The Case of the Velvet Claws

Perry marries Della and gives up criminal law, which is to say he’s shanghaied by a woman with a pistol and paid five grand to keep her name out of Spicy Bits, a “blackmailing rag” though the editor denies it, “do you smoke it or take it in the arm?” He sends Mason on his way.

“No hard feelings.”

“That’s what you think.”

The weak link is the publisher, a “millionaire stockbroker” with a reputation to uphold. The lady is his wife, the other man a candidate for the Legislature.

There is a nephew. Mason’s wedding night has “equilibrium” if nothing else.

J.T.M. of the New York Times described it floridly, “with catlike tread”, and may be supposed to have liked it.

Clemens is a wizard with a quiet, inward style that produces its effects almost unnoticeably, they include Warren William and Spudsy’s walk in travesty.

The case turns on beating a murder rap by suborning a witness.

Perry Mason in New York for the happy event, against a Chinatown gang of sorts (cf. Richard Thorpe’s The Scorpio Letters).

“The D.A.’s on the phone, Mr. Mason.”

“I’m going to have him defend me.”

On the way to night court against an annulment, Mason cracks the case.

“You’re out of your head.”

“No, it’s, uh, it’s just a cold.”

Blackmail and murder, murder and blackmail.


The Falcon Out West

The Texan who has more money than he knows how to count, dead of a rattlesnake in the Flamingo Club, New York City (cf. Dmytryk’s Murder, My Sweet).

Ex-wife, lawyer, bride-to-be, partner, right hand man, suspects.

The rare and extremely beautiful style subtly inculcates a working vacation.

Bosley Crowther of the New York Times, “the Falcon goes through his old routine of spotting the guilty one,” never a clue. David Parkinson (Radio Times), “not one of the best entries in the series.” TV Guide, “whodunit”. Hal Erickson (Rovi), “above-average”.