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The Case of the Curious Bride

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After con man Greg Moxley married Rhoda Lorton, he took her money and flew—only to have his plane crash. Years later, Rhoda weds millionaire scion Carl Montaine. But now Moxley has turned up alive and well…. with plans to pocket the Montaine fortune—or else make Rhoda’s bigamy public. Desperate to protect the good name of Montaine, Rhoda seeks out Perry Mason. But before M After con man Greg Moxley married Rhoda Lorton, he took her money and flew—only to have his plane crash. Years later, Rhoda weds millionaire scion Carl Montaine. But now Moxley has turned up alive and well…. with plans to pocket the Montaine fortune—or else make Rhoda’s bigamy public. Desperate to protect the good name of Montaine, Rhoda seeks out Perry Mason. But before Mason can reel in Moxley, somebody murders the scheming blackmailer. In a case that abounds in lethal twists, Perry Mason suddenly finds himself on a collision course with a cold-blooded killer.


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After con man Greg Moxley married Rhoda Lorton, he took her money and flew—only to have his plane crash. Years later, Rhoda weds millionaire scion Carl Montaine. But now Moxley has turned up alive and well…. with plans to pocket the Montaine fortune—or else make Rhoda’s bigamy public. Desperate to protect the good name of Montaine, Rhoda seeks out Perry Mason. But before M After con man Greg Moxley married Rhoda Lorton, he took her money and flew—only to have his plane crash. Years later, Rhoda weds millionaire scion Carl Montaine. But now Moxley has turned up alive and well…. with plans to pocket the Montaine fortune—or else make Rhoda’s bigamy public. Desperate to protect the good name of Montaine, Rhoda seeks out Perry Mason. But before Mason can reel in Moxley, somebody murders the scheming blackmailer. In a case that abounds in lethal twists, Perry Mason suddenly finds himself on a collision course with a cold-blooded killer.

30 review for The Case of the Curious Bride

  1. 4 out of 5

    Evgeny

    Curiosity killed a cat. Nobody could even accuse Perry Mason's book plots of being too straightforward, or being straightforward at all. For this reason my description of the beginning of the plot might not even make sense: it looks something like following: A young woman came to Perry Mason for a consultation. She used old as the world trick saying she was making her inquiries in the behalf of her "friend". Even the most clueless reader could see through it, not to mention a hardened crimina Curiosity killed a cat. Nobody could even accuse Perry Mason's book plots of being too straightforward, or being straightforward at all. For this reason my description of the beginning of the plot might not even make sense: it looks something like following: A young woman came to Perry Mason for a consultation. She used old as the world trick saying she was making her inquiries in the behalf of her "friend". Even the most clueless reader could see through it, not to mention a hardened criminal defense attorney. Perry Mason politely but firmly asked her to come clean, but the woman called his bluff and left. At this point the layer realized two things: she already left a retainer for his services with his secretary and he feels guilty about his treatment of her. He started looking for her - not an easy feat considering she gave Mason a fake name and address - and found her just in time to defend her against a murder charge. Something I noticed by reading fifth book of the series: most of the people killed had been really asking for this. In fact at the end of the book Mason remarks that the murder victim had to be murdered. At this point I am very curious whether an innocent person - or relatively innocent - gets to meet his/her untimely demise in any installment. My usual notes about the series apply: a very complicated murder mystery, some very fine and unexpected maneuverings in the courtroom trademarked by Perry Mason make this one a very easy and hard to put down read. The final rating is 4 stars.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Josh

    This was my first foray into the world of Perry Mason and I was pleasantly surprised. The fifth installment in the long running Perry Mason series; a lawyer/private detective mashup of sorts, sees Perry Mason, off his own back take on a case where the defendant, at point of contact, has no idea she needed a lawyer to defend her against a murder charge. Rather, Rhoda Lorton, was asking the lawyer for help in a domestic case; her 'friends' husband had been missing, presumed dead for 7 years and no This was my first foray into the world of Perry Mason and I was pleasantly surprised. The fifth installment in the long running Perry Mason series; a lawyer/private detective mashup of sorts, sees Perry Mason, off his own back take on a case where the defendant, at point of contact, has no idea she needed a lawyer to defend her against a murder charge. Rather, Rhoda Lorton, was asking the lawyer for help in a domestic case; her 'friends' husband had been missing, presumed dead for 7 years and now this 'friend' wants to know if she can marry again without having evidence of the husband's actual death. What follows is pure pulp, and perfectly paced plotting as Perry Mason unravels a deadly thread of murder, cover-ups and schemes all centered around his apprehensive and somewhat unofficial client, Rhoda. One of the thing I really liked about this book is the nature of Perry's unconventional investigative techniques. He employs a private eye but dabbles in the investigative angle himself - from casing out a murder scene, to tailing Rhoda's circle of friends - he's just as much a private eye as he is a lawyer - a hallmark of the series. 'My methods,' he said, 'are unconventional. So far they've never been criminal. Perhaps they're tricky, but they're the legitimate tricks that a lawyer is entitled to use. In cross-examining a witness I have got a right to use any sort of test I can think up, any sort of a build-up that's within the law.' Then there's the court room antics which, to be honest, I found more entertaining than many of the modern day court room thrillers on the best seller list. There is some legal jargon but not too much that the reader can't easily follow what's going on. The supporting cast is great; the aforementioned private eye on payroll, Paul Drake, and his trusty and street smart secretary, Della Street compliment Perry. My rating: 4/5 stars, hits all the right notes for a pulp with some legal smarts thrown in. Perry Mason is an interesting character who I look forward to reading more of (I've got quite a few of these pulps in my tbr pile). The Case of the Curious Bride also has the added benefit of reading perfectly well as a standalone.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Melindam

