The Case of the Foot-Loose Doll Mass Market Paperback – Aug 12 1986
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Top Customer Reviews
It is crazy to replace oneself with a complete stranger. It would be an artificial story if Mildred's despair were not convincingly described. And it would be tiresome if her misery were tediously described. Gardner describes her hopeless feeling concisely but convincingly. He is an excellent writer. No more explanation will be needed. Please enjoy how Mason brilliantly rescues Mildred from predicament.
This book is written in 1958. The general public is so strict to an unmarried pregnant woman that she will be driven to suicide. It is interesting how times has changed.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Gardner himself was a top lawyer. "The Case of the Chinese Shopkeepers" could have been one of Gardner's books if he hadn't done it himself. When Gardner heard the DA was going to subpoena one of his clients, a chinese shopkeeper in Oxnard CA, Gardner put another chinese man, who didn't speak English, in his client's store. The court officer then brought the wrong witness to court and, after much confusion, the case was dismissed.
Although Gardner's Perry Mason novels were formula, Gardner was at the peak of his powers during the 1950s--and at his best he was able to combine a twisty plot, impressive courtroom scenes, and his tendency to staccato dialogue to tremendous effect. Written in 1958, THE CASE OF THE FOOT-LOOSE DOLL offers Gardner at his best.
An attractive secretary in Oceanside, California, Mildred Crest is looking forward to her marriage to the town's most eligible bachelor--but is stunned when he abandons her under highly dubious circumstances. Dazed and distraught, she gets in her car and simply goes as far and as fast as she can... until an unforeseen accident offers her the opportunity to escape the past once and for all.
Or so it seems. But the past has a way of catching up with you--and in Mildred's case it isn't just her own past that she has to worry about. Before too long the question of murder arises, and Mildred finds herself in desperate need of legendary Los Angeles attorney Perry Mason.
Law, police procedure, and science has changed quite a bit since Gardner wrote this book, but that is part of the fun. And in this instance Gardner anticipates the modern phenomena of identity theft in a most unexpected way. Fans will enjoy it and newcomers will find it a delight. Recommended.
GFT, Amazon Reviewer
This book is dedicated to Theodore J. Curphey, M.D., Coroner of Los Angeles County, who is trying to get legal medicine used properly. If autopsies do not use current scientific methods then crimes can escape detection, or innocent persons can be convicted of crimes they did not commit. Dr. Curphey formed the Institute of Legal Medicine to combin the medical schools, the law schools, and the police and sheriff's departments in a practical partnership.
This story is about Mildred Crest, whose world collapses when her boyfriend breaks their engagement, and confesses to embezzlement from the company they work for. Mildred goes for a ride, and picks up a hitchhiker. The car crashes and burns, but Mildred decides to assume the hitchhiker's identity - Fern Driscoll. She finds a new job and apartment, and lives a more reclusive life. But an insurance investigator shows up, and asks "Fern Driscoll" to write a statement about the accident. Mildred went from the frying pan into the fire! So now she consults with Perry Mason about a "personal matter". "Fern" tells about the crash from her point of view (Chapter Three); but Mason knows she didn't tell the whole truth. A stranger shows up, tells "Fern" a story, and Mildred confesses she isn't Fern! And this is just the beginning of this story. Then the insurance investigator is stabbed, and the police investigate this murder.
Circumstantial evidence is the best evidence, unless it is misinterpreted. Eyewitness evidence can be deadly and dangerous because there is often no corroboration for this testimony (Chapter Twelve). Whenever a person was unjustly convicted, it is usually on eyewitness evidence. Most people cannot recognize a stranger seen for a few seconds (Chapter Thirteen). Would a prosecution witness who testified falsely be liable for perjury (Chapter Fifteen)? [NO!] Chapter Seventeen has the last day of the preliminary hearing. Mason's cross-examination brings out the hidden facts that will clear his client. It wasn't just the ice picks that were duplicated! There is another shocking surprise, and a happy ending. Mildred Crest has all charges dismissed, current and potential. [Does part of this story remind you of "The Talented Mr. Ripley"?]