Thursday, November 13, 2008

Friday's Forgotten Books: Perry Mason

Before I start my post for Friday's Forgotten Books, I'd like to give a BIG shout-out to David Cranmer of The Education of a Pulp Writer who totally made my day! Child #3 and I stopped in at The Yellow Book Road to drop off some book launch/signing postcard-invitations. Mary, the co-owner, informed me that David had called to order a signed copy of I So Don't Do Mysteries! Yowzer!



And onto Friday's Forgotten Books (how's that for an abrupt transition?). While at Aunt Agatha's bookstore in Ann Arbor,Michigan, I picked up a used copy of The Case of the Sleep-Walker's Niece (EIGHTEENTH printing, 1965, original price of 50 cents) by Erle Stanley Gardner. It is so wonderful to be back in the company of defense attorney Perry Mason, his confidential secretary and love interest Della Street, his private eye Paul Drake, switchboard operator Gertie Lade, Lieutenant Tragg. It's even a pleasure to re-visit District Attorney Hamilton Burger.

Why did I stop reading Perry Mason? He puts me in such a good mood. I should gobble up one a week. And how about Bertha Cool and Donald Lam. Ah ha! Another post for another Friday!

Some fun facts about Perry Mason: He's in over EIGHTY novels and short stories. He loves a difficult case. He shines in a courtroom. He lives in an apartment and likes to eat out, especially steak. We know nothing about his background or childhood. I personally feel that he strung Della Street along. But that could just be me.



Some fun facts about Erle Stanley Gardner (1889-1970): He got kicked out of law school after about a month for fighting. He worked as a typist in a law office, studied law BY HIMSELF, then took the bar and PASSED. He hung out a shingle at THE AGE OF 21 YEARS in Merced, CA. He practiced law until 1933 when The Case of the Velvet Claws was published. He wrote under his own name and SEVEN pseudonyms. He loved the courtroom and steak. He married his longtime secretary (as in, she worked for him for over THIRTY years) when he was SEVENTY-NINE and she was SIXTY-SIX. I think they were waiting for his first wife to die. That Erle Stanley Gardner was some kind of brilliant and some kind of character.

Please pop over to Patti Abbott at pattinase's blog for links to other posts for Friday's Forgotten Books. It's always a fantastic line-up.


Sources: Wikipedia, http://kirjasto.sci.fi/gardner.htm,http://www.erlestanleygardner.com/

14 comments:

keri mikulski :) said...

Interesting.. :)

David Cranmer said...

Barrie, I'm looking forward to reading your book! I'm way behind when it comes to Erle Stanley Gardner. One of those writers that has fallen by the wayside in my reading world. It may be time to get back him. Studied law by himself and passed... that's impressive!

pattinase (abbott) said...

This whole series sat on my mother's bookshelf when I was a kid. She loved Raymong Burr--until she saw Rear Window.

Scott Parker said...

Barrie,

Good to see someone else hyping Perry Mason. Earlier this fall, I reviewed The Case of the Velvet Claws (I tend to want to start with Book #1 even if it doesn't make a difference) and thoroughly enjoyed it. I've also read a Cool and Lam novel and enjoyed it even more. Gardner is now on my Must Find List. The one thing I missed in Velvet Claws was a courtroom scene. I may have to jump ahead and find this book you review today for a juicy courtroom scene. The best thing for folks like me or David is the magical number of 80. There are so many books out there and finding and reading them will be a joy.

Charles Gramlich said...

I'm also way behind on Perry Mason, although I actually watched some of the shows when I was young

Ray said...

In between reading other books I have just finished a run through my many Perry Mason books. I started collecting these books back in the late fifties and into the sixties. That collection is still on my bookcase and well read. Perry Mason, in my opinion, is probably the best trial detective that has been created.
Interesting read that bio of Erle Stanley - reflects the relationship between Perry and Della.

Mitch Wallace said...

Thanks for posting on my blog Barrie! I responded to your comment over there, just so you know.

Elizabeth said...

I don't think I ever read Perry Mason but we watched it on TV on Sunday evenings in England.
I think my father had a crush on Della Street!
Greetings from New York

Kristen Painter said...

My husband loves Perry Mason (the show) but I don't think he's ever read any of the books.

Bee said...

I don't know diddly about Perry Mason, but I LOVE your new blog look.

Barbara Martin said...

It's been many years since I read a Perry Mason book, but it looks like I'll be browsing the bookstores to find some of the old ones.

Barrie, thanks for the re-introduction of these books and the author. My family and I watched the early TV series each week anxious to see what new case Perry Mason had to solve.

Cloudia said...

Congrats on your book! It feels great, doesn;t it?

Cathy said...

I grew up in a small town library, and Erle Stanley Gardner was always popular, no matter how many new books and authors Mom put on those shelves in the mystery section. As a teenager, I became curious as to why these "old" books kept getting checked out, so I read one. I got my answer. Thanks for reviving some good memories (and for stopping by my blog)!

Sally Lawton said...

A book shop called Yellow Book Road? What a brilliant name... I want to go there - maybe if I click my heels...