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The Case of the Baited Hook (1940)
Erle Stanley Gardner, himself an attorney, helped create the hard-boiled genre in the 20's & 30's, when, along with Dashiell Hammett and Carroll John Daly, he published his stories in the pulp magazine Black Mask. Then in 1933 he created Perry Mason for The Case of the Velvet Claws. Some 80 further Perry Mason adventures followed, most serialized in the Saturday Evening Post. With about 200 million copies sold in thirty languages, popular radio serials and the long running TV Series beginning in 1957, Perry Mason is one of the most popular mystery series of all time. Gardner was made a Grand Master of the Mystery Writers of America in 1962.
Gardner followed a simple, but surefire formula. Perry's clients, mostly women, were wrongly accused, but DA Hamilton Berger was out to get them. Perry, along with his loyal secretary Della Street and private Detective Paul Drake, was forced to cut corners to solve the cases before his clients could have a murder rap pinned on them. Despite his willingness to play fast and loose, Perry is essentially honest, as he tells Della in the Baited Hook:
Lots of lawyers go into court with a case founded
on false testimony. Sometimes they make it
If you've never read on of the Perry Masons they are well worth your time. You can always find old copies of them at local book sales and it appears that many of them are still in print.
-Erle Stanley Gardner Page
-The Erle Stanley Gardner Home Page
-Erle Stanley Gardner
-Mystery Net: Perry Mason Page
-The Perry Mason Pages
-ESSAY : SAMURAI AT LAW: THE WORLD OF ERLE STANLEY GARDNER (FRANCIS M. NEVINS, Legal Studies Forum, Volume 24, Number 1 (2000)
If you like Perry Mason, try: