The sixth Donald Lam/Bertha Cool novel....
|Title||:||Owls Don't Blink|
|Number of Pages||:||573 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
Owls Don't Blink Reviews
This entry in the Donald Lam-Bertha Cool series, finds the pair in the French Quarter in New Orleans in 1942. A New York client has hired them to come from Los Angeles to New Orleans in search of a missing heiress. Donald is immediately suspicious because the task seems way too easy, and the logical thing for the client to do would have been to simply hire a P.I. in New Orleans to do the job.Well, as always, Donald is right to be suspicious, and the case immediately blows up into something much larger, involving divorces gone bad, women who may not be what they appear, B-girls in New Orleans night clubs, and ultimately, of course, murder.And also, as always, Donald skates on very thin ice, one short step ahead of the police, much to the consternation of his partner, the inimitable Mrs. Cool, who spends much of the book blowing her fuse with Donald. Like a lot of these books, the plot is nearly impenetrable, but that hardly matters. It's always fun to watch Donald in action, and it's even more fun watching Bertha lose her cool (pun intended). Another entertaining addition to the series.
A fine example of why this author is so readable. Plain prose, plenty of conversation, plenty of material for thought, a puzzle that starts on page one. Private eye Donald Lam demonstrates his special gift for seeing through the lies of the people who hire him and pulling the truth out of the shambles. The New Orleans setting and the WWII era add to the interest. People ask for "pure coffee" and a 50-cent tip makes a taxi driver your best friend.
Would like to re-read. I read sweveral of the entertaining Donald Lam and Bertha Cool mysteries by A. A. Fair who was a pen name for Erle Stanley Gardner, most famour for Perry Mason. Lam and Cool were more entertaining for me because there was a lot of humor as well as well thought out mystery puzzles to figure out. I have to just make a guess as to when I read this one.
Erle Stanley Gardner is best known for his Perry Mason series, but he also wrote the thirty volume Cool and slam series under the pen name AA Fair. For my money, it may even be the better of the two series. Cool and Lam is in the great tradition of private eye series, but features a mismatched Abbott and Costello pair of detectives. Bertha Cool is a loud, ill-mannered, severely overweight, penny-pinching dunderhead and Donald Lam is a slightly built charmer whose powers of deduction are almost unrivaled. It's Lam who always saves the day while Cool provides comic relief.Owls Don't Blink is one of the earlier books in this series, originally published in 1942. Much of the action takes place in the French Quarter of New Orleans and is a rather confusing tale of a missing heiress who has disappeared into the enchanted alleys of New Orleans. Murder, Blsckmail, Deceit, and nightclubs fill out the dance card. It all comes together in the end, but till then you have no idea where this take us going.
Fun. It's 1942, and Cool and Lam, based in L.A., are hired by a New York lawyer to find a woman in New Orleans in a suspiciously easy missing person case. Gardner doesn't get the respect Hammett, Chandler, & Macdonald do. He wrote more than the 3 of them put together, several times over. His prose doesn't shine the way Chandler and Macdonald do at their best. But Gardner's pacing is flawless and his plots every bit as convoluted as Macdonald's, if not more so. They all have different strengths, but in comparing their P.I. characters, Marlowe, Archer, and Lam, Donald Lam is my favorite by far. I love Macdonald, but Archer's got all the personality of a doorknob, and without his wisecracks, Marlowe wouldn't have much more. I'm not saying Gardner's doing deep characterization here, but Lam stands apart from the typical P.I. Given that, it may be surprising, but I'm really looking forward to the next volume in this series because Lam won't be in it. As I mentioned, it's 1942, and this volume ends with Lam reporting to his local recruiter's office. Next time Bertha Cool takes the helm. :)
I was only familiar with A.A. Fair as one of Earle Stanley Gardner's pen names. But I got this one for a quarter. And wow...was I blown away. Cool and Lam are one great detective team. The writing is crisp, the plot is complicated but completely makes sense. This is quality pulp detective work. Not particularly hard-boiled, but definitely not cozy. A very quick and delightful read.
I have an old paperback copy but it's a pretty good mystery. The title is wrong (owls do blink) but it's explained in the course of the story. It's good enough that I'll look for other books about the same detective.
I have a better cover. Dell printing (1st) 1961