Sunday, June 23, 2019

The Case of the Shapley Shadow by Erle Stanley Gardner

Read between May 11th, 2019 and May 15th,2019
Read again between June 21st 2019 to June 23

Edition Details:
Format : Paperback
Page Count: 191
Publisher: Mastermind Books
ISBN:9788186734940
Cost: 95 rs
Series: Perry Mason #63


The Case of the Shapley Shadow by Erle Stanley Gardner
The Case of the Shapley Shadow by Erle Stanley Gardner


First Sentence:
Della Street, Perry Mason's confidential secreatary, opened the door of the lawyer's private office, then stood facing the lawyer, her shapley hips pressing the palms of her flattened hands against the door leading to the reception room.

Story:
Janice Wainright was Morley Theilman's secretary. She had come to Perry Mason's office because she was stuck in a conundrum.

Janice can be a pretty woman  but she is deliberately dressed in such a way that it makes her look very plain.

Perry Mason get's intrigued by it. In a world where every woman is trying to look as good as possible why would a beautiful girl would want to look less desirable. This thing interest here and agrees to give her his professional opinion.

According to Janice, her boss is being blackmailed by a person named A B Vidal. Now, her boss had given her a suitcase which she thought was full of money. She wanted to peek inside it but didn't know whether she had any right to do this. She now wants to take Perry's opinion in this matter.

Perry agrees and then one thing leads to another and he finds out that there is more than blackmail, which is going on here.

And then Morley Theilman is found, every body seems to think that Janice Wainright has committed the murder.

Perry takes this case and he knows if he needs to save his client he has to find out the truth. And the only thing that Perry knows right now is that the last time Morley Theilman was seen, he was being followed by a shapley shadow.

Who was A B Vidal? 
Why was he blackmailing Morely Theilman? 
Who murdered Morley? Ws it really Janice? 
Who was the shapely shadow that was following Morley?
Was Mason able to solve this riddle?
Had Janice really killed her boss? What was the truth?
Major Characters:
Perry Mason - A criminal Lawyer
Della Street - Perry's secretary
Janice Wainright - A woman that comes to Perry for consultation
Morley Theilman - A real estate developer and Janice's Boss.
A B Vidal - The person who was supposedly black mailing Theilman
Paul Drake - Detective at Drake Detective Agency
Cole B Troy - Business Associate of Morley Theilman
Smith - The trouble shooter at locker services
Orlando - The detective who had come to Drake Detective agency regarding A B Vidal
Day Dawns - Second Wife of Morley Theilman
Carlotta Theilman - First wife of Morley Theilman
Lieutenant Tragg - Los Angeles Homicide detective
Lieutanat Sophia - Las Vegas Homicide Detective
Lloyd L Seymour - Judge presiding the case
Hamilton Burger - District Attorney
Manlove P Ruskin - DA's assistant who was dealing with the case
Marcus - the meteorologist
Dr Lombard G Jasper -  Assisstant autopsy surgeon
Dudley Roberts - The cab driver
Louise Pickens - A police woman
Wilbur Kenny - News dealer
Lucille Rankin - owner of a store
Otto L Nelson - The guy who worked for the water supply company

My Take:

The case of Shapley Shadow is 63rd novel in the Perry Mason series by Erle Stanley Gardner. I enjoyed reading this book very much.

The story starts as a black mail case and then soon turns into a missing persons case which eventually turns into a murder. The book was able to hold my interest from the start. As a reader first i wanted to know who was blackmailing the businessman and why. When that thing is revealed then the murder happens and then my interest is in finding out who was the murderer. This mystery is maintained till the very end of the book which makes it a page turner.

Apart from the mystery the book also features great court room drama. We see Perry Mason tackling various hostile witnesses and finding holes in their testimonies. Perry in this case is not really aware of the real murderer till the last moment but he knows that if he could provide an alternative theory which fits the evidences then he can get his client free. So, he works in that direction. The way he shreds all circumstantial evidences into pieces is very fun to read.

In book's forward Mr Gardner says that he had dedicated this book to his friend Marshall Houts who has been working in the Medico legal field i.e in training medical experts to expertly give their opinions without falling for the courtroom techniques often employed by the lawyer. The book also has an instance where Perry Mason does exactly that. He renders Dr Jasper's testimony futile because the doctor is not equipped with dealing with the courtroom techniques. Thus the foreword is aptly written according to the story.

The characters of the book fit the story. Perry Mason, although likeable throughout the story, can become very unlikable during the law proceedings. He was very mean to Day Dawns and Dr Jasper. I knew what he was doing but it was a surprise seeing him like that. I have often seen these types of scenes played out in TV court room shows and movies and to tell you the truth at those times i have  hated those lawyers.

The equation between Della and Perry is also fun to read too. Their witty repartee's make the dialogues between them more enjoyable. I would like to see how does their relationship develops.

The book is an entertaining read from start to finish. The story line is taut and has lot of twists and red herrings The author is able to hide the mystery of the Shapley shadow from the reader till the very end, which makes it a very satisfactory read for me.

If you like good mysteries and a good court room drama, then you would not be disappointed by it.

My rating: 4.5/5

Have you read this book? If you have then what did you think of it?

If you haven't read the book then you can get it from the following link:
Paperback

I have read other works in Perry Mason series. You can read my thoughts about them by clicking on the link below:
Perry Mason


© विकास नैनवाल 'अंजान'

2 comments:

  1. I always wanted to read Erle Stanley garnder and the feeling got stronger after reading the review.good job, keep it up....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks a lot, Hitesh bhai. Erle Stanley Gardner writes entertaining mysteries. Do read his books. You wouldn't be disappointed.

      Delete

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