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.