The Bigger They Come: A Cool and Lam Mystery (An American Mystery Classic) (Paperback)
A private detective searches for a missing person in this "breathlessly dramatic" (Los Angeles Times) whodunnit from the creator of Perry Mason
Bertha Cool is the gruff, tough-talking, corpulent head of her private detective agency, opened after the death of her husband; Donald Lam is her meek, slight, and nervy new hire, who makes up for a lack of boldness with brilliant deductive work. The duo couldn’t be any more dissimilar but, with their skills combined, they are an unstoppable force when it comes to solving crimes, as evidenced by their over two dozen successes in the long-running series penned by Perry Mason creator Erle Stanley Gardner.
In this, their first outing, Donald Lam is tasked with delivering divorce papers to a man who reportedly made a fortune in rigged slot machines. The only problem is that nobody—not even the police—can find him. Before long, Lam’s seemingly-simple assignment finds him caught up in a web of money, mysterious safety deposit boxes, and a gang of toughs every bit as desperate as he is to find the runaway husband.
Reissued for the first time in decades, and originally published under the A.A. Fair pen name, The Bigger They Come is an enjoyable private eye novel replete with puzzling scenarios and a humorous tone. As fast and twisty as anything Gardner ever wrote, the novel (and the series it spawned) is more Paul Drake than Perry Mason, but it is sure to please any fan of the Golden Age whodunnit.
Includes discussion guide questions for use in book clubs.
Otto Penzler, the creator of American Mystery Classics, is also the founder of The Mysterious Press (1975); MysteriousPress.com (2011), an electronic-book publishing company; and New York City’s Mysterious Bookshop (1979). He has won a Raven, the Ellery Queen Award, two Edgars (for the Encyclopedia of Mystery and Detection, 1977, and The Lineup, 2010), and lifetime achievement awards from NoirCon and The Strand Magazine. He has edited more than 70 anthologies and written extensively about mystery fiction.
— New York Times
As talented a pair of workers as detective fiction has produced for some time.
— Detroit News
Breathlessly dramatic . . . An original
— Los Angeles Times
A tough, outspoken tale in the Hammett manner, but with copious excellencies peculiarly its own.
— S. S. Van Dine