    Wham! Bam! Thank you, Perry Mason. :) If you want someone pulling a fast legal one on your enemies, he is you man ... lawyer .... defense attorney. It's one of the early cases out of more than 80 books and it is fast and furious. Wham! Bam! Thank you, Perry Mason. :) If you want someone pulling a fast legal one on your enemies, he is you man ... lawyer .... defense attorney. It's one of the early cases out of more than 80 books and it is fast and furious.

  4. 5 out of 5

    James Thane

    This is the fifth book in Erle Stanley Gardner's long-running Perry Mason series, originally published in 1934. By then, at least according to the storyline, Perry and his principal associates, Della Street and Paul Drake, were already in the prime of life and Perry had already mounted an impressive record of courtroom victories. Given that, one would assume that Perry, Della and Paul all must have been somewhere in their seventies or early eighties by the time they finally won their last case i This is the fifth book in Erle Stanley Gardner's long-running Perry Mason series, originally published in 1934. By then, at least according to the storyline, Perry and his principal associates, Della Street and Paul Drake, were already in the prime of life and Perry had already mounted an impressive record of courtroom victories. Given that, one would assume that Perry, Della and Paul all must have been somewhere in their seventies or early eighties by the time they finally won their last case in 1973. But fortunately they aged well and seemed to be just as physically fit and mentally alert at the end of their careers as they had been in the beginning. The case opens when a nervous young woman appears in the office to consult Perry "on behalf of a friend." She needs to know when a woman can have a missing husband legally declared dead so that she might be free to marry again. Naturally, Perry sees through the ruse and questions the woman aggressively. He figures that she will soon fold and reveal that she is there he own behalf and they can then get down to business. But the woman fools him and instead of caving, she gets up and leaves in a huff. Perry starts to feel bad because he was so gruff with the poor young thing, and he feels even worse when Della informs him that the woman had paid a $50.00 retainer! The plot thickens when Perry discovers that the woman accidentally left her purse in the famous leather client chair. Naturally, there's a gun in the purse. Perry now feels morally obligated to assist the woman even though she has given Della a fake name, address and phone number. Of course this won't deter Perry in the slightest. He puts Paul Drake on the case and inevitably, by the end of the afternoon, he knows more about the woman than she knows about herself. Naturally there will be a murder; Perry's client will be arrested and charged and things will look awfully black. Of course the D.A. will not play fair and this leads Perry to resort to some clever trickery of his own. Things move a mile a minute and at one point, the D.A. is actually checking up on everyone who owns a Buick in the entire city of Los Angeles! In the end, of course, there will be a great courtroom scene and Mason will again demonstrate his agile mind and his incomparable skill at cross-examining hostile witnesses. This is a quick fun read that would be enjoyed by anyone who likes to occasionally return to the golden age of the pulp paperback novel.

  5. 5 out of 5

    S.P. Aruna

    After con man Greg Moxley married Rhoda Lorton, he took her money and flew the coop, as they say — only to have his plane crash. Years later, Rhoda weds millionaire scion Carl Montaine. But now Moxley has turned up alive and well….with plans to pocket the Montaine fortune — or else make Rhoda’s bigamy public. Desperate to protect the good name of Montaine, Rhoda seeks out Perry Mason. But before Mason can reel in Moxley, somebody murders the scheming blackmailer. In a case that abounds in lethal After con man Greg Moxley married Rhoda Lorton, he took her money and flew the coop, as they say — only to have his plane crash. Years later, Rhoda weds millionaire scion Carl Montaine. But now Moxley has turned up alive and well….with plans to pocket the Montaine fortune — or else make Rhoda’s bigamy public. Desperate to protect the good name of Montaine, Rhoda seeks out Perry Mason. But before Mason can reel in Moxley, somebody murders the scheming blackmailer. In a case that abounds in lethal twists, Perry Mason suddenly finds himself on a collision course with a cold-blooded killer. Well-written and well plotted, with many twists and turns, but dated in terms of the sometimes stilted dialogue. The Perry Mason series in general could be considered sanitized versions of the hard-boiled noir genre. However,the courtroom scenes are unsurpassed, and still stand as among the best in pop fiction. Writing books spanning nearly four decades, Mr. Gardner is, according to one literary critic, the most widely read of all American writers of his time and the most widely translated author in the world. Overall, this book was fun with minimal effort.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    This is my first Perry Mason mystery and I really enjoyed it. I can get over the sexism (a sign of the times) and the use of full names...always...and what is going on with him and Della Street? *wink wink* The mystery was solved in a very satisfying manner and Mason's freedom from the usual methods of investigation was thrilling. I am in awe of his manipulation/interpretation of the law and will certainly be reading more of these! This is my Perry Mason... This is my first Perry Mason mystery and I really enjoyed it. I can get over the sexism (a sign of the times) and the use of full names...always...and what is going on with him and Della Street? *wink wink* The mystery was solved in a very satisfying manner and Mason's freedom from the usual methods of investigation was thrilling. I am in awe of his manipulation/interpretation of the law and will certainly be reading more of these! This is my Perry Mason...

  7. 5 out of 5

    Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore

    The first of my theme related reads this month (for my reading plans and “theme” for the month see https://potpourri2015.wordpress.com/2...). One couldn’t possibly have Books and Lawyers as a theme and not read Perry Mason! This, one of the earlier titles in the Perry Mason series, sees yet another beautiful young woman seeking Mason’s help. When a certain Helen Crocker shows up at Mason’s office one morning seeking advice for a “friend”, it doesn’t take Mason and Della long to find out who her The first of my theme related reads this month (for my reading plans and “theme” for the month see https://potpourri2015.wordpress.com/2...). One couldn’t possibly have Books and Lawyers as a theme and not read Perry Mason! This, one of the earlier titles in the Perry Mason series, sees yet another beautiful young woman seeking Mason’s help. When a certain Helen Crocker shows up at Mason’s office one morning seeking advice for a “friend”, it doesn’t take Mason and Della long to find out who her this friend is or that Helen herself is a new bride. But once found out, she does not come clean and seek Mason’s help deciding to deal with her problem, a blackmailer, on her own. But when the blackmailer ends up dead, and she is the prime suspect, she has to turn to Mason once again, who finds that aside from the DA, he has a formidable opponent in the form of the young lady’s millionaire father-in-law, who will go to any lengths to get his son free of who is believes is a gold-digger. This was once again a very exciting and fast-paced Perry Mason mystery. As usual, before I could even get my head around what was happening, or what the matter was all about, Mason had already begun to lay the foundations for the case, and spinning a web in which he sews up the prosecution as always, also solving the mystery in the process. Through I couldn’t work out how each element would come together at the end, in this one it was pretty clear that even he doesn’t know how exactly things will play out and takes all possible steps/actions, or lays all possible traps which can go on to help him later. As usual I enjoyed the courtroom scenes where the slightly overconfident Deputy District Attorney in this one John Lucas (No Hamilton Burger this time) doesn’t realise what he’s getting himself into, poor chap. In this one, Mason’s client is a little more straightforward than usual (never having read these in order, am not sure if this is because it is earlier in the series), but I was almost wondering whether she really did do it, considering all that she said. It did have the same sort of “feel” as hardboiled detective stories but perhaps not as strong as some of the others. Enjoyed reading this one.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Anastasia

    The Case of the Curious Bride by Erle Stanley Gardner is the 5th book in the Perry Mason Mystery series. Recently married Rhoda Montaine consults Perry Mason when her previous husband, thought to have died in a plane crash, turns up alive and blackmails her for money. When he is killed and Rhoda is arrested, Perry Mason is again in the middle of a murder case. I am slowly rereading the books in order this time and they are just as good as I remember. A fast paced mystery with plenty of twists an The Case of the Curious Bride by Erle Stanley Gardner is the 5th book in the Perry Mason Mystery series. Recently married Rhoda Montaine consults Perry Mason when her previous husband, thought to have died in a plane crash, turns up alive and blackmails her for money. When he is killed and Rhoda is arrested, Perry Mason is again in the middle of a murder case. I am slowly rereading the books in order this time and they are just as good as I remember. A fast paced mystery with plenty of twists and tricks. Perry Mason is brilliant as always.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Amit Bikram

