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The Case of the Terrified Typist

(Perry Mason #49)

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  698 ratings  ·  49 reviews
Perry hires a temporary typist who flees in a panic, leaving behind a pair of diamonds hidden in a wad of chewing gum. Down the hall from Perry's office, a co-owner of a gem importing company has been charged in a smuggling scheme, and with murdering his accomplice. Mason agrees to defend the accused man, who would rather die than cooperate. And he just might--unless Mason ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 192 pages
Published March 12th 1987 by Ballantine (first published 1956)
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Average rating 3.76  · 
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 ·  698 ratings  ·  49 reviews

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Oct 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Modern word processing software with spellcheckers killed typewriters dead - and for a good reason too.
Another casualties of this were typists. Good and fast typists made decent money and were hard to find.
This is exactly what Perry Mason learned when he needed to submit a huge legal document
before the deadline at the time when one of his regular typists (not Della Street) was sick. The agency promised to send him one the moment somebody becomes available and as luck would have it a woman cam
Bailey Marissa
May 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2020, adult
This was fun as it had more anticipation than the tv adaption.

Recommended 14+ for language, theft, and mentions of an affair.
Dec 17, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, legal
#49 in the Perry Mason series. The terrified typist of the title was a young woman mistaken by Mason's staff for a typist from a temp agency. Her additions to the story are not fully developed and her major contribution may be in the alliterative title. This is no better than average for the series but there is a unique way in which Perry escapes a guilty murder verdict for his client.

Perry Mason series - Mason is in a quandary: one of his office typists is out sick and the other is too overwhel
Apr 01, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was on page 26 when I realized that I remembered the ending of this one!.... and that it hadn't been one of the better books in the series. I decided to keep reading and found it entertaining anyhow. Gardner sets up his gimmick nicely by starting his story with a little situation where Perry has Della call "the agency" to send over a typist and they make some unwarranted assumptions about the woman who shows up -- who turns out to be, among other things, a terrific typist.
Asra Ghouse
Jul 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: must-reads
There were two reasons why I badly wanted to read this book. Back in 2001, I was on this mission to complete the entire collection of Perry Mason series. This happened to be the only book that I couldn't get my hands on. Another reason being the result of a quiz I had taken on Perry Mason which said this case was... er... the most difficult of Perry's caes. (view spoiler)

Finally, in 2003 I got my hands on this book. To be honest, I wasn'
Jan 21, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Mae Wallace Jordan needs a place to hide. The building is swarming with cops. She steps into Perry Mason's office and is mistaken as the temporary typist the office is waiting for. Mae is a top-notch typist, so she goes along with the mistake. When she goes on her break she never comes back.

Perry has been hired to defend Duane Jefferson from the charge of murder of Monroe Baxter — whose body has never been found, along with some missing diamonds Baxter is suspected of stealing. Jefferson won't a
Kate Picher
Although I figured out how this story would end about half way through, kept reading for the Erle Stanley Gardner gems.

"Suppose you slip down to the powder room, Della, and see if perhaps our demon typist has a little flask in her purse and is now engaged in chewing on a clove."
"Also," Della Street said. "I'll take a whiff to see if I smell marijuana smoke."

Mason and Paul Drake speak of women so derogatively, it's a wonder Della isn't posting to the #metoo hashtag.

At any rate, the case took a wi
Sep 18, 2017 rated it it was ok
I didn't think this was a particularly strong Perry novel. The twist at the end was out of this world, sure, but the novel as a whole lacked oomph. Burger's case was weak all along. Perry did very little legal maneuvering, and hardly any extracurricular detective work outside the courtroom. The victim and defendant were both uninteresting. Just an odd novel all around. I guess ESG had a good idea for a great twist but didn't bother with thinking over the rest of the novel too intently!
Kieran McAndrew
Jan 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A case of mistaken identity leads Perry Mason into a cunning jewel theft from an office down the hall from his own. Hired to represent a murderer, Duane Jefferson, Mason must use all his detective skills to solve the crime, before an innocent man is convicted.

Gardner weaves an intricate mystery, which leaves readers both dumbfounded and impressed in equal measure at the resources of the great Perry Mason.
Daniel Ruwe
This is a decent pageturner, but the plot really makes no sense. Gardner definitely wrote better books.
Jul 27, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
My Rating System:
* couldn't finish, ** wouldn't recommend, *** would recommend, **** would read again, ***** have read again.
ends quite abruptly.. :(
Sandy Chris
Oct 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just when I thought it was all over for Perry Mason, the twist happens. Definitely a tough case.
Who doesn't like a nice Perry Mason mystery? There is no gore.
No violence. Not even very much mystery. They are soothingly
predictable and Perry Mason always wins!
Shyama Purnima
Sep 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty good. That was a clever plot!
Walt Carlson
Jan 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An exciting mystery, but the ending is more satisfying on reflection than in the moment.
Danny Reid
Feb 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wild entry sees Mason lose a case. I always love it when Mason hates his client, and this one is a doozy. Lots of fun twists and turns here.
Jack Heath
Synopsis: Perry's new typist flees in panic, leaving behind diamonds hidden in gum. Is it because of his latest client? Now he really needs her.
Mar 22, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
Why anyone would read this is a curiosity to me even as I read it. The characters are stiff as wood. The courtroom scenes are largely taken up with bickering about the rules of evidence. The stories are dated.

