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for Books and Writers
by Bamber Gascoigne

Erle Stanley Gardner (1889-1970) - also wrote as A.A. Fair, Carleton Kendrake, Charles J. Kenny


Prolific American author, whose best-known works center on the lawyer-detective Perry Mason, his helpmates the loyal and beautiful secretary Della Street, the private detective Paul Drake, and the opponent, District Attorney Hamilton Burger. Erle Stanley Gardner worked as a professional attorney for twenty-two years. He was an ardent sportsman, an enthusiastic wildlife photographer, and a constant traveler, who spoke fluent Chinese.

"Murder is not perpetrated in a vacuum. It is a product of greed, avarice, hate, revenge, or perhaps fear. As a splashing stone sends ripples to the farthest edges of the pond, murder affects the lives of many people." (from The Case of the Horrified Heirs, 1964)

Erle Stanley Gardner was born in Malden, Massachusetts. His father, who was a mining engineer, took the family west to Portland, Oregon. Three years later his father found employment as a mining engineer in Klondike. Finally the family settled in the small mining town of Oroville. During these years Gardner also picked up knowledge of mining, which was reflected later in his novels. In 1909 he graduated from Palo Alto High School, in the San Francisco Bay Are.

In his youth Gardner led a wild life. He was kicked out of Valparaiso University in Indiana after some weeks – he was involved in a fistfigh. Later he boxed and arranged unlicenced wrestling matches. While working as a typist in an law office in California, he "read law" without formal instructions and was admitted to the bar in 1911. At the age of twenty-one, Gardner opened his own law office in Merced, California. The business was bad.

From 1911 to 1918 Gardner worked as a lawyer in Oxnard, California, for I.W. Stewart, a corporate attorney. During this period he defended Chinese clients, and became known as "t'ai chong tze" (the big lawyer). In 1921 Gardner married Natalie Frances Talbert; they had one child. From Oxnard he moved to Ventura, where he had a law firm with Frank Orr. From 1918 to 1921 he was a salesman for Consolidated Sales Company, but returned then to Ventura, where he continued as a lawyer until 1933. In the courtroom Gardner radiated self-confidence like later Perry Mason, with whom he also shared appetite for thick steaks. In the early 1920s he began writing western and mystery stories for the pulp magazines. Gardner was of the most successful writers before he ever published a novel.

To earn additional income Gardner turned to pulp writing, using the pen name Charles M. Green. He remarked that audiences were "the ultimate consumers" and his purpose was to serve those consumers. In the mid-1920s he contributed regularly Black Mask magazine and became one of its most popular contributors. Some of the stories from this period were published in 1990 in Dead Men's Letters. Among his crowd of series characters were Lester Leith, the "Gentleman Rogue", Sidney Zoom, "Master of Disguise", and Soo Hoo Duck, "King of Chinatown." Oriental heroes or villains more often were at time popular, and Gardner wrote a story which was set China. Sax Rohmer (d. 1959) had his own super-criminal, Dr. Fu-Manchu, Earl Derr Biggers (1884-1933) created the detective Charlie Chan. At the time of the Depression Gardner wrote westerns for a penny a word, selling to such publications as Western Roud-Up, West Weekly, and Western Tales. By 144 Gardner had produced 144 short stories and 301 novellettes.

"Mason said, 'You never can tell about these conservative Easterners, Paul. They all of them have a streak in them of wanting to be Wild West. I'll bet if someone would give that fellow a twin-holstered rapid-draw gun belt with a couple of guns in it, he'd stand up in front of a mirror, practise a fast draw and take fiendish delight in the process.'" (from The Case of the Amorous Aunt, 1963)

In 1931 Gardner and his wife made a six-month tour in China. The experience in the restless land inspired Gardner to create a new hero, Major Copely Brane, "an adventurer in international politics." In the first story Brane gets involved ib a scheme to prevent publication of a forged treaty between the legendary Chinese nationalist general Chiang Kai-shek and the Japanese. On his trip Gardner bought a sleeve gun as a souvenier. In 1932 Gardner began to dictate his stories on vax sylinders, turning them over to his secretary for transcriptions. Gardner dictated a huge number of his books. Raymond Chandler said that "years of yapping into a Dictaphone machine have destroyed the quality of his voice, which now has all the delicate chiaroscuro of a French taxi horn." (The World of Raymond Chandler: In His Own Words, edited by Barry Day, 2015, p. 30)

In 1932 Gardner sold the William Morrow & Co. publishing house his idea of a new series of mystery novels: "I want to make my hero a fighter, not by having him be ruthless with women and underlings, but by having him wade into the opposition and battle his way through to victory,” Gardner explained. "I am calling him Perry Mason, and the character I am trying to create for him is that of a fighter who is possessed of infinite patience."

