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The Case of the Screaming Woman

(Perry Mason #52)

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  571 ratings  ·  45 reviews
Accepting John Kirby's wife's fearful request for legal assistance, Perry Mason discovers that Kirby may have been at the scene of a murder and uncovers an secret operation involving illegal adoption, stolen narcotics, and blackmail. Reprint.
Mass Market Paperback, 182 pages
Published October 31st 1994 by Fawcett (first published January 1st 1957)
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Average rating 3.91  · 
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 ·  571 ratings  ·  45 reviews

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Oct 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Perry Mason usually defends a person accused of a murder. However most of his cases start quite innocently. Take this one: a woman called his office and asked Mason to cross-examine her husband.
Mason is a master of cross-examination, but does not touch divorce cases with a 10-feet pole. The woman however assured him she has no desire to divorce her husband; she just wanted to show him his story sounds absolutely unbelievable.

Mason agreed and the husband in question told him a wild story about
3.5 stars
More Perry Mason court room shenanigans - he sailed a bit close to the wind in this one!
Not my favourite in the series (I would have told these people to do one as they put him in a really difficult position and that frustrated me the whole way through) but still an enjoyable and satisfying read.
Perry Mason Rules!!!

Jul 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the Perry Mason books that had them all - Interesting beginning, a core story, Legal theatricals and the usual end. I however, liked this for the legal responsibility angle (which might be considered a drag, in terms of pace) which is ever so often untouched.

Joan Kirby fixes an appointment for her husband with Perry Mason so that he could cross examine her husband on his implausible story. The investigation leads to a murder where everyone we meet (and not meet) seem to be involved. Every
Alonzo Church
May 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A wife of a husband with a dubious story hires Mason to cross-examine the big lug, to prove to the guy his story isn’t as swell as he thinks. Of course, murder mystery, ethics violations and an apoplectic Hamilton Burger await Mr. Mason as he proves the coppers got the wrong guy again.

This one starts slow, gets slower, but then turns interesting after the first big reveal on page 50 or so. For a Mason story to be fully successful, Perry has got to be fighting something more formidable than Ham B
Heather (DeathByBook)
Not a life changing read, but good entertainment. Better than a couple of hours of tv...unless you're watching early Perry Mason.
Apr 17, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all Perry Mason fans
Recommended to Samantha by: my sister
Goody goody! I sunk my teeth into this one, and loved every bite! Not boring, not a put-you-to-sleep book.
Hint: Don't read it at night... you'll find it hard to fall asleep later.
Kieran McAndrew
Mar 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Joan Kirby asks renowned lawyer Perry Mason to check out what appears to be her husband's unbelievable story of helping out a stranded young woman. A story which inevitably lands John Kirby in trouble. The kind of trouble Perry Mason specialises in. Murder.

Gardner allows the rivalry between Mason and Burger to take centre stage, with the case taking a back seat through a series of clever legal arguments.
Dec 19, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: legal, mystery
#53 in the Perry Mason series. Intriguing case wherein Mason's client is an overconfident salesman and volunteers to answer the questions of the "friendly" DA about his semi-truthful alibi. The lies he tells before Mason arrives to extricate him will be found out and get him arrested for murder. Eventually there is a Rashomon-like situation where the aftermath of the murder is viewed differently by the witnesses and it is up to Mason to prove the correct viewpoint.

Perry Mason is retained by a wo
Nov 05, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
This Perry Mason mystery concerns a doctor who was operating a baby hospital for women who did not want their expected babies, one hospital for women who could receive original birth certificates for these babies and avoid adoption proceedings.
Mar 11, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-fiction
Few writers are as prolific and as consistently great as Gardner. The Case of the Screaming Woman is yet another excellent entry in the massive Gardner catalog. Fast paced and well plotted, this quick read is a very enjoyable mystery and courtroom drama.
Reading a Perry Mason novel is like peeling back the layers of an onion. Whatever you see at first glance isn't what you find as you peel back layer after layer. This book starts out with a wife wanting Mason to investigate her husband's cockamamie story about picking up a young lady on the highway who had run out of gas and whose car then promptly disappeared. Of course, once that story is ripped apart, other stories manifest. Here, we have a story not just of midnight bed hopping in cheap road ...more
Apr 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A solid and briskly paced Perry Mason yarn. The mystery isn't overly complicated and Gardner's smooth style carries it along.
Arguably, the conclusion is a bit rushed but it remains a satisfying read.
Sandy Chris
Aug 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Kate Picher
I figured out who the killer was about half way through. The cover art has absolutely nothing to do with the story. Bait and switch.
Cindy Cheng
Courtroom stuff near the end was good. Overall, still like the TV series the best.
kevin m cole
Apr 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I like the Perry Mason mysteries. I thought this was good.
very less courtroom scene with no jury.
Danny Reid
Mar 31, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: perry-mason
Brief and quick, even by Gradner's standards, and the ending isn't much of a surprise, but a solid meltdown by Burger gives this one some juice.
Bailey Marissa
Aug 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2020, adult
A story showing that it's sometimes the technical aspects of the law that help determine if one 'wins.'

Recommended 15+ for language and a lot of stupid decisions by multiple characters.
Victoria Mixon
I put off reading this one because I didn't want to accidentally leave it lying around the house and have to explain to my impressionable young son why a screaming woman is considered literary entertainment. But the sheer cheapo cheesiness of the cover finally got to me. Even some of the pages are printed crooked! I love that kind of retro stuff.

Yeah, I picked the likely culprit out early on, and I even picked up on the echo, although I was also kind of willing to go to bat for an interesting re
Sep 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The story begