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The Case of the Vagabond Virgin Paperback – 1965

Book 32 of 52 in the Perry Mason Series

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 212 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Books; 12th Printing edition (1965)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000REL43Q
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 4.2 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,755,425 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Erle Stanley Gardner (1889-1970) is a prolific American author best known for his works centered on the lawyer-detective Perry Mason. At the time of his death in March of 1970, in Ventura, California, Gardner was "the most widely read of all American writers" and "the most widely translated author in the world," according to social historian Russell Nye. The first Perry Mason novel, The Case of The Velvet Claws, published in 1933, had sold twenty-eight million copies in its first fifteen years. In the mid-1950s, the Perry Mason novels were selling at the rate of twenty thousand copies a day. There have been six motion pictures based on his work and the hugely popular Perry Mason television series starring Raymond Burr, which aired for nine years and 271 episodes.

As author William F. Nolan notes, "Gardner, more than any other writer, popularized the law profession for a mass-market audience, melding fact and fiction to achieve a unique blend; no one ever handled courtroom drama better than he did."

Richard Senate further sums up the significance of Gardner?s contribution: "Although the character of Perry Mason is not unique as a 'lawyer-sleuth,' he is the first to come to anyone's mind when it comes to sheer brilliance in solving courtroom-detective cases by rather unconventional means. Besides 'Tarzan,' 'Sherlock Holmes,' 'Superman' ? 'Perry Mason' qualifies as an American icon of popular culture in the twentieth century."

Gardner's writing has touched a lot of people including a number of high profile figures. Brian Kelleher and Diana Merrill say in their 1987 book, The Perry Mason TV Show Book that Harry S. Truman was a fan and that it is rumored that when Einstein died, a Perry Mason book was at his bedside. They further describe that when Raymond Burr met Pope John XXIII, the actor reported that the pontiff "seemed to know all about Perry Mason." Federal judge Sonya Sotomayor frequently mentions how Perry Mason was one of her earliest influences.

Starting with his first book, Gardner had a very definite vision of the shape the Perry Mason character would take:

"I want to make my hero a fighter," he wrote to his publisher, "not by having him be ruthless to women and underlings, but by creating a character who, with infinite patience jockeys his enemies into a position where he can deliver one good knockout punch."

Author Photo: Courtesy of Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Read-Only on February 11, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I had just had a bad string of Perry Mason mysteries. The last two I read had so many twists and turns that the reader lost interest rather than becoming intrigued. And Mason's defense of his clients seemed to go over the line of morality as well as legality. This one is a real winner, however, with all the elements of the best Perry Mason stories: an interesting collection of characters, a wild plot, surprises by the prosecution and defense, and (most unusual) a mystery that the reader might possibly figure out before the end. The plot, although not exactly "believable," is not so far out that one stops paying attention.

I found it difficult to put down and finished it in two days. A perfect weekend's entertainment.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Michael Tavella on August 15, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have been watching Perry Mason for almost a 1/2 century, but only lately have I got into reading the books. This case appeared on TV in a somewhat more sanitized version "virgin" became "Vixen". Obviously, the book went into greater detail than the hour TV show could go. These are not great literature, but solid novels nonetheless. It iwas an enjoyable read. I recommend it to others who like this genre.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By James M. Rawley on November 22, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Excellent Perry Mason from his top decade, the forties.

A touch dated, though. An important female character is running a blackmail racket good for a fair middle class income, but nothing to write home about. In order to keep her racket going, she has to hitchhike rides with men at the rate of twenty a day and more. Getting pawed is part of the game -- and because she's a "bad girl," I think the reader is not supposed to worry about other problems she's almost sure to run into, hitchhiking at that rate. Rape is only one of her worries. A fraud like hers could not be carried out that often without attracting the attention of the law. In the forties, it might have seemed plausible that men with expensive cars wouldn't be murderers. No longer.

But that's a minor part of the plot, really, and the rest of it ticks along in the Mason mysteries' usual implausible but persuasive way. The murderer is a nice surprise.
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By Roy C. Craft on July 12, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Great old book. Based on ?Who done it" rather than sex.
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By S.L. Kotar on June 10, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am not sure why these Perry Mason books were transcribed into ebook format using British spellings but it is very disconcerting. As usual, the ebooks are in serious need of a proofreader as there are numerous typos. It seems to me this shameless disregard for a quality presentation reflects badly on those in the ESGTrust. The novel itself was only so-so.
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By Terry on March 15, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Pretty standard Perry Mason. But I love the way the call the cars, machines. About 1933 and a fun read.
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