Erle Stanley Gardner (1889-1970) was the top selling American author of the twentieth century, primarily due to the enormous success of his Perry Mason Mysteries, which numbered more than eighty and inspired a half-dozen motion pictures and radio programs, as well as a long-running television series starring Raymond Burr. Having begun his career as a pulp writer, Gardner brought a hard-boiled style and sensibility to his early Mason books, but he gradually developed into a more classic detective novelist, providing clues to allow astute readers to solve his many mysteries. For over a quarter of a century, he wrote more than a million words a year under his own name as well as numerous pseudonyms, the most famous being A. A. Fair.