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Mass Market Paperback The Case of the Velvet Claws Book

ISBN: 0345323173

ISBN13: 9780345323170

The Case of the Velvet Claws

(Book #1 in the Perry Mason Series)

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Book Overview

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...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

The Origin of the Series

The opening chapter introduces us to Perry mason and his secretary Della Street. People hire Perry Mason because he will fight for his clients. "Eva Griffin" has a problem that she can't discuss with her regular attorneys; she has stepped out with a political figure and a scandal sheet has found out. She wants the story squashed. Della tells Perry that "Eva" seems phoney and crooked. Perry explains that most clients aren't square shooters, that's why they're in trouble, and hire Perry; its business. "Eva Griffin" eludes the detective shadowing her. Perry meets with Frank Locke, the owner of "Spicy Bits" and talks about suppressing the story. Perry uses a ruse to get more information (Chapter III), and follows the clue to meet George Belter (Chapter IV). We learn of the complications this causes (Chapter V). Chapter VI introduces us to Harrison Burke, "The Friend of the People". The substantial class of citizens know whose side he really is on. Perry asks him for expense money to handle this problem with "Spicy Bits". The complications begin in Chapter VII; Eva calls Perry to tell she heard a shot, and found a dead husband. Eva thinks the other man was Perry! Is Eva "a little liar"? Perry questions Eva, then calls the police. The police learn that Eva will inherit little, the bulk will go to the nephew who was out drinking that night. Perry returns to his office and sends Paul Drake out to discover things. Two people connected to this case receive telephone calls and leave in the middle of the night (Chapter XII). Perry begins to tie up the loose ends in this case (Chapter XIII). In Chapter XV Eva Belter tells the police of the voice she heard. When she meets Perry at a hotel room she tells him what else she knew. Della Street is there and takes notes. The police arrive to question Perry. Perry asks Della to get information on the background of one witness, then sends Paul Drake to investigate another person. The interview of Harry Loring creates a new break in this case (Chapter XVIII). Then Mason, along with two police offices, returns to the Belter mansion and its crime scene (Chapter XIX). The questioning of two witnesses brings out the hidden facts that free Perry's client. Chapter XX has the closing comments, and Mason meets with Harrison Burke and Eva Belter. Eva admits she's done "play acting" before, but this time she's deeply grateful. The "Perry Mason" character is similar to the earlier "Ken Corning", crusading lawyer in earlier works. But Erle Stanley Gardner found outstanding success with this new series. This story would still make a good dramatic story today.

The First Book of Perry Mason Mysteries

This is the first Perry Mason mystery written in 1933. Nobody will call it a masterpiece. No thrilling battle at the courtroom. Not so well-plotted as a whodunit. And Mason does not display his ingenuity of outwitting the authorities (the police and the prosecution) and/or trapping the real murderer.Still this book describes Mason's unchanged attitude throughout the whole series most clearly; even if his client betrays him, he never betrays his client and does everything he can to protect his client. And the wild character of early Mason is vividly described. I don't recommend this book if you've never read Mason mysteries, but I bet this is a must-read for Mason fans.The title means the client, a young beautiful married woman who seems to hide her claws under velvet. She is definitely the nastiest client of all the Mason mysteries.

Good, not Great, but still well worth a read

I agree with the earlier reviewers that there is a notable shift between the earlier Perry Masons and the ones he wrote starting in about 1939/1940 or so. The earlier ones are definitely a straight continuation of Gardner's pulp books (Paul Pry, etc) and belong firmly in the Sam Spade category. The Perry here is very different from the Perry of the TV show and the later Perry of the books. Since Gardner kept tight control over the TV scripts, I imagine that the later book Perry resembles the TV Perry very closely for a reason....In any case, the first few Perry Mason mysteries are very much in the Chinatownish genre--police corruption, decadent rich folks, and some surprise plot twists. To appreciate the earlier (1930s) Perry Masons, one must realize that the simple truth of the matter was that the DA's office was virtually the law enforcement division of the movie industry and the gambling syndicates and the LAPD was willing to frame any convenient sap it could lay its hands on. This explains the incredibly dark view of the establisment in the earlier books. Gardner, who was one of the few white lawyers willing to take Chinese clients in cases against the white establishment, had more than his share of run-ins against the 'Establishment' and more-often-than-not usually won because he was almost as good a lawyer as his creation, Perry Mason. In fact, once or twice he reworked some of his cases into the Perry Mason plots (e.g., the "Twice in Jeopardy" defense for an accused hit and run driver). When the LAPD was cleaned up and became more professional, Gardner retired Seargent Holcomb and brought in Lt. Tragg to update his books.I have to agree with the earlier characterization and writing style critiques--as great writers go, Gardner would have to rank somewhere below me. However, as great mystery authors go, Gardner's ONLY competition is (the pre-1960s) Agatha Christie. The rest are all also rans but with some honorable mentions. I never pass up a chance to read a Perry Mason mystery because the court scenes are always a delight, there are NEVER any holes in the plot and I can almost never figure out who dunnit and why.

A reader's introduction to Perry Mason and Gang.

Gardner introduced readers to Perry Mason and his gang--Della Street and Paul Drake in this interesting mystery. Mason does anything and everything for a client, but in this novel, his client tries to set him up as the killer. In order to save himself, Mason has to turn the tables on his client. Della begged Mason not to take the case, and once he did, started to lose faith in him. All works out in the end, and when you are sure you know who the killer is, Gardner twists the plot, and takes you by surprise.

"The Case Of The Velvet Claws" by Erle Stanley Gardner

This is the very first Perry Mason book, and our hero is more akin to Philip Marlowe or Sam Spade than to the character brought to life on TV by Raymond Burr. It's a splendid rattle though a murky 1930's Los Angeles, with a convoluted plot, a femme fatale, and a Della Street who just may have lost faith in her boss.Great stuff!

The Case of the Velvet Claws Mentions in Our Blog

The Case of the Velvet Claws in The Man Behind Perry Mason: Erle Stanley Gardner
The Man Behind Perry Mason: Erle Stanley Gardner
Published by William Shelton • February 02, 2021

Starting in 1923 a young attorney, who was suspended from Law school for boxing, and found the actual practice of law mundane and boring, began typing out with two fingers hair raising legal yarns involving the most salacious of crimes. It was the incomparable Erle Stanley Gardner, a man who did more to defend the rights of the downtrodden than his literary creation, Perry Mason. Learn more about the life of the man that created the famous detective.

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