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The Case of the Deadly Toy

(Perry Mason #60)

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  588 ratings  ·  41 reviews
Toddler Robert, heir to Selkirk fortune, plays with his mother Lorraine's real gun outside, vanishes after his father Mervin is found shot. His accused ex-girlfriend Norda Allison, harassed by anonymous letters, finds address printing press in basement of Mervin's ex-wife and hires California lawyer Perry Mason to save her.
Paperback, 212 pages
Published July 5th 2000 by Fawcett (first published August 1st 1959)
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Average rating 3.83  · 
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 ·  588 ratings  ·  41 reviews

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Nov 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Norda Allison finally realized that her rich boyfriend Mervin Selkirk is a big jerk - to the point where no amount of money can justify marrying the guy.
She broke up with him and instantly gained a cold-blooded determined pissed off guy as a deadly enemy. She began receiving threatening letters and her male friend got his jaw shattered. On the other hand she gained support from Mervin's ex-wife Lorraine who was entangled with her ex in a bitter custody battle over their kid.

Lorraine invited No
May 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
A solid, exciting Perry Mason mystery with the usual ingredients and scenario, but it is so well-served that I don't mind.

More detailed review to come.
Richard Gazala
Jun 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Erle Stanley Gardner's "The Case of the Deadly Toy" is a typical Perry Mason mystery, and that's a very good thing. The story is solidly written, and filled with interesting characters. It's also crafted with enough wry humor and clever plotting to hold a reader's interest, and keep her guessing about the plot's final twist till the story's end. Quite a story it is, too -- liberally spiced with gritty "noir" elements as well as Gardner's trademark courtroom theatrics, the mystery tale features a ...more
Kieran McAndrew
Jul 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Norda Allison breaks off her engagement with Mervin Selkirk after she sees him beat his son, Robert. Shortly thereafter, Selkirk is found dead after breaking Allison's new boyfriend's jaw. Perry Mason is called on to defend her.

Gardner's clever plotting carries the story towards its thrilling courtroom denouement. Mason and Street sparkle on the page, elevating what otherwise would be somewhat shallow characterisation.
Aug 24, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
There were some very jarring discrepancies in this book. I wondered if Gardner got confused himself while thinking it out. Lots of emotional stuff considering a child features in it. The solution was very obvious according to me.
Aug 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
One of the good late novels in Gardner's career. This one was written in 1959, after the TV series had become a huge hit. Gardner was never especially good as drawing vivid characters (except Perry and Della over time), but in the later books (after, say, 1955) he almost gives up. The writing is quite spare and lacks most any descriptive phrases. Nonetheless, the amazing plots remain, and that's why one reads Perry Mason stories. I rate this one "very good". It's not as good as "The Waylaid Wolf ...more
Dec 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, legal
#58 in the Perry Mason series. A custody issue for a seven year old boy eventually ends up as a murder trial. There are some side issues with baby sitters, kidnapping and eye-witness identification to flesh out the plot. And the boy's wealthy grandfather swears out a complaint against Perry Mason - with DA Hamilton Burger only too happy to cooperate.

Perry Mason series - When Norda Allison saw her husband-to-be slap his young son, she immediately called off the wedding. Now she is terrified. Her
Dec 29, 2011 rated it liked it
Not my favorite Perry Mason adventure. There are plot twists and red herrings, but compared with Agatha Christie and PD James, they seem clumsy and awkwardly obvious. The best part of any Mason story are the legal tricks used, which keep the attorney out of trouble with the bar and the hounds of the law safely baying after the truth. That said, I love the characters, the setting (1950's Los Angeles) and the thought that there is such a thing as an ethical lawyer.
Vincent Darlage
Jul 01, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
Not bad. What I thought happened, Perry explored, but turned out to be a false trail, so ESG managed to surprise me somewhat. Still, I had the murderer pegged fairly early in the novel, which is unusual for one of these for me.
Aug 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, clean-reads
Content - A good old mystery without too much other stuff mucking up the plot.

Mechanics - Love how he sticks to the point - it's a mystery, not something else.

Squeaky Clean? - Some cussing.
Rupesh Goenka
Jul 15, 2016 rated it liked it
Perry Mason is an intelligent trickster who baffles the witnesses on their own statement during the cross examination in the courtroom. FIRST-RATE MURDER MYSTERY.
Carl Buehler
Jul 27, 2017 rated it liked it
I am on a weird quest. Realizing that I had never actually read one of Erle Stanley Gardner's Perry Mason books I looked them up. I knew there were a lot of them, turns out there are 82 original Perry Mason novels (he wrote lots of other non-Mason books, as well) including two that were published posthumously. Soooo, liking a reading challenge I got on my Library's web site and ordered a copy of 1933's The Case of the Velvet Claws.

A few years later and I am still at it, the books from the 60's
Christopher Taylor
Aug 06, 2017 rated it liked it
This was a fun mystery, pretty solid Perry Mason from Gardner's middle career where I think he wrote his best work. There's a bit of misdirection, but its more or less straight up, and unlike some of his earlier books, Mason isn't doing anything outrageously illegal that would have gotten him disbarred long ago.

