RARA-AVIS: Case of the Velvet Claw

From: Robison Michael R CNIN ( Robison_M@crane.navy.mil)
Date: 10 Sep 2002

Just finished Gardner's first Perry Mason novel, THE CASE OF THE VELVET CLAW. Mason is hardboiled in this book. He knocks out somebody trying to strong-arm him, advises his client to lie to the police, and pulls all kinds of dirty tricks to get his client off. A great character and a great book. I loved it! How many of them are hardboiled? If I recall from a recent thread, at least the first four are, and then he softens up a bit, and then even moreso later in the series.

My only complaint is that at least three times he uses the same tactic of telling his client that he knows she's lying to him because other people have provided contrary proof, and then, when she caves in and admits the truth, he says, "ha! faked you out! they never said that!" His client is a tough and clever girl. Assuming that she would fall for the same trick three times in a row is stretching it more than a little. There were a few other things that didn't really pull together either (see bottom of message below spoiler warning).

I was very pleased that there wasn't a bunch of legal mumbo-jumbo and cute little twists in the law to jack around with the plot. I hate that stuff with a passion. In my opinion, that was the weakest part of Cain's THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE.

The whole book brought back memories when I was about 6 years old, hanging out at my grandparents' and them watching Perry Mason on TV. He was pretty damn tough even when he softened up, wasn't he?




What happened to the other slug that Perry says must have been in the tub? The police didn't find it? And wasn't Eva still guilty of attempted murder? And why wasn't there an immediate stink about the fact that two shots had been fired? Whether it was an automatic or revolver, there had to be two empty casings, didn't there? Oh well, that's all just picky stuff! The book was a quick read, very entertaining, and a lot of fun.


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