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The Case of the Velvet Claws

(Perry Mason #1)

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  4,326 ratings  ·  389 reviews
California lawyer Perry Mason takes on a client, Eva Belter, who is described and instantly hated, as “all velvet and claws” by his secretary Della Street. Eva's husband George is behind tabloid editor Frank Locke’s blackmail of Congressman Harrison Burke. The politician and Eva had been together at a restaurant when there was an attempted robbery. It's not long before Geo ...more
Paperback, 215 pages
Published August 1985 by Random House Ballantine (first published 1933)
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Joan I found this book online at the Open Library. The Open Library is free with registration, but most books are checked out for only one hour at a time. …moreI found this book online at the Open Library. The Open Library is free with registration, but most books are checked out for only one hour at a time. I haven’t found this a problem as I usually read older books. Also, check your local library and your county library. They may also be able to get you books from other libraries if they don’t have the Ellery Queen title you want to read. Happy reading! (less)
Carl Upthegrove Audible.com is where I found it. Finding actual physical books can be a challenge. I've found some in used book stores …moreAudible.com is where I found it. Finding actual physical books can be a challenge. I've found some in used book stores (less)

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I’ve been very confused about Perry Mason lately.

I’ve never seen the old TV show with Raymond Burr, but general pop culture awareness has told me that Mason was a defense lawyer whose clients were always innocent, and that he’d get them acquitted by figuring out the true guilty party who Mason would then get to confess on the stand. So I was a little shocked when I watched the new HBO series in which Mason as played by Matthew Rhys wasn’t even a lawyer at the start, but rather a small-time drunk
Apr 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is the first book of the series featuring criminal defense attorney Perry Mason and his gang: his secretary Della Street and a private detective Paul Drake whose services Mason uses quite often. For those unfamiliar with the series and the TV show based on it, Perry Mason is a guy you really want on your side if you ever have legal problems. Mason always fights for his clients to the end no matter what, but his fees are not cheap (in this book his total was well into thousands and we are ta ...more
Gary Sundell
Jan 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good solid mystery, but the formula used in later books with the big courtroom finale is not here. I can't believe I missed reading this one when I was on my Perry Mason binge back in the 1970s and 1980s. ...more
Jan 15, 2022 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
Good entertainment.

This is the first book in the well-known series about Perry Mason. I'm sure I've read some of the next books in this series. But my main and, de facto, only problem I have with Gardner's books is that soon after reading them, I completely forget them. This will probably also be the case with this book.

Which does not change the fact that this story was a good entertainment. Perry Mason works well as the main character in a book of this genre. As always in this type of books, it
Shobhit Sharad
Aug 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Perry Mason is a gruff, unafraid, confident and cunning man, with a few principles of his own. I was able to decipher this because he was the protagonist of the book. But for all the other characters (except for maybe Della Street, the assistant), I couldn't figure out what kind of people they were, because the focus was on the story, and minimal character development. In a way this was good too, because we want to enjoy the mystery and who gives two figs about how the characters were. But in th ...more
Jun 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
The first Perry Mason and this Perry is a tough guy. I recently read a short story in The Black Lizard Big Book of Pulps by ESG. It predated this book by a short time. The hero was an attorney named Ken Corning and he had a female secretary whose name I can't recall right now,but both are the characters that reappear in Velvet Claws renamed Perry Mason and Della Street.

The book was highly entertaining. There are several clever plot twists and I didn't guess the guilty party before the mystery w
This is definitely the first of Gardner's Perry Mason novels, since at the end it refers to his next client as a "sulky girl" (see my review of "The Case Of The Sulky Girl"), and his writing is that of a beginning novelist. The story was good although readers under 35 may be puzzled by phrases such as "nix on that hooey" or actions like starting a car by stepping on the starter (this book was written in 1933 and is set in that period). At this beginning point of the series we are told that Della ...more
Antonella  M.
Jun 24, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Perry Mason, avvocato. Ricordatevi questo nome. Lo sentirete di nuovo. Sta per diventare famoso."