    One of the better Perry Mason books, especially as it contains a courtroom scene, which Gardner is a master of. The plot is strong and there are not too many points where the reader has to suspend belief. Every proof that comes in handy at the end has been mentioned before and there is no out of the blue solution presented, which can not be said for all Perry Mason books. The characters involved are believable, and there is a bit where Mason is able to identify the true reason behind the suspect One of the better Perry Mason books, especially as it contains a courtroom scene, which Gardner is a master of. The plot is strong and there are not too many points where the reader has to suspend belief. Every proof that comes in handy at the end has been mentioned before and there is no out of the blue solution presented, which can not be said for all Perry Mason books. The characters involved are believable, and there is a bit where Mason is able to identify the true reason behind the suspect's father-in-law's behavior while the audience is blindsided. The flow of the story is quite fast, as is the case with almost all books involving Mason, and that is mostly due to the lawyer getting personally involved in the case at hand and trying to solve it before the police and the prosecution. There is at least one weak point that I personally felt could have been covered better, but overall it is a book that brings Mason's skills to the limelight(including his persona in court), while doesn't lose sight of the story.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Lemar

    The appeal of Perry Mason, his secretary Della Street and detective Paul Drake lie in their putting truth and justice ahead of money and safety and doing so with cleverness and enjoyment. Once again they put it all on the line for their client. In the Case of the Curious Bride they take on the smugness of inherited wealth, the evil of con men who prey on women and a District Attorneys who rush to judgement. These mysteries are fun who-done-its that use deep psychological motives with the subtle The appeal of Perry Mason, his secretary Della Street and detective Paul Drake lie in their putting truth and justice ahead of money and safety and doing so with cleverness and enjoyment. Once again they put it all on the line for their client. In the Case of the Curious Bride they take on the smugness of inherited wealth, the evil of con men who prey on women and a District Attorneys who rush to judgement. These mysteries are fun who-done-its that use deep psychological motives with the subtlety they deserve. “You can’t explain your feelings - you can only recognize them.” ”There is nothing that gets a person’s goat like not letting them talk when they are trying to make a play for sympathy.”

  11. 4 out of 5

    Vicki

    This book had the curious woman asking questions for her friend. When she leaves Perry because of his obvious disbelief, she leaves having paid for his services in advanced. Perry searches for her and only when she is about to be accused of murder of her long missing husband does he locate her. He provides some amazing lawyer tricks in the last moments to bring the truth to light. The blackmailer is a grimy guy and really deserves what he gets. I love the way Earle Stanley Gardner writes and how This book had the curious woman asking questions for her friend. When she leaves Perry because of his obvious disbelief, she leaves having paid for his services in advanced. Perry searches for her and only when she is about to be accused of murder of her long missing husband does he locate her. He provides some amazing lawyer tricks in the last moments to bring the truth to light. The blackmailer is a grimy guy and really deserves what he gets. I love the way Earle Stanley Gardner writes and how his mind works. I just love Perry Mason and his crew.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    This is the fifth book that Erle Stanley Gardner has written. Definitely one of my favorites. After con man Greg Moxley married Rhoda Lorton, he took her money and flew—only to have his plane crash. Years later, Rhoda weds millionaire scion Carl Montaine. But now Moxley has turned up alive and well….with plans to pocket the Montaine fortune—or else make Rhoda’s bigamy public. Desperate to protect the good name of Montaine, Rhoda seeks out Perry Mason. But before Mason can reel in Moxley, somebody This is the fifth book that Erle Stanley Gardner has written. Definitely one of my favorites. After con man Greg Moxley married Rhoda Lorton, he took her money and flew—only to have his plane crash. Years later, Rhoda weds millionaire scion Carl Montaine. But now Moxley has turned up alive and well….with plans to pocket the Montaine fortune—or else make Rhoda’s bigamy public. Desperate to protect the good name of Montaine, Rhoda seeks out Perry Mason. But before Mason can reel in Moxley, somebody murders the scheming blackmailer. In a case that abounds in lethal twists, Perry Mason suddenly finds himself on a collision course with a cold-blooded killer. Of all the "Perry Mason" films of the 1930's (there were six films, produced from 1934 to 1937), this one has to be the best Warren William, who played Mason in more of these films than anyone else, elevates this short murder mystery from programmer to an 'almost-A' feature. Claire Dodd, as Della Street, is little more than window dressing, as were all of the "Della's" in these early Warners' Perry Mason films. Allen Jenkins gives one of his standard (but good) blustery performances as Mason's side-kick, Paul Drake (called "Spuds" Drake in this film, and a complete opposite of TV's dapper Paul Drake, played by William Hopper). The best supporting role was that of Olin Howard as the coroner, who is also Perry's good buddy, and frequent dining partner. The veteran character actress, Margaret Lindsay is the "Curious Bride" of the title. The real surprise (the first time I saw this) was seeing Errol Flynn doing a "bit" part in a flashback sequence at the end of the film. Flynn has a non-speaking part as Margaret Lindsay's first husband. This flashback scene is narrated by the Curious Bride's current husband, played by Donald Woods (who would later play Perry Mason in another of these Warner Brothers efforts, though not anywhere as entertainingly as Warren William). The use of soft-focus fades for every scene change, at first seems to help move the story, but can also be a bit irritating.-- Overall though, this is a well photographed film, --both the nicely composed interiors, and the outdoor urban location shots of 1935 San Francisco (although the Mason stories are mostly based in L.A.). Directed by Michael Curtiz, this swift-moving murder mystery has the feel of many of Curtiz's bigger-budgeted Warner films, and is easily the best of the Mason series. At the same time, it is not too unlike the other 5 Mason films that Warners produced. Unfortunately, Warren William could not play Mason in all of these films, but overlooking that fact, all six of the Warners "Perry Mason" films, including "The Case of the Stuttering Bishop", "The Case of the Velvet Claws," and "The Case of the Lucky Legs" are very faithful to the source material, and all are entertainingly done. By the way-- because all of these films were adapted from original Earl Stanley Gardner stories, all of these titles showed up in the 1950's, produced as episodes in Raymond Burr's "Perry Mason" TV series. It's very interesting to see the different treatment these stories were given on TV.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Dipanjan

