Perry Mason novels

Overview: A list of Perry Mason novels, including some plot descriptions, notes on recurring characters, and a few photos of book covers.

I’m a fan of the Perry Mason novels by Erle Stanley Gardner. I’ve read all 80 of the novels published in Gardner’s lifetime, plus the 2 novels published posthumously; I’ve also read the 3 short stories featuring Perry Mason.

I’m particularly interested in the way the recurring characters are treated. During all those years, the character of Mason never ages, and his relationships with the other recurring characters remains mostly static. But there are some subtle changes in relationships. E.g., in a few novels Mason kisses Della Street and once or twice they even talk about marriage, but in other novels their relationship is less intimate.

Gardner was a one-man fiction-writing factory, sometimes churning out half a dozen novels a year, along with short stories and non-fiction pieces. He does have some favorite plot devices — murder in a motel, murder over mining rights, murder over inheritance, etc. Yet in spite of this, the majority of Gardner’s plots show at least some imagination and creativity, and they are rarely boring.

Since Gardner was a trial lawyer himself, the novels sometimes contain interesting legal matters. Gardner places Perry Mason in a variety of legal settings, including preliminary trials, jury trials, county and Federal courtrooms, coroner’s hearing, conferences in a judge’s chambers, etc. Occasionally, Gardner cites actual California state law. In fact, there’s enough legal interest in the books that the publishing arm of the American Bar Association has reprinted a dozen or so of the novels.

I’m also interested in the Perry Mason books is the way they depict (or don’t depict) the times they were written in. Gardner wrote the novels from 1933 through 1969, a period that saw quite a bit of social change, and the novels reflect this to some degree. E.g., the novels published during World War II contain references to the war; beatniks appear in some of the 1950s novels; the novels published after the Supreme Court’s Miranda ruling refer to that ruling; etc. Mostly, though, the novels depict a white middle class and upper middle class American culture that does not change. I’ll make passing mention of this under descriptions of the plot.

Below you will find a checklist of all the Perry Mason novels and stories by Gardner. I’m slowly adding commentary for each novel on the above topics: recurring characters, plot devices, and legal matters. I’ve included a dozen or so photos of books and book covers, but I will not include a cover image for every title.

If you’d like to contribute to this project, please email me or leave a comment.

Book cover of a paperback book showing a yellow bird.
Cover of the American Bar Association edition of The Case of the Lame Canary

Novels

1. The Case of the Velvet Claws

Morrow: Mar., 1933

Recurring characters: Perry Mason is described for the first time in the opening pages of this novel: “Autumn sun beat against the window. Perry Mason sat at his desk. There was about him the attitude of one who is waiting. His face in repose was like the face of a chess player. Only the eyes changed expression. He gave the impression of being a thinker and a fighter….”

Della Street, Mason’s secretary, appears soon thereafter: “Della Street was slim of figure, steady of eye; a young woman of approximately twenty-seven, who gave the impression of watching life with keenly appreciative eyes and seeing far below the surface.” In chapter 16, she says she has been working for Mason for five years. In the second half of the novel, Della expresses doubts in the way Perry is conducting his defense, the only time she expresses serious doubts about his work as a lawyer.

Paul Drake, who runs the detective agency that Parry Mason always hires, also makes his first appearance: “Mason was still standing there when the door to the outer office opened and a tall man, with drooping shoulders and a head that was thrust forward on a long neck, came into the outer office. He regarded Della Street with protruding glass eyes that held a perpetual expression of droll humor, smiled at her, turned to Mason and said, ‘Hello Perry.'”

The police officers, detective Sidney Drumm and Sergeant Hoffman, never appear in any other books.

Plot devices:

Legal matters: No courtroom scene in the book.

Other notes: By comparison with later Perry Mason novels, this book is long and bloated. The prose sounds more like the hard-boiled style of pulp magazines like Black Mask, and seems more dated than the later novels.

2. The Case of the Sulky Girl

Morrow: Sept., 1933

Recurring characters: Perry Mason’s law clerk is Frank Everly. In this book, he takes on the role of doubting Perry’s defense, but Della tells him that she has already bet half her paycheck with Paul Drake that Perry will win the case (thus revealing that Paul had doubts about Perry’s abilities).

