It might have been hard to decipher the name of the person who was making the inscription if it didn't happen to be ... the author of the novel!
Although he was writing under one of his many pseudonyms:
I thought the name "Erle Stanley Gardner" sounded somehow familiar--and a Google search told me that yes, indeed: he was the creator of Perry Mason and many other mysteries. Regarding his writing, the Thrilling Detective website says, "Although critics sneered and many felt that Erle Stanley Gardner was not a very good writer ... Gardner was one of the best selling writers of all times, and certainly one of the best-selling mystery authors ever."
Erle Stanley Gardner
Armed with this knowledge, and with some effort (and invaluable aid from Wakanomori), I take the dedication to read,
To my friend and
Capt. Frances G. Lee -- Trooper Gardner reporting.
With all my love
So who was Captain Frances--female spelling--G. Lee?
Well! She turns out to be Frances Glessner Lee, whom Wikipedia tells us is the "mother of forensic science"!
She had to wait until she was 52 to embark on the career for which she became famous, but at that point she inherited a fabulous fortune that enabled her to pursue her studies and endow departments of legal medicine, police science, and a library.
Further, Wikipedia tells us that "for her work, Lee was made an honorary captain in the New Hampshire State Police in 1943, making her to first woman to join International Association of Chief of Police."
a picture of her
And, Erle Stanley Gardner dedicated several novels to her.
... and somehow one that he'd sent to her himself, with an inscription, ends its life in a recycling dumpster in my town. I wonder who owned the book?
Interestingly, in the foreword to the book, Gardner shows that as far back as 1958, people were thinking about the problem of retributive justice:
I'd share more, but alas, I only grabbed a few pages, and they don't include the next page in the foreword.
In any case: not your everyday find!
This entry was originally posted at http://asakiyume.dreamwidth.org/852734.html. Comments are welcome at either location.