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The Case of the Curious Bride by Erle…

The Case of the Curious Bride (1934)

by Erle Stanley Gardner

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Perry Mason (Book 5)

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Meet Rhoda. She claims not to have been recently married although Della thinks differently. And she spins a story about a friend asking about a first husband that had disappeared in an air crash and what her legal status will be (amongst other things). Perry does not buy the story, Rhoda is too proud to admit the truth and walks out and everything should have stopped there. Except that she left a retainer with Della and Perry is bored and curious so he decides to figure out what the whole story was.

And then a man is found dead - a man that had appears to be married to Rhoda. Except that she is married to a millionaire's son now. And she swears she had not killed Moxley and that he was already dead when she got there. The police does not believe her, her father-in-law really does not like her and the things really do not look good for her. Except that she has Perry Mason - who is ready to cheat if needed. Add to this some legitimate investigation from both Paul Drake and Mason and a few just in time remarks from Della and the story is starting to emerge.

I am not sure how ethical the trick Perry pulled - he technically did not break a law or lie but it was a bit closer to the line than I expected. He is a lawyer after all, the line is where he lives. And it was a great cheat anyway.

Another good story in the series. Off to the next one. ( )
2 vote AnnieMod | Apr 26, 2016 |
An early Perry Mason and not as stereotyped as some later became, though I enjoy even the stereotyped ones). A young woman whom Della Street immediately deduces is recently married comes to ask Perry about the status of a marriage to a man presumed dead, and about establishing a murder without a corpus delicti. She turns out to be Rhoda Lorton Mortane, formerly married and betrayed by a swindler named Gregory Lorton (real name Moxley) and now (perhaps) married to Mortane, a weak recovering addict, the son of a wealthy man back in Chicago. Her first husband (whom she had believed dead) has turned up trying to blackmail her; she does to meet him at 2 a.n. and shortly afterward he is found dead. She tells Perry she hit him, but doesn't know if she killed him -- the lights went out as she struck and she knew another man was there in the dark. A Doctor MiIlsap who claims to love Rhoda also says he was thee but did not kill Moxley either. ( )
  antiquary | Feb 7, 2015 |
Classic Perry Mason. ( )
  VincentDarlage | Jan 30, 2015 |
It's a shame that there is a generation or two of people who have never heard of Mr. Gardner. They've heard of his creation, and quite possibly have never seen a TV show, TV movie or earlier film featuring him, yet his entrance into the popular culture was so complete and deeply rooted that even today, everybody knows that Perry Mason is a terrific lawyer.
Gardner started his series in the 1930's, and if read today, there is a lot of material that is dated in the original novels. (An example would be seeing the cars registration on the steering column) I remember watching Perry Mason shows with Raymond Burr when I was a kid. The story always followed along similar lines, crime, detection, the trial, and a confession on the stand and Mason defeats the idiot D.A. yet again. Mason was all about justice, and on the side of the angels.
Not so in the books. Mason is of a dubious moral quality, but he'll fight like a tiger for what HE believes is right. And he's up to his usual hijinks in this novel, originally published in 1934. Here's the blurb from the back cover:

After con man Greg Moxley married Rhoda Lorton, he took her money and flew-only to have his plane crash. Years later, Rhoda wed millionaire scion Carl Montaine. But now Moxley has turned up alive and well...with plans to pocket the Montaine fortune-or else make Rhoda's bigamy public.

Desperate to protect the good name of Montaine, Rhoda seeks out Perry Mason. But before Mason can reel in Moxley, somebody murders the scheming blackmailer. In a case that abounds in lethal twists, Mason suddenly finds himself on a collision course with a cold-blooded killer.

Mason plays fast and loose with legal loopholes, evidence and witnesses. Like all the Mason novels I've read, the action is non-stop, the pacing frantic and the characters built on quickly recognizable archetypes. Gardner wrote solid pot boiler novels. This is one of the better books in the series. We do find out who the killer really is, and Mason does use the legal system to find this out, but not in the sanitized way the TV show would have done. While you may not agree with the way he does things, you will enjoy reading the story to find out the who, what, why and where. ( )
  yingko | Apr 4, 2008 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Erle Stanley Gardnerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Perälä, RikuTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The woman was nervous. Her eyes held the eyes of the lawyer for a moment, then slithered away to the book-lined walls, as the eyes of an animal survey the bars of a cage.

'Sit down,' said Perry Mason.
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Serialized in Liberty Magazine July 7, 1934 to September 15, 1934
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After con-man Greg Moxley married Rhoda Lorton, he took her money and flew. Desperate to protect the good name of Montaine, Rhoda seeks out Perry Mason.

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