Gardner's first Perry Mason stories were The Case Of The Velvet Claws (1933) and The Case of the Sulky Girl (1933) – the latter H.R.F. Keating included among the 100 best crime and mystery books ever published. "Erle Stanley Gardner may be said to have one important contribution to the shifting history of crime fiction. With his immensely successful creation of Perry Mason, lawyer first and detective afterwards, he put a final nail into the coffin of the brilliant amateur sleuth in American crime writing." (Crime & Mystery: The 100 Best Books, by H.R.F. Kearting, 1987, p. 47).

Keating noted that Gardner was no stylist, but he made one demand: that the reader should outguess Perry Mason. Usually in the beginning of the story a client enters Mason's office: "A man came into the room who radiated restlessness. He was a thin man, with a very pointed nose and large ears. He walked with nervous, jerky steps. He was in his late twenties or early thirties." (from The Case of the Sulky Girl) Mason of course gets more attention in the story – he "gave the impression of bigness; not the bigness of fat, but the bigness of strength. He was broad-shouldered and rugged-faced, and his eyes were steady and patient. Frequently those eyes changed expression, but the face never changed its expression of rugged patience."

Readers were enthusiastic. Gardner gave up law and wrote eighty more Masons, although during the revision of The Case of the Lame Canary (1937) he thought that "Perry Mason has run through ten or twelve books, which is damn near enough." From the late 1930s to the late 1950s Saturday Evening Post serialized most of the Masons before book publication.

To maintain his huge literary production, Gardner hired a staff of secretaries, who typed his dictation. He proudly accepted the description of himself: "the Fiction Factory." Gardner was also called "the Henry Ford of detective fiction." During his lifetime, Gardner's sales were some 100 million copies. An oddball pair of private investigators, the big and crude Bertha Cool and the tiny lawyer Donald Lam, were born in 1938 – Gardner published the books under the pseudonym of A.A. Fair.

At the beginning of his career Gardner had typed 66,000 words a week for the pulp market. He saw that the essence of good writing was in craftsmanship, but he also considered it rewarding: "If you started to write, you did it because you had an urge to express yourself. That urge is a part of you. It's still there..." To turn out the huge amount of stories he wanted to produce in his assembly line, Gardner created a formula for characters, their motivations, and plot structuring. Mason's clients are innocent, and he constantly urges them to tell the truth: it is in their own best interest. All cases move toward the revelation of the real culprit. Mason's client is freed. 

In 1935 Gardner's marriage to Natalie ended; there was no divorce and Gardner send her money for the remainder of her life. After her death Gardner married in 1968 his private secretary Agnes Jean Bethell, who had worked for him from the 1930s.

From 1940s Gardner dedicated many of his books to penologists and specialists in forensic medicine. The Case of the Horrified Heirs (1964) was dedicated to the barrister and doctor of science and medicine, John Glaister, who after thoroughgoing research identified two bodies, which had been mutilated by removal of eyes, ears, nose, lips and skin – all teeth had been extracted. John Glaister also was the author of Medical Jurisprudence and Toxicology, one of the most comprehensive and authoritative books in the field. In The Case Of The Amorous Aunt (1963) he wrote that "the arch-enemy of the murderer is the autopsy... In cold-blooded crimes committed by an intellectual and scheming murderer who has greed or revenge as his goal, the medical examiner, following clues which would never be apparent to a less thoroughly trained individual, can establish the truth."