For the first time, Paul Drake assumes his favorite position in Mason’s office: “He sat in the big high-backed leather chair in Parry Mason’s office, and turned sideways, so that his long legs were crossed over the right hand arm of the chair. A cigarette was in his mouth, hanging pendulously from his lower lip.” (Chapter XII)

Police officers and police detectives have only minor roles.

The prosecuting deputy from the D.A.’s office is Claude Drumm (the D.A.’s name is not mentioned). Drumm will appear in a few subsequent books.

Plot devices:

Legal matters: This book contains Perry Mason’s first trial scene.

3. The Case of the Lucky Legs

Morrow: Feb., 1934

Recurring characters:

Plot devices:

Legal matters:

4. The Case of the Howling Dog

Serialized: Liberty Magazine, Jan.-Mar., 1934
Morrow: June, 1934

Recurring characters: In chapter 19, law clerk Frank Everly returns to serve as a foil for Perry Mason, so that Perry can offer his philosophy of conducting a powerful defense.

Claude Drumm is again the prosecuting attorney. Perry Mason seems to get along well with the D.A.’s office in chapter 2, but by the end of the novel he winds up making Claude Drumm look foolish.

In this novel, Della Street is still addressing Paul Drake as “Mr. Drake” (in the later books, she calls him “Paul”).

Plot devices: A somewhat unsatisfying subplot involves Ah Wong, an illegal Chinese immigrant. Wong’s employer tells federal immigration officers that Wong is in the country illegally, so that Wong will not be able to testify in the murder trial. Perry Mason subpoenas Wong, but winds up not needing his testimony; we never learn what happens to Wong in the end. Gardner was capable of portraying Chinese characters and Chinese culture with interest and affection (e.g., in the Terry Clane novels), but Ah Wong is little better than a stereotypical figure in this novel.

Legal matters: In this novel, the defendant is quite apparently guilty of committing murder, but Perry Mason gets her off through clever legal stratagems. In some later books, Perry will claim that he doesn’t want to get an acquittal for a defendant who is guilty, but in this early novel he shows no such compunction.

5. The Case of the Curious Bride

Serialized: Liberty Magazine, July-Sept., 1934
Morrow: Nov., 1934

Recurring characters:

Plot devices:

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6. The Case of the Counterfeit Eye

Morrow: Apr., 1935

Recurring characters: In this sixth book in the series, Hamilton Burger finally makes his first appearance. We first hear about him when Perry Mason tells Della Street that “This is the first murder case that’s come up since he’s been in office.” Mason and Burger first meet in Mason’s office: “Della opened the door and stood to one side. Hamilton Burger, a broad-shouldered, thick-necked individual with a close-cropped mustache, walked into the room and said affably, ‘Good afternoon, Mason.'” (Chapter 10)

The trial in this book is Hamilton Burger’s first ever murder trial, so he conducts the preliminary hearing himself. At the end of the book, after some courtroom theatrics, Mason tells Burger who the real murderer must be while the are meeting with the judge in the judge’s chambers (chapter 17). Burger is worried about looking foolish: “‘How the devil am I going to square it with the [news]papers?'” But Mason solves his public relations problem:

“Mason waved his hand in a generous gesture.
“‘Take it all,’ he said.
“‘All of what?’
“‘All of the credit. Figure it was an act you put on with me for the purpose of trapping the real murderer.’
“A gleam of quick interest showed in Burger’s eyes….”

In chapter 18, Perry Mason reveals that he doesn’t hate Sergeant Holcomb, although he does find Holcomb’s “stupidity … irritating at times.” In spite of Holcomb’s stupidity, Perry Mason says that he respects and admires Holcomb’s courage.

Plot devices: Counterfeit eyes feature in one or two later Perry Mason novels.

Legal matters: The trial scene is a preliminary hearing. The case is solved in the judge’s chambers.

7. The Case of the Caretaker’s Cat

Serialized: Liberty Magazine, June-Aug., 1935
Morrow: Sept., 1935

Recurring characters: Jackson the law clerk appears.

