According to the 1988 edition of the Guinness Book of World Records, as of January 1, 1986, Erle Stanley Gardner’s books had sold more than 319 million copies in thirty-seven languages. This sales total makes Gardner one of the most popular fiction writers of all time. The sheer number of volumes he produced is overwhelming; 141 of his books were in print at the time of his death, including 80 in his most popular series, the Perry Mason books (another 5 were published later), 46 mystery novels of other kinds, and 15 nonfictional volumes. This list is supplemented by hundreds of short stories and magazine articles. (His complete bibliography fills thirty quarto-sized pages, each of which contains three columns of small print.) Although Gardner constructed his mystery stories according to formulas, the success of which he proved over more than a decade of pulp magazine apprenticeship, they were never stereotyped or hackneyed because Gardner’s sense of integrity did not allow him to repeat situations. His dedication to pleasing his audience, coupled with his extraordinarily fertile imagination, led him to turn out first-rate mystery novels at the rate of at least three a year for thirty years. Many of his books were made into films, radio plays, comic strips, and television shows, crowned by the top-rated television series Perry Mason, which ran for nine years (1957-1966) with Raymond Burr as the lawyer-detective and which was filmed with Gardner’s assistance and supervision. Gardner’s volume of output and reader popularity, along with the approval of both critics and peers, have ensured his prominent position in the annals of mystery and detective fiction.