Monday, November 4, 2013

Sidney Who?

By Erle Stanley Gardner. Edited by Bill Pronzini.
Crippen & Landru.
2006. 247 pages.
Collection: 10 stories.
Here's an excerpt from Francis M. Nevins's review in MYSTERY SCENE:
A reader may tire of the same descriptive taglines repeated ad infinitum, but the stories are amazingly clever and involuted. Like the vast majority of Gardner characters (Perry Mason included), Zoom is essentially a scam artist. In his middle period he morphs into a sort of Philo Vance figure whom the police graciously accept as a deductive genius and allow to investigate murders as if he were one of their own.
And Michael Grost writes about this character:
Zoom is the kind of person comedian Crazy Guggenheim (on 'The Jackie Gleason Show') called 'a rich millionaire with lots of money.' He uses his wealth to defend the innocent and weak against powerful crooks who prey on them . . . . In these [stories], Zoom beats crooks through conman-like schemes of his own. However, Zoom is honest, and does not make money off of crooks for himself. Zoom is a pure good guy: he is not any sort of criminal. Zoom is characterized as a 'fighter', like Perry Mason to come. The tales have a more somber mood than the light-hearted Lester Leith and Paul Pry stories, with Zoom battling for the rights of ordinary people who have been stomped on by the rich during the Depression.
"Willie the Weeper"
" 'My Name is Zoom!' "
"Borrowed Bullets"
"Higher Up"
"The First Stone"
"The Green Door"
"Cheating the Chair"
"Inside Job"
"Lifted Bait"
"Stolen Thunder"

Category: Detective fiction

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