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Doug Selby Books In Order

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Publication Order of Doug Selby Books

Mignon G. Eberhart
The D.A. Calls It Murder (1937)Description / Buy at Amazon
The D.A. Holds a Candle (1938)Description / Buy at Amazon
The D.A. Draws a Circle (1939)Description / Buy at Amazon
The D.A. Goes to Trial (1940)Description / Buy at Amazon
The D. A. Cooks a Goose (1942)Description / Buy at Amazon
The D.A. Calls a Turn (1944)Description / Buy at Amazon
The D.A. Breaks a Seal (1946)Description / Buy at Amazon
The D.A. Takes a Chance (1948)Description / Buy at Amazon
The D.A. Breaks An Egg (1949)Description / Buy at Amazon

The Name Doug Selby refers to a series of detective novels written by Erle Stanley Garnder. Doug Selby is also the name of the series protagonist.

+The Story

Erley Stanley Gardner came to prominence in 1933 when he wrote the first novel in the Perry Mason series. Those particular books followed the exploits of a criminal defense lawyer who solved crimes.

Fans of Gardner have a tendency to compare his Doug Selby series to the Perry Mason books. Like Perry Mason, Doug Selby, the hero of the Doug Selby series, is an attorney.

With the Perry Mason books, the District Attorney was often portrayed as the antagonist. As such, it was probably a bit of a surprise for Gardner fans when they read the Doug Selby series and found that Doug Selby, the protagonist, was a District Attorney.

Doug Selby lives in the fictional city of Madison in California. Doug’s City and county are thoroughly politically corrupt. At some point in the story, Doug decides to do something about it.

He decides to fight for the role of District Attorney. Along with Sheriff Rex Brandon, Doug runs on a ticket of reform, promising to remove the rot in Madison’s political halls.

And to the surprise of most people, Doug barely scrapes out a win. However, that particular victory is only the start of Doug Selby’s war against the political antagonists in Madison.

‘The D.A. Calls It Murder’, the first book in the series kicks things off with the death of a clergyman. Rumors of suicide begin to spread. However, Doug isn’t so convinced and he begins to attack the mystery with the intention of proving that it was murder.

It is at this point that Doug begins to feel the pressure of his enemies. The political powers that Doug defeated in the polls use the case as a means to force Doug out of office.

And they pursue this objective using ‘The Blade’, an opposition newspaper that uses every opportunity that arises to attack Doug’s every move. It doesn’t take them long to call for his resignation over this first case, accusing him of incompetence and taking steps to turn the public to their cause.

Fortunately for Doug, he finds that he isn’t alone in his fight to clean Madison City. ‘The Clarion’ is revealed to be the Blade’s biggest competitor and a friendly publication that supported Doug’s campaign.

Sylvia Martin is a reporter that works with the Clarion, and Doug Selby’s first case proves to him that he can trust her.

The Doug Selby novels attempt to provide a balance between the mystery aspects of each story and the political intrigue at play. Doug notices that his enemies are always on the prowl for a chance to slip him up.

They will either oppose his efforts to solve a case in order to discredit him or they will pursue justice using their own methods in an attempt to prove that their people are better placed to fill the role of District attorney.

On his part, Doug Selby is written to be a single-minded individual. Justice has always been the protagonist’s one and only concern, and he only fought for the position of District Attorney because he believed it would give him the power to pursue his beliefs.

Every step Doug takes is designed to right wrongs and punish the guilty. He isn’t interested in tooting his own horn or impressing the public. He will do whatever it takes to achieve his objectives regardless of the consequences.

The cast of the Doug Selby series is fairly small. Besides Brandon and Sylvia, the only other character of note in the series is Inez Stapleton. Inez began as a love interest for Doug.

A case nearly tore Doug and Inez apart. Doug was forced to target someone close to her. Rather than resent him, not only was Inez’ respect for Doug heightened but she decided to go to law school if only to prove her worth to Doug and possibly even fight him in a court of law.

Doug and Inez run in and out of one another’s lives over the course of this series. When Doug isn’t fussing over Inez, he’s facing off against Alphonse Baker Carr, arguably his greatest opponent.

When he is first introduced, Alphonse is a criminal defense lawyer looking to settle down in a peaceful rural community. The steps Alphonse takes to acquire authority in Madison City put him on the wrong side of the law and Doug Selby.


Concepts from ‘The D.A. Draws a Circle’, the third book in the Doug Selby series, were used in ‘They Call It Murder’, a 1971 television movie in which Doug Selby was played by Jim Hutton.

+The Author

Erle Stanley Gardner was an American author and lawyer who was born in 1889 and died in 1970. Erle was a pretty successful lawyer. However, he eventually grew bored with the law and began to write pulp magazines in his spare time.

That paved the way for the author to accumulate an impressive bibliography of novels written under pen names like Kyle Corning and Les Tillray.

+The D.A. Calls It Murder

Doug Selby just won a closely contested election to become the District Attorney. But life has only grown more complex. ‘The Blade’, a newspaper that supported his opponents in the elections, spends every waking hour attacking him.

And when a dead body is discovered at a hotel and Doug struggles to identify the victim, ‘The Blade’ uses the case as a chance to highlight the new D.A.’s incompetence with the intention of getting him fired.

Doug became a D.A. because he wanted to clean up the system. It will take every tool Doug has to keep his job and find a killer.

+The D.A. Holds a Candle

Doug Selby is the young ambitious District Attorney of Madison City and its surrounding territories. When a young man is proven guilty of the embezzlement of a small sum and is brought before him, Doug tries to make sense of the case.

He understands the charges that have been laid at the young man’s feet and he has everything he needs to lock up his target. But Doug cannot overcome his curiosity. The D.A. needs to understand the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of the situation. So he initiates an investigation that uncovers far more than he could have expected.

Book Series In Order » Characters » Doug Selby

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