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The Case of the Horrified Heirs

(Perry Mason #73)

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  724 ratings  ·  44 reviews
WITNESS FOR THE DECEASED...

Virginia Baxter is the only witness still living who can vouch for the authenticity of Lauretta Trent's will. Lauretta Trent, a wealthy widow, is also still living. But for how long? someone has been peppering the spicy food Lauretta loves with arsenic. Could it be the same someone who tried framing Virginia Baxter for drug smuggling?

Lauretta Tre
...more
Mass Market Paperback, 192 pages
Published August 30th 1995 by Fawcett (first published June 2nd 1964)
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Average rating 3.81  · 
Rating details
 ·  724 ratings  ·  44 reviews


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Gene
Feb 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
A rich woman Lauretta Trent was recovering in a hospital while in her house full of relatives they were waiting for her to make her final departure. After all what can be better than to get one's greedy hands on a pile of money that can be had without any effort whatsoever? Nothing.
Money
One of the people in the house finally got a brilliant idea to help send Lauretta Trent to her final destinations as unfortunately for practically everybody she was not in a big rush. Arsenic to the rescue! It is a w
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Melindam
Nov 03, 2014 rated it liked it
It is one of the later Perry Mason books, written in the 1960s and it shows. Maybe ESG was already getting tired of his creation or bored writing these books(?).

The usual quick-paced, tense, straightforward & action-packed storyline is there with even less embellishments then usual, hardly any descriptions or dialogues that do not relate to the plot. - Possibly ESG & Perry Mason are to blame for the fact that I just cannot stomach the long-winded crime mysteries of today where it's all descript
...more
Sharon Ouderkirk
This novel is not one of the better ones, and it lacks the clever excitement of some of the earlier books, but it is largely redeemed by a surprise ending. Virginia Baxter is being set up to be arrested on drug charges. She doesn't know why she is being framed, and calls on Perry Mason to help her. Together, they deduce that the matter is connected to her former role as a legal secretary to a deceased lawyer; more specifically, she is the witness to the Will of a wealthy woman, Lauretta Trent, w ...more
Alyson
Aug 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
I really like this Perry Mason book, and I think (no spoilers!) one piece of the plot makes it absolutely unique among PM books!

I can't say anything else without giving stuff away, but it is an enjoyable mystery, and a bit different (in more than one way) from other Perry Mason mysteries. The defendant is likeable and moderately well developed, and Perry executes some very clever maneuvers to solve the case.

Though this is a later book, ESG's antiquated opinion on the stereotypical weaknesses of
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Bob
Mar 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
I've been reading Gardner's Perry Mason books off and on for many years. Those who are used to really fine mystery writers (in the literary sense), 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. 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 th
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Anthony
Perry Mason defends a young woman framed for dope smuggling, but once cleared, Mason discovers that his client has been used as a pawn and now she faces a charge of murder.
Sharon Barrow Wilfong
Dec 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Virginia Baxter is framed for possession of drugs but why? Who did it? Someone is intent on getting her out of the way, not by murder but by having her thrown in prison. What is the motive? Who did she offend or does she know something that could obstruct someone's goal. But what is that goal? What does someone want and how is Virginia in the way?

Lauretta Trent is a wealthy woman in her sixties. She is financially supporting her two sisters and their husbands. She has left a will that was signed
...more
Mac
Aug 18, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I fondly remember the mid-20th century Perry Mason TV series so why not read a Perry Mason mystery and relive the old-time fun? Unfortunately, I found little enjoyment in reading The Case of the Horrified Heirs.

Problem 1: Gardner's language lumbers along awkwardly; it is stilted and uninteresting. The book has a mystery-by-the-numbers feeling, a novel written by an author who hardly cares.

Problem 2: The plot is convoluted in a dull sort of way, stimulating little reader curiosity. The character
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False
It is one of the later Perry Mason books, written in the 1960s and it shows. Maybe ESG was already getting tired of his creation or bored writing these books(?).

The usual quick-paced, tense, straightforward & action-packed storyline is there with even less embellishments then usual, hardly any descriptions or dialogues that do not relate to the plot. - Possibly ESG & Perry Mason are to blame for the fact that I just cannot stomach the long-winded crime mysteries of today where it's all descripti
...more
PoligirlReads
Aug 05, 2019 rated it liked it
As an avid watcher of Perry Mason, I found myself wanting to check out the books. I was not disappointed. This was pretty tightly written book--there aren't any digressions or fillers to boost the page counts. Great for traveling, as it's a quick read.
The mystery itself was interesting, but there's no way that the reader could figure it out, which feels a bit like cheating by Gardner. The characters seem pretty much the same as the tv show (Hamilton's got an unwarranted swagger, Perry is acutely
...more
Vincent Darlage
A very gripping storyline of wills, frame-ups, and attempted poisonings. I read this around 2002 for the first time (and again in 2014). This was an audio version. I had the book on my Kindle and I found out that if you have a book on Kindle, you can download the audio cheaply (I think this audio cost me $1.99). The reader has a really deep, sonorous voice - but can do some really neat things with it - every male character sounded unique and different (Lt. Tragg sounded a bit like Billy Dee Will ...more
Petr Matafonov
Jan 25, 2021 rated it really liked it
This book has a brisk pace and wastes no time to throw us in the middle of action, starting almost immediately at the trial, though it's not a big murder case, but seemingly some odd frame up. Soon some more strange events take place and our defendant finds herself in the middle of someone's foul play with no distinct understanding of what their goal is.