One character is asked if he can prove that he went to bed, and he announces with ruffled virtue, "Of course not, Mr. Mason, I am a single man! I sleep alone." Of course he is lyiung. Given that these books were written in the age of Mickey Spillane, that must have sounded silly even then.
Jan 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first Perry Mason book I've ever read and I was pleasantly surprised. I can remember when my parents used to watch Perry Mason (yes, I'm that old). Even though I really didn't watch the shows myself, they certainly gave me a background for reading this. I could easily visualize all the main characters (in black and white, of course) and I loved that. In this particular case, Perry is needing an extra typist and wants a really competant one. The woman that arrives is perfect and is busily plo ...more
Aug 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gardner-read
it's alright, although it's not one of Gardner's bests. The novel starts with breaking into one of the offices in Mason's building and a mysterious typist appearing out of nowhere. There're some plot twists and typical detective actions (Paul Drake); This time the lawyer is not directly involved in the murder and doesn't stumble upon more corpses each time he goes out. He doesn't even encounter either of homicide's officers to have their usual fight for justice. We don't get to know the defendan ...more
Oct 12, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Not terribly impressed by the first Erle Stanley Gardner mystery I've read. I'm sure there must be better ones to start with, though! But I picked this up by chance in a secondhand bookstore. As a paralegal in a law firm, I enjoy reading about the workaday details of running a firm in past times. As this story begins with a shift worked in Perry Mason's office by, apparently, a typist from an agency, there are plenty of such interesting details.

This was about the only thing I really liked about
Giri Dv
Nov 30, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Very very poor narrative. Highly confusing. Kincaid impersonates the defendant and gets indicted for murder. Why would anybody play an impersonation like that? What happened to Baxter? Is he really dead? If Kincaid killed him, why would he stick around and get arrested?

Many Perry Mason stories come with confusing narratives. You can easily lose track after some time. Ultimately you make some sense of the story. But this book seems to be worst of all.

Perry Mason books normally come with use of i
Aug 09, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: murder-mystery
I went through a Perry Mason binge many years ago. I know I missed some, though, and this must be one. It doesn't seem familiar, and I was immediately hooked.

This was good, not the best I ever read. Sure an eye-opener to be reminded of attitudes towards women and people from other countries that were openly practiced in the 1950's. I don't remember Gardner portraying Mason as a god who had to suffer through life with idiots, as he is in this book. Maybe I need to revisit this series, out of curi
Doug Dams
Oct 15, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Perry Mason finds a nervous typist in his office and when she suddenly vanishes he becomes curious. He discovers she was never hired by Stella and that diamonds are stuck under the desk she used, with chewing gum. Mason tries to find the owner of the diamonds and naturally ends up in court defending a man for murder. How the diamonds, the murder and the client are related all comes out in the courtroom. A good story.
Eman Aboulsaad
Oct 24, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-read
A star for the plot twist at the end, that's it. The characters sound like robots with a tendency to state the obvious while other somewhat unexplainable stuff are left unexplained. At times the dialogue sounds overly formal and I don't know why Perry Mason had to address Della at the end of every sentence almost every.single.time while talking to her. I only finished it because I don't like to leave books unfinished and it wasn't too long.
Feb 09, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebooks
I'd have never guessed the ending of this book. Right to the end it seems Mason has been bested for the first time. His client found guilty of first degree murder, then out of the blue it all changes.

The tension between Hamilton Burger (the DA) and Mason has been building up with Mason never losing and Burger constantly looking out for a way to make Mason lose over last 48 books. In this one it seemed that Burger had finally had his day.

This book was fun.
Jan 20, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fast read, but I found it irritating that the rivalry between Mason and DA Hamilton Burger was shown in such a way that made Burger look like a complete idiot. Not enough characterization, not even much in the way of odd quirks that made characters memorable, as in the last Gardner novel I read. An amusing read but fluffy. There was an interesting introduction about a pal of Gardner's who cleaned up a town in Texas. It was actually more interesting than the story in many respects.
Starting around 1956 the Perry Mason books seem to feature some "new fangled" invention that Gardner speaks about at length, like the "hi fi" or fancy tape recorders or foam rubber airplane seats. Dame in distress, of course, with plenty of other questionable dames with curves that match their motives. Gardner, who had as many as eight typists at once working for him and his mystery factory knew a thing about a gal who could make a keyboard fly.
Rebecca Fieler
Jan 27, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of my few memories of my great-grandmother was her watching episodes of Perry Mason over and over. Every so often you need a book that is quick and comfortable, and I guess that was it for me. I grew up with murder mysteries on TV, and sometimes it is nice to backtrack from the movie to the book.
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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

Other books in the series

Perry Mason (1 - 10 of 85 books)
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