COOL AND LAM 

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Erle Stanley Gardner was a prolific dynamo. In addition to writing 85 best-selling Perry Mason books over five decades, he also wrote hundreds of great pulp magazine stories and – under the pen name A.A. Fair - a series of hardboiled crime stories about the Cool & Lam Detective Agency. Big Bertha Cool figures most men will never call a woman for a private eye job, so she lists her business as B. Cool Detective Agency. When disbarred lawyer / wunderkind Donald Lam comes to work for her, nothing is ever the same again. It has been suggested that Gardner wrote the Cool & Lam books as a break from the more laid back respectable world of his slick serialized Perry Mason stories. Cool & Lam mysteries are down and dirty, great fun to read, filled with lots of humor. They have their loyal fans, and I am one of them.

 

Not sure why, but I find most of the early paperback in this series range from unattractive to downright ugly. But there are many reprints, many different editions of most titles. Some of the best are 1960s Dell reprints with cover art by Robert McGinnis. There are some beautiful UK editions. So this is not the usual complete checklist. This is rather a celebration of my favorite Cool & Lam covers.

 

 

Books with prices are for sale. Paypal preferred to the email address on my home page. Feel free to make an offer! Thank you.

1. THE BIGGER THEY COME (LAM TO THE SLAUGHTER).

The 1984 Morrow Quill cover shows Donald Lam disguised as a bellboy to deliver a subpoena.

 

In the United Kingdom, the book was retitled LAM TO THE SLAUGHTER. This is the vintage UK Pocket B14 from 1950 and the 1966 Corgi.

 

 

Pocket 228 – 3rd printing, 1952, not shown. Heavy wear, stickler pull. Good $3. SOLD

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2. TURN ON THE HEAT – Dell D253, 1958. Cover by Abbett.

 

UK Pocket Book B52, 1951. Cover by Sim.

 

Dell 9142, 1962. Cover art by Victor Kalin.

 

Dell 9142, 1970. Photo cover.

 

Dell 9142, 1972. Photo cover. Unread $5.

 

Hard Case Crime HCC-131, 2017. Cover art by Laurel Blechman from reference by Robert Maguire.

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3. GOLD COMES IN BRICKS – Dell 2952, 1961. Reprints Dell 836 with new cover art by Robert McGinnis. Spine tears, Good $5.

 

 

 

 

Dell 2952, 1971. Photo cover. Unread with edge wear $5.

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4. SPILL THE JACKPOT – Dell 619,

1952. Cover by Carl Bobertz.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dell R117, 1962. Cover by Harry Bennett.

Dell 8188, reprint uses same cover. (Later 8188 reprint has new Abbett cover.) Good $5.

 

 

Panther UK, 1959.

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5. DOUBLE OR QUITS – Dell D361, 1960. Cover by Robert McGinnis.

 

 

6. OWLS DON’T BLINK – Dell 6792, 1961. Cover art by Mort Engle.

 

 

Dell 6792, 1967. That great mirror-image cover art is a photo by Krauss.

 

Corgi T52, 1954 UK.

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7. BATS FLY AT DUSK – Dell D348, 1960. Cover art by Robert McGinnis.

 

After some uninteresting covers throughout the 1940s and 50s, Dell hit its stride in the early 60s thanks to the genius of Robert McGinnis, and covers like this one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dell 0476, 1963. New cover by Ron Lesser.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dell 0476, 1966. New Abbett cover. Not shown. Reading crease, Good $3.

 

 

8. CATS PROWL AT NIGHT – Dell D431, 1961. Cover by Robert McGinnis. Creasing and corner wear. Good $4.

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9. GIVE ‘EM THE AX – Dell 2918, 1962. Cover by Harry Bennett. Good $5.

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In the UK, GIVE ‘EM THE AX was retitled AN AXE TO GRIND. This is the 1960 Horwitz edition from Australia, the 1958 Four Square paperback, and the 1963 Corgi.

 

 

10. CROWS CAN’T COUNT – Dell 1625, 1966. Cover art by Robert McGinnis. Reprints Dell D373 for new higher cover price.

 

 

Dell D373, 1960. VG $5.

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Corgi Book, 1958 UK.  

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11. FOOLS DIE ON FRIDAY - Dell R105, 1961. Cover by Robert McGinnis. Cover tear, Good $5.

 

Dell 542, 1951. Cover by Robert Stanley.

 

Dell 1542, 1953. When FOOLS DIE ON FRIDAYS was reprinted after a 1952 Congressional committee reviewed those sleazy naughty paperback covers, Robert Stanley’s cover art was deemed much too risqué for American audiences. And so the art was “cleaned up”. The model was Mrs. Rhoda Stanley.

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12. BEDROOMS HAVE WINDOWS

-Dell 0511, 1963. Cover by Darryl Greene.

 

Panther UK, 1958. Cover by Josh Kirby.

 

Dell 0511, 1966. Cover by Robert Abbett. Reading copy, $3.

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13. TOP OF THE HEAP

Dell D309, 1959. Cover by Robert McGinnis.

 

Dell 8960, 1963. Cover by Robert McGinnis.

 

 

 

Corgi UK, 1960. These cover-photo Corgis are fine, except they are all so similar. Same model, same outfit. If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all.

 

 

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Corgi UK, 1958. Cover art by Oliver Brabbins.

 

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Hard Case Crime HCC-003, 2004. Cover by Bill Nelson. 

 

 

 

 

14. SOME WOMEN WON’T WAIT –

Corgi UK, 1959.