Plot devices:

Legal matters:

8. The Case of the Sleepwalker’s Niece

Morrow: Mar., 1936

Recurring characters: Two scenes where Perry Mason and Della Street indulge in a passionate kiss.

Jackson the law clerk has a larger role than in perhaps any other book. Mason sends him out to shadow a client, and to take care of filing an action in another court. Jackson comes across as dynamic and competent, albeit somewhat inexperienced.

Paul Drake appears as usual. The prosecuting attorneys are Sam Blaine, assistant D.A., and Hamilton Burger.

Plot devices: The plot centers on sleepwalking (as you’d guess from the title). Towards the end of the story, it is revealed that there were two sleepwalkers in the same household — both the uncle and the niece — a whimsical touch that keeps it from being quite so hackneyed a plot device. Still, not one of his better plots.

The plot includes three characters who are scheming adventurers or adventuresses who either married or are trying to marry someone who is wealthy: Doris Sully Kent, George Pritchard, and Jerry Harris.

A minor plot device involves a “pettifogging lawyer” who has bad eyesight, and makes an appointment at an “oculist” [optician] for new glasses immediately after having told his story to the district attorney’s office.

Legal matters: Two legal actions drive the plot. The first, obviously, is the murder charge against Peter Kent. The second is the attempt by Doris Sully Kent to get her divorce action set aside by the court, so that she can take control of Peter Kent’s money. Doris files her action after the completion of the one-year period following the interlocutory decree, but claims Peter made fraudulent representations to her.

Because of the divorce action, Mason feels compelled to rush the case to a full jury trial. Mason winds up revealing the case’s solution to the judge and Burger in the judge’s chambers, not in the courtroom. In describing the scene to Della, Mason tells how annoyed Burger was:

“‘Was the district attorney flabbergasted?’ she asked.
“‘So damned flabbergasted he listened to me explaining the clews [sic] in the case to him in the Judge’s chambers and stuck his cigar back in his mouth wrong end to, and burnt his mouth all out of shape,’ Mason said, chuckling delightedly as he recalled the spectacle.” (chapter 22)

Gardner uses this plot twist to show a weakness of California divorce law, in this conversation between Perry Mason and Della Street:

“[Mason said,] ‘She had a restraining order issued late yesterday afternoon, preventing him from disposing of any of the property She’s made an application to have a receive appointed. The restraining order is effective until a hearing can be had on the receivership.’
“‘But that — why, Chief, that would even keep him from paying you an attorney’s fee.’
“He nodded.
… “‘How can she get an injunction without putting up a big bond?’
“‘Our Code Section. Look it up sometime. Section 529 provides that there’s no necessity for a bond whenever a court grants an injunction against a spouse against an action for divorce or separate maintenance.'” (chapter 17)

9. The Case of the Stuttering Bishop

Morrow: Sept., 1936

Recurring characters:

Plot devices:

Legal matters:

10. The Case of the Dangerous Dowager

Morrow: Apr., 1937

Recurring characters: The only recurring characters are Perry Mason, Della Street, and Paul Drake. Since the case winds up in federal court, none of the regular Los Angeles prosecutors or police make an appearance.

We meet the U.S. Marshal for the region, who remains nameless; he is a “tall, raw-boned individual with a lazy drawl in his speech, a black sombrero on his head, and a manner of calm unhurried efficiency…” (ch. 8). He seems a worthy match for Mason, and we can only regret that he never appears in another Perry Mason novel.

Paul Drake makes a pass Della Street; she adroitly turns him down.

Plot devices: The murder takes place on a gambling ship anchored beyond the twelve mile limit, thus placing it in federal jurisdiction.

This is a classic one-entrance-to-the-room mystery: with only one entrance to the room, and with that entrance watched by multiple witnesses, it seems clear that the attractive female defendant must be guilty of the murder. However, there is a walk-in safe in the room, and the murderer hides in that until his accomplice lets him out.

In another layer to the one-entrance-to-the-room plot device, the murder takes place on a ship with limited access via speed boat. However, this limited access proves illusory, since the crew lets people get into speed boats out of sight of the police, for a suitable bribe.

Legal matters: The murder takes place outside the limit of California state. Therefore, it becomes a Federal case.

The case is about to go before a federal Grand Jury. Mason is not only subpoenaed, he is also accused of being an accessory after the fact. Before going into the Grand Jury room, the federal District Attorney has Mason and various other interested parties in his office; Mason solves the case in the Federal D.A.’s office.

Cover of the American Bar Association’s edition of The Case of the Dangerous Dowager

11. The Case of the Lame Canary

Serialized: Saturday Evening Post, May-July, 1937
Morrow: Sept., 1937

Recurring characters:

Plot devices:

Legal matters:

12. The Case of the Substitute Face

Morrow: Apr., 1938

Recurring characters: Perry Mason and Paul Drake appear as usual. Since the trial happens in San Francisco, Drake has to join Mason and Street in that city; we don’t get to see the offices of either Mason or Drake.

In one plot twist, Della Street goes into hiding without telling Perry Mason or Paul Drake where she’s going. Needless to say, this worries the two men, though when Paul Drake tracks her down, it turns out that she had been a witness to the alleged murder, and hoped to avoid the attendant newspaper publicity.

Jackson appears in this book, promoted from law clerk to “office lawyer” (chapter 3). Jackson is described as having “studious eyes” and “tortoise shell glasses,” and Mason criticizes him for “not being a fighter” (chapter 9).

Plot devices: The plot hinges on a murder allegedly committed on an ocean liner traveling from Honolulu to San Francisco. However, it turns out that shots were fired into a dummy, which was then thrown overboard. Carl Moar, the man who was supposedly murdered, then takes up a role as an invalid with a broken neck, many bandages, and dark glasses, who is wheeled about in a wheelchair; presumably the dummy that was thrown overboard was wheeled on board in the wheelchair (though this is never really explained; one of several plot holes).

The case is quickly brought to a preliminary trial, during which Mason shows, through some adroit cross examination of a key prosecution witness, that the prosecution cannot prove the corpus delicti. But after the ocean liner docks, and everyone gets ashore, Carl Moar is in fact murdered, his body taken out to sea, and placed in a life ring “which had been tossed overboard from the steamer the night before.” This plot does not stand up to close scrutiny: the various elements of the chronology don’t quite mesh; finding the appropriate life ring in the vastness of the ocean seems improbably at best; etc.

In a subplot, a wealthy-but-essentially-good young man is sought after by two women: the wealthy-but-scheming young woman, and the middle class-but-essentially-good young woman. In the end (of course), the essentially good young woman and the essentially good young man wind up getting married.

Legal matters: The most interesting legal matter is Mason’s adroit cross examination of the key prosecution witness, making it impossible to prove the corpus delicti.

13. The Case of the Shoplifter’s Shoe

Morrow: Sept., 1938

Recurring characters: Perry Mason and Della Street have a bit of a romantic scene on the last page:

“‘You mean she was mushy over the telephone?” Mason asked incredulously.
“‘Well, she was pretty sugar-coated, and just before she hung up, she…’
“‘She what?’ Mason asked.
Della Street laughed. ‘I couldn’t tell you,’ she said, ‘it would be betraying a sacred confidence.’
“‘Could you you,’ Mason inquired, ‘show me?’
“She paused long enough to make certain there was no one else on the driveway.
“‘Well,’ she conceded with a throaty laugh, ‘I might. Bend over so I can reach….'”

At the beginning of the book, Della Street makes a passing reference to “beetle-browed” Jackson, the law clerk.

Sergeant Holcomb gets into a fight in a hospital room (of all places) with the Sampson, the deputy district attorney:

“‘Shut up!’ Sampson said. ‘Can’t you see that you’d be playing right into their hands?’
Sergeant Holcomb said, ‘I’ll show you,’ and swung.
Sampson jumped back. [Dr.] Gifford said, ‘Gentlemen, I’m going to order hospital attendants to clear the room. This is a disgraceful scene, and it’s having a most harmful effect on my patient.'”

Plot devices:

Legal matters: Sergeant Holcomb mixes up two key pieces of evidence — two bullets from two different guns. Mason, knowing that Holcomb would never admit to botching the evidence, brings out the truth of the matter through skillful cross-examination of another witness.

