All Grass Isn’t Green – Erle Stanley Gardner (prev. published under pseudonym A.A. Fair)
Original title: All Grass Isn’t Green (1970)
Series: Cool and Lam #29
Publishing house: The Murder Room
I once wrote a post (in Swedish) about Erle Stanley Gardner’s Perry Mason. Both the book series and the TV series (with Raymond Burr) are very likeable. Erle Stanley Gardner is most famous for the stories about defense attorney Perry Mason but he has also written other things. I have read one book in the D.A. series, about District Attorney Doug Selby. And, I have now read a book in the series Cool and Lam, where Cool and Lam run a private detective agency.
I got a few books in this series as a birthday gift (a very good gift if you ask me, thank you dad!). None of the books I have is the first book in the series but I had anyhow planned to look up which one was the first, of which I own, to be able to start reading that one. (Yes, there is a ‘but’ coming.) But, when I did chose one to read, I was in a hurry. I was just about to walk out the door and didn’t have time to check which one came first. So, I looked at them and took one of the thinner ones. Did I happen to choose the very last book in the series? Yes.
I really liked it.
Both Perry Mason and the D.A. is written in third person, but this one is written in a first person point of view. That was the first thing I thought about when I started reading this book. It worked out really well. I liked being ‘in the head’ of the investigator.
One thing that these three series have in common is that the main character, who happens to be in the same line of work even though they don’t have the same profession, is the one solving the murders. In Perry Mason, there is a private detective that Perry Mason always hires when he needs one; Paul. I really like Paul. If Erle Stanley Gardner would have lived now, Paul might have gotten his own spin-off series. I think I prefer it this way. Paul is always hired by Mr. Mason, and it is Mr. Mason who solves the murders, not Paul. Paul is just an awesome detective. Cool and Lam are, in All Grass Isn’t Green, hired by a man to find a person, and of course there is a murder somewhere in this book that is connected to their case and therefore needs to be solved.
It feels like I’m comparing everything to Perry Mason, but it is a little hard not to.
So, I really like the court room scenes in Perry Mason – they are usually my favourite parts of the books. This court scene was also really good, but slightly different. And I am not sure how much I can say about this without spoiling things. The scene is quite at the end. I liked the twist anyway.
As I mentioned above, this is my first Cool and Lam novel. We didn’t get to see much of Cool in this book. I am not sure how much we usually get to follow her in the other books, but Lam takes the car and travel to Mexico and Cool is still at the office. We meet Cool in the opening and closing scene and in the occasional phone call, but that’s it. I hope we get to know her better in the other books.
This edition had a few printing errors but it was just stuff that one could overlook. The missing ” could be a bit confusing sometimes, but I felt that it wasn’t so hard to figure out where they should have been.
So, to summerise things: read it if you like cosy mystery books or Perry Mason or private detectives, or just read it anyway.
Bertha Cool usually stays in the background in the stories, but sometimes she takes a more active part in the investigations. There are often a conflict between Donald Lam and Bertha, when she thinks he takes too great risks during the investigations and that he antagonizes the police. But in the end every thing will work out fine in each book!
In the first book Donald is hired by Bertha who already has started the detective agency. A few books later they become partners.
I’m looking forward to reading more books in this series! I have a few more laying at home. 🙂