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The Case of the Lucky Loser

(Perry Mason #53)

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  617 ratings  ·  48 reviews
The voice on the phone was young and silky. The woman it belonged to touched something soft in Perry Mason's cool, legalistic mind. The offer she made was too intriguing to pass up. But what began as a request for a simple courtroom visit turned into an intrigue of baffling complexity — as well as one of the most cleverly rigged frame-ups of Perry's career.

Its a case of a

Paperback, 192 pages
Published January 14th 1990 by Fawcett (first published April 1st 1957)
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Average rating 3.92  · 
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 ·  617 ratings  ·  48 reviews

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Henry Avila
Oct 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Perry Mason, the illustrious California attorney finds himself knee -deep in a perplexing case in fact two, one leads to another, they are intertwined in a complicated affair, this could destroy his career. An attractive young lady contacts Mr. Mason, an acquaintance of hers from a wealthy family Ted Balfour, has been charged with hit -and- run, Della, Perry's secretary believes the girl Marilyn Keith, is in love with him. An automobile accident claims the life of a shadowy man .This ensures Mas ...more
Oct 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
A mysterious caller asked Perry Mason to attend a trial of a hit-and-run accident.
Hit and Run
Just his attendance was required so Mason (who should have known better) thinking about making easy money agreed. Later while giving a report to his caller whose identity he managed to uncover he said that the in his opinion the main witness of prosecution was lying. Retrial with Mason being the attorney for the accused was possible, but very difficult. Until the same person was accused of a more serious crime. Ca
Nov 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing

I have now reached book #61 in my reading challenge of Perry-Mason-stories-in-chronological-order, but I have returned to the Lucky Loser as a special favourite. I thoroughly enjoy the story’s tight & fast pace (I am not one for the long-winded, guilt-ridden, gritty detective fiction of the present) and the big legal/whodunnit bang at the end.

Also, this is almost the first time that Perry Mason encounters an adversary that is in the same league as himself. Banner Boles, trouble shooter for the m
Dec 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
A hit and run, marital infidelity, crochety millionaire Uncles, and a drugged defendant complicate a trial that ends in double jeopardy, or doesn't it? And who, indeed, is the deam man?
Jan 28, 2015 rated it liked it
Heavy on the litigation and technicalities of law. I had to look a few things up to figure out what was happening. Light on the tricky-mystery that I can ... Understand. Oh, well. I'll still read them all.
cEe beE
After running out of Nancy Drew and Dana Girls books to read, I opened one of the pulpy '60s Perry Mason paperbacks from my father's library - the ones with barely clad women on the covers - and was promptly addicted.

These non-PC series were a huge part of my childhood reading and I'm so glad they have them on Kindle. This particular volume is one of my favorites.

Since my father's collection is long gone, I'm currently collecting the vintage paperbacks for my own library.
Kurt Reichenbaugh
Sep 08, 2012 rated it liked it
Fast, enjoyable Perry Mason novel, in which you'll learn all about Double Jeopardy. Suitably brilliant villain who gives Mason a tight challenge. I read it while down with a cold, and it was a perfect compliment to the vitamins, orange juice and chicken soup.
Mar 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wow, I did not see that end coming!
This was a very exciting story & I thank my friend Melindam for recommending it.
I will definitely check out other Perry Mason stories.
Sep 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
First sentence: Della Street, Perry Mason's confidential secretary, picked up the telephone and said, "Hello."

Premise/plot: The novel opens with a mystery woman calling to hire Perry Mason to sit in on a trial occurring later that day. Ted Balfour has been charged with manslaughter--a hit and run accident. At the time of this trial, the man hasn't even been identified yet. After the trial--while the jury is debating Mr. Balfour's fate--Mason receives a few more phone calls about the case. He en
Kieran McAndrew
Apr 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What starts off as a strange request to observe another defense counsellor soon develops into one of the most intriguing frame ups of Perry Mason's career. He must use all his famed legal skills to uncover the truth and unmask a killer.

'The Case of the Lucky Loser' has an interesting hook, but excels itself when Mason brings in an argument of double jeopardy, much to the chagrin of the judge.

A fairly well paced novel, the story is far more intricate than it first appears.
Oct 25, 2013 rated it liked it
About the story: A young man from an affluent family, Ted Balfour, has been arrested on the charges of hit-and-run accident and killing a drifter in the middle of the night. Perry Mason is dragged into the case when he receives an anonymous call requesting that he be present during the hearing of the case. When the ingenious detective sits through the arguments of the prosecutor and the defense, he realizes that there is much more to the case than what meets the eye.

