Deal in Diamonds" (February 1931, Gang World; Paul Pry)
  • "The Candy Kid" (March 14, 1931, Detective Fiction Weekly; Lester Leith)
  • "Borrowed Bullets" (March 21, 1931, Detective Fiction Weekly; Sidney Zoom)
  • "Riddled With Lead" (March 1931, Gang World; Paul Pry)
  • "Big Money" (April 18, 1931, Detective Fiction Weekly; Lester Leith)
  • "Slick and Clean" (April 1931, Gang World; Paul Pry)
  • "Hot Cash" (May 23, 1931, Detective Fiction Weekly; Lester Leith)
  • "Hijacker's Code" (May 1931, Gang World; Paul Pry)
  • "Not So Dumb" (June 27, 1931, Detective Fiction Weekly; Lester Leith)
  • "The Easy Mark" (June 1931, Gang World; Paul Pry)
  • "Tommy Talk" (July 1931, Black Mask; Ed Jenkins)
  • "The Girl with the Diamond Legs" (July 11, 1931, Detective Fiction Weekly; Lester Leith)
  • "One Man Gang" (July 1931, Gang World; Paul Pry)
  • "The Vanishing Corpse" (August 15, Detective Fiction Weekly, 1931; Sidney Zoom)
  • "Hairy Hands" (August 1931, Black Mask; Ed Jenkins)
  • "Car Fare To Chi" (August 1931, Gang World; Paul Pry)
  • "Promise to Pay" (September 1931, Black Mask; Ed Jenkins)
  • "Higher Up" (September 19, 1931, Detective Fiction Weekly; Sidney Zoom)
  • "The Gold Magnet" (September 26, 1931, Detective Fiction Weekly; Lester Leith)
  • "Muscle Man" (September 1931, Gang World; Paul Pry)
  • "The First Stone" (October 24, 1931, Detective Fiction Weekly; Sidney Zoom)
  • "The Hot Squat" (October 1931, Black Mask; Ed Jenkins)
  • "Loaded With Dynamite" (October 1931, Gang World; Paul Pry)
  • "The Crimson Mask" (November 7, 1931, Detective Fiction Weekly; Lester Leith)
  • "Rolling Stones" (November 21, 1931, Detective Fiction Weekly; Lester Leith)
  • "The Cat-Eyed Wench" (November 1931, Gang World; Paul Pry)
  • "Strictly Personal" (December 1931, Black Mask; Ed Jenkins)
  • "Red Herring" (December 26, 1931, Detective Fiction Weekly; Lester Leith)
  • "The Knockout Guy" (December 1931, Gang World; Paul Pry)
  • "Face Up" (January 1932, Black Mask; Ed Jenkins)
  • "Hell's Fireworks" (January 1932, Gang World; Paul Pry)
  • "It Takes A Crook" (February 6, 1932, Detective Fiction Weekly; Sidney Zoom)
  • "The Play's the Thing" (February 27, 1932, Detective Fiction Weekly; Lester Leith)
  • "Gangster De Luxe" (February 1932, Gang World; Paul Pry)
  • "Feet First" (March 1932, Black Mask; Ed Jenkins)
  • "The Dynamite Hour" (March 1932, Gang World; Paul Pry)
  • "Straight Crooks" (April 1932, Black Mask; Ed Jenkins)
  • "The Bird in the Hand" (April 9, 1932, Detective Fiction Weekly; Lester Leith)
  • "Hell's Danger Signal" (April 1932, Gang World; Paul Pry)
  • "Under the Guns" (May 1932, Black Mask; Ed Jenkins)
  • "Crooking Crooks" (June 1932, Black Mask; Ed Jenkins)
  • "Hell's Danger Signal" (June 1932, Blue Steel Magazine; Paul Pry)
  • "Thieves' Kitchen" (June 4, 1932, Detective Fiction Weekly; Lester Leith)
  • "Rough Stuff" (July 1932, Black Mask; Ed Jenkins)
  • "Closer than a Brother" (July 9, 1932, Detective Fiction Weekly; Lester Leith)
  • "A Deal in Cement" (July 30, 1932, Detective Fiction Weekly; Lester Leith)
  • ''The Green Door" (August 20, 1932, Detective Fiction Weekly; Sidney Zoom)
  • "Cheating The Chair" (September 17, 1932, Detective Fiction Weekly; Sidney Zoom)
  • "Black and White" (September 1932, Black Mask; Ed Jenkins)
