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The Case of the Queenly Contestant

(Perry Mason #78)

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  406 ratings  ·  29 reviews

Twenty years ago, Ellen Adair took first prize in a beauty contest. Yet she hides a secret from those glory days. It seems Ellen was involved in an illicit affair with the son of a rich tycoon--a liaison that yielded an illegitimate heir. Now that the father's fortune is up for grabs, Ellen is ready to spill the beans so her son can collect the cash.

But c
Mass Market Paperback, First Ballantine Books Edition, 182 pages
Published February 1994 by Ballantine Books (first published January 1st 1967)
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Feb 22, 2018 rated it liked it
A woman in her forties with queenly air (see the title) came to Mason's office asking him to protect her privacy. To make a long story short she grew up in the middle of Nowhere, California - or wherever Nowhere is.
She won a beauty contest with the prize being Hollywood tryouts. She did not make it big, but completely disappeared from her hometown. Twenty years later the local paper decided to do a feature on her under the title Where Are They Now?
Where Are They Now?
She absolutely did not want to appear in there
Woody Chandler
Aug 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I got one of the most beaten-up books 📖 ever for $1.50 + S&H so I glued & pressed it back into serviceability. This was a late-life ESG & his devolvement into formulaity showed. Still, it was the type of thing that drew me like a moth to a flame in watching PM reruns as a kid with my late maternal grandmother. A fascination with the books 📚 grew out of it & while I was sometimes in over my head with them as a kid, now it was a quick nostalgic journey!
Vincent Darlage
Dec 15, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I enjoyed this entry to the series. Perry is faced with a liar for a client, and the resolution of the case was quite interesting.
Christopher Taylor
Jun 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was a great entry in the Perry Mason series, one of his best. I'd love to see this one turned into a film, but it would have to be a period piece.

Perry's case this time is with a woman who wants to reveal nothing but asks much, and Perry as always is curious enough to bite. The case really goes in some unexpected directions and it truly had me guessing and surprised repeatedly. The final court scene somehow manages to be riveting while being a fairly straight forward procedure, largely beca
Nov 28, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Another case with a lying client. In this one, Mason didn't want to be in it. One of the cases in which the prosecution gave Mason the lucky break.
I found this narrative a bit repetetive... Mason and Tragg keep repeating their theories unnecessarily. Looks like this book was written to meet deadlines.
Sharon Barrow Wilfong
Feb 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Typical fun read with Perry Mason and his sidekick Della Street. No spoilers!

A woman with a regal baring comes to Mason to retain him. She tells him that the newspaper for her local town wants to find her whereabouts and she at all costs wants to remain anonymous.

Twenty years ago she left her small town after winning a beauty contest and headed for Hollywood. Life did not go as planned and for reasons she's not willing to divulge even to her lawyer she is desperate to keep the newspaper and the
Mar 20, 2018 rated it liked it
I've been reading Gardner's Perry Mason books for many years. Those who are used to really fine mystery writers (in the literary sense) may find Gardner's writing style a bit dry, and the dialog a bit unrealistic. Nonetheless, I still love the general setting: the characters of Perry, Della, Paul, Lt. Tragg, and Hamilton Berger. That, and the ingenious plots, are why I read Perry Mason.

On the whole, the ones written by about 1953 are the best. This is one of the very last, from 1967.

A good looki
Rob Smith, Jr.
Oct 05, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2018
This Perry Mason entry has a number of flaws. One is the conclusion, which is mighty far flung. Frustrating to learn Gardner's wrap-up after going through endless dialogue that repeats itself. Before this i read a Reginald Hill Dalzeil and Pascoe novel where Hill rarely repeats what is going on and the clues are often presented cushioned in other information. After that the repetition of what is going on is more than irritating in such a slim novel.

Besides the usual cast there are only a few ext
Kieran McAndrew
Jun 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A woman with a troubled past asks Perry Mason to put the brakes on a newspaper report on a "Where Are They Now?" piece, which may uncover a secret she'd prefer remains hidden. In the course of his case, blackmail and murder inevitably follow and her life is now on the line.

An interesting plot from Gardner, with a solid sense of drama and a dark sense of humour pervades the text, especially in the interactions of the ensemble of characters.
Robert A Keene
Oct 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was my 72 out of the 85 Perry Mason books I have read. I really enjoyed the story but as usual his new client, the ex beauty queen Ellen Adair, tells lies that Perry must wade through to defend his client and try to get her off the murder rap.
Shawn Hyde
Jun 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Excellent novel from a super author.
AJ Wright
May 06, 2020 rated it liked it
One of the last Perry Mason novels, certainly not up to the standards of the early decades, but's Perry Mason! ...more
More twists and turns than a roller coaster at Six Flags, the final third of the book (the courtroom scenes) was really good, and I still didn't figure out ahead of time who committed the crime. Note that the forensic details probably raised eyebrows in the 1960's (but are nothing compared to today's over-the-top graphic content) and does contain several instances of mild profanity. ...more
Book collector
Aug 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
There are too many books to do individual reviews for so this is an author overview really. The star rating will give an idea of my feelings on the individual books.

