- Series: Perry Mason Mysteries (Book 1)
- Paperback: 260 pages
- Publisher: Ankerwycke; Reprint edition (August 7, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1627229213
- ISBN-13: 978-1627229210
- Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.9 x 7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (137 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #732,122 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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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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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.
As a reader, it's important to remember that fashions come and go in writing as in all things. In the early 1930s, it was more common to begin with the detailed description Erle Stanley Gardner provides of Mason, his confidential secretary Della Street and detective Paul Drake than with a snappy sentence or a compelling scene. It's also important to realize that Mason, Street and Drake will become much more polished as the years and the cases add up . . . this is not the savvy advocate of the television series or the later novels but the gritty defender more common in pulp fiction. Della is not yet the constant companion she will become, but the suggestion of romance is stronger here than later, when it is implied but never addressed.
Perry's client is pure poison -- a gold digger who manipulates men, or tries to do so, as a matter of course. We aren't supposed to like her. Instead, our sympathy is given to Perry, who seems to have found himself clutched in this claws, despite Della's deep dislike for the dame. This early in their relationship, Della doesn't have the confidence in him he craves (and will later receive), and Della is afraid he's fallen hook, line and sinker for the woman's lies. No fear. Mason is Mason, even if an earlier, rougher sketch of the legal eagle loved by millions of fans over many generations.
I grew up reading Gardner's Perry Mason series, although I never found this one. I am delighted to add it to my collection, more for its place as the first of my first than for the story itself. The series certainly gets better and better, yet I have enjoyed every one of the cases I've read, including this one. I was able to pick it up at a discounted price.
If you've never read Gardener's Perry Mason novels, this isn't necessarily the place to start. Others are more compelling reads, more typical of the television series starring Raymond Burr, who, to many readers, will always BE the one and only Perry Mason. But it isn't a bad place to begin, either, because, even in the beginning, Mason has the shrewd legal mind that cuts through the lies to find the real culprit and allow justice to triumph.