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The Case of the Crooked Candle

(Perry Mason #24)

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  553 ratings  ·  49 reviews
Time and Tide... it takes only a minute for Perry Mason to win a hefty accident settlement from a fur company that doesn't want to appear in court. But it takes a little longer than that for Mason to start wondering why the company is buying large tracts of land outside of Los Angeles.

On his way to finding out, Mason meets Mrs. Milfield, a barely distraught widow, and a sl
Mass Market Paperback, Fourth Printing, 233 pages
Published April 1992 by Ballantine Books (first published June 1940)
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Jan 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It all started like a normal fender bender (I am not sure the term was in use at the time the book was written). A track hit a passenger car. Both drivers stopped and the one from the passenger car wrote down the name of the company that owned the truck. The moment he started to write truck's license plate its driver grabbed the paper with it and escaped in a hurry. Mason became curious about the incident and managed to get a large chunk of money for the accident victim - much bigger than reason ...more
Stephen Osborne
I do enjoy these old, moldy Perry Mason mysteries, and I'm not sure why. Maybe because they're simple (in a way, certainly not plot-wise). Mason is always straight-up and forthright, always ready to stand up for the underdog. And there's Della, his faithful puppy...I mean, secretary. And Tragg, and Hamilton Burger, and Paul Drake...they never change. So I guess they're cosy. And I love those courtroom scenes. Soooo dramatic!
And can you figure out whodunit? Sure! It's not rocket science! All you
``Laurie Henderson
I remember my parents watching the old "Perry Mason" series reruns when I was growing up so I was looking forward to actually reading my first Perry Mason book. I wasn't disappointed either! The action starts from the first page and doesn't let up till the last one. A very astute lawyer, Perry Mason is able to overcome all obstacles saving his innocent client from a wrongful conviction of murder. His foe, the vengeful prosecuting attorney, Hamilton Burger, who just wants to finally win one case ...more
Aug 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought Perry Mason books were out of print. The only Perry Mason books I have read are either online or by buying ancient yellowed/browned pages paperbacks from second hand book stores. This was the only book of Perry Mason that I found on the Readings website, so it was immediately in my cart. I was really craving some Mason style legal thriller so I completed this one in one evening. While it was a work night, I couldn't help but continue reading late into the night to finish it.
El (book.monkey)
I feel like I'll be reading a lot more of Gardner's Books.this was fantastic it kept my brain whirling but didn't over inform me and just make me bored :)
THE CASE OF THE CROOKED CANDLE. (1944). Erle Stanley Gardner. ***.
In this case for Perry Mason, he uncovers a gambit on the part of several prominent business and financial leaders to buy up land for an intended use for grazing sheep. The land apparently doesn’t have any value beyond that as far as the owners are concerned. They begin to get suspicious, however, when the investors begin to offer bonuses over and above the offered purchase price. Mason suspects that there is value on the land rel
Oct 09, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I've been reading Gardner's Perry Mason books off and on for many years. Many years ago, I was an intense fan of the series, and read them all, at least once. Now, after a lot of water over the dam, I'm looking at them again.

Those who are used to really fine mystery writers (with the emphasis on "writer"), such as Ross Macdonald, may find the writing style here off-putting. It can be stiff and mechanical. Nonetheless, I still love the general setting: the characters of Perry, Della, Paul, Lt. Tr
James Hold
Apr 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
From the Perry Mason show we learned that TV-Tragg is an incompetent boob, albeit an extremely smug one, who never once arrests the correct person. How the man kept his job is the biggest mystery in the series. DA Burger at least won half his cases since Mason handed him the real murderer on a silver platter. Book-Tragg is a very different character. He thinks nothing of holding people in custody and violating their constitutional rights and has no problem with illegal search and seizure. His me ...more
Oct 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent one among all the perry mason series ! The way he knocked out the case just by judging on a candle's angle is just brilliant. It gives a different feel while reading about the world where less electronic equipments but more IQ and logic is involved in solving a case ! Loved it thoroughly !
Nov 11, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While most mysteries novels are Meh, IMO! Perry Mason turned out to contain a totally outside-the-box aspect to mystery novella. Not to forget that Perry Mason is a lawyer and not your traditional PI.

