THE AMAZING ADVENTURES OF LESTER LEITH by Erle Stanley Gardner

THE AMAZING ADVENTURES OF LESTER LEITH

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Five Gardner pulp-novelettes from the Thirties, selected by Ellery Queen, and all of them featuring Lester Leith--the gem-theft specialist who usually robbed the thieves themselves, gave the proceeds to charity, and kept 20% for himself as collection costs. In ""In Round Figures"" Lester recovers jewelry stolen from a society bash by a tremendously fat woman and her accomplices (disguised as ambulance attendants): he sets up a second robbery to tempt her back into operation and uses a tricky legal point to take possession of all the gems involved. ""A Bird in Hand"" is a locked-room variant: an international gem smuggler gets his false-paneled trunk into a hotel room and when the police arrive the trunk and gems have vanished. (The solution involves homing pigeons!) In ""The Hand Is Quicker Than the Eye,"" Lester uncovers a necklace secreted in the hollow butt of a shotgun. And so it goes--with implausible (though often amusing) deductions by Lester, some added chuckles from Lester's valet Scuttles (a police spy in disguise), and virtually no action as the dated dialogue accumulates in great heaps. A bit of cleverness, but mostly folderol, and only for diehard nostalgia addicts.

Pub Date: March 5th, 1981
Publisher: Dial