"Writing, to Gardner, remained an exacting business. Fat from the popular notion that he casually whipped out his novels, improvising each scene out of thin air at his Dictaphone, he actually spent many hours on each of them. Before beginning dictation, he worked out all of his plots in longhand with painstaking care in variety of notebooks over a period of days or weeks, He would never start to dictate until every plot problem had been solved, every character fully delineated – and with the final courtroom fireworks laid out in detail." (William F. Nolan in Mystery and Suspense Writers, Volume 1, edited by Robin W. Winks, 1998)

Gardner was one of the founding members of the Court of Last Resort (The Case Review Committee), an association who reopened cases wherein a person might have been falsely convicted. In 1952 he won the Fact Crime Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for the book about the foundation. When the longrunning Perry Mason television series started in 1957, Gardner worked without credit as script supervisor and set up Paisano Prodections to maintain control of the series. Starring Raymond Burr in the title role, this program contributed to the average television viewers comprehension of the legal procedures and professional ethics. Eventually the National Association of County and Prosecuting Attorneys complained that the series and its ilk were prejudicing real-life American jurors against prosecutors. (Perry Mason by Thomas M. Leitch, 2005, p. 53).

Gardner died on March 11, 1970, in his home at Rancho del Paisano. By the time of his death, he had produced over eighty Perry Mason mysteries. His cremated ashes were scattered over his beloved Baja Peninsula. Gardner had found the place in the late 1930s and as an outdoor person, he loved nature and animals. The Case Of The Postponed Murder (1973) was Gardner's last Mason story. After the death of the author, Thomas Chastain has continued the series, starting with The Case of Too Many Murders (1989).

For further reading: The Case of Erle Stanley Gardner by Alva Johnston (1947); Erle Stanley Gardner: The Case of the Real Perry Mason by Dorothy B. Hughes (1978); Secrets of the World's Best-Selling Writer by Francis L. Fugate and Roberta B. Fugate (1980); 'Gardner, Erle Stanley' by Jack Adrian, in Twentieth-century Crime and Mystery Writers, edited by John M. Reilly (1985); Murder in the Millions by J. Kenneth Van Dover (1984); 'Erle Stanley Gardner: The Case of the Sulky Girl,' in Crime & Mystery: The 100 Best Books by H.R.F. Keating (1987); The Marble Orchard: A Novel Featuring the Black Mask Boys: Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, and Erle Stanley Gardner by William F. Nolan (1996); Erle Stanley Gardner's Ventura by Richard L. Senate (1996); Perry Mason: The Authorship and Reproduction of a Popular Hero by J. Dennis Bounds (1996);  Erle Stanley Gardner's Ventura by Richard L. Senate (2005); 'Perry Mason: The Defense Attorney,' in Mystery Movie Series of 1930s Hollywood by Ron Backer (2012); Secrets of the World's Bestselling Writer: The Storytelling Techniques of Erle Stanley Gardner by Francis L. & Roberta B. Fugate (1980; 2015); 'Erle Stanley Gardner: The Fiction Factory,' in The Typewriter Century: A Cultural History of Writing Practices by Martyn Lyons (2021); Perplexing Plots: Popular Storytelling and the Poetics of Murder by David Bordwell (2023) - See other lawyer-authors: Cyril Hare
Films: The Case of the Howling Dog (1934), dir. Alan Crosland, starring Warren William as Perry Mason and Helen Trenholme as Della Street; The Case of the Curious Bride (1935), dir. Michael Curtiz, starring Warren William and Claire Dodd as Della Street; The Case of the Lucky Legs (1935), dir. Archie L. Mayo, starring Warren William and Genevieve Tobin as Della Street; The Case of the Velvet Claws (1936), dir. William Clemens, starring Warren William and Claire Dodd; The Case of the Black Cat (1936), dir. William Mc Gann, starring Ricardo Cortez as Perry Mason and as June Travis as Della Street; The Case of the Stuttering Bishop (1937), dir. William Clemens, starring Donald Woods as Perry Mason and Ann Dvorak as Della Street. - Television series Perry Mason from 1957-66, starring Raymond Burr, Barbara Hale and William Hopper, produced by Gardner's company Paisano Productions. The role of the judge was played by Gardner in the final first run episode, The Case of the Final Fadeout. Among the script writers were also Jonathan Latimer.  The New Perry Mason in 1973, starring Monte Markham. - Two-hour TV movies, starring Raymond Burr: Perry Mason Returns (1985), Perry Mason: The Case of the Notorious Nun (1986), Perry Mason: The Case of the Shooting Star (1986); Perry Mason: The Case of the Lost Love (1987); Perry Mason and the Case of the Sinister Spirit (1987); Perry Mason: The Case of the Murdered Madam (1987); Perry Mason: The Case of the Scandalous Scoundel (1987); Perry Mason: The Case of the Avenging Ace (1988); Perry Mason: The Case of the Lady in the Lake (1988); Perry Mason: The Case of the Leathal Lesson (1989); Perry Mason. The Case of the Musical Murder (1989).  Radio: CBS soap opera from 1943 to 1955, 15 minutes daily. Gardner in Finland. Erle Stanley Gardner has been very popular writer in Finland. Over forty Mason books have been translated into Finnish, and several works written under the pseudonym A.A. Fair. Among Gardner's well-known readers was the political cartoonist Kari Suomalainen, who did not like much description in books – a feature that was developed to its limits in Perry Mason mysteries. The television series Perry Mason, starring Raymond Burr, draw large audiences in the 1960s. Gardner's influence is seen in the work of Mauri Sariola, especially in his mysteries about the lawyer Matti Viima. Sariola, a drop out law student, translated into Finnish the novel The Case of the Calendar Girl from 1958 under the title Vaaralliset valokuvat. (1959).  Suomeksi Perry Mason -tarinoita on julkaistu yli neljäkymmentä. Teoksen Kleptomaanin jäljet (suom. 1944, original title The Case of the Shoplifter's Shoe) käänsi runoilija Viljo Kajava (1909-1998). Pentti Saarikoski suomensi Gardnerin tarinan 'Äkäinen todistaja' kokoelmassa Salapoliisikertomuksia Sherlock Holmesista Perry Masoniin (1962).