    The 5th novel down my "journey into time" (started in 2015) to discover old treasures like the Perry Mason Series, is, once again, a complete page-turner. "The Case Of The Curious Bride" is yet another superb thriller that pulls of a superb plot that entertains to the hilt. Perry Mason, a character created in 1930s, can easily be a part of 2019 and the author would need to change NOTHING (not even a word) to adjust to the advanced world since 1930s. Now, THAT, for sure is what is evergreen. The s The 5th novel down my "journey into time" (started in 2015) to discover old treasures like the Perry Mason Series, is, once again, a complete page-turner. "The Case Of The Curious Bride" is yet another superb thriller that pulls of a superb plot that entertains to the hilt. Perry Mason, a character created in 1930s, can easily be a part of 2019 and the author would need to change NOTHING (not even a word) to adjust to the advanced world since 1930s. Now, THAT, for sure is what is evergreen. The story telling has the same intensity now as it did then. This one was a lot of fun with Perry pulling out all the stops to prove his client's innocence. Della is so smart, efficient and above all loyal and for the first time in the series, she gets put in her place by Mason for being overprotective! The characters were well-developed and interesting. After a disastrous 1st marriage to a swindling user, the defendant marries again this time a weak, almost helpless man on the rebound. The plot is clever, Mason is even more clever, and there isn't a dull moment. The protagonist, Rhoda Montaine, is human enough to be both fallible and likable. Perry Mason is referred in this story as a "Wizard Of The Court Room", more a sleuth than a lawyer, who uses the fold of the legal system to hunt for the truth, takes calculated risks AND utilizes his devious mind to uncover pure evidence that would solve the case. Mr. Gardner continues to follow the KISS rule. 192 pages are all you get to race through this riveting story. Till the very end you will keep gasping "What is Perry Mason up to?". You will, once again, let go of your sleep to get to the bottom of things. This episode continues to be a fine example of American Literature from the yesteryears. No wonder Gardner was one of the best-selling writers of all times, and certainly one of the best-selling mystery authors ever. I thoroughly enjoyed every bit of this 5thd book. There are a total of 82 novels (which I now fortunately own in my shelves). It's a treasure cove indeed!!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Dean Anderson