  • "Queen Of The Double Cross" (September 1932, Gang World; Paul Pry)
  • "On Two Feet" (October 1932, Black Mask; Bob Larkin)
  • "The Bullet Mob" (October 1932, Gang World; Paul Pry)
  • "False Alarm" (November 5, 1932, Detective Fiction Weekly; Lester Leith)
  • "Honest Money" (November 1932, Black Mask; Ken Corning)
  • "The Top Comes Off" (December 1932, Black Mask; Ken Corning)
  • "Juggled Gems" (December 24, 1932, Detective Fiction Weekly; Lester Leith)
  • "The Bird in the Hand" (1932, Detective Fiction Weekly; Lester Leith)
  • "Inside Job" (January 7, 1933, Detective Fiction Weekly; Sidney Zoom)
  • "Close Call" (January 1933, Black Mask; Ken Corning)
  • "The Hour of the Rat" (February 1933, Black Mask; Ed Jenkins)
  • "One Jump Ahead" (February 4, 1933, Detective Fiction Weekly; Lester Leith)
  • "Red Jade" (March 1933, Black Mask; Ed Jenkins)
  • "Chinatown Murder" (April 1933, Black Mask; Ed Jenkins)
  • "The Radio Ruse" (April 1, 1933, Detective Fiction Weekly; Lester Leith)
  • "The Weapons of a Crook" (May 1933, Black Mask; Ed Jenkins)
  • "Making the Breaks" (June 1933, Black Mask; Ken Corning)
  • "Thin Ice" (June 10, 1933, Detective Fiction Weekly; Lester Leith)
  • "The Hand of Horror" (July 1, 1933, Dime Detective)
  • "Devil's Fire" (July 1933, Black Mask; Ken Corning)
  • "Crooks' Vacation" (July 8, 1933, Detective Fiction Weekly; Lester Leith)
  • "Blackmail With Lead" (August 1933, Black Mask; Ken Corning)
  • "Dressed to Kill" (September 1,1933, Dime Detective; Paul Pry)
  • "Snatch As Snatch Can" (September 15 1933, Dime Detective; Paul Pry)
  • "Whispering Justice" (September 1933, Black Mask; Ed Jenkins)
  • "Lifted Bait" (October 21, 1933, Detective Fiction Weekly; Sidney Zoom)
  • "The Murder Push (October 1933, Black Mask; Ed Jenkins)
  • "The Cross-Stitch Killer" (November 15, 1933, Dime Detective; Paul Pry)
  • "Dead Men's Shoes" (December 1933, Black Mask; Ed Jenkins)
  • "The Burden of Proof" (December 2, 1933, Detective Fiction Weekly; Lester Leith)
  • "Time for Murder" (1933; also 2004, The Danger Zone and Other Stories)
  • "Fingers of Fong" (1933)
  • "A Guest of the House" (January 1934, Black Mask; Ed Jenkins)
  • "Lost, Strayed and Stolen" (February 24, 1934, Detective Fiction Weekly; Lester Leith)
  • "Stolen Thunder" (March 19, 1934, Detective Fiction Weekly; Sidney Zoom)
  • "Cop Killers" (March 1934, Black Mask; Ed Jenkins)
  • "New Twenties" (April 1934, Black Mask; Ed Jenkins)
  • "The Kid Clips a Coupon" (April 21, 1934, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • "Dead to Rights" (June 2, 1934, Detective Fiction Weekly; Lester Leith)
  • "Burnt Fingers" (June 1934, Black Mask; Ed Jenkins)
  • "Crocodile Tears" (June 30, 1934, Detective Fiction Weekly; Lester Leith)
  • "The Heavenly Rat" (September 1934, Black Mask; Ed Jenkins)
  • "Hot Cash" (November 1934, Black Mask; Ed Jenkins)
  • "The Case of the Howling Dog" (1934; also by Perry Mason)
  • "Winged Lead" (January 1935, Black Mask; Black Barr)
  • "Queens Wild" (January 26, 1935, Detective Fiction Weekly; Lester Leith)
  • "A Chance to Cheat" May 1935, Black Mask; Ed Jenkins)
  • "Crash and Carry" (October 1935, Black Mask; Ed Jenkins)
  • "Screaming Sirens" (November 2, 1935, Detective Fiction Weekly; Lester Leith)