The Case of the Crooked Candle remains to be my all time favorite of the few Perry Mason novels I've read.
Kunal Sen
Oct 18, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
one of his toughest cases. everything's got to do with the timing of the tides and the position of the dead body. And yes, also the extent of the candle's burning. mason's reconstruction of the crime scene is the pivotal part of the novel, described to the last painstaking detail.
May 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While I waited for Amazon to deliver the next bundle of books, I looked through the extensive library of Perry Mason books my father amassed 40 years ago and I added to 15 years ago. There was a time I frequently took the train to Ernakulam from Kottayam and routinely bought a Perry Mason from the vendor at the station. I don’t think I have read a Perry Mason in the last 12 years or so and it was fun to revisit. Though I remember the plot in several of his stories, my mind was blank about this o ...more
Oct 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a fun installment of the Perry Mason series. The plot is well-constructed and intricate but can be sorted out if you pay attention carefully. (I did not quite achieve that so I have to admit I found it a bit complicated). Anyway, you have the usual cast of characters playing their usual roles, including the pseudo-romantic connection between Perry and Della.

One plot device which does not quite work for me is how the police once again suspect Mason of being a criminal. Given his reputatio
Jun 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This Perry Mason mystery was quite interesting. These all have some of the same elements: a murder, several people who look guilty, some schemers (men and women) and a few twists and turns. I like reading these now for all the details that smack of days gone by. Descriptions that are from another time. They get into an elevator and there is some commentary about an elevator operator who is so new at the job that he can't stop at the floors properly. What would now be called a legal pad is descr ...more
Jun 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the earlier books in the Mason series, Della is more subordinate and secretarial here. It might be one of the books where Della's role gradually changes. The mystery in itself was rather complicated, what with so many nautical terms playing a major role. Finally, as always, the solution is oh so simple!
This is the third book that I have read so far, which has a murder on a yacht. Makes one wonder if Gardner became a yatchsman around the time these books were written!
Rick Rapp
My goodness, the TV version with Raymond Burr et al made quite an impression on this reader's mind. Throughout the whole novel, I kept hearing the voices of Burr, Barbara Hale, William Hopper, and all the other regulars. The mystery had some good moments, but the discussion of tides and angles went on too long for my taste. Still, a nice diversion.
Sandy Chris
Sep 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Only Erle Stanley Gardner could manage to get in that angle of the crooked candle and tides into this complicated murder mystery. Brilliant, as usual.
Alice Neilson
Dated but quick and interesting. Got quite detailed when they were accounting for the times of the tides. Liked the Candle idea.
Kedar Padhye
Sep 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Story handling is bit different. It kept disconnecting me from the flow.
Vitasta Chaturvedi
I was going to read something else other than Perry Mason this time. But, I was watching a serial named "Daredevil" ( I'm sure many of you have seen it), and "Perry Mason" was quoted. <3 I was so happy to see that he is so known for his techniques to miraculously save his clients. So, I again ended up with reading him again. :)
Now, in this book, a car is hit by a truck carrying Karakul Sheep. The truck driver refuses to let the card driver take down the license number. When, the car driver re
Susan Ferguson
May 09, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013, mystery
A Perry Mason mystery. Perry Mason's relationship with Della is a bit more ambiguous in the stories than it was in the television series. Mason is fiercely protective of Della and she insists on going along on his investigations. This time he becomes casually involved with a couple who approach him because of an accident the husband was involved in. When Paul starts checking, the name of the company on the side of the truck doesn't exist and the driver of the truck took the license number away f ...more
Oct 25, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: mysteries
I guess because I had watched many of the TV shows and heard so much about Gardner’s writing my expectations were quite high and this missed it. The plot was good enough. The characters were as bland as chalk. Mason was perfect, and nearly clairvoyant. Burger and underling were pointlessly petty and ridiculously stupid. Della was blindly worshipful, and perpetually ready. The Client is an obnoxious liar, but oh so smart. Every conversation was rife with double meanings and pointe
Aug 14, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: legal
#24 in the Perry Mason series. A superior entry, Mason depends on logic more than on courtroom pyrotechnics to free his client. Jacques Barzun and Wendell Hertig Taylor include this in their collection of Fifty Classics of Crime Fiction, 1900-1950.