Selected works:

  • The Case of the Velvet Claws, 1933 (Mason)
    - Murhaajan ääni (suom. Oiva Talvitie, 1949)
  • The Case of the Sulky Girl, 1933 (Mason)
    - Tuomari Purleyn todistus (suom. Kai Kaila, 1948)
  • The Case of the Lucky Legs, 1934
    - Onnelliset sääret (suom. Oiva Talvitie, 1949)
  • The Case of the Howling Dog, 1934
    - Ulvovan koiran tapaus (suom. Jorma-Veikko Sappinen, 1992)
  • The Case of the Curious Bride, 1934
    - Perry Mason ja utelian morsian (suom. Riku Perälä, 1988)
  • The Clue of the Forgotton Murder, 1935 (as Charleton Kendrake)
  • This is Murder, 1935 (as Charles J. Kenny)
  • The Case of the Counterfeit Eye, 1935
  • The Case of the Caretaker's Cat, 1935
    - Talonmiehen kissan arvoitus (suom. Pentti Näres, 1957)
  • The Case of the Stuttering Bishop, 1936
    - Änkyttävän piispan tapaus (suom. Jorma-Veikko Sappinen, 1995)
  • The Case of the Sleepwalker's Niece, 1936
    - Perry Mason ja unissakävelijän tapaus (suom. Riku Perälä, 1989)
  • The Case of the Lame Canary, 1937
  • The Case of the Dangerous Dowager, 1937
    - Vaarallinen leski (suom. Kai Kaila, 1948)
  • Murder Up My Sleeve, 1937 (Terry Clane novel)
    - Kiristäjä (suom. Erkki Vala, 1951)
  • The D.A. Calls it Murder, 1937 (Selby novel)
  • The Case of the Shoplifter's Shoe, 1938
    - Kleptomaanin jäljet (suom. Viljo Kajava, 1944) / Kleptomaanin jäljet (suom. Armi Koistinen, 1958)
  • The Case of the Substitute Face, 1938
  • The D.A. Holds a Candle, 1938
  • The Bigger They Come, 1939 (as A.A. Fair)
  • The Case of the Perjured Parrot, 1939
    - Perry Mason ja papukaija todistajana (suom. Reijo Kalvas, 1987)
  • The Case of the Rolling Bones, 1939
  • The D.A. Draws a Circle, 1939
  • Turn on the Heat, 1940 (as A.A. Fair)
  • The Case of the Silent Partner, 1940
    - Kukkakauppias ja kuolema (suom. Vilho Hokkanen, 1952)
  • The Case of the Baited Hook, 1940
  • The D.A. Goes to Trial, 1940
  • Gold Comes in Bricks, 1940 (as A.A. Fair)
  • Turn on the Heat, 1940
  • Spill the Jackpot!, 1941 (as A.A. Fair)
    - Uhkapeliä (suom. Heikki Suikkanen, 1965)
  • The Case of the Haunted Husband, 1941
  • The Case of the Turning Tide, 1941 (Wiggins novel)
  • The Case of the Empty Tin, 1941
  • Double or Quits, 1941 (as A.A. Fair)
  • The D.A. Cooks a Goose, 1942
  • The Case of the Drowning Duck, 1942
  • The Case of the Careless Kitten, 1942
  • Owls Don't Blink, 1942 (as A.A. Fair)
    - Pöllöt eivät räpyttele (suom. Anna-Liisa Laine, 1962)
  • Bats Fly at Dusk, 1942 (as A.A. Fair)
  • The Case of the Buried Clock, 1943
    - Haudatun kellon arvoitus (suom. Sirkka Carlson, 1958)
  • The Case of the Smoking Chimney, 1943
  • The Case of the Drowsy Mosquito, 1943
  • Cats Prowl at Night, 1943 (as A.A. Fair)
  • The D.A. Calls a Turn, 1944
  • Give 'em the Ax, 1944 (as A.A. Fair; UK title: An Axe to Grind, 1951)