    I've often watched the Perry Mason television show, but this is only the second Perry Mason novel I've read. Both the character and the story structure of the two are quite different. The television show is a traditional whodunit. The emphasis is on finding out who committed the murder (always a murder) and seeing that justice is done. In the couple of books I've read, the emphasis is on Perry getting his client off, and he doesn't seem particularly interested in who committed the murder (always I've often watched the Perry Mason television show, but this is only the second Perry Mason novel I've read. Both the character and the story structure of the two are quite different. The television show is a traditional whodunit. The emphasis is on finding out who committed the murder (always a murder) and seeing that justice is done. In the couple of books I've read, the emphasis is on Perry getting his client off, and he doesn't seem particularly interested in who committed the murder (always a murder.) In both books I've read, though we find out who committed the murder, it's unclear whether the murderer will ever face justice from the legal system. Even more different is the way the character of Mason in presented. As played by the large, imposing, yet also somehow soft Raymond Burr, Mason is rather tenderhearted toward many of his clients. He is quite obviously not a man of violence, preferring to depend on his wit and the law. He is wily, but upright and honest. Mason in the books...Is different than that. For instance, this is Mason in the book confronting police detectives: "Mason's jaw jutted forward. His eyes became steely. "Pipe down, gumshoe," he said, "or I'll button your lip with a set of knuckles."" Can't imagine Burr saying that. He also is much less interested in fair play than the TV character. In this book, he tampers with evidence, barely staying within the law. But hey, he gets paid and paid well at the end of the book, so he's got that going for him. (Trigger warning, if bothered by sexism or racism, these 1930's pulps might not be for you.)

  15. 5 out of 5

    Steven Walle

    I enjoyed this book. I always enjoy a good Peary Mason book with all of its' cast of charictors including Della Street Peary Mason's secretary and Paul Drake Peary Mason's detective. Enjoy and Be Blessed. Diamond I enjoyed this book. I always enjoy a good Peary Mason book with all of its' cast of charictors including Della Street Peary Mason's secretary and Paul Drake Peary Mason's detective. Enjoy and Be Blessed. Diamond

  16. 4 out of 5

    Bob

    I've been reading Gardner's Perry Mason books for many years. I love the general setting: the characters of Perry, Della, Paul, Lt. Tragg, and Hamilton Burger. That, and the ingenious plots, are why I read Perry Mason. On the whole, the ones written by about 1953 are the best. This is the fifth one, from 1934. As in all the early ones, Perry is a hard boiled agressive ingenious fighter, not the more urbane established figure of the much later TV series. It is excellent. The story begins when a you I've been reading Gardner's Perry Mason books for many years. I love the general setting: the characters of Perry, Della, Paul, Lt. Tragg, and Hamilton Burger. That, and the ingenious plots, are why I read Perry Mason. On the whole, the ones written by about 1953 are the best. This is the fifth one, from 1934. As in all the early ones, Perry is a hard boiled agressive ingenious fighter, not the more urbane established figure of the much later TV series. It is excellent. The story begins when a young woman comes into Perry's office with a question. [Both the Velvet Claws and the Sulky Girl begin similarly.] She says she is asking for a friend, who wants to know if it's true that after seven years a missing person is presumed dead. Perry says, yes, that is the presumption. She then asks, so if a husband is missing and presumed dead, a woman would be free to remarry? And it would be legal even if the man later turned up? Perry says, no, not so fast. If a husband later turned up alive, that would invalidate a later marriage. The woman is now disappointed. Perry thinks, of course, that she is really asking all this for herself. He prods her too much and she leaves in a huff. Perry regrets he pushed her too far, and becomes even more regretful when he learns from Della that she left a retainer of $50. That changes everything. Perry now feels he has let down a client. He wants to right this wrong. Fortunately they find that the woman left her purse in the folds of the chair where she had been sitting. [A similar thing happens in the Daring Divorcee.] Mason finds in there a clue to an address. He goes there and finds nurse Nell Brinley, sometime roommate of Rhoda. It doesn't take long for Paul Drake and Perry to trace her "former" husband, Gregory Lorton, alias Moxley, and her new one, Carl Montaine. Perry has a somewhat belligerant meeting with Moxley, then leaves. The next morning the story is all over the newspapers: "Midnight Visitor Kills Crook". Turns out that Moxley was a confidence man of many aliases who would marry women, take their money, and disappear. Someone killed him the previous night, evidently around 2:00am according to a witness in a neighboring building. The murderer dropped a set of keys, which are pictured in the newspaper. As he is reading the paper, Carl Montaine comes in. He is Rhoda's new husband. They married without telling his millonaire father, who became upset when he heard the news. Carl says his wife will soon be arrested for the murder, as those are her keys in the paper! He tells a complex story of what he thinks happened the previous night, and feels duty-bound to tell the police that the keys belong to Rhoda! What a nice husband! Rhoda is arrested. This is among the most complex plots in the whole Perry Mason canon. We meet a doctor who may be in love with Rhoda, and another woman who was bilked by Moxley/Lorton. The father shows up, C. Phillip Montaine, who wants the marriage of his son and Rhoda annulled, in which case he will be glad to fund the defense of Rhoda. But if they were not legally married, Carl could be called as a witness against Rhoda! Perry pulls off an amazing switch of door bells, which would seem to stretch the bounds of legality. There is an interesting "slice of life" episode with a sidewalk hole-in-the-wall printer. It's neat to see little details of how life was lived 80 years ago. There is a small but crucial clue in the story that one of the characters tells early on. Watch for it! No Hamilton Burger. The district attorney never appears in person and is just refrred to as "the district attorney." No Sgt. Holcomb or Lt. Tragg. They all came later in the series. Good use of Paul Drake. Recurring themes: Clever cross-examination. Ne'er-do-well son of wealthy man. Characters who we meet: Rhoda (Lorton) Montaine, young woman who comes to see Perry. Della says she looks like a recent bride. Gregory Moxley (Lorton), mystery man of many aliases. Nell Brinley, former roommate of Rhoda Montaine. Carl Montaine, new husband of Rhoda, who really has more need of a mother. C. Phillip Montaine, wealthy father of Carl, determined to preserve the family reputation. Dr. Claude Millsap, friend of Rhoda who signed the death certificate of Gregory Lorton years before. Dr. Millsap's nurse. Doris Pender, woman who was once bilked by Moxley. Oscar Pender, her brother. Sidney Otis, cooperative electrician. Mr. and Mrs. Crandall, neighbors who were awakened by a bell - not a buzzer. Highly recommended.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Richa