Perry Mason is hired by Carol Burbank to prove her father did not kill a business associate on his yacht. Facts in the case point to Carol and/or her father as the killer, but after clearing Carol of subornation of perjury charge, Mason is able to unra
Oct 25, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
Perry does it again, this time using tide charts and geometry. Literary Perry is much grittier than TV Perry: he ruthlessly gets a large settlement for an accident victim, gets an outsized price for a property sale, and takes on the DA's office in ways you'll never see him deal with Hamilton Burger on the tube. Perry and Della have an deep (though not detailed) romance going on. Perry even has a moment of respectful sharing of information with Lt. Tragg.

It's easy to see why the screenwriters ed
Apr 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Pretty good mystery - though when it comes right down to it, a bit more obvious than most Perry Mason stories.

Perry describes just how far his occasionally-mentioned associate Jackson takes his need for precedent.
Brief mention of the butter rationing during wartime.
Clients attempting to be more clever than Perry.
Underdog gets a payday!

None really, this book moved along at a nice clip and introduced me to some nautical realities I hadn't been aware of before (or, mor
The copy I read was actually Grosset & Dunlop, 1944, but it wasn't showing on the list, and I'm tired of having to scan book covers and enter data on them. This novel was used for the television show in the early 1950's. One aside. It had a diagram of the yacht and where the corpse was located, including blood stains and crooked candles. Note: the candle was crooked due to low tide and the yacht shifting in low water. Periodically, Mason gets romantic and asks Della to marry him, and she alw ...more
Nov 02, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'd never read a single Perry Mason mystery (or watched a single episode of the TV series), but after I finished all of Raymond Chandler's novels and short stories, I moved on to his letters and discovered that he (Chandler) was a very fussy reader with exacting tastes about mystery novels. Chandler had negative things to say about almost every mystery writer out there. But, he LOVED Erle Stanley Gardner's Perry Mason novels--so I decided to give one a try. It was very fast-paced (the storyline ...more
Jun 14, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-thriller
This is another fun mystery by Erle Stanley Gardner. In this mystery the murder occurs on a yacht anchored offshore. The questions are who did the murder and why, when was the murder committed, and how does one prove the answers to any of these questions. The answers are in the times of the tides, the tilt of the yacht when it becomes mired in the mud, and where the body fell when the murder was committed. The crooked candle offers an important clue. Then Perry Mason conducts an experiment on th ...more
Jan 01, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
This Perry Mason mystery from the 1940s has some interesting twists and turns. However, it is not one of the more stellar stories from this era which is the golden era of the Perry Mason mysteries since the characters and the plot are not as well developed as in others. The story alludes to the ongoing World War, but really fails to deal with it since the War explains some of the events in the story; of course someone reading the book when it was issued would know that, while a later reader migh ...more
Mar 02, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyable and not noticeably dated with regard to the lack of mobile phones, DNA testing and the like, though the casual racism was a little unsavoury. The plot worked though the solution was somewhat rushed and presented in a 'this was what the witness told the police' way by Mason to his associates. Publishing deadline looming? Also, two key characters had very similar names without the inevitable confusion being a plot device - I doubt a modern author would even try to get away with that. Hav ...more
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Erle Stanley Gardner was an American lawyer and author of detective stories who also published under the pseudonyms A.A. Fair, Kyle Corning, Charles M. Green, Carleton Kendrake, Charles J. Kenny, Les Tillray, and Robert Parr.

Innovative and restless in his nature, he was bored by the routine of legal practice, the only part of which he enjoyed was trial work and the development of trial strategy. I

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