La prima apparizione dell'avvocato Perry Mason si ha proprio in questo romanzo. Con lui ci saranno la fedele segretaria Della Street e l'aiutante investigatore Paul Drake che ritroveremo in tutti i romanzi successivi. Ho faticato non poco per trovarlo, ma ne sono felice perché, pur avendo letto diversi episodi su uno degli avvocati più famosi della letteratura gialla, non ne conoscevo le origini. La
Jack Heath
5 Stars. It's television in a book! Such a great read - your mind wants to visualize every scene. Even though "Velvet Claws" is almost a century old, it grabs and holds. No wonder Perry Mason started with such a bang - two and three volumes a year, numerous print runs, movies, the works. This is the first of 82 novels and several shorts. That's not to say #1 doesn't have its flaws. Mason becomes more likeable as the series develops. He even goes to court unlike this one! I'm not sure he needs to ...more
Bear in mind I’m not judging the series, but rather the first in the series of Perry Mason.

Rather than going over any aspects of the plot, I’ll just go over my impressions.

I was pretty disappointed with this first entry into the Perry Mason series. If you are reading and a fan of the show, go in knowing that the TV Mason and the novel Mason are vastly and completely different.

One of the biggest problems in The Case of the Velvet Claws is Perry Mason himself. Mason’s projects himself to be a “
Dec 14, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I was young growing up in a small town, my source for books was either the pocket-book rack at the grocery store or the one at the drug store. I favored the grocery store, cause it was a longer walk to the other store, even if they had the better sci-fi selection. I mean sometimes they would have as many as ten or twelve I could select from. Of course I couldn't spend the time I wanted to thinking about making choices, cause the pharmacist would wander over after about ten minutes and say, ...more
Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂
Very much enjoyed this book. One glaring error that a good copy editor should have picked up. It didn't affect the story at all, but took me out of the moment.
I've read other Perry Mason's, but a long time ago. I'm definitely going to seek more of them out!
Benjamin Thomas
When a self-absorbed woman named “Eva Griffin” comes to Perry Mason claiming her powerful husband is blackmailing her, Perry’s intrepid secretary Della Street doesn’t trust her. That’s our first clue that neither should we. Later, when Eva overhears her husband arguing with a man just before being shot, she claims it was Perry’s voice she heard arguing with the murdered man. A trustworthy client she is not! But in true Perry Mason style, he vows to fight for his client no matter the cost.

This is
Jun 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Perfect book to walk to. Strong cadence and rhythm, smoky and sultry, twists and turns to keep me walking longer in order to prolong my exercise time.
Aug 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biggg-luv
This book was so amazing!!! *_*
Jun 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Blackmail, lies, deceit, and death; The first book to feature the perennial lawyer/detective Perry Mason has it all.

Written in 1933, the story holds up remarkably well with devious dames and troublesome tabloids out to extort and exploit Mason's wealthy client. On face value, Mason sees this case as a quick fix; confront the blackmailer, keep the wealthy out of the tabloids, and get his well earned cash once the case is closed - only, the world doesn't turn quite that easy, and before long Maso
Mar 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, crime, detective
This mystery is a quick, easy read about Perry Mason, a lawyer who takes on a case of Eva Belter.

I was expecting this to be like the TV series, but it really wasn't. I did, however, enjoy such characters as Della Street who is his secretary and was in the TV series as well.

In this mystery there is adultery, fraud, murder, and there a quite a few plot twists which I always enjoy. You can tell the book is written back when it was (1933 originally) because much of it was dated in certain ways: lan
Jul 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library
Well, so, I've never read (as opposed to have seen) Perry Mason before, so I decided to start at the beginning. And it seemed to be fairly pedestrian and tootling towards a somewhat obvious (with admittedly a few twists and turns) conclusion, but there are forty some pages left. When all of a sudden. . .

Da da daaaaaa da DUMP! Holey moley, where did that come from? Da da daaaaaaa da DUMP! Wowzers, never saw that one coming!

Sign me up, boys. I think I have a new series to make my way through.

Jun 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audible
The Case of the Velvet Claws by Erle Stanley Gardner is the first Perry Mason book.Perry Mason takes on a case of blackmail involving a sleazy paper and ends up defending his deceiving client of murder. I read this book a long time ago and decided to start from the beginning with Audible. I loved revisiting this series and thought the narrator did a wonderful job in bringing the characters to life. Although a bit dated now, it is still an intriguing and captivating mystery. I'm looking forward t ...more
Jun 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Started reading this after I saw the trailer for the new HBO series. Never expected it to be this good, but it exceeded expectations. Brought back some memories of reading the classic Hardy Boys books (both the series were written around the same time). Finally something short that I can dive back in when I get fatigued from reading the multiple books spanning SFF series.

