Titles by the Author
Erle Stanley Gardner
The most widely read American author of all time, Erle Stanley Gardner and his best known creation, Perry Mason, have been household words for the past five decades. Born in 1889 in Malden, Massachusetts, Gardner spent a good portion of his childhood in the mining camps where his father worked. He became a practicing attorney in California in 1911, specializing in trial work. Like Mason, he was fond of employing little-known statutes to gain his clients' freedom and many of his Perry Mason stories were taken directly from his own courtroom successes. He found, however, that most of his time was spent with the routine practice of "office law" rather than in drama-packed courtrooms, so over a period of time he began to write.
Gardner had his first Perry Mason story, the Case of the Velvet Claws, published in 1933. That same year he wrote two more Mason novels and his popularity began to grow. In all, Gardner editions have sold more than 300,000,000 copies and have been translated into seventy-one languages. He also wrote twenty-four mysteries featuring Bertha Cool and Donald Lam under the pseudonym of A. A. Fair; nine mysteries featuring the District Attorney Douglas Selby; seven nonseries mysteries, four collections of novelettes and short stories, as well as many other short stories and accounts.
Throughout his life Gardner championed the underdog, and perhaps his most satisfying years were those devoted to The Court of Last Resort, a board of leading forensic, penal, and legal experts. These individuals, all of whom donated their services, investigated the cases of penniless men who had been wrongfully convicted of murder and had exhausted their legal rights. "Just about every hopeless case in the United States was dumped on me," Gardner once remarked. He helped to acquit many of those hopeless cases, however, and later recounted these experiences in his nonfiction work, The Court of Last Resort (1952).
Erle Stanley Gardner died in 1970.