 

 Dell D372, 1960. Cover by Robert McGinnis. VG $10.

 

Dell 8104, 1966. Cover by Abbett.

 

Dell 8104, 1972. Photo. Crease. Good $5.

 

 

 

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15. BEWARE THE CURVES – Pocket 6024, 1960. Cover art by Harry Bennett.

 

Corgi UK, 1958.

 

Pocket 50401, 1966.

 

 

 

 

 

Pocket 75598, 1971. Cover photo by Morgan Kane.

 

Ballantine 33081, 1986. Not shown. Photo cover. VG $5.

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16. YOU CAN DIE LAUGHING – Pocket 6062, 1961. Cover by Harry Bennett.

 

 

Pocket 75597, 1970. Photo cover.

Unread $5.

 

 

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Pocket 78931, 1973. 5th printing has new anachronistic cover art by Mara McAfee. The McAfee editions are not only re-numbered (this is #2 in the new set) but they also have 1920s clothing, props and design. But Cool and Lam met in 1939, and this book takes place in 1957.            Spine tear, VG $5.

 

17. SOME SLIPS DON’T SHOW

 

The first US paperback, Pocket 6095, 1961, is an unattractive affair that unsuccessfully tries to combine a photo with a painted background. Not shown. Good $3.

 

The British hardcover was just fine, but the 1960 British Corgi should have been memorable and is not. They chose to go with a photo of a woman with no slip on at all, ignoring the double entendre title.

Pocket 45003, photo cover. 1964.

Pocket 75596, photo cover. 1970.

Corgi SC845, UK 1960. Creases. Good $5.

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18. THE COUNT OF 9 - Pocket 6124, 1962.

 

 

Pocket 55946, 1969. Cover art by Mitchell Hooks

 

Pocket 75595, 1971. Cover photo by Morgan Kane. Not shown.

 

 

Hard Case Crime HCC-136, 2018. Cover by Robert McGinnis. 59 years after TOP OF THE HEAP (Dell D309, shown above), the great cover artist Robert McGinnis is still painting.

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19. PASS THE GRAVY

Pocket 4601, 1962. Cover by Harry Bennett.

 

 

Pocket 75594, 1971. Cover photo by Morgan Kane. Good $4.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Corgi SC984, UK 1961.

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20. KEPT WOMEN CAN’T QUIT – Pocket 4602, 1963. Cover by Hector Garrido. Good $4.

 

Corgi SC1176, UK 1st 1962. Spine rubbed, sun fade. Good $5.

 

Corgi GC7157, UK 2nd.

 

 

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Pocket 75593, 1971. Cover photo by Morgan Kane.

 

 

21. BACHELORS GET LONELY – Pocket 4604, 1963. Photo cover, with back cover shown below. Reading copy, spine slant    $3.

 

 

 

Star Weekly Novel, Canada, 1961.

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22. SHILLS CAN’T CASH CHIPS – Pocket 4605, 1963

 

 

Pocket 75591, 1970. Photo cover. Unread (light wear back cover) $5.

 

 

 

 

 

 

UK edition retitled STOP AT THE RED LIGHT.  Corgi SC1522, 1964. Cover photo by Dunston Pereira. Good $10.

 

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Hard Case Crime, June 2020.

 

Looks like Hard Case Crime will continue re-issuing these brilliant books. This will be the fifth Cool & Lam in their series. We can only hope they will eventually reprint all of them.

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23. TRY ANYTHING ONCE – Pocket 4607, 1964. Photo cover, not shown. Reading copy $3.

 

 

 

Pocket 75590, 1970. Photo cover.

Unread $5.

 

 

24. FISH OR CUT BAIT – Pocket 50410, 1964. Reading copy with ink on cover $3.

 

 

Pocket 75589, 1970. Photo cover.

Unread $5.

 

 

Corgi GC7325, UK 1968.

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25. UP FOR GRABS – Pocket 50511, 1964.

 

 

 

 

Pocket 75588, 1970. Photo cover.  Unread $5.

 

 

 

 

26. CUT THIN TO WIN – Pocket 50412, 1966.

 

Pocket 75587, 1970. Photo cover.

Not shown. $5.

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27. WIDOWS WEAR WEEDS – Dell 9540, 1967.

 

Dell 9540, 1970. Photo cover. Like the 1967 edition, Dell uses a nude cover model to sell the book.

Unread, with cover wear as shown. $5.

 

Pocket 78926, 1975. Cover by Mara McAfee. I think Pocket Books is playing unfair with this “New! #1” blurb on a 1920s-style cover. The story is set in 1966, it’s not a new book, and this is #27 in the series, not #1.

Good, spine tear.  $5.

 

28. TRAPS NEED FRESH BAIT – Pocket 50413, 1968. Cover by Mitchell Hooks. Good $5.

 

 

 

Corgi 08260, UK 1969.

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29. ALL GRASS ISN’T GREEN

Pocket 75585, 1971. Cover photo by Morgan Kane. First paperback edition. Good $7.

 

 

 

 

 

Corgi UK, 1973. Not shown.

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30. THE KNIFE SLIPPED – Hard Case Crime HCC-127, 2016. Cover by Robert McGinnis.

 

From their start, Hard Case Crime has always championed and reprinted Cool & Lam. They delighted us in 2016 with the first printing of THE KNIFE SLIPPED, written in 1939 to be the second book in the series but rejected as too rough by the publisher. Three cheers for Hard Case Crime! 

 

 

British hardcover jackets

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Spanish edition of TURN ON THE HEAT

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