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The Case of the Lucky Legs [Hardcover]

Erle Stanley Gardner


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 282 pages
  • Publisher: Aeonian Press (Dec 1 1976)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0884114031
  • ISBN-13: 978-0884114031
  • Product Dimensions: 22 x 15 x 2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 522 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,831,368 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  17 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lucky to Get It Jan. 12 2013
By L. Buell - Published on Amazon.com
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
4.0 out of 5 stars One of the best Mason stories because he faces a talented adversary Jan. 10 2010
By Charles Ashbacher - Published on Amazon.com
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
5.0 out of 5 stars The Beauty Contest Fraud Oct. 30 2009
By Acute Observer - Published on Amazon.com
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.
5.0 out of 5 stars Hey, it's Perry Mason! Aug. 7 2014
By S. M. Little - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is the first Erle Stanley Gardner book I have read. I watched Perry Mason for years in my youth and currently record the reruns to view again! Perry Mason was tamed down for TV. I enjoyed reading how the original lawyer was written. I was surprised to find misspelled and misused words occasionally, but of course this was before computers and spell-check! If you are a Perry Mason fan, I highly recommend you read these books and meet the original Perry Mason!
4.0 out of 5 stars I love a good mystery with which to relax. July 17 2014
By Donald White - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Fun, formulaic, typical Erle Stanley Gardner fare is dated in the language and settings but still a good, quick read. Perfect for reading while waiting for appointments or when one needs to read something that can be picked up, put down, and later resumed.

The audio versions of these books is a waste of time and money because the automated voice is terrible. Read it for the pleasure of actually reading.

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