It's a pretty easy and straightforward read with no distractions, I'd say it's a little too plain (almost like a script) and could have been str
...more
Chris Miller
Aug 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, 2018
A typical Perry Mason case. I used to think that Gardner was unfair in his presentation of the case with last minute information that was never intimated earlier, but if one had, or made the time, to ponder the knowns and unknowns you might be able to figure it out. Gardner even has Mason make a list of questions to ponder. Gardner really cuts to the chase in this one. At 183 pages, he gets the case out, fought and concluded without a lot of distraction.
Captain Basil
Dec 18, 2018 rated it liked it
This Mason Mystery from 1964 was a fun read. I have read a lot of Perry Mason mysteries over the years. This was not phenomenal, but I did enjoy it. It's a good page turner and any Mason fan will enjoy it. ...more
Richa
Aug 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting case. An elaborate plan! For once, it all went orderly and logically.
Sireesha Avvari
Jan 03, 2019 rated it it was ok
This is ok. Not quite as riveting and brilliant as expected.
Walt Carlson
Jan 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
A twisty and fun Perry Mason case with a solid conclusion.
w  o  r  d  s
Mar 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book was a very satisfying mystery. I was hooked. There was constant action and the plot was great!
Karol
Jun 30, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gratifying!
Rob Leininger
Sep 18, 2021 rated it really liked it
Not quite as sharp as Erle's usual. Okay, but not great. ...more
Dean Anderson
Perry Mason twice in this book pats women on the shoulder and says, "Good girl!" Two times too many. ...more
Devika Kurup
Aug 20, 2021 rated it really liked it
Great read.
Book collector
Aug 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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
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Raja99
May 08, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: beba
Why I read this book: I finally finished The Mysterious Island after weeks of slogging. While I enjoyed that, I was in the mood for something much quicker.

This is another enjoyable and professionally-written (some might say slick) novel by Erle Stanley Gardner. The plotting is ingenious, as always, and the characterization is minimal--but that's a good thing for this sort of story, since spending time on character would detract from the speed and puzzle aspects. It struck me that Mason is a tric
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Ed
Jan 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, legal
#74 in the Perry Mason series. Virginia Baxter is arrested at the airport for having narcotics in her luggage. At the preliminary hearing, Perry proves that they were added to her luggage after it had left her control - and invited the press to publicize the discomfiture of the DA's office. That was only the first attack on Virginia and eventually she wound up on trial for murder.

Perry Mason series - Virginia Baxter is the only witness still living who can vouch for the authenticity of Lauretta
...more
Andrew Salmon
Jun 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A riveting Perry Mason case! And one that doesn't get solved in the courtroom. I tend to devour Perry Mason books in a single sitting and that was the case here. Great twists, turns and misdirection from one of the all-time greats. If you've never read a Perry Mason before, this one is as good a place to start as any even though it comes late in the run, having been published in 1964. Erle Stanley Gardner wrote mysteries you will NOT figure out halfway through and I defy you to put one down once ...more
Stephen Osborne
Nov 28, 2014 rated it liked it
A fairly standard Gardner. Good stuff, but let' face it, he doesn't play fair as a mystery writer. There's no way you could figure this out. Again, we have the amazing names Gardner gave his characters. Probably, he did this because he wrote so damn much he had to do something to remember them! But here we have as one of the "horrified heirs" a guy named Boring Briggs. Not a nickname, this is supposedly on his birth certificate! Now, if the story was about Boring killing his parents for giving h ...more
Betta
Jan 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fast-paced story that I seem to remember an adaptation made of on the old Perry Mason TV show. Twists and turns of plot development but easy to stay with, and, of course, the surprise ending. Suitably hard-boiled, complete with a nervous stool pigeon, a wealthy widow and freeloading relatives. And no Perry Mason novel would be complete without the innocent well-meaning client who ends up being charged with murder! An enjoyable and quick read.
Les Anderson
Jun 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Well, I did not see all of that ending coming! I figured out one clue about the same time as Mason. Only a lawyer would have got the clue that revealed itself during the trial. The final clue, however, came from good old detective work. This is one of very few cases where Paul Drake's information provided the route to the final clue and the solution didn't come in the courtroom. It's also one of those stories where the lead-in to the murder took about half the novel. ...more
Robert
Feb 12, 2009 rated it it was ok
This was the first time I have read a Perry Mason mystery. Having watched the TV show for years I was interested to read one of the books. The book was very simple to read. Although I don't consider it great literature, it would be a perfect vacation book. THis would be an interesting book to take to the beach, sit in a beach chair, and spend a few hours relaxing.


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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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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)
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  • 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)
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