A book cover showing three people from the wais down, focusing on their shoes.
Cover of the Grosset and Dunlap reprint of The Shoplifter’s Shoe.

14. The Case of the Perjured Parrot

Morrow: Feb., 1939

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15. The Case of the Rolling Bones

Morrow: Sept., 1939

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16. The Case of the Baited Hook

Morrow: Mar., 1940

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17. The Case of the Silent Partner

Morrow: Nov., 1940

Recurring characters: Lieutenant Arthur Tragg appears for the first time in this novel: “Lieutenant Tragg said nothing but concentrated on driving in traffic. He was about Mason’s age. His features stood out in sharply etched lines. His forehead was high, his eyes keen and thoughtful, an entirely different type from Sergeant Holcomb. Mason, studying the profile as the car screamed through the streets, realized that this man could be a very dangerous antagonist indeed.”

Plot devices:

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18. The Case of the Haunted Husband

Morrow: Feb., 1941

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19. The Case of the Empty Tin

Morrow: Oct., 1941

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Plot devices:

Legal matters: There is no trial scene.

20. The Case of the Drowning Duck

Morrow: May, 1942

Recurring characters:

Plot devices: The early 1940s saw the beginnings of widespread commercial availability of detergents in the U.S., and Gardner has one of his characters explain how a detergent can remove the oils on a duck’s feathers, thus causing the duck to sink and drown.

Legal matters:

21. The Case of the Careless Kitten

Serialized: Saturday Evening Post, May-July, 1942
Morrow: Sept., 1942

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22. The Case of the Buried Clock

Morrow: May, 1943

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23. The Case of the Drowsy Mosquito

Morrow: Sept., 1943

Recurring characters:

Plot devices: The “drowsy mosquito” of the title is the humming sound made by an ultraviolet light. This is yet another murder that centers around mining, and the ultraviolet light is used surreptitiously by one of the characters trying to find evidence of a rich mine.

Legal matters:

Book cover with a black and white illustration showing a woman lying in bed looking frightened.
Cover of the Grosset and Dunlap reprint of The Case of the Drowsy Mosquito

24. The Case of the Crooked Candle

Morrow: May, 1944

Recurring characters:

Plot devices: A candle is attached to a table where a murder is committed, inside a sailboat. After the murder, the boat, which is aground, tilts with the tide and suddenly the candle no longer appears to be vertical. This bit of evidence allows Perry Mason to solve the mystery.

Legal matters:

25. The Case of the Black-Eyed Blonde

Morrow: Nov., 1944

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Personal trivia: This was the very last Perry Mason novel that I read. I found a copy at Pegasus Books on College Ave. in Oakland, started reading it, left it by mistake in the restroom of a sushi restaurant, but was able to order a copy online so I could finish the book.

26. The Case of the Goldigger’s Purse

Morrow: May, 1945

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Personal trivia: As near as I can recall, this was the very first Perry Mason novel I ever read.

27. The Case of the Half-Awakened Wife

Morrow: Sept., 1945

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28. The Case of the Borrowed Brunette

Morrow: Nov., 1946

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29. The Case of the Fan-Dancer’s Horse

Morrow: June, 1947

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30. The Case of the Lazy Lover

Morrow: Oct., 1947

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31. The Case of the Lonely Heiress

Morrow: Feb., 1948

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32. The Case of the Vagabond Virgin

Morrow: July, 1948

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33. The Case of the Dubious Bridegroom

Morrow: Feb., 1949

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34. The Case of the Cautious Coquette

Morrow: May, 1949

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35. The Case of the Negligent Nymph

Serialized: Collier’s, Sept.-Oct., 1949
Morrow: Jan., 1950

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36. The Case of the One-Eyed Witness

Morrow: Nov., 1950

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37. The Case of the Fiery Fingers

Morrow: May, 1951

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Plot devices: This book includes one of the worst plot devices ever used by Gardner. The characters in the book cannot figure out how fingers could glow in the dark, while the read yawns and says to themself, “Phosophorus.”

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38. The Case of the Angry Mourner

Morrow: Oct., 1951

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39. The Case of the Moth-Eaten Mink

Morrow: Apr., 1952

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Plot devices: The solution to the plot requires Perry Mason and Della Street to figure out why someone let moths get into a mink coat.

