The Case of the Stuttering Bishop
Bishop William Mallory of Sydney, Australia visits Perry Mason about a manslaughter case. Could a sudden emotional shock cause stuttering? Perry calls Paul Drake to see if the bishop is genuine (Chapter I). They find where Mallory is staying, but there is a mysterious attack on Mallory in his hotel room. An ambulance came for him, then another ambulance came for him! They track down the woman who visited him (Chapter II). Her story about a personal ad checks out (Chapter III). But the bishop got on a ship bound for Australia (Chapter IV). Julia Branner, formerly Mrs. Oscar Brownley, visits Perry and tells of her past life and what she wants (Chapter V). Perry visits Renwold C. Brownley and they discuss the case (Chapter VI). An early morning phone call wakes Perry with the message that a woman has shot and killed Renwold C. Brownley (Chapter VII)!
Perry finds that Julia Branner had gone to the waterfront, and saw another woman shoot Brownley. Perry tells her to not answer questions and he'll try to help her (Chapter VIII). Julia Branner was arrested for murder, Mallory disappeared from his ship (Chapter IX). Della's impersonation of Janice Seaton draws out two private investigators (Chapter X). Perry meets the granddaughter of Brownley, and finds Victor Stockton, one of the two private investigators, with a scheme that will trap Perry in a crime! Perry meets Philip Brownley, the grandson, who tells what he knows (this substantiates what a witness saw). When Perry interviews Julia Branner in jail he gets an unpleasant surprise. Paul Drake found a yachtsman who visited Mallory (Chapter XII).
Perry visits Hamilton Burger to explain his actions. Burger gives Perry little time to justify his story. It doesn't look good for Perry and his client (Chapter XIII). The preliminary examination of Julia Branner begins in Chapter XIV, this reviews the known facts about the shooting. Perry notes the strange facts: if the shooter ran away, and Brownley was dead, who drove the car off the wharf? Perry is in an impossible situation. If Brownley drove off the wharf, he was not shot dead by Julia Branner (Chapter XV). A chance remark by Della Street puts a new light on one person's activities the night of the murder. Perry plays this hand and it pays off (Chapter XVI). They find out what happened to Bishop Mallory (Chapter XVII). Perry explained what happened, and why Julia Branner refused to talk (Chapter XVIII). The next chapter concludes this case.
In this story Perry was very close to jail and disbarment. He was involved in more action than in other stories. This 1936 novel reflects the outlook of its day.