Nov 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The story is dated in the manner in which the characters act and talk, but it is still filled with intrigue and suspense to keep you guessing.
Narrator Alexander Cendese does a good job giving distinct voices to the characters. His timing and mannerisms are spot on.
The characters are realistic and give readers/listeners a look back at how life was during this era. With a Sam Spade tone the story moves at a steady pace featuring Gardner’s pulp fiction style.
The setting is not a focal point in this
Mar 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the first book of the Perry Mason Series. The story opens up with Mason being a lawyer for 5 years now and he has his trusty assistant Della Street. The first thing you notice that Mason is not necessary following the law by the book. His behavior is questionable. I did though really enjoyed this story. I love the old who done it mysteries. In this particular book Eva Griffin hires Perry Mason to represent her. She claims her husband is blackmailing her but he winds up dead in the bathtu ...more
Sumit Singla
Mar 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020, 4-stars, mystery
If I had to describe Perry Mason in brief, I'd probably say he's the complete antithesis of Sherlock Holmes. A lawyer who doesn't shy away from physical violence to protect his clients, a man with scruples, someone who keeps smoking cigarettes continuously, and minus the douchebag attitude of Holmes, that's Perry Mason for you.

When Eva Griffin comes to Mason for help, he almost seems to act like a white knight in the beginning, coming to the rescue of the fair maiden. His astute secretary, Della
Jan 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Erle Stanley Gardner introduced the famous character of Perry Mason in 1933’s The Case of the Velvet Claws. A woman visits lawyer Perry Mason using the name Eva Griffin and asking for help because Spicy Bits, a scandal sheet known to be a conduit for blackmail is trying to shake her down. Perry follows the trail of Spicy Bits to its secret owner, a man considered to be a respectable member of society. Then, the man’s wife walks into the room, changing everything. She is Perry’s client, named not ...more
Jun 18, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Mystery fans
This is the first book in the Perry Mason series. I've already read a few of these stories, but I thought it would be worth starting at the beginning of the series and reading a few more of these classics. For as old as they are, they are entertaining, fast reads. They have an old-fashioned charm to them; Mr. Mason is able to operate with such an anonymity and recklessness that would be more difficult in today's age. And his constant use of the drugstore payphone is a reminder of how far we've c ...more
Jun 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very interesting case. Though I felt that Mr Gardner deliberately made it extra difficult. It maybe in order to show that the truth is immaterial. It is the skill of the lawyer that gets the verdict. So he has Mason show both sides here. Very skilfully done.
In order to do that though, he went a little in-congruent in his portrayal of Della Street.. That's what I felt... But then, it is his first case in book form. Maybe that is why I felt things amiss (having read the further cases first).

Sep 25, 2020 rated it liked it
a hard boiled lawyer does whatever it takes to win his cases. This reminded me of a Mike Hammer novel without all of the gunplay.

I liked how sleazy the main character can get at times to get what he wants, but the plot kind of dragged on a bit too long.
Mijan Rashid
Oct 15, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: thriller-mystery
এক মহিলা তার পরকিয়া প্রেম পত্রিকায় প্রকাশ ঠেকাতে ঠিক করলেন একজন আইনজীবীকে। এই আইনজীবী আবার আদালতের বাইরে মামলা নিষ্পত্তিতে বিশেষ পারদর্শী। এর মধ্যে হয়ে গেল একটা খুন আর এতে ফেঁসে গেলেন আইনজীবী। এখন কিভাবে বাঁচবেন নিজেকে এবং ক্লায়েন্টকে ...... বিস্তারিত পড়ুন বইয়ে 🤐
Erin *Proud Book Hoarder*
I really enjoyed this. Perry Mason reminded me more of a detective in the book form than I figured. It has the classic feel to it as well with the hard-boiled twists.
Kennedy Parrish
and that's why we don't read books by white men from the 1930s ...more
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Around the Year i...: The Case of the Velvet Claws, by Erle Stanley 1 23 Nov 02, 2016 04:41PM  

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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 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)
  • The Case of the Lame Canary (Perry Mason, #11)

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