The Case of the Dangerous Dowager
EPUB EBook by Erle Stanley Gardner
EBook DescriptionThis is not one of the better Perry Mason novels. The Case of the Dangerous Dowager EPUB EBook It starts when an elderly, cigar- EPUBsmoking lady (Matilda Benson) enters Perry’s office and asks him to somehow recover the gambling IOUs that her granddaughter (Sylvia Oxman) has written to pay off her gambling debts. The daughter is married to a chiseling man who would use the gambling debts in a divorce proceeding to prove that she a poor wife and an unfit parent. The owners of the gambling boat also understand the situation, so they will try to force a repayment substantially higher than the face value of the IOUs. While Matilda is willing to pay extra, she wants to hire Mason to keep the costs to a minimum and use his reputation to finalize the issue.
Mason travels to the boat, but suddenly finds himself a prime suspect in a murder. The circumstances indicate that only Sylvia Oxman or Mason could have pulled the trigger. To avoid being arrested, Mason goes into hiding and tries to piece together how the murder could have been committed. Della Street, his loyal secretary, helps him in his hiding, anticipating his needs and finding ways for him to keep out of sight. To complicate matters, one of private detective Paul Drake’s operatives, (George Belgrade) sells out, getting paid by a newspaper to describe the events. His story appears to implicate Mason, but when Drake and Mason confront him, Belgrade is apologetic, and while Drake wants to fire and blacklist him, Mason prevents it. Mason tells Drake that the damage was done and they may need his goodwill later.
That policy proves to be the correct one, as eventually, Mason determines how the murder was committed and Belgrade’s testimony helps convince the authorities that Mason is innocent.The primary weakness of the story is one that could be expressed about most of the Mason stories, namely that the police have a knee-jerk reaction to consider Mason guilty. In the better stories, the pace of the action and the plot nuances are enough to overcome this natural weakness. However, in this story, they are not strong enough to cover this flaw. After all, we know that Mason will prove his innocence, the only point of interest is how we get there. Matilda Benson is an interesting character, but since most of the story involves Mason and his flight, we do not learn enough about her.
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