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I started reading Erle Stanley Gardner's Perry Mason mysteries over thirty years ago, long before I ever imagined that I would be working in New York publishing -- and specifically for the longtime paperback reprinter of Mr. Gardner. Like so many other people my age, I also grew up with the Perry Mason television series starring Raymond Burr. And Raymond Burr has always been (and always will be) in my mind's eye as I read the novels. Considering how popular the legal thriller genre became with Grisham, Turow, et al., I guess we owe Erle Stanley Gardner (also a lawyer-turned-novelist) a debt of gratitude for starting the franchise so many years ago. (THE CASE OF THE VELVET CLAWS was Perry Mason's debut, back in 1933.) Mr. Gardner died in 1970, and Raymond Burr in 1993; but in the novels (now recently reissued in colorful vintage packages by Ballantine), Perry Mason lives!
--Joe Blades, Associate Publisher --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.