  • The Case of the Crooked Candle, 1944
  • The Case of the Black-Eyed Blonde, 1944
    - Kadonnut pojanpoika (suom. Armi Koistinen, 1969)
  • The Case of the Golddigger's Purse, 1945
  • The Case of the Half-Wakened Wife, 1945
  • The D.A. Breaks a Seal, 1946
  • Crows Can't Count, 1946 (as A.A. Fair)
  • The Case of the Backward Mule, 1946 (Terry Clane novel)
  • The Case of the Borrowed Brunette, 1946
    - Perry Mason ja tummaverikön tapaus (suom. Armi Koistinen, 1968)
  • Two Clues, 1947
  • The Case of the Fan Dancer's Horse, 1947
  • The Case of the Lazy Lover, 1947
  • Fools Die on Friday, 1947 (as A.A. Fair)
    - Pässinpäät kuolevat perjantaisin (suom. Auli Tarkka, 1961)
  •  The Land of Shorter Shadows, 1948
  • The Case of the Vagabond Virgin, 1948
    - Kulkurineitsyen arvoitus (suom. Risto Kalliomaa, 1957)
  • The D.A. Takes a Chance, 1948
  • The Case of the Lonely Heiress, 1948
  • The Case of the Dubious Bridegroom , 1949
  • The Case of the Cautious Coquette , 1949
  • Bedrooms Have Windows, 1949 (as A.A. Fair)
    - Kolmas laukaus (suom. Anna-Liisa Laine, 1961)
  • The D.A. Breaks an Egg, 1949
  • The Case of the Negligent Nymph, 1950
  • The Case of the Musical Cow, 1950
  • The Case of the One-Eyed Witness, 1950
  • Two Clues, 1951 (Eldon novel)
  • The Case of the Angry Mourner, 1951
    - Murha hiihtomajalla (suom. Paavo Alanen, 1953)
  • The Case of the Fiery Fingers, 1951
  • The Case of the Moth-Eaten Mink, 1952
    - Koinsyömän minkkiturkin arvoitus (suom. Sirkka Carlson, 1957)
  • The Case of the Grinning Gorilla, 1952
  • The Court of Last Resort, 1952
  • Top of the Heap, 1952 (as A.A. Fair)
    - Rahaa kuin roskaa (suom. M. ja H. Jokimäki, 1961)
  • The Case of the Green-Eyed Sister, 1953
    - Vihreäsilmäinen sisar (suom. Mirjam Ikonen, T.O. Ikonen, 1958)
  • The Case of the Irate Witness, 1953 (in Collier's Magazine)
    - 'Äkäinen todistaja' (suom. Pentti Saarikoski, teoksessa Salapoliisikertomuksia Sherlock Holmesista Perry Masoniin, toim. Tage la Cour, 1962)
  • The Case of the Hesitant Hostess, 1953
    - Epäröivä emäntä (suom. Mario Talaskivi, 1960)
  • Some Women Won't Wait, 1953 (as A.A. Fair)
    - Naiset pitävät kiirettä (suom. Sirkka Rapola, 1961)
  • The Case of the Fugitive Nurse, 1954
  • The Case of the Runaway Corpse, 1954
    - Karannut ruumis (suom. Arto Tuovinen, 1959)
  • The Case of the Restless Redhead, 1954
  • Neighborhood Frontiers, 1954
  • The Case of the Glamorous Ghost, 1955
    - Verevä aave (suom. Mirjam Ikonen, T.O. Ikonen, 1956)
  • The Case of the Nervous Accomplice, 1955
  • The Case of the Sun Bather's Diary, 1955
    - Auringonpalvojan päiväkirja (suom. Mirjan Itkonen, T.O. Itkonen, 1957)
  • The Case of the Terrified Typist, 1956
  • Beware the Curves, 1956 (as A.A. Fair)
