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Unread 09-29-2006   #1 (permalink)
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Default The Perry Mason Casebook: the Case of the Sulky Girl; The Case of the Careless Kitten; The Case of the Fiery Fingers (A Mystery Guild Lost Classics Omnibus)

Customer Review: Suspense Mysteries
The Perry Mason Casebook This volume contains three Perry Mason "courtroom thrillers" from Erle Stanley Gardner. "The Case of the Sulky Girl" is from 1934 and reflects Gardner's early style and the events of those days. "The Case of the Careless Kitten" is from 1942 and reflects his intermediate style; the war is subtly referenced. "The Case of the Fiery Fingers" is form 1951 and shows his finished style: forensic matters are mentioned. The 'Foreword' pays tribute to an individual who was distinguished for their scientific contributions to crime solving. Gardner said it was very important that the innocent should not be convicted on hunches, as that would allow the guilty to continue committing crimes. Perry Mason is the lawyer who uses every tactic allowed under the law to fight for his client. His record of exonerating clients can't be matched in the real world. Even Earl Rogers lost a case or two. The entertainment is in the search to uncover the truth that will free Perry's client. Along the way Gardner tells us facts about the laws and other new developments. You can note the method of transportation in the background of the series: taking the 'red line' trolleys; using a car or taxi; flying to cover long distances. Other details, like a "writ of habeas corpus" are now obsolete due to decisions from Earl Warren's Supreme Court. Prosecutors must provide exculpatory evidence (Brady Rule), and the use of "third degree" methods are now only found in old films (the 1947 film "Boomerang"). Forensic sciences have made great advances. But just as fingerprints could be forged or planted since the 1920s, so too can DNA evidence be planted ("Killing Time" by Freed & Briggs, "Tainting Evidence" by Wearne & Kelly). Human error is always with us. If all you know about "Perry Mason" is the television series from the 1980s, read the original novels and discover "The World's Greatest Author" whose books outsold his combined competitors. These three stories will do for a start. "The Case of the Sulky Girl" is about an inheritance due a young woman and the will that could cause her disinheritance. The trustee's death would allow Fran Celane to inherit immediately. When this death occurs, Fran and her fiancee Rob become the prime suspects. Perry Mason investigates to find the facts that exonerate them in a courtroom scene. "The Case of the Careless Kitten" starts when Helen Kendal receives a phone call from her long-lost Uncle Franklin, who asks her to contact Perry Mason for a mission. Uncle Franklin is seen by the gardener, then disappears again. The gardener is killed in a hit-and-run. Will Della be convicted unless she can prove her innocence? Perry Mason's investigation solves three murders! "The Case of the Fiery Fingers" begins when a person consults Perry Mason because she fears being accused of a theft. Could this be a cover-up for another crime? With many suspects, how to discover the real poisoner? Perry Mason figures it out.
Customer Review: I'm going to read more Perry Mason now!
This is Perry Mason as you've never watched him. The beauty of these mysteries is that you get to follow along as Perry Mason unravels the mystery. This is in stark contrast to the television show, where the unraveling was done in the courtroom and seemed to demand omniscience of Mr. Mason. In this book, which is actually three mysteries in one package, you can actually see whodunit if you're astute and pay careful attention. I was only able to guess one of them right but boy did I feel good about it.

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