The mystery involves a wealthy heir, a shooting, and a stalked ex-fiancee caught up in a tangle of cruelty and arrogance. Mason actually isn't as active in this case as he is in some, he'
Ashwin Dongre
Sep 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Good story. You almost know all the time who the real murder is, however you keep expecting that it can not be so obvious one (at least I did). Besides you have to keep reconstructing the chain of events. However, the court scene is very good, specilly the fast one Mason pulls over senior Selkirk. :D

A good plot with a learning. Do read it.
James Vest
May 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Mason goes through a gauntlet of villainy—from father to son to DA—in his relentless hunt for the truth. Every twisting turn reveals another detail that puts together an elaborate tapestry of events that only Erle Stanley Gardner could have woven together.
Brandy B. Stark
Jul 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Fun read in Rome. Love me some good old fashioned pulpy .Perry mason is awesome, as always. Go for it!
Trudy Pomerantz
So many grey-eyed people.
Jul 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
The only problem with this book is the prosecution’s case is notoriously weak.
May 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Although, I've seen almost every Perry Mason (1957-66) episode, the book was better than the actual episode (Season 2, Episode 27; some of the characters' names were changed). It was just as funny.
Michael Brown
Sep 19, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: series-reading
A few unanswered questions but Holcomb still incompetent, Trask quiet and efficient, Burger out of his league and the Mason crew running around doing all kinds of mayhem.
Jul 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Saturday morning, Perry Mason and his secretary, Della Street, are in the office catching up on work. They are interrupted by Norda Allison, who is seeking Perry’s assistance. She has a story and a problem which Perry thinks may be simple. It turns out to be simply complicated.

Norda has been receiving envelopes containing news articles about couples who had split up. In each case, the man couldn’t stand it and wound up killing the woman with a gun. Norda feels they are coming from the man she ha
Mar 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, series, legal
Very good book. Norda Allison breaks her engagement when she sees her fiancee slap his seven year old son very hard for a minor infraction. She starts receiving anonymous news clippings about jilted men hurting/killing the women who left them. Her ex-fiancee beats up her new boyfriend. Then the ex-fiancee is found dead and Norda is arrested for his murder. Luckily, she's got Perry Mason defending her! Good legal drama. Horrifyingly, the "deadly toy" refers to the REAL (but "unloaded") gun that f ...more
Wendy Howard
Perry Mason takes on the case of a woman being stalked by her ex-fiance. She travels from San Francisco to Los Angeles to talk to his ex-wife, who had previously warned her about him, and things take a turn for the worse.

I really enjoyed this book from the 1960s, it was an engaging short read which I recommend. It doesn't matter that this is the 61st title in the series, it stands alone perfectly well.
Sep 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
For those like myself, who are Earle Stanley Gardner fans, this book is pure joy. Perry Mason does it again. Interestingly, 1958 criminal law is quite different than it is today, so the 'surprise witness by the prosecution would not occur, nor the surprise evidence. This one, as many of his others, was made into a television show, and I remember seeing it, possibly more than once! Always a good read.
A child fascinated with real guns, due to his obsession with "pistol shows" on tv from the wild, wild west. Did he kill his father...or Rover, the Great Dane? Paul Drake continues to drape himself over chairs, eat soggy hamburgers while Perry and Della dine on cocktails and steak. There is a self-aware broad with knowing curves (in every book,) and the usual prolonged courtroom scene where Gardner could always use a heavy-handed editor. I read a first edition. Rather beat up library copy.
Christine Kayser
Feb 09, 2013 rated it liked it
I forgot how much I liked Perry Mason books! I found this one at a used book sale years ago. Finally started reading it during the readathon, and just finished it. It was a typical murder mystery with a twist.

My favorite part was realizing that my time spent reading Perry Mason novels as a teenager probably directly contributed to my love of Law & Order as an adult.
Stephen Osborne
Feb 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Good Perry Mason mystery, with all the elements you expect. I somehow doubt that the bullet would have stayed in the dog (fired nearly point blank!) but I'm glad the pooch was okay. Kill a dog, lose a star in the review. Those are the rules, sorry. Some nice legal tricks, which, well, it wouldn't be a Perry Mason without.
Feb 01, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: cannot-finish
I gave up. Theses were vintage paperbacks so I like them for my collection, but the content of the story was too boring I gave up about a 34rd of the way. I got other ones also at the same time, but will keep for display only. I never liked the show and the books are as bad also.
Fredrick Danysh
Feb 04, 2014 rated it liked it
Norda Allison broke off her engagement where she discovered how sadistic her ex-fiance was. After he stalks her and is the killed, she goes on trial for his murder. Perry Mason and his team have to take on a rich and powerful family to get to the truth. A good courtroom procedural.
Feb 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
A good time pass. As for the mystery, after reading so many of mystery books, it was not one. At the same time, the book delivers all what we expect from Perry Mason book though the court room part was bit less.
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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)
  • The Case of the Velvet Claws (Perry Mason, #1)
  • The Case of the Sulky Girl (Perry Mason, #2)
  • The Case of the Lucky Legs (Perry Mason, #3)
  • The Case of the Howling Dog (Perry Mason, #4)
  • The Case of the Curious Bride (Perry Mason, #5)
  • The Case of the Counterfeit Eye (Perry Mason, #6)
  • The Case of the Caretaker's Cat (Perry Mason, #7)
  • The Case of the Sleepwalker's Niece (Perry Mason, #8)
  • The Case of the Stuttering Bishop (Perry Mason, #9)
  • The Case of the Dangerous Dowager (Perry Mason, #10)

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