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A Perry Mason Casebook Hardcover – January 1, 1993


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow and Company, Inc. (January 1, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0895775255
  • ISBN-13: 978-0895775252
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 5.7 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #130,410 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

4.8 out of 5 stars
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For Perry Mason fans, this is the collection.
Zora N.
Gardner also introduced the reader to new things like detergents and a ball-point pen.
Ray Stephanson
The plots have good consistency and plausibility.
Gary Coffrin

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Ray Stephanson on February 23, 2006
Format: Hardcover
A Perry Mason Casebook, by Erle Stanley Gardner

This volume contains four "Perry Mason" courtroom thrillers written in the 1950s when Erle Stanley Gardner was at the peak of his career. "Perry Mason" is a lawyer who fights for his clients using every tactic permitted under the laws of that time. His client is found innocent (or cleared in the preliminary hearing) when Perry, using his experience, uncovers some unknown or overlooked clue that isn't found until the last chapters. Gardner usually educates the reader into some facet of the law and reminds us of the unreliability of eyewitness evidence and the need for correct interpretation of circumstantial evidence. Sometimes eyewitness evidence is based on the clothes a person is wearing (like that famous example where Earl Rogers got the plaintiff to identify the wrong man). Gardner also introduced the reader to new things like detergents and a ball-point pen.

Many of the details in these stories are now outdated. A "writ of habeas corpus" is no longer necessary given the Supreme Court decisions of the Warren Court. Before a person could be arrested on suspicion, held for days, and worked on until they confessed. [The film "Boomerang" shows an example.] Gardner dedicates his books to the forensic experts who advanced science in convicting the guilty and exonerating the innocent. Gardner and others created "The Court of Last Resort" around 1950 to investigate and free the wrongly convicted. You can find a subtle reference to Dr. Sam Sheppard in one of his novels. "The Case of the Queenly Contestant" notes that a bullet found by a stretcher is proof of nothing. Gardner never put dates in his stories to prevent them from becoming outdated. But the devaluation of the dollar from 1971 onwards made his monetary figures out of date.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Gary Coffrin on January 29, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Erle Stanley Gardner published his first novel at age 44 and he still managed to author 82 novels featuring Perry Mason and numerous other works. Gardner was a man with an amazing work ethic who became the most read mystery writer in the world. At age 32, Gardner, a practicing attorney, began writing fiction for the pulps for a minimal amount per word. His output was in the range of a one million words year - a stunning level by any measure. By the time he started writing the Perry Mason novels, he had the right systems and support staff to allow an incredible output.

Part of the reason for Gardner's incredible popularity was that he never added the extensive descriptions that most readers skip in mystery novels. Gardner never wastes words on characterization or the psychological motivation of the villain. Gardner's novels have tight plots, snappy dialog and an abundance of action. Gardner prefers dialogue over description, action over analysis. His novels emphasize physical movement - dashing from one place to another, full-throttle car trips, chartered airplane flights.

Gardner's clients in these works are innocent and fail to reveal the full truth to Perry Mason. Mason, with brilliant and flamboyant courtroom tactics (aided by the extensive resources of Paul Drake's detective agency), proves his client innocent and reveals the identity of the real murderer. The plots have good consistency and plausibility. "The Case of the Lucky Loser" has perhaps the most appealing plot, but the other three works also have story lines that will hold your interest.

These are not thrillers or novels of terror since there is seldom any strong or immediate danger to Mason or his clients. These are plot-driven stories of action.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Zora N. on October 7, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For Perry Mason fans, this is the collection. For those introduced to Mason on TV, the actual text is stunningly funny, full of intrigue and fabulously entertaining. Gardner's Perry Mason walks a thin line between the law and the unlawful and readers learn of his uncompromising pursuit of justice for his clients - those willing and those unwilling. It is relief for mystery readers who are tired of gore, vampires, and werewolves.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By BbP on May 1, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
* The Gilded Lilly-A insurance scam. A young wife. A murder.

+ The Daring Decoy-The perfect murder. A Texas oil man.
A 38 cal weapon.

# The Fiery Fingers-A nurse. $500. pills. A murder.

^ The Lovely Loser-Can some one die twice ?

EARL STANLEY GARDNER 7/17/1889 to 3/11/1970. An attorney
and author of detective stories. He married the real Della Street.
Wrote 80 novels.

Perry Mason..proves the clients innocence by implicating another
person.

PERRY MASON,DELLA STREET,PAUL DRAKE-LT TRAGG and
HAMILTON BURGER are all here.

In these stories Lt Tragg and Mason--respect each other. The DA and
Sgt.Holcomb do not like Mason at all.

The book arrived quickly and was in perfect shape. A great price.

A VERY NICE READ ! I really enjoyed it.-- bbp okc ok 63 retired
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Format: Hardcover
A Perry Mason Casebook, by Erle Stanley Gardner

This volume contains four "Perry Mason" courtroom thrillers written in the 1950s when Erle Stanley Gardner was at the peak of his career. "Perry Mason" is a lawyer who fights for his clients using every tactic permitted under the laws of that time. His client is found innocent (or cleared in the preliminary hearing) when Perry, using his experience, uncovers some unknown or overlooked clue that isn't found until the last chapters. Gardner usually educates the reader into some facet of the law and reminds us of the unreliability of eyewitness evidence and the need for correct interpretation of circumstantial evidence. Sometimes eyewitness evidence is based on the clothes a person is wearing (like that famous example where Earl Rogers got the plaintiff to identify the wrong man). Gardner also introduced the reader to new things like detergents and a ball-point pen.

Many of the details in these stories are now outdated. A "writ of habeas corpus" is no longer necessary given the Supreme Court decisions of the Warren Court. Before a person could be arrested on suspicion, held for days, and worked on until they confessed. [The film "Boomerang" shows an example.] Gardner dedicates his books to the forensic experts who advanced science in convicting the guilty and exonerating the innocent. Gardner and others created "The Court of Last Resort" around 1950 to investigate and free the wrongly convicted. You can find a subtle reference to Dr. Sam Sheppard in one of his novels. "The Case of the Queenly Contestant" notes that a bullet found by a stretcher is proof of nothing. Gardner never put dates in his stories to prevent them from becoming outdated. But the devaluation of the dollar from 1971 onwards made his monetary figures out of date.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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