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The Case of the Sun Bather's Diary: A Perry Mason Mystery Mass Market Paperback – May 2 2000

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Fawcett; New edition edition (May 2 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345437888
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345437884
  • Product Dimensions: 17.6 x 10.7 x 1.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 141 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,923,578 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"Gardner [is] humorous, astute, curious, inventive--who can top him? No one has yet."
--Los Angeles Times

"Erle Stanley Gardner is probably the most widely read of all . . . authors. . . . His success . . . undoubtedly lies in the real-life quality of his characters and their problems, for which he can draw on his own dazzling accomplishments as a trial lawyer."
--The Atlantic

"A clean, economical writer of peerless ingenuity."
--The New York Times

From the Back Cover

"Gardner [is] humorous, astute, curious, inventive--who can top him? No one has yet."
--Los Angeles Times

"Erle Stanley Gardner is probably the most widely read of all . . . authors. . . . His success . . . undoubtedly lies in the real-life quality of his characters and their problems, for which he can draw on his own dazzling accomplishments as a trial lawyer."
--The Atlantic

"A clean, economical writer of peerless ingenuity."
--The New York Times

See all Product Description

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By APRICOT on Oct. 29 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Typical Perry Mason mystery with the eccentric opening, the thrilling development and the pleasant victory. Mason is severely cornered; the circumstantial evidence shows that the murderer is either Mason himself or his client, the sunbathing girl. D.A. Hamilton Burger cannot restrain himself from laughing triumphantly. Although I know it is Mason who laughs last, I enjoy the thrillingness very much.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 19 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
The Case of the Nude Sunbather March 14 2008
By P. Mann - Published on
I don't imagine that Perry Mason--or, for that matter, too many real-life attorneys--have had potential clients call them up stating that everything, including their clothes, have been stolen, and would it be possible for the attorney to take a set of clothes? That's what happens at the beginning of this Perry Mason caper.

Arlene Duvall is the woman, and her father is in prison for a crime Arlene believes he did not commit, a bank robbery that netted nearly $400,000. Since her father's imprisonment, she has lived out of a trailer. She has a mysterious source of income that allows her to spend money both extravagantly and conspicuously, leading to obvious suspicion that her father has told her where the stolen money is. Indeed, this inference is so strong that Mason only agrees to represent her as long as she is innocent. If he discovers she is guilty, he promises to turn her in and take his fee out of the reward money. After the theft and then a murder of someone with some relationship to the bank heist, matters grow far more serious. As usual, District Attorney Hamilton Burger is after Mason, this time for perjury in front of a grand jury--and later possibly as an accessory to murder.

The Perry Mason novels are fairly predictable. They are of consistently high quality and tend to feature the same elements, from the wrongly accused client to the vengeful D.A. I have read several without being able to find one that was notably better or worse than the others. Still, there are some elements that set this one apart from others published within a few years. (I'm thinking of The Case of the Demure Defendant (published one year later) and The Case of the Long-Legged Models (published three years later), both recent reads.) From the opening naked client to a few other elements, there are some ever-so-slightly risqué elements here that suggest the time this was published (the mid-1950s). However, those elements are slight, so what we have is another solid entry in the long-running series.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Love All Of the Perry Mason Books! March 8 2014
By C. S. Cox - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
As usual, Erle Stanley Gardner delivered a spectacular mystery book that kept me guessing until the end! The prosecutor, who is always trying to get Mason disbarred, was up to his usual antics. Naturally, Perry was able to show him up in court in such a way that the absurdity of the situation was hilarious!

If you enjoy clever whodunit stories with humor, you will most definitely enjoy this story along with the other books in this series. I am glad there are so many books in the series that it will be awhile before I have read all of them!
Finding the Missing Millions April 27 2005
By Acute Observer - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Case of the Sunbather's Diary

This 1955 novel is dedicated to the Hawaiian medical examiner who described "Bangugut", an unexplained syndrome of sudden death that is called "Nightmare Death". No cause of death can be discovered after examining the vital organs. Popular belief blamed it on witchcraft. Or was it a "perfect crime"?

