The Case Of The Runaway Corpse-Erle Stanley Gardner (1954)

erle

Another good entry in the Perry Mason series. Some great characters in this one and there’s even a nice D.A. to challenge Perry.

Two women with twenty minutes to catch a plane come into Perry’s office. One is the mousy Mrs.Myrna Davenport and the other is the aggressive Sarah Ansel. Sarah says Myrna’s husband Ed is stealing her money and also accusing her of trying to kill him. He even wrote a letter to be delivered to the authorities if he dies.

Perry agrees to go to Ed’s mountain home and retrieve the letter. He and Della go to the house. Perry uses a penknife to break into a locked desk. He finds a lockbox and breaks into that and retrieves an envelope marked to be delivered to authorities upon Ed’s death.

He steams it open. Inside are just six blank sheets of paper. He reseals it. In walks Ed’s secretary Mabel Norge. She thinks they broke in and calls the cops. The cop takes the envelope.

As things move along Myrna is suspected of poisoning her husband’s niece. She’s a gardener and has packets of cyanide around. Sarah spots her digging a hole and burying the packets. Later Ed is ill in a motel. A doctor treated him for cyanide poisoning. Ed dies. If he’s really dead why was he spotted going through a window and getting into a car and driving away?

Myrna is arrested and charged with his murder and also the murder of the niece. Perry has some fun back and forth with an aggressive small town D.A. Later he meets up with another D.A. who is anxious to challenge Perry in court. The two have a friendly relationship.

In court Sarah is a great character. Not someone you would want to be around but fun to read about it. The solution isn’t easy to figure out. The book moves quickly and is very enjoyable.

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About vintage45

I'm a big fan of vintage books,movies,TV shows and music. I encourage everyone to patronize your local used book/record store and pick up some of the good stuff. My posts are capsule reviews of some favorites that you may want to investigate. The albums posted aren't really reviews but items from my collection that are still available. I try and point out highlights of each one and let the music speak for itself. Thanks to all for checking out the blog.
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