The Case of the Baited Hook (1940) by Erle Stanley Gardner

The Case of the Baited Hook by Erle Stanley Gardner

7 Stars (7/10 stars)

“You baited a trap with a ten thousand-dollar bill. You probably didn’t know it was a trap at the time, and I didn’t. But the trap has sprung. I’m caught, and you’re caught…We’ve got to get out.”

A masked woman, an alias, and half of a ten thousand dollar bill—that’s what it takes to get Perry Mason out of bed on a dark and rainy night. The man on the phone is insistent. He has to meet Mason, and it has to be tonight. Tomorrow will be too late. When he arrives at his office, Mason is surprised by the man’s companion, a silent woman whose identity is hidden by a mask and oversized clothing. This woman is his client, even though he has no idea who she is. If his services are needed, she will identify herself by presenting the second half of the ten thousand dollar bill. “What I want you to do is protect her,” the man says. “From what?” asks Mason. “From everything,” he replies. And “everything” is exactly what happens. Continue reading “The Case of the Baited Hook (1940) by Erle Stanley Gardner”

TV Review: Perry Mason (2020) Chapter 1

Perry Mason (2020)

“Everybody’s up to something. Everybody’s got an angle, hiding something. And everybody is guilty.”

Every classic mystery fan is familiar with Perry Mason. You know, Perry Mason, the down-on-his luck private eye, the shambling alcoholic, the divorced dad who can’t afford to mail a Christmas present to his kid. The haunted World War I veteran discharged for “conduct unbecoming.” By night, he wallows in the seedy underbelly of 1930s Los Angeles; at sunrise, he staggers home to the family dairy farm, which is on the verge of being repossessed. You know, Perry Mason. Continue reading “TV Review: Perry Mason (2020) Chapter 1”

The Case of the Howling Dog (1934) by Erle Stanley Gardner

The Case of the Howliing Dog by Erle Stanley Gardner

9 Stars (9/10 stars)

What’s bothering me is why the facts don’t fit together. Don’t ever fool yourself that facts don’t fit, if you get the right explanation. They’re just like jigsaw puzzles—when you get them right, they’re all going to fit together.”

What doesn’t fit in this case?” she asked.

Nothing fits.”

Complaints about howling dogs are little outside Perry Mason’s area of expertise. His new client Arthur Cartright is insistent, however, that his neighbor Clinton Foley is inciting his dog to bark for the specific purpose of annoying Cartright. It is obvious to Mason that there is more going on here than a simple dispute between neighbors. As the feud reaches its boiling point, a case that began with a howling dog is about to get much more complicated. Luckily, murder is all in a day’s work for Mason. Continue reading “The Case of the Howling Dog (1934) by Erle Stanley Gardner”

This Is Murder (1936) by Erle Stanley Gardner

This Is Murder by Erle Stanley Gardner

5 Stars (5/10 stars)

“I didn’t realize it would be so much fun fooling around with crime.”

“You’re not fooling around with it,” she said, “you’re getting into a game where you’re playing for big stakes and you don’t know what trumps are yet.”

Advertising pays the bills for Sam Moraine, but he can’t help finding it just a trifle dull. So when his poker buddy, district attorney Phil Duncan, is called away to deal with a kidnapping, Moraine is eager to tag along. Little does he realize that he’s about to be drawn into kidnapping, murder, and political corruption—and that his beautiful secretary may  be involved. Moraine wanted excitement, all right, but this might be more than he can handle. Continue reading “This Is Murder (1936) by Erle Stanley Gardner”

The Case of the Lazy Lover (1947) by Erle Stanley Gardner

The Case of the Lazy Lover by Erle Stanley Gardner

6 stars (6/10 stars)

“This is once,” he said, “that not only does Perry Mason’s client have her neck in the noose, but the great Perry Mason put it there.”

Lola Allred needs a lawyer—but why? Perry Mason often receives retainer checks in the mail from potential clients. What is unusual is to receive two $2,500 checks from the same person drawn on two different banks. One is forged, one genuine, neither explaining what he’s been hired for.

When Mason goes looking for Lola, she’s nowhere to be found. Her husband says she’s run off with another man. Mason’s not so sure. The deeper he digs, the more dirt he finds on the wealthy Allred family. It seems that nobody’s hands are clean in this case, and it will take all of Mason’s legal wiles to uncover the truth Continue reading “The Case of the Lazy Lover (1947) by Erle Stanley Gardner”

The Case of the Moth-Eaten Mink (1952) by Erle Stanley Gardner

The Case of the Moth-Eaten Mink by Erle Stanley Gardner 1952 book cover

6 stars (6/10 stars)

“You’ve never been in a case before where an officer was killed in the line of duty. Take my advice and don’t get in one. Things happen in cases of that sort. You could get hurt. You will get hurt.”

After a tough deposition, Perry Mason and his secretary Della Street are looking forward to a quiet dinner at their favorite restaurant. When they arrive, however, the owner is upset by a strange event. His new waitress, Dixie Dayton, just ran out in the middle of a shift, leaving her mink coat behind. Even a ratty mink like this one is beyond the means of a waitress—how did Dixie get this coat, and why would she abandon it? And why is her boss Morris Alburg so worried?

Mason is soon juggling two potential clients who may be connected to the murder of a police officer, a situation that will put his legal skills to the test. Continue reading “The Case of the Moth-Eaten Mink (1952) by Erle Stanley Gardner”