Erle Stanley gardner was one of my father's favourite writers. He had a virtually full collection of the books. I was aware of the books mainly through the TV series of Perry Mason but started to read the novels shortly before my father passed away. Since then I've read all of the books and enjoyed them. I can't say gardner is a favo
Jan 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: legal, mystery
#78 in the Perry Mason series. A small town newspaper's "where are they 20 years later?" feature threatens to expose the whereabouts of former beauty contest winner Ellen Adair. Ellen hires Perry to stop the newspapers inquiries but when it transpires that her illegitimate son may be entitled to a $2 million inheritance she changes her tune and wants Perry to support her claim. The son was given up at birth but the attending nurse is in a position to support her claim (and has been blackmailing ...more
Les Anderson
Jul 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
When Lt. Tragg first came on the scene many novels ago, I thought it was good to have a police officer that was smart and fair, unlike the previous Sgt. Holcomb. Unfortunately, his portrayal has been somewhat inconsistent. Most of the time, like here, he's affable and pleasant, willing to listen to and help Perry Mason in the interest of justice. There have been a few instances where he becomes difficult, more to serve the story, I think, than anything else. I really, really like the fair, just ...more
Oct 24, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is another interesting case to be solved by Perry Mason. In this one, a beautiful woman with a queenly and stately air consults him to help keep her whereabouts hidden. The woman refuses to give Perry much information but Perry helps her. In the meantime, he discovers that she was once in love with a man whose father owned the largest company in her city. She became pregnant and the son is sent abroad in hopes that the romance with be thwarted. It is and she disappears, taking another name ...more
The book was published in 1967, so one can suspect (without further evidence to the contrary) that he was writing of contemporary times, but the book reads dated. The illegitimate son of Ellen Adair (Perry's client) is supposed to be a young bon vivant, yet you could easily picture him driving a roadster and going to the tea house with Nancy Drew and her boyish chums. In fact, when he is hiding the fact from Perry that he has a young woman in his house, I thought the "reveal" would be that he wa ...more
Annie Harris
Aug 05, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Perry Mason Fans- you know who you are.
Every Perry Mason book is pretty much exactly the same. Perry is always looking for people to put their cards on the table- and then start flipping them over. His client will try and get things settled in his own mind. Paul Drake, his personal private detective, will always shoot strait from the hip. What makes the books interesting is the plot- ingenious, clever and well-laid out so you can keep things strait in your mind. Perry will always do a grand-stand at the last minute, but in this book ...more
Ренета Кирова
"Случаят с кралицата на красотата и богатия наследник" на Ърл Стенли Гарднър е ретро криминале. Много ми харесва Пери Мейсън и неговите методи на действие за разкриване на престъпленията. детективските си умения комбинира с адвокатската си практика. Ще прочета и останалите за Пери Мейсън. ...more
Feb 05, 2014 rated it liked it
I read a different addition with a cover from the 60s with a beauty queen on the cover!

I enjoyed this book. This was my first Perry Mason mystery. What I liked most about the book was Perry Mason's sense of humor and the good ending of the story. This was a nice and fast read.
Laura Roberts
Apr 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
Perry Mason does it again. How DOES he manage to get himself into these messes, anyway? This beauty pageant winner is up to no good... or is she? Perry Mason's on her like a fat man on chocolate. Read it for yourself to see how it all shakes out! ...more
Joe O'Connor
Aug 28, 2009 rated it liked it
Very Good; Continuing character: Perry Mason; former beauty queen comes to Mason first to help her keep from having her identity found and then to help her collect on ex-boyfriend's estate.
Feb 03, 2011 rated it liked it
a good perry mason!
Shalet Jimmy
Dec 28, 2014 rated it it was ok
My first Perry Mason...Will go for more...
Mar 31, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
sappy ending
Nov 01, 2013 rated it liked it
1967 and ESG could still razzle and dazzle. Not the first Perry Mason book I'd recommend, but not a bad one, either. ...more
Jul 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
One of the best works of Gardner...
rated it really liked it
Mar 23, 2014
rated it it was amazing
Aug 06, 2013
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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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