The Case of the Lucky Loser. Erle Stanley Gardner. 1957. 192 pages. [Source: Bought]
First sentence: Della Street, Perry Mason's confidential secretary, picked up the telephone and said, "Hello."
Premise/plot: The novel opens with a mystery woman calling to hire Perry Mason to sit in on a trial occurring later that day. Ted Balfour has been charged with manslaughter--a hit and run accident. At the time of this trial, the man hasn't even been identified yet. After the trial--while the jury is debating Mr. Balfour's fate--Mason receives a few more phone calls about the case. He ends up being hired as a replacement lawyer when the jury is hung. The victim is identified after the trial in a shocking way: he was hit with a car and dragged, no doubt, but it was a BULLET in the head that killed him. New trial, new lawyer. Same victim. This novel has dozens of twists and turns.
My thoughts: I remember this episode from the television show. But knowing what was coming didn't rob me of enjoying it thoroughly every step of the way. In fact, I think this might be my favorite Perry Mason novel that I've read this year.
"I have one weapon," Mason said. "It's a powerful weapon. But sometimes it's hard to wield it because you don't know just where to grab hold of it."© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews
"What weapon is that?" Della Street asked.
"The truth," Mason said.