  • "Above the Law" (December 1935, Black Mask; Ed Jenkins)
  • "Bald-Headed Row" (March 21, 1936, Detective Fiction Weekly; Lester Leith)
  • "Beating the Bulls" (May 1936, Black Mask; Ed Jenkins)
  • "This Way Out" (March 1937, Black Mask; Ed Jenkins)
  • "Among Thieves" (September 1937, Black Mask; Pete Wennick)
  • "Leg Man" (February 1938, Black Mask; Pete Wennick)
  • "Muscle Out" (April 1938, Black Mask; Ed Jenkins)
  • "The Finishing Touch" (August 1938, Dime Detective; Paul Pry)
  • "Planted Planets" (December 1938, Detective Story; Lester Leith)
  • "It's The McCoy" (January 1939, , Dime Detective; Paul Pry)
  • "The Monkey Murder" (January 1939, Detective Story; Lester Leith)
  • "The Seven Sinister Sombreros" (February 1939, Detective Story; Lester Leith)
  • "Take It or Leave It" (March 1939, Black Mask; Pete Wennick)
  • "The Fourth Musketeer" (March 1939, Detective Story; Lester Leith)
  • "With Rhyme and Reason" (April 1939, Detective Story; Lester Leith)
  • "The Queen of Shanghai Night" (May 1939, Detective Story; Lester Leith)
  • "The Ring of Fiery Eyes" (August 1939, Detective Story; Lester Leith)
  • "Dark Alleys" (September 1939, Black Mask; Ed Jenkins)
  • "Lester Leith, Magician" (September 16, 1939, Detective Fiction Weekly; aka "The Hand is Quicker Than the Eye" Lester Leith)
  • "A Thousand to One" (October 28, 1939, Detective Fiction Weekly; Lester Leith)
  • "Fair Exchange" (November 18, 1939, Detective Fiction Weekly; Lester Leith)
  • "At Arm's Length" (1939; Jerry Marr; also included in The Case of the Crimson Kiss & Other Stories)
  • "Sugar" (January 20, 1940, Detective Fiction Weekly; Lester Leith)
  • "Monkeyshine" (March 16, 1940, Detective Fiction Weekly; Lester Leith)
  • "Tong Trouble" (June 1940, Black Mask; Ed Jenkins)
  • "Jade Sanctuary" (December 1940, Black Mask; Ed Jenkins)
  • "The Exact Opposite" (March 29, 1941, Detective Fiction Weekly; Lester Leith)
  • "The Chinese People" (May 1941, Black Mask; Ed Jenkins)
  • "A Sugar Coating" (November 29, 1941, Flynn's Detective Fiction; Lester Leith)
  • "Rain Check" (December 1941, Black Mask; Ed Jenkins)
  • "The Exact Opposite" (1941, Detective Fiction Weekly; Lester Leith)
  • "Two Dead Hands" (April 1942, Black Mask; Ed Jenkins)
  • "Something Like a Pelican" (January 1943, Flynn's Detective Fiction; Lester Leith)
  • "The Incredible Mr. Smith" (March 1943, Black Mask; Ed Jenkins)
  • "Caws and Effect" (July 1943, Flynn's Detective Fiction; Lester Leith)
  • "The Gong of Vengeance" (September 1943, Black Mask; Ed Jenkins)
  • "The Clue of the Hungry Horse" (February 1947, The Country Gentleman; Sheriff Bill Eldon)
  • "The Case of the Crying Swallow" (August 1947, The American Magazine; Perry Mason)
  • "The Case of the Crimson Kiss" (1948; Perry Mason)
  • "The Clue of the Screaming Woman" (January 1949, The Country Gentleman)
  • "The Affair of the Reluctant Witness" (April 1949, Argosy; Jerry Bane)
  • "Flight Into Disaster" (May 11, 1952, This Week; aka "Only by Running")
  • "The Case of the Irate Witness" (January 17, 1953, Colliers; Perry Mason)
  • "Danger Out of the Past" (May 1955, Manhunt; aka "Protection")
  • "Escape to Danger" (1960)
  • "The Blonde in Lower Six" (September 1961, Argosy; Ed Jenkins)

  • Undated
  • "The Jeweled Bride"

NOVELS

Originally intended to be the second book in the series, the publisher rejected it for (among other things) "Bertha Cool's tendency to talk tough, swear, smoke cigarettes, and try to gyp people."



The Perry Mason series was continued in a few books written in the eighties by Thomas Chastain, who created New York eye J.T. SPanner.

COLLECTIONS

  • Over the Hump (1945)
  • Two Clues (1947)
  • The Case of the Murderer's Bride and Other Stories (1969; Edited by Ellery Queen, aka Ellery Queen Presents #1)
  • The Case of the Crimson Kiss: A Perry Mason Novelette and Other Stories. (1970)
  • The Case of the Crying Swallow: A Perry Mason Novelette and Other Stories (1971)
  • The Case of the Irate Witness: A Perry Mason Mystery and Other Stories (1972)
  • The Amazing Adventures of Lester Leith (1980; edited by Ellery Queen, aka Ellery Queen Presents #8; Lester Leith) ...Buy this book
  • The Bird in the Hand and Four Other Stories (1980)
  • The Human Zero: The Science Fiction Stories Of Erle Stanley Gardner (1981)
  • Whispering Sand: Stories Of Gold Fever And The Western Desert (1981)
  • Pay Dirt & Other Whispering Sands Stories of Gold Fever & The Western Desert (1983) ...Buy this book
  • Four Cases of Murder (1989; comic strips, Perry Mason)
  • The Adventures of Paul Pry (1990)
  • Dead Men's Letters (1990; Ed Jenkins)
  • The Blonde in Lower Six (1990, Ed Jenkins)
  • Honest Money and Other Short Novels (1991, Ken Corning) ...Buy this book
  • The Adventures of Paul Pry, Volume One (1991)
  • The Adventures of Paul Pry, Volume One (1991)
  • The Danger Zone and Other Stories (2004) ...Buy this book
  • The Casebook of Sidney Zoom (2006; edited & introduced by Bill Pronzini) ...Buy this book
  • All Detective Magazine: An Erle Stanley Gardner Special (2009)
  • The Exploits of the Patent Leather Kid (2010)

FILM

  • THE CASE OF THE HOWLING DOG
    (1934, Warner Brothers)
    Based on the novel by Erle Stanley Gardner
    Directed by Alan Crosland
    Starring
    Warren William as PERRY MASON
    with Helen Trenholm as Della
    .
  • THE CASE OF THE CURIOUS BRIDE
    (1935, Warner Brothers)
    Based on the novel by Erle Stanley Gardner
    Directed by Michael Curtiz
    Starring Warren William as PERRY MASON
    with Claire Dodds as Della
    .
  • THE CASE OF THE LUCKY LEGS
    (1935, Warner Brothers)
    Based on the novel by Erle Stanley Gardner
    Directed by Archie L. Mayo
    Starring Warren William as PERRY MASON
    with Genevieve Tobin as Della
    .
  • THE CASE OF THE VELVET CLAWS
    (1936, Warner Brothers)
    Based on the novel by Erle Stanley Gardner
    Directed by William Clemens
    Starring Warren William as PERRY MASON
    with Claire Dodds as Della
    .
  • THE CASE OF THE BLACK CAT
    (1936, Warner Brothers)
    Based on the novel "The Case of the Caretaker's Cat" by Erle Stanley Gardner
    Directed by William McGann
    Starring Richard Cortez as PERRY MASON
    with June Travis as Della
    .
  • THE CASE OF THE STUTTERING BISHOP
    (1937, Warner Brothers)
    Based on the novel by Erle Stanley Gardner
    Directed by William Clemens
    Starring Donald Woods as PERRY MASON.