    - Varokaa kurveja (suom. Aila Poukkula, 1961)
  • The Case of the Gilded Lily, 1956
    - Kullattu lilja (suom. Mirjam Itkonen, T.O. Itkonen, 1958)
  • The Case of the Demure Defendant, 1956
  • The Case of the Screaming Woman, 1957
    - Vahakantinen muistikirja (suom. Pauli A. Kopperi, 1958)
  • The Case of the Lucky Loser, 1957
    - Perry Mason ja vaarallinen vastustaja (suom. Heikki Sarkkila, 1992)
  • The Case of the Daring Decoy, 1957
  • Some Slips don't Show, 1957 (as A.A. Fair)
    - Motellimurha (suom. Heikki Suikkanen, 1966)
  • You can Die Laughing, 1957 (as A.A. Fair)
    - Saatat kuolla nauraen (suom. Heikki Suikkanen, 1966)
  • The Case of the Long-Legged Models, 1958
  • The Case of the Foot-Loose Doll, 1958
  • The Case of the Calendar Girl, 1958
    - Vaaralliset valokuvat (suom. Mauri Sariola, 1959)
  • The Count of Nine, 1958 (as A.A. Fair)
    - Buddhien arvoitus (suom. Aila Poukkula, 1959) / Julma rangaistus (suom. Heikki Suikkanen, 1965)
  • The Case of the Deadly Toy, 1959
    - Tappava lelu (suom. Kalevi Nyytäjä, 1963)
  • Pass the Gravy, 1959 (as A.A. Fair)
  • The Case of the Mythical Monkeys, 1959
    - Apinoiden arvoitus (suom. Pentti Kankaala, 1960)
  • The Case of the Singing Skirt, 1959
  • The Case of the Boy Who Wrote "The Case of the Missing Clue" with Perry Mason, 1959
  • The Case of the Waylaid Wolf, 1960
  • The Case of the Duplicate Daughter, 1960
    - Tyttö pelikasinolla (suom. Anja Sariola, 1962)
  • The Case of the Shapely Shadow, 1960
    - Kurvikas varjo (suom. Kalevi Nyytäjä, 1962)
  • Kept Women Can't Quit, 1960 (as A.A. Fair)
    - Kun on leikkiin lähtenyt (suom. Anna-Liisa Laine, 1962)
  • Hunting the Desert Whale, 1960
  • Hovering Over Baja, 1961
  • The Case of the Spurious Spinster, 1961
  • The Case of the Bigamous Spouse, 1961
  • Bachelors Get Lonely, 1961 (as A.A. Fair)
    - Poikamiehet pitkästyvät (suom. Aila Poukkula, 1962)
  • Shills Can't Cash Chips, 1961 (as A.A. Fair; UK title: Stop at the Red Light, 1962)
    - Rohkea rokan syö (suom. Jaakko Lavanne, 1962)
  • The Case of the Reluctant Model, 1962
  • The Case of the Blonde Bonanza, 1962
    - Vaalea kultakaivos (suom. Eija Palsbo, 1963)
  • The Case of the Ice-Cold Hands, 1962
    - Jääkylmät kädet (suom. Markku Mannila, 1964)
  • Try Anything Once, 1962 (as A.A. Fair)
    - Kokenut kaiken tietää (suom. Anna-Liisa Laine, 1964)
  • The Hidden Heart of Baja, 1962
  • The Case of the Mischievous Doll, 1963
  • The Case of the Step-Daughter's Secret, 1963
    - Setelit tuuliajolla (suom. Aila Poukkula, 1965)
  • The Case of the Amorous Aunt, 1963
    - Lemmekäs täti (suom. Eero Raassina, 1964)
  • Fish or Cut Bait, 1963 (as A.A. Fair)
  • The Desert is Yours, 1963
  • The Case of the Daring Divorcee, 1964
    - Perry Mason käy Las Vegasissa (suom. Armi Koistinen, 1968)
