Review: The Case of the Caretaker’s Cat (Perry Mason series book 7) by Erle Stanley Gardner

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In his will, Peter Laxter guaranteed his faithful caretaker a job and a place to live… for life. But Laxter’s grandson Sam says the deal doesn’t include the caretaker’s cat—and he wants the feline off the premises by hook, crook… or poison. When Perry Mason takes the case, he quickly finds there’s much more at stake than an old man’s cat—a million dollars or more to be exact…


Dear readers,

For years Perry Mason books had been some of my favorite comfort reads. I have read many, many of them in Russian then in English, however I have not reread them in a while. As much as I loved the noble defense lawyer who of course only defends people innocently accused of murder or those who have mitigating circumstances to help the reader feel for them, to me these books do not stand up to rereads as well as say Niro Wolfe and Archie Goodwin series do simply because I remember “who done” it and am not interested as much in rereading the book. However I came across this book on kindle in the Russian translation and it had been years since I first read it and I figured why not try the reread.

And it worked very well for me and a couple of things even surprised me. The first surprise had nothing to do with actual investigation. If you know the books well, you remember that very clear hints of attraction between Mason and his wonderful secretary Della Street run through most of them. I used to imagine that they had a relationship off pages but of course I have no idea if that was what author intended.

In any event the surprise part for me was that in this book at least Mason and Della had to play act as husband and wife as part of the charade Mason decided to play at some point in his investigation to hopefully clear up his client and when they do so, Mason seems to act surprised when Della kisses him. I wonder if this is the book where it all started from. Amazon lists it as book seven, but I am not sure if it was written that early in the series or not.

The investigation itself was a little bit surprising too, but I had seen it in some other books of these series. Mason really does not spend that much time in the courtroom here. Most of the action and investigation takes place outside of it and yes, it all started with a cat :). It still had a lot of fun action and *some* court room time and I enjoyed it all.

The last surprise of the sort for me was that Mason tries to offer some hint about the potential murderer early in the book to Hamilton Burger, District Attorney who is his constant adversary throughout the books. Again, if you read the books you may know that while Mason constantly bests Burger in the court room, Burger is terrified of accusing an innocent person of the crime and when the evidence finally staring him in the face, he always agrees to reopen the investigation, however this book to me features one of the attempts of collaboration between them which happens early enough in the plot of the story. This attempt does not turn out to be very fruitful, but not because Mason tries to conceal anything, he just does not know all the facts yet, still it was interesting to me, I did not see that too often in the series.

Of course everything turns out to be wonderful at the end, as I said comfort read is a comfort read.

Grade: B+

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Sirius started reading books when she was four and reading and discussing books is still her favorite hobby. One of her very favorite gay romances is Tamara Allen’s Whistling in the Dark. In fact, she loves every book written by Tamara Allen. Amongst her other favorite romance writers are Ginn Hale, Nicole Kimberling, Josephine Myles, Taylor V. Donovan and many others. Sirius’ other favorite genres are scifi, mystery and Russian classics. Sirius also loves travelling, watching movies and long slow walks.

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