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The Case of the Dangerous Dowager (1937)

by Erle Stanley Gardner

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Perry Mason Novels (Book 10)

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25713102,274 (3.68)12
When Matilda Benson solicits the help of Perry Mason, her request seems simple enough: cruise to a gambling ship moored just beyond the twelve-mile limit and buy back the IOUs signed by Miss Benson's niece. But after Mason reaches the floating casino, he discovers problems aplenty--most notably the ship's owner with a bullet hole through his head. Strangely enough, Matilda and her niece are also on board that night...when someone tosses a gun over the railing. Does Perry Mason's client have something to hide?… (more)
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3.5* ( )
  leslie.98 | Jun 27, 2023 |
The Case Of The Dangerous Dowager (1937) (P. Mason #10) by Erle Stanley Gardner. The impetus for this tale is a young woman and her I.O.U.s. The notes are held onboard the gambling ship where she lost, and continued to lose, just about every time she set foot on the yacht. Reading this now the concept of a ship sitting 12 miles off the coast of California just for the purpose of gambling seems a bit extreme, but in the 1930’s there was no lottery, on-line gambling sites, or any of the modern ways to give away your money. Back then you really had to work at it.
The girl’s grandmother hires Mason to get the notes back. She’s a spunky no nonsense woman. You can tell because she smokes cigars, so don’t mess with her. And she is known to tote a firearm in her purse.
Most of the action takes place on the gambling ship. Mason and Drake go aboard, Drake posing as first a gambler and later as the young woman’s husband. Mason is more of the detective here, poking about and setting things into motion. When the man running the ship is killed both Mason and the young woman are implicated. The murder is a type of locked room puzzle, but with a variation.
The major problem with the I.O.U.s is that the granddaughter is about to divorce her less than savory husband and if he can prove she is a gambling addict (which she is) he can win custody of their son.
The girl is on the run, the husband is hiding out, at least one of Paul drake’s operative blabs info to the dirty press, and Mason himself is a fugitive from the law. Still this is no big deal for the brilliant and eloquent Perry Mason who handles everything that comes at him with style and panache and a great deal of good humor.
No courtroom in this one but it certainly doesn’t need one as this story is both entertaining and a lot of fun, ( )
  TomDonaghey | Dec 2, 2022 |
4/6/22
  laplantelibrary | Apr 6, 2022 |
The investigation in this book felt more than the usual degree of shady for this series, and there's a few really startling instances of casual racist banter thrown in for kicks. The gambling ship does make for an interesting setting, and I liked the solution, in the end, so that brings it back up to 3 stars for me. ( )
  duchessjlh | May 11, 2021 |
This wasn't the first Perry Mason I've read but it's the first I've read in donkey's years so I didn't know if I'd like it. Well I did. It was fast moving and the mystery was interesting and intricate. Incidentally, as I was reading, I pictured Mason as he was portrayed by the actor Warren William and not Raymond Burr. I don't have anything against Burr, I just like Warren William better.
https://warrenwilliam.com
I think he made a top notch Perry Mason. ( )
  MCDyson | Feb 23, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Erle Stanley Gardnerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Marber, RomekCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Perry Mason studied the white-haired woman with that interest which new clients always aroused.
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When Matilda Benson solicits the help of Perry Mason, her request seems simple enough: cruise to a gambling ship moored just beyond the twelve-mile limit and buy back the IOUs signed by Miss Benson's niece. But after Mason reaches the floating casino, he discovers problems aplenty--most notably the ship's owner with a bullet hole through his head. Strangely enough, Matilda and her niece are also on board that night...when someone tosses a gun over the railing. Does Perry Mason's client have something to hide?

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