Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Bachelors Get Lonely by A. A. Fair (1961)

About the author: A. A. Fair is a pseudonym of Erle Stanley Gardner.

Major characters:
  • Montrose L. Carson, a property appraiser
  • Irene Addis, employee of Montrose Carson
  • Herbert Jason Dowling, a property appraise, Carson's competitor
  • Bernice Clinton, employee of Herbert J. Dowling
  • Donald Lam, investigator
  • Bertha Cool, his partner
  • Elsie Brand, his secretary
Locale: Los Angeles


Appraiser Montrose Carson hires Cool & Lam to find out who is the leak in his office. Whenever he prepares to close on a deal, his competitor Herbert J. Dowling beats him to it at the last moment with a better price. Bertha Cool cooks up a scheme to reveal who the leaker is, by putting up a fake property deal with Donald Lam as the "seller". To help create a realistic identity, Lam moves into a bachelor apartment and secretary Elsie Brand poses as his girlfriend. Dowling's employee, Bernice Clinton, approaches Lam with a better (than Carson's) offer; and the details reveal Irene Addis as the leaker in Carson's office.

Lam follows Carson to a motel, where Carson meets a woman. After she leaves, Lam looks in the window to see Carson dead on the floor, and a bullet hole in the window.


With A. A. Fair you are always guaranteed skulking around looking in windows, and secret meetings at cheap motels, with every woman in the cast throwing herself at Donald Lam; and this one is no different. It is a fun romp with a clever trap set by Bertha Cool to find the leaker. The repartée between Lam and Elsie Brand is always enjoyable. I always find A. A. Fair works to be best taken at either one or at most two sittings, as everybody assumes various alias' throughout, and it's hard to keep it all straight over more than two days!

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