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The Case of the Velvet Claws: A Perry Mason Mystery #1 (Perry Mason Mysteries) Paperback – August 7, 2015
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"Killers of the Flower Moon" is a twisting, haunting true-life murder mystery about one of the most monstrous crimes in American history. See more
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From the Publisher
I started reading Erle Stanley Gardner's Perry Mason mysteries over thirty years ago, long before I ever imagined that I would be working in New York publishing -- and specifically for the longtime paperback reprinter of Mr. Gardner. Like so many other people my age, I also grew up with the Perry Mason television series starring Raymond Burr. And Raymond Burr has always been (and always will be) in my mind's eye as I read the novels. Considering how popular the legal thriller genre became with Grisham, Turow, et al., I guess we owe Erle Stanley Gardner (also a lawyer-turned-novelist) a debt of gratitude for starting the franchise so many years ago. (THE CASE OF THE VELVET CLAWS was Perry Mason's debut, back in 1933.) Mr. Gardner died in 1970, and Raymond Burr in 1993; but in the novels (now recently reissued in colorful vintage packages by Ballantine), Perry Mason lives!
--Joe Blades, Associate Publisher --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Inside Flap
Criminal lawyer and all-time #1 mystery author Erle Stanley Gardner wrote close to 150 novels that have sold 300 million copies worldwide. His most popular books starred the incomparable attorney-sleuth Perry Mason. And the first time the world heard the name Perry Mason was in 1933 with the publication of the novel that has become an enduring classic...
The Case of the Velvet Claws
Thanks to a bungled robbery at a fancy hotel, the already-married Eva Griffin has been caught in the company of a prominent congressman. To protect the politico, Eva's ready to pay the editor of a sleazy tabloid his hush money. But Perry Mason has other plans. He tracks down the phantom fat cat who secretly runs the blackmailing tabloid -- only to discover a shocking scoop.
By the time Mason's comely client finally comes clean, her husband has taken a bullet in the heart. Now Perry Mason has two choices: represent the cunning widow in her wrangle for the dead man's money -- or take the rap for murder. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
The theme of the beautiful dame who needs help, but who keeps creating more trouble for herself (and Perry) is one of Gardner's favorites and he returned to it often. There's a murder (of course) and corrupt business tycoons and charming wastrel heirs and phoney politicians and hard-eyed girls on the take. Secretary-Extraordinaire Della Street gives sage advice and service above-and-beyond the call of duty. Paul Drake and his operatives pull off some fine gumshoe work. And in the end (working with the surprisingly cooperative police) Perry nails the murderer.
But it's the denouement that will leave any true Perry Mason fan gasping for breath. What a shame Perry and Della had to become so damned 1950's respectable. They could have made beautiful music.
Erle Stanley Gardner was a trial attorney who turned to writing fiction and used his experiences for the "Perry Mason" series. These novels are designed to be fast-paced, using dialogue to tell a story. Few words are spent on characterization or describing the surroundings. Gardner did not want to date his novels, but the backgrounds and dollar figures do that. Gardner's stories usually involve some new technical or scientific development, or some fact of law. These novels can educate you about technicalities, like not leaving a back trail. Some of the legal issues, like habeas corpus, have become obsolete since the 1960s due to the decisions of the Warren Supreme Court (which had a libertarian bias in curbing abuses of authority). Note the three similarly named books.
Gardner's stories warned of the dangers of invalid eyewitness identification, drawing the wrong conclusions from circumstantial evidence (guilt by inference), or prematurely accusing a suspect before all the evidence was gathered and evaluated. Some stories made the point that while ballistics can identify the gun that fired a bullet it cannot tell when it was fired (before or after the crime). "Perry Mason" advised his clients to never lie to the police, it was better to say nothing except call for a lawyer. There is a famous true crime that has the above elements. Sacco & Vanzetti were convicted of robbery and murder in spite of their alibis and the lack of guilty evidence. Most believe they were innocent and were convicted as part of the political repression of the 1920s.
"The Case of the Velvet Claws". "Eva Griffin" visits Perry Mason with her problem. She had stepped out with a politician and a scandal sheet has the story. Can she get the story squashed? This was the first in the series and seems up-to-date. Or human nature has remained the same.
"The Case of the Demure Defendant". When Nadine Farr visited her psychiatrist and was given sodium pentothal she talked about poison. Is she legally liable? The police investigated from a copy of that tape. Perry Mason clears Nadine of murder and himself of faking evidence. A very interesting story!
"The Case of the Sunbather's Diary". Arlene Duvall calls to tell her clothes and her trailer have been stolen while she was getting an even tan. Perry Mason will investigate her imprisoned father's conviction. Her father's co-worker is found murdered, and Arlene is arrested. Perry must clear Arlene and himself as well.