He agrees to take on the cas
Dec 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: legal, mystery
#52 in the Perry Mason series. Perry starts by being hired to watch a day of a trial and comment on testimony of a witness. The trial ends in a guilty verdict of manslaughter and a suspended sentence. The defendant's uncle's wife hires Mason to look out for the defendant which surprises Mason since the trial is over, but the corpse is exhumed and the defendant is rearrested on a trial of murder. The concept of double jeopardy is entertainingly explored before Mason pulls out his usual hat rabbit ...more
Sep 18, 2014 rated it liked it
I did not figure this one out until the end, love these stories. Quick and easy afternoon reads.
Mar 25, 2019 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 from 1957. It was
serialized in The Saturday
Frank McAdam
The old Perry Mason stories are always a fun read, but the plot on this one is so totally implausible it would be laughable if it weren't so byzantine that it's almost impossible to follow. Still, it's a treat to have glimpses of 1950's America when the height of luxury was to fly in an "air-conditioned" airplane with real foam rubber seats.
Sep 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: gardner
One of his best. Mason is paid anonymously to sit for a day to observe a murder trial of a man accused of a hit-and-run and convey his thoughts. That night the trial ends up with a hung jury and a plea deal is formulated which involves a guilty plea, fine, and a suspended sentence. . The case involves double-jeopardy with Mason skirting the law once again.
Jun 23, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
On the face of it, this was a much more complex case than those featured in two earlier entries in the series which I read recently.

However, many common factors emerge, not least a heap of deeply obnoxious rich people with secrets to be winkled out by the intrepid Perry.

The idea of a twice dead corpse I have encountered before but the tale is nicely-told.

3.5 stars
Jul 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
I realized too late in reading this to realize that it might have been possible for the reader to "solve" the case. This makes me interested in reading other Perry Mason stories. I enjoyed the discussion of legal ethics and evidence rules.
Joseph Donovic
Apr 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
I’ve been a fan of Earle Stanley Gardner’s mystery novels for a long time. The Case of the Lucky Loser is one of his best efforts. Twists and turns in the plot, along with colorful characters make this a novel which is difficult to put down once you have begun reading.
Tom McClelland
Jan 08, 2018 rated it liked it
Typic Gardner case. Always good
Sandy Chris
Jul 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As always, it was awesome. This time, though, I did almost believe that Perry Mason had no comeback but I am so glad I am wrong. :)
Jeff J.
Oct 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
#53 in the Perry Mason series. Per usual, a simple case turns out to be much more challenging.
Nov 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: classics
My first ever English book. My introduction to this beautiful world. What a book it was, a beautiful push and then I never kept myself from reading.
Sep 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is an excellent book. I saw the television episode based on the book, it was excellent too.
Apr 02, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 27, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: myteries
An old-fashioned mystery in a way. A complicated plot with lots of deception on the part of many characters. Some drug-induced amnesia. An evil, conniving villain and a beautiful but adulterous woman. A couple of innocents. And of course, Perry Mason, who gets into a situation that concerns even him, but finds his way out--and tears up the check for the fee that the young woman cannot afford--and turns down the hundreds of thousands of dollars the less innocent offer. And it was not terribly gru ...more
I read a first edition of this book published in 1956. This seems to be the year where Gardner likes to go into detail about new fangled inventions like hi fi stereos and tape recorders. He'll write three pages of technical information on something that's obsolete anymore. The man behind all of the action in this book is dead from the start (spoiler alert!) although you don't know until three-forths way through the book. This time it's a young man in distress (with the sweet young thing taking a ...more
Jan 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I am once again reminded of the Gardner's cleverness with plots. This is a tight little story from beginning to end with several twists and turns -- this is a writer's writer! All wanna-be plotters should read this tale.
Isaac Macfarlane
Jan 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is great just like all Perry Mason books. I find that he is a better detective than some of the PIs that had series. The twist at the end as to who the murderer was was interesting. Thinking back, you can see the clues, but I had missed them as I had read.
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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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  • 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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  Tami Charles is a former teacher and the author of picture books, middle grade and young adult novels, and nonfiction. As a teacher, she made...
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