The Pequod Review:
Erle Stanley Gardner (1889-1970) is most famous for his Perry Mason creation, but he also wrote a very good nine-book series featuring Doug Selby, a newly-elected district attorney in the fictional California desert town of Madison City. Selby is elected as a reformer to clean up the corrupt city and stop the intrusion of outside criminal influences:
If it was just politics, it wouldn’t be so bad. But during the last four years the doors have been opened to all the scum from the big cities. Chaps who haven’t been big enough to work a racket in the Big-Time have drifted in with a lot of little, vicious, chiseling, crooked stuff … Now, then, it’s up to you and me to clean up this mess.
In The DA Calls It Murder, the first book in the series, Selby investigates the suspicious hotel death of Reverend Charles Brower. The novel starts strong as the details of the reverend’s death are revealed, but the resolution is forced and implausible. A small but entertaining mystery novel.