Legal matters:

40. The Case of the Grinning Gorilla

Morrow: Nov., 1952

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41. The Case of the Hesitant Hostess

Morrow: Apr., 1953

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42. The Case of the Green-Eyed Sister

Morrow: Nov., 1953

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43. The Case of the Fugitive Nurse

Serialized: Saturday Evening Post, Sept.-Nov., 1953
Morrow: Feb., 1954

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44. The Case of the Runaway Corpse

Morrow: June, 1954

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45. The Case of the Restless Redhead

Serialized: Saturday Evening Post, Sept.-Oct., 1954
Morrow: Oct., 1954

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46. The Case of the Glamorous Ghost

Morrow: Jan., 1955

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47. The Case of the Sun Bather’s Diary

Serialized: Saturday Evening Post, Mar.-Apr., 1955
Morrow: May, 1955

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Plot devices: The plot devices, obviously meant to titillate the reader, include a young woman who is a nudist, and who lives alone in a trailer. There’s also a whiff of voyeurism: the young woman’s father is a convicted felon, the authorities are convinced the young woman is hiding his ill-gotten gains in her trailer, and it seems that the (male) authorities are monitoring the young woman’s behavior.

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48. The Case of the Nervous Accomplice

Morrow: Sept., 1955

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Green book cover, with no dust jacket.
Cover of the William Morrow edition of The Case of the Nervous Accomplice (missing dust jacket)

49. The Case of the Terrified Typist

Morrow: Jan., 1956

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50. The Case of the Demure Defendant

Serialized: Saturday Evening Post, Dec., 1955-Jan., 1956
(Serial title: “The Case of the Missing Poison”)
Morrow: May, 1956

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51. The Case of the Gilded Lily

Morrow: Sept. 1956

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52. The Case of the Lucky Loser

Serialized: Saturday Evening Post, Sept.-Oct., 1956
Morrow: Jan., 1957

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53. The Case of the Screaming Woman

Morrow: May, 1957

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54. The Case of the Daring Decoy

Serialized by the Chicago Tribune/New York News, Sept.-Oct., 1957
(Serial title: “The Proxy Murder”)
Morrow: Oct., 1957

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55. The Case of the Long-Legged Models

Serialized: Saturday Evening Post, Aug.-Sept., 1957
(Serial title: “The Case of the Dead Man’s Daughter”)
Morrow: Jan., 1958

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56. The Case of the Foot-Loose Doll

Serialized: Saturday Evening Post, Feb.-Mar., 1958
Morrow: May, 1958

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57. The Case of the Calendar Girl

Morrow: Oct., 1958

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Book cover showing a black and white illustration of a sultry looking model posing in an artist's studio
Cover of the Walter J. Black reprint of The Case of the Calendar Girl

58. The Case of the Deadly Toy

Serialized: Saturday Evening Post, Oct.-Dec., 1958
(Serial title: “The Case of the Greedy Grandpa”)
Morrow: Jan., 1959

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59. The Case of the Mythical Monkeys

Serialized: Saturday Evening Post, May-June, 1959
Morrow: June, 1959

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60. The Case of the Singing Skirt

Morrow: Sept., 1959

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61. The Case of the Waylaid Wolf

Serialized: Saturday Evening Post, Sept.-Oct., 1959
Morrow: Jan., 1960

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62. The Case of the Duplicate Daughter

Serialized: Saturday Evening Post, June-July, 1960
Morrow: June, 1960

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Book cover showing the same woman in reversed photographic images.
Cover of the Walter J. Black reprint of The Case of the Duplicate Daughter

63. The Case of the Shapely Shadow

Morrow: Oct., 1960

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64. The Case of the Spurious Spinster

Serialized: Saturday Evening Post, Jan.-Mar., 1961
Morrow: Mar., 1961

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Book cover with a black and white illustration of a woman waiting in a large train station waiting room
Cover of the Walter J. Black reprint of The Case of the Spurious Spinster; the dust jacket spine has the name “Morrow” on it

65. The Case of the Bigamous Spouse

Serialized: Saturday Evening Post, July-Aug., 1961
Morrow: Aug., 1961

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66. The Case of the Reluctant Model