Perry Mason gets a call from a new client, but she can't come in because she has nothing to wear. All her possessions have been stolen while she was sunbathing. Della Street brings her an outfit, and Arlene Duvall tells her story. Her father was sent to prison after being convicted of stealing a money shipment. He was convicted on circumstantial evidence; the money was never found. Arlene hires Mason to find her missing trailer and car. Paul Drake quickly finds the missing trailer, and explains how this is done in Chapter 3. They mention the terrible traffic in Los Angeles (after the destruction of the trolley system). Perry Mason explains to the trailer dealer what constitutes a legal agreement. Arlene hires Mason to investigate the crime and free her Dad. Mason says he will serve justice first; if he Dad is guilty he will get his fee from the reward money.

Mason meets with Jordan Ballard, who worked with Colton Duvall at the time of the theft. Ballard asks for a lift home, and tells Mason the background facts. Mason leaves, and checks in with Paul Drake to learn the police were called after Ballard was found murdered! Arlene Duvall was followed, and seen entering Ballard's house just after Mason left. Mason then goes to see Dr. Holman Candler, the good friend of Arlene. The urgency of this situation forces Mason to work through the night. Next morning Mason appears before a grand jury to answer questions about his activity at Ballard's house. The District Attorney wants to charge Mason with perjury, or murder! (There is a lesson her against making assumptions about an action that can have many meanings.) Arlene Duvall is arrested for murdering Ballard, and Perry Mason will have to defend her.

As part of this story you will learn about some detective techniques and parts of the laws. A number of funny things happen on the way to the trial. Since Mason's clients are always found 'not guilty' there's no surprise there, but in the journey to this conclusion. The suspense lasts until the final pages when Perry Mason draws the facts together to solve the murder, and the earlier theft of the money shipment. Mason warns against the frequently made mistake of first deciding who was guilty and then fitting the facts to prove that guilt (Chapter 14). I won't give away the ending, but it implicitly warns against assuming that something could not have happened.
Perry Mason in Serious Trouble Nov. 27 2015
By James Dainis - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
Arlene Duvall contacts Perry Mason and tells him that her trailer and all her clothes were stolen while she was out sun bathing. After getting her clothed and back to his office, she tells him that her father, a bank employee, was convicted of stealing money that was supposed to go into an armored car. She swears that her father is innocent and asks Perry's help to find the real thief. Although unemployed, Arlene has plenty of money to spend on her life of leisure. This seems rather suspicious to Perry yet he undertakes to look into the matter. Then when a key witness is murdered Perry finds himself defending her of the murder charge. Unfortunately, there are apparently only two people who could have committed the murder, either Arlene or Perry Mason. If his client is innocent then that would mean that Perry had to have committed the murder. Or does it?

This is a very good Perry Mason mystery. Even Perry himself has serious doubts as to the innocence of his client. To make matters worse for Perry, he is soon facing a charge of committing perjury in front of a grand jury. D.A. Hamilton Burger seeks to have Perry disbarred and sent to the penitentiary on the perjury charge. Arlene's testimony to clear herself may mean that she implicates Perry in the murder. And, there are other witnesses besides his client who swear that Perry was at the scene of the crime only moments before the murder was committed. Hamilton Burger seems to hold all the cards which leads to a dramatic courtroom confrontation. Will Perry be disbarred and sent to the penitentiary for perjury or convicted of the murder? It is hard for the reader to see otherwise. This all makes for a great novel.
But I've seen much worse. Any number of more recent mystery writers can ... July 27 2014
By John Nedby - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
The story starts when Perry Mason's client loses everything. Inclined to traipse in a woodsy area adjacent to a golf course in her birthday suit she returns to her trailer only to find her car, and the trailer, along with all her clothes has been swiped. After she does manage to contact Mason through someone from the golf course the story involves a bank robbery, a murder that makes Mason suspected of being an accomplice and the obligatory trial where Mason pulls the solution out of his hat, so to speak.

Nero Wolfe once said that he didn't believe the Gardner books were even novels. I think of them as puzzles and this one is clever. There are enough red herrings to stock a fish store and you have to pay attention if you want to figure this one out. I've only read a couple of Mason mysteries but I suspect that for Gardner fans this one will please.

I read this in a Kindle edition and there were a few misspellings. But I've seen much worse.

Any number of more recent mystery writers can write circles around Gardner when it comes to characterization but this one has a clever plot and is a fast and entertaining read. Four stars for Gardner's puzzle.