RADIO

  • PERRY MASON
    (aka The New Adventures of Perry Mason)

    (1943-1955, CBS)
    Based on characters created by Erle Stanley Gardner
    Starring Barlett Robinson as PERRY MASON
    (also played by Santos Ortega, Donald Biggs, and John Larkin)

  • THE UNITED STATES STEEL HOUR OF MYSTERY
    (June 9-September 1, 1946, ABC)

Anthology

  • "Turn on the Heat" (June 23, 1946, ABC)
    Based on the novel by A.A. Fair
    Adapted by Welbourne Kelly
    Starring Frank Sinatra as DONALD LAM

  • CHRISTOPHER LONDON
    (1950, NBC)
    Based on characters created by Erle Stanley Gardner
    Starring Glenn Ford as CHRISTOPHER LONDON

COMIC BOOKS

COMIC STRIP

  • PERRY MASON
    (October 16, 1950-June 21, 1952, Universal Syndicate)
    Based on characters created by Erle Stanley Gardner
    Written by... Erle Stanley Gardner?

It's possible actually scripted this -- he liked to keep a hand in things)

TELEVISION

Anthology

  • "The Bigger They Come" (January 6, 1955)
    Based on the novel by A.A. Fair
    Starring Jane Darwell as BERTHA COOL
    and Art Carney as DONALD LAM
    Also starring Don Megowan

  • PERRY MASON
    (1957-1966, CBS)
    Based on characters created by Erle Stanley Gardner
    Starring Raymond Burr as PERRY MASON

  • COOL AND LAM...Watch it now on YouTube
    (1958, CBS)
    Unsold pilot
    Based on characters created by A.A. Fair
    Starring Billy Pearson as DONALD LAM
    and Benay Venuta as BERTHA COOL

  • PERRY MASON
    aka The New Adventures of Perry Mason

    (1973-1974, CBS)
    Based on characters created by Erle Stanley Gardner
    Starring Monte Markham as PERRY MASON

REFERENCE BOOKS

  • Hughes, Dorothy,
    The Case of the Real Perry Mason
    New York: William Morrow & Company, 1978... Buy this book

One great mystery writer's nod to another.

  • Fugate, Francis L. and Roberta B.,
    Secrets of the World's Best-Selling Writer: The Storytelling Techniques of Erle Stanley Gardner
    New York, New York: William Morrow & Company, Inc., 1980....Buy this book

Using the mountain of personal papers, journals, notebooks and scraps of paper, coctail napkins, matchbook covers and Lord knows what else that Erle Stanley Gardner left behind, the authors try to explain his phenomenal success. A fascinating insight to the man, but I'm not sure how practical the advice is for writers. Still, it's well worth reading.

RELATED LINKS

It bills itself as "the Official Web site of Ventura, California's most famous son, author of Perry Mason and Champion of Human Rights" but it's essentially a plug for the Gardner Museum in Ventura and a solicitation for funds to keep the site going. Still...

An excerpt from Erle Stanley Gardner's article "Getting Away with Murder," which talks about Hammett's use of"gunsel," "gooseberry lay" and so on. Part of the Rara-Avis site.

Fascinating piece from an unlikely source: Investor's Business Daily.

Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith. Radio info by Jack French. And thanks to Ed Collins, Monte Herridge and Jim Doherty for some help here.


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