Published: Toronto Star Weekly, Oct. 7, 1961
(Periodical title: “The Case of the False Feteet”)
Morrow: Jan., 1962

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67. The Case of the Blonde Bonanza

Serialized: Toronto Star Weekly, April, 1962
Morrow: June, 1962

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68. The Case of the Ice-Cold Hands

Morrow: Oct., 1962

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69. The Case of the Mischievous Doll

Published: Saturday Evening Post, Dec. 8, 1962
Morrow: Feb., 1963

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70. The Case of the Stepdaughter’s Secret

Morrow: June, 1963

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71. The Case of the Amorous Aunt

Morrow: Sept., 1963

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72. The Case of the Daring Divorcee

Morrow: Feb., 1964

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73. The Case of the Phantom Fortune

Morrow: May, 1964

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74. The Case of the Horrified Heirs

Morrow: Sept., 1964

Recurring characters: In chapter 22, Arthur Tragg trusts Mason enough to go along with him to interview a key witness; the case is solved. But we are assured that the police department will make sure Tragg winds up getting credit for solving the case (though Tragg himself is honorable enough that he will not try to grab the credit).

Perry Mason and Della Street have a mildly romantic interchange in chapter 20. Mason’s dialogue in this scene tends towards the stilted: “‘Your hands,’ he said, ‘are wonderfully reassuring. You have competent hands, feminine hands but, nevertheless, strong hands.'”

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75. The Case of the Troubled Trustee

Morrow: Feb., 1965

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Book cover with black and white illustration of a woman reading a newspaper
Cover of the Walter J. Black reprint of The Case of the Troubled Trustee; the dust jacket spine says “Morrow” on it

76. The Case of the Beautiful Beggar

Morrow: June, 1965

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77. The Case of the Worried Waitress

Morrow: Aug., 1966

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78. The Case of the Queenly Contestant

Morrow: May, 1967

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79. The Case of the Careless Cupid

Morrow: Mar., 1968

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80. The Case of the Fabulous Fake

Morrow: Nov., 1969

This is the last Perry Mason book Gardner wrote, though two other novels were published after his death.

Recurring characters:

Plot devices:

Legal matters:

81. The Case of the Fenced-in Woman

Morrow: Sept., 1972

Published posthumously. Gardner did not do a final revision of the book.

Recurring characters:

Plot devices:

Legal matters:

82. The Case of the Postponed Murder

Morrow: 1973

Recurring characters:

Plot devices:

Legal matters:

Published posthumously.


Shorter works

A. The Case of the Crying Swallow

The American Magazine, Aug., 1947

Recurring characters:

Plot devices:

Legal matters:

B. The Case of the Crimson Kiss

The American Magazine, June, 1948

Recurring characters:

Plot devices:

Legal matters:

C. The Case of the Irate Witness

Collier’s, Jan. 17, 1953

Recurring characters:

Plot devices:

Legal matters:


Recurring characters:

Perry Mason, lawyer
Della Street, Mason’s secretary
Gertie, Mason’s receptionist
Frank Everly, Mason’s law clerk
Jackson, Mason’s law clerk, later called “office lawyer”

Paul Drake, detective

Sergeant Holcomb, police officer
Lieutenant Arthur Tragg, homicide detective

Claude Drumm, chief trial deputy for the D.A.’s office (before Hamilton Burger)
Hamilton Burger, district attorney


References:

Breen, Jon L. Novel verdicts: a guide to courtroom fiction. Scarecrow Press, 1999.

Gardner, Erle Stanley. Perry Mason novels and stories.

Grost, Michael. “Erle Stanley Gardner.” http://www.mikegrost.com/gardner.htm accessed 16 November 2013.

Hughes, Dorothy B. The Case of the Real Perry Mason. Morrow: 1978.

Moore, Ruth. “Bibliography of Erle Stanley Gardner.” In Hughes, 1978.

2 thoughts on “Perry Mason novels”

  1. Useful info, thanks. It would be nice if the Mason cases with DA Burger are listed separately. That is, Perry Mason books featuring Hamilton Burger himself and not his deputies

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