Better late than never I always say.
“Top of the Heap” was written by Erle Stanley Gardner of Perry Mason fame under the pseudonym A.A. Fair. It is part of the Cool & Lam detective series. Donald Lam if the wisecracking detective while Bertha Lam (seen only briefly here) is the foul mouthed owner of the firm.
This is classic pulp from a bygone era. The dialogue is snappy. The characters are pretty complete given the constraints of the genre. The plot, revolving around a couple of murders and a bogus alibi, isn’t overly complicated.
We see Lam move through the seedy side of Los Angeles and San Francisco trying to hash out the details of what really happened in the incident he is asked to alibi his client for. As always, nothing is exactly what it seems at first. The rich are evil. The mob is eviler. In the end, Lam outsmarts them all.
After I was able to fix my mind on the time frame, I really got a kick out of this book. I look forward to reading more pulpy goodness from the good folks at Hard Case.