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The Case of the Lucky Legs Hardcover – Dec 1 1976

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 282 pages
  • Publisher: Amereon Ltd (Dec 1 1976)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0884114031
  • ISBN-13: 978-0884114031
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 14.6 x 22.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 522 g
  • Average Customer Review: 1.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,729,604 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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By Mikhail Lichko on July 11 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This no el seems a bore....
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 26 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Lucky to Get It Jan. 12 2013
By L. Buell - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Perry Mason solves another one! He knows the law and how to push it as far as he can, bending it to the benefit of his innocent (naturally) client without actually breaking it. He is scrupulous in a just-shy-of-unscrupulous way. Ends justifying the means, perhaps?

Ethical questions notwithstanding, Gardner is ever entertaining. His language is crisp, plots endlessly twisting, and characters deliciously villainous or improbably naive. Forgive him his stereotypes (racial, gender, or whatever) because he was a reflection of his times.

Despite Gardner's frequently sexist portrayals of damsels in distress, one of his strongest and most interesting characters is none other than Della Street. She ran the show but was wise enough to not let on to her single-minded boss who would rattle off a litany of orders, confident she would get them all down on her steno pad, finish them on an impossibly short timeline, and never have a hair out of place. She was his defensive tackle who ran interference for him without ever showing a single ruffled feather. The soul of discretion, she would make the most secure information vault pale in comparison to her secret-keeping abilities. No wonder she remained 'Miss Street' all those years--there way no way she had a life outside that office. But we loved her for it.

These books from Earl Stanley Gardner are kind of a time capsule. You might enjoy references to 'expensive $5.00 ties,' or dropping a nickle into a pay phone. And no matter how dangerous the world seemed to them, it feels nostalgic and safe to visit now.

So if you want a (somewhat predictable) brain teaser, interesting (though somewhat stereotypical) characters, and a hero who is equal parts anti-hero, you'll enjoy these books. Take them for what they are and enjoy!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
One of the best Mason stories because he faces a talented adversary Jan. 10 2010
By Charles Ashbacher - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
It is easy to see why Gardner is correct in the opening note when he suggests that bar associations "shiver with apprehension" over the tactics often employed by the fictional Perry Mason. He often crosses the line between legal and illegal when he is defending a client and pursuing the truth, it is also easy to see why police officers would dislike the Perry Mason books. For it is a rare occasion when Gardner portrays officers as anything more than simple-minded and stiff in their approach. Occasionally, Gardner moves out of that mold, describing at least one police officer as having a bit of intelligence.
The premise of this story is that a man named Frank Patton is running a legal racket that ensnares beautiful young women and takes money from local businesses. The scheme is that Patton goes into a town and claims to be looking for future movie starlets with great legs. When the women audition there is a winner, the woman with the "lucky legs." Patton then gathers money from local businesses and organizations to invest in the movies that the new starlet will appear in. However, the scheme is organized so that the woman is a "flop" in Hollywood and the money is forfeited. The timeframe is when the speakeasy is still part of the American culture and Mason does not hesitate to partake of the food and drink they offer.
A very clever man named J. B. Bradbury approaches Mason and informs him of this scheme and wants Mason to represent one of the female victims. When Patton is murdered, the plot begins moving in many different directions as Mason is fed many false stories and Bradbury proves to be a very intelligent and ruthless man. The climactic scene is one where there are two stupid cops as well as one more that is intelligent and willing to listen to Mason as he tells the story. Of course the case is solved in dramatic fashion, the culprit and complete story revealed.
This story keeps your attention throughout because there is a character other than Mason that is a worthy adversary. Bradbury is able to reach the proper conclusions as to what Mason did that is considered improper and makes it clear that he will use it when necessary. It is a tactic that is a welcome relief from the dumb cop and district attorney characters that Gardner uses so often as adversaries to Mason.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The Beauty Contest Fraud Oct. 30 2009
By Acute Observer - Published on
The Case of the Lucky Legs

A note from the author tells about the bygone days when this story takes place. The early Perry Mason was not a stickler for the finer points of legal ethics, individual initiative counted to make a dramatic story. Other novels over the years warned of the beauty contest scams.

Mr. J. R. Bradbury visited Perry Mason about a telegram and a picture. Promoter Frank Patton held a contest to pick the girl with "Lucky Legs" and sold scrip to merchants so they could get a share of the profits in a movie company. Marjorie Clune was sent to Hollywood, given a screen test, then her contract was canceled. It was a legal fraud. Bradbury wants Perry to find Marjorie and put Patton behind bars when he confesses to fraud (Chapter 1). Perry gets information from the D.A.'s office (Chapter 2). He plots strategy with Paul Drake. This racket must have been used elsewhere (Chapter 3). Perry goes to visit Patton and sees a distressed young woman leaving (Chapter 5). Patton's door is unlocked, Perry enters and finds a bloody knife near the body! As he leaves a police officer shows up because of a complaint. Perry calls his office to check on his client. Next he visits Thelma Bell to find Marjorie Clune (Chapter 6). The conversations carry the story forward, and explain strategy.

Perry meets his client Bradbury to exchange information (Chapter 7). Perry discusses the case with Della Street (Chapter 8). Who impersonated Della Street to warn Dr. Doray (Chapter 9)? Who gave information to Paul Drake and where did he get it (Chapter 10)? Perry checked on Thelma's alibi. Perry is very active that night (Chapter 11). The police like Dr. Doray for the murder. Bradbury commands Perry to defend Dr. Doray and get an acquittal (Chapter 12). [What clew sent Perry after the mail plane?] Perry charters an airplane to Summerville on a search (Chapter 13). This is a crisis for Marjorie and Bob Doray! Perry acts to gain time to question Marjorie (Chapter 14). Then he smuggles her out of the hotel (Chapter 15). Perry finds out who was talking to the Drake Detective Bureau (Chapter 16). Marjorie knows her! Perry gets a record of Bradbury's local telephone calls! There is a showdown in Perry's office with Bradbury and two police detectives (Chapter 17). The police want to arrest Perry (Chapter 18)! Perry explains all he knows or surmises to the three detectives. This solves the murder mystery. The last chapter ties up the loose ends.

This is the early Perry Mason who solves crimes like a private investigator. No courtroom scenes. Perry is more rough and gritty too. Della has more spirit, Paul more independence. They do not work like a well-oiled machine as in the later novels. The meeting at the end when the case is solved was typical of many mystery novels and films from that era.
A Classic from the Early "Hard Boiled" Perry Mason Aug. 10 2015
By henry - Published on
I've been reading Gardner's Perry Mason books off and on for decades. Many years ago, I was an intense fan of the series, and read them all at least once. Now, after a lot of water over the dam, I'm looking at them again.

Those who are used to really fine mystery writers (in the literary sense), such as Ross Macdonald, may find Gardner's writing style off-putting. It can be stiff and mechanical. Nonetheless, I still love the general setting: the characters of Perry, Della, Paul, Lt. Tragg, and Hamilton Berger. That, and the ingenious plots, are why I read Perry Mason.

On the whole, the ones written by 1954 are the best. This one was written in 1935, from Gardner's early "hard boiled" period, and is very good. It opens with Mason greeting a new client named J. R. Bradbury. He is a wealthy 42 year old man from a small southern California city. He says that his town was victimized by one Frank Patton, who runs a clever, barely legal scam. He represents a movie company and goes to small cities and towns supposedly looking for the next Hollywood starlet. He runs a beauty contest for the girl with the best legs and figure, offers the winner a movie contract, and sends her off to Hollywood with much fanfare. However, the fine print says the studio can cancel the contract and picture at their discretion. It always seems to turn out the "starlet" can't act, so she is left high and dry in Hollywood, too embarrassed to return home. This just happened in his town to a young former employee of his, Marjorie Clune. Bradbury has more than a fatherly interest in her. He is furious at Pollard and wants Mason to find some way to get at him, to build a legal case against him.

Mason takes the job. We meet some interesting characters in the DA's office and the police force. In this very early book, there is no Sgt. Holcomb, Lt. Tragg, or Hamilton Burger. Paul Drake starts to get the dope on Patton. They find that Marjorie Clune is with another victim of Pollard's scam, Thelma Bell, and there seems to be a third young woman victim too. The plot thickens as we learn that a young dentist named Dr. Doray is in love with Marjorie Clune, and is also in LA trying to get even with Pollard. Before long Pollard is found murdered and suspicion quickly falls on Dr. Doray and Marjorie Clune. Mason is one of the first to find the body and takes a chance juggling some evidence.

A great deal of suspense results from tension between Bradbury and Mason. Bradbury is footing the bill, but is an unusal client: he is a strong, assertive, smart personality who says he will stop at nothing to clear Marjorie Clune. He clearly understands how Mason juggled the evidence and will throw Mason to the police if he thinks it's necessary!

This is a tightly written page-turner. There are good descriptions of locales and people. The "hard boiled" style of 1930s fiction is very strong here. We see a fighting intense Perry Mason far removed from the character that became so popular on television 20 years later. I love it!

There is no court room scene. The murderer is revealed during an interview with police where Mason is about to be arrested.

One small flaw: there aren't many suspects.

Recurring themes: lots of action in a hotel room; flight in a small private plane; Mason taking chances and risking disbarment.

Highly Recommended.

Oh yes, we learn that Perry Mason's phone number is Broadway 39251!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
It is a different world Aug. 23 2014
By Deacon John - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The story was OK. It had trouble holding my attention. It sure was a different world in 1950. I might buy another from time but I'm not going to read the entire corpus.

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