  • Up for Grabs, 1964 (as A.A. Fair)
  • The Case of the Phantom Fortune, 1964
    - Herrasmieskiristäjä (suom. Eero Raassina, 1966)
  • The Case of the Horrified Heirs, 1964
    - Perry Mason ja pelokkaat perijät (suom. Armi Koistinen, 1970)
  • The World of Water, 1964
  • The Case of the Troubled Trustee, 1965
    - Perry Mason ja huolestunut holhooja (suom. Armi Koistinen, 1970)
  • The Case of the Beautiful Beggar, 1965
    - Kauniin kerjäläisen arvoitus (suom. Armi Koistinen, 1967)
  • Hunting Lost Mines by Helicopter, 1965
  • Cut Thin to Win, 1965 (as A.A. Fair)
  • The Case of the Worried Waitress, 1966
    - Perry Mason ja rahakas hatturasia (suom. Armi Koistinen, 1968)
  • Widows Wear Weeds, 1966 (as A.A. Fair)
  • The Case of the Queenly Contestant, 1967
  • Gypsy Days on the Delta, 1967
  • Traps Need Fresh Bait, 1967
  • Off the Beaten Track in Baja, 1967
  • The Case of the Careless Cupid, 1968
    - Huolimaton Amor (suom. Armi Koistinen, 1969)
  • Mexico's Magic Square, 1968
  • The Case of the Fabulous Fake, 1969
  • The Case of the Murderer's Bride and Other Stories, 1969
  • Drifting Down the Delta, 1969
  • Cops on Campus and Crime in the Streets, 1970
  • Host With the Big Hat, 1970
  • All Grass Isn't Green, 1970 (as A.A. Fair)
  • The Case of the Crimson Kiss, 1971
  • The Case of the Irate Witness, 1972
  • The Case of the Fenced-In Woman, 1972
    - Perry Mason ja piikkilanka-aita (suom. 1977)
  • The Case of the Postponed Murder, 1973 (Gardner's last Mason novel)
  • The Amazing Adventures of Lester Leith, 1981 (Lester Leith stories; edited by Ellery Queen)
  • Whispering Sands: Stories of Gold Fever and the Western Desert, 1981 (edited by Charles G. Waugh and Martin H. Greenberg) 
  • The Human Zero: The Science Fiction Stories of Erle Stanley Gardner, 1981 (edited by Martin H. Greenberg and Charles G. Waugh)
  • Pay Dirt and Other Whispering Sands Stories of Gold Fever and the Western Desert, 1983 (edited by Charles G. Waugh and Martin H. Greenberg)
  • Dead Men's Letters, 1989 (Ed Jenkins story)
  • The Adventures of Paul Pry: A Dime Detective Book, 1989 (Paul Pry stories)
  • Dead Men's Letters, 1990
    - Kuolleen miehen kirjeet (suom. Pertti Koskela, 1991)
  • The Blonde in Lower Six, 1990
  • Honest Money: and Other Short Novels, 1991 (Ken Corning stories)
  • The Danger Zone and Other Stories, 2004 (edited by Bill Pronzini)
  • The Casebook of Sidney Zoom, 2006 (edited by Bill Pronzini)
  • The Exploits of the Patent Leather Kid, 2010 (edited by Bill Pronzini)
  • The Case of the Careless Kitten, 2019 (introduction by Otto Penzler)
  • The Case of the Baited Hook, 2020 (introduction by Otto Penzler)
  • Bigger They Come, 2022 (Erle Stanley Gardner writing as A.A. Fair; introduction by Otto Penzler)

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