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The Case of the Velvet Claws

(Perry Mason #1)

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  3,283 ratings  ·  275 reviews
California lawyer Perry Mason takes on as client Eva Belter, hated as “all velvet and claws” by his secretary Della Street. Her husband George is behind tabloid editor Frank Locke’s blackmail of Congressman Harrison Burke, who had been at a bungled robbery with Eva; and takes bullet to the heart after his bath. A forged will benefits his nephew Carl, who is engaged to the ...more
Paperback, 215 pages
Published August 1985 by Random House Ballantine (first published 1933)
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Average rating 3.83  · 
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 ·  3,283 ratings  ·  275 reviews

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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.
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
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 “
Lady Delacour
The Case of the Velvet Claws
was first published in 1933.
It my have been a hard boiled
contemporary story in its day
but today it's a little campy.
I enjoyed the campiness and
the characters in the story.
My favorite was Sassy,
27 year old Della Street
with pencil and pad in hand.
Monotone speaking, self assured
Perry Mason was my second favorite.
Listened with text to speech.
I have changed the foul words
in pronunciation to tame words.
Makes a much more pleasant listen
Clean except for mild Foul Language.
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
Marythios (AkaSusanne )
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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 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).

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
Sumit Singla
Mar 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, 4-stars, 2020
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
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.
Jul 02, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What I did not know at the time I bought this book was that it's the very first Perry Mason mystery. By now I think everyone knows that I'm a fan of both the books and the TV show. The books I only discovered last year and this was my 4th one read. To be honest I wasn't expecting this book to be all that much different from the others, but boy was I wrong.

The Case of the Velvet Claws reads more like a typical "hardboiled" detective story than the others I've read. Perry is harder and more willin
Joe Jackson
Apr 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
Perry Mason is my guilty pleasure.

The plot is basically the same in all the books.

An underdog ( usually a beautiful woman) is wrongly framed of a murder. Perry Mason swoops in, messes around with the evidence, has a few run ins with the DA and in the end does something outrageous in the courtroom winning the case.

Usually ends the novel flirting with his secretary Della Street.

LOVE it!! :)
Barth Siemens
May 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, classics
It was entertaining to read a novel that was written more than a hundred years ago and was also cleaned up for a 1950s TV audience.

Quite apart from the recognizable name, I believe this novel is written well enough to be considered a classic. I would recommend it to any one that enjoys mysteries, and can accept that Perry Mason was written to be a man of his time--not ours.
Brian Sison
Feb 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This book represents the entire following collection. The Perry Mason novels were well structured and ahead of their time.
Dec 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
I've been reading Gardner's Perry Mason books for many years. I love the general setting: the characters of Perry, Della, Paul, Lt. Tragg, and Hamilton Burger. 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 the first one, from 1933. As in all the early ones, Perry is a hard boiled agressive ingenious fighter, not the more urbane established figure of the much later TV series.

The story begins when "Eva Griffin" comes in
B.R. Stateham
Jan 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
I decided to start at the beginning of the Perry Mason series and eventually read them all. Just finished book number one. Oh my, Perry is almost unrecognizable. He certainly shines in a different light in this one than he does in his latter ones.

For starters, in book number one Perry Mason is a no-holds-barred, double-crossing kind of shyster lawyer who knows all the tricks about practicing law and isn't afraid to dance with the worst of the worst. In fact he does almost double-cross the client
Craig Pittman
Jun 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My grandfather was a Baptist deacon but he worshipped at the altar of Perry Mason. He never missed an episode of the TV show starring Raymond Burr, and not only read all the Erle Stanley Gardner books but also read books by the people who wrote scripts for the TV show, like Jonathan Latimer. Having watched the show with him as a kid, and later having read a few of the books, I thought I knew this character well.

I was wrong.

This novel, Gardner's very first starring Mason, came up on a Kindle dea
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Around the Year i...: The Case of the Velvet Claws, by Erle Stanley 1 22 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
  • The Case of the Lucky Legs
  • The Case of the Howling Dog
  • The Case of the Curious Bride (Perry Mason Mystery)
  • The Case of the Counterfeit Eye
  • The Case of the Caretaker's Cat
  • The Case of the Sleepwalker's Niece
  • The Case of the Stuttering Bishop
  • The Case of the Dangerous Dowager
  • The Case of the Lame Canary

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