    Being one of the earlier books in the series, Mason is still relatively fresh, more of a detective than a lawyer, there is a little distance between Della and him and he is full of tricks! Somehow, I have felt that as more books were added to the Mason Mysteries, the ingenuity slowed down. Mason was made to live up to a certain caricature of a ruthless, strong, well known lawyer; with the solutions conveniently rushed up at the very end. Almost akin to the later Poirot mysteries.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    This was the best one yet! I never get tired of Perry.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Bailey Marissa

    (3.4) Only one Perry and Della moment with Paul being the biggest trolling shipper known to man after almost catching them. Recommended 12+ for language, murder, and talks of infidelity.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Pau Gueco

    CAST OF CHARACTERS Perry Mason - the most famous criminal lawyer in fiction, whose mental agility once again baffles the District Attorney's office... Helen Crocker - a seemingly diffident soul who is most anxious to secure information for "a friend"... Della Street - the perfect secretary, whose insight into human nature is a valuable asset to her boss... Paul Drake - the quick-witted private detective who gets himself a job by working a hunch... Nell Brinley - a secretive trained nurse and "a CAST OF CHARACTERS Perry Mason - the most famous criminal lawyer in fiction, whose mental agility once again baffles the District Attorney's office... Helen Crocker - a seemingly diffident soul who is most anxious to secure information for "a friend"... Della Street - the perfect secretary, whose insight into human nature is a valuable asset to her boss... Paul Drake - the quick-witted private detective who gets himself a job by working a hunch... Nell Brinley - a secretive trained nurse and "a receiver of other people's telegrams"... Gregory Moxley - a man with a way with the women... Rhoda Montaine - a bride with pride - and ideals... Carl W. Montaine - Rhoda's husband, who doesn't make the best use of his fortune or his family... Doctor Claude Millsap - a lovesick physician... C. Phillip Montaine - a pedigreed multi-millionaire, Carl's father and his worst enemy... Danny Spear - a wide-eyed, yokelish private eye... John Lucas - belligerent and wily deputy district attorney... Benjamin Crandall - something in his memory rang a bell...

  21. 4 out of 5

    Harold

    Perry goes at it again. What a guy! If I ever need a lawyer I'm looking for him. Great stuff! Perry goes at it again. What a guy! If I ever need a lawyer I'm looking for him. Great stuff!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Freya

    This was a story packed with action and court room drama and yet somehow I feel a little deprived. As if the author wrapped up the story in a hurry at the end so he could move on to the next one.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Yrsa

    I like Perry Mason. And Della. And Paul. I liked the Doorbells and buzzers in this one. Clever one.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Lorilee

    Another great mystery!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Annabel Frazer

    I'm still a relative newcomer to Perry Mason, reading them out of order and trying to feel my way through their world. I think this must be one of the earlier ones (1935?). It certainly feels a bit eccentric in terms of the way Mason acts. He's very physical and aggressive and proposes quite reckless interventions to help people he has taken a liking to, while cheerfully plotting the downfall of those he hasn't. There's not much of an abstract passion for justice here. The plot, about a new wife I'm still a relative newcomer to Perry Mason, reading them out of order and trying to feel my way through their world. I think this must be one of the earlier ones (1935?). It certainly feels a bit eccentric in terms of the way Mason acts. He's very physical and aggressive and proposes quite reckless interventions to help people he has taken a liking to, while cheerfully plotting the downfall of those he hasn't. There's not much of an abstract passion for justice here. The plot, about a new wife accused of murdering her bigamous former husband, is over-elaborate, as often with Perry Mason, and gets progressively more confusing. I never did make a lot of sense of it, but I am happy to read these books just for their period atmosphere and to catch up with the main characters, who I am getting steadily more fond of. Perry and Della romance watch: (view spoiler)[There's an odd and rather touching scene very near the beginning in which they are holding hands in the office and their private detective friend Drake catches them at it and ribs them gently. Della is embarrassed, Perry not at all so. They never refer to the matter again but seem definitely to be more than friends. Given that this is an early book, I wonder if Gardner initially intended them to be a couple but decided against it as his series lengthened? A sad thought - perhaps if I read them in the wrong order, I can reverse it?? (hide spoiler)]

  26. 5 out of 5

    Bryan Frazier

    I just finished this novel , and wanted to review it " Fresh , " so to speak . This is one of the earlier Perry Mason novels . Erle Stanley Gardener was still finding his way a bit in these books . The courtroom scenes are fun , and very entertaining . I liked watching Perry Mason put the smug Deputy District Attorney in his place !! ( It is a character named " John Lucas " here . Sometimes , Hamilton Burger would not be the featured adversary !! Perhaps Gardener thought that it would get redund I just finished this novel , and wanted to review it " Fresh , " so to speak . This is one of the earlier Perry Mason novels . Erle Stanley Gardener was still finding his way a bit in these books . The courtroom scenes are fun , and very entertaining . I liked watching Perry Mason put the smug Deputy District Attorney in his place !! ( It is a character named " John Lucas " here . Sometimes , Hamilton Burger would not be the featured adversary !! Perhaps Gardener thought that it would get redundant and boring to keep having Burger as the foil . ) The mystery of " Who Dunnit " is easily solved . For one reason , there just are not that many suspects involved . I still enjoyed the book , but I think that I will read a latter book in the series next time , in order to enjoy the more fully formed Mason !! I recommend this book for any Perry Mason / Mystery fans !!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kaustubh Dudhane

    Honestly, I am not a big fan of Whodunits. Moreover, I have read Erle Stanley Gardner (ESG) after 12 years. I have read a couple of books but wasn't impressed at that time. Perhaps, I was quite a young reader. I bought this book in a train because of my CBD for books. However, I liked this book. The simple style, elementary characters but complex plot and a witty lawyer Mr. Perry Mason - what else is required! The book is fast paced considering it was published in 1934. I have loved the way Mason Honestly, I am not a big fan of Whodunits. Moreover, I have read Erle Stanley Gardner (ESG) after 12 years. I have read a couple of books but wasn't impressed at that time. Perhaps, I was quite a young reader. I bought this book in a train because of my CBD for books. However, I liked this book. The simple style, elementary characters but complex plot and a witty lawyer Mr. Perry Mason - what else is required! The book is fast paced considering it was published in 1934. I have loved the way Mason thinks and plans like nobody. I am looking forward to more of ESG.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Christine Cody

    Another winner in the series, with the author establishing the characters more completely with each book. In this book, it was the first time I could see the Raymond Burr portrayal nearly completely...the staring eyes, the looming presence, the ever-active intelligence planning his next move. I could also see the humor of William Hopper in Drake’s behavior. This is the first of the books I’ve read that I can recall seeing in the TV series. I didn’t recognize it until a particular changing doorbe Another winner in the series, with the author establishing the characters more completely with each book. In this book, it was the first time I could see the Raymond Burr portrayal nearly completely...the staring eyes, the looming presence, the ever-active intelligence planning his next move. I could also see the humor of William Hopper in Drake’s behavior. This is the first of the books I’ve read that I can recall seeing in the TV series. I didn’t recognize it until a particular changing doorbells ruse that Perry perpetrated. Wonderful.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Rashmika Majumdar

    It was my first Perry Mason Mystery. At first I thought it was too much detail. But now I understand, the details are significant and I need to be patient enough for the details to manifest their significance at the most opportune time. This style of writing is admirable. I would love to read more such mysteries. Of course, it is a pocket book and for leisure reading. It was fun.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ashwin Dongre

    Yet another case in which Mason does not know the identity of his client, well for a short while in this one. Then comes the story the client gives, is fake on the face of it, but then her second story is also not totally true, until Mason figures out the actual real sequence of events, including from the past. Very fast paced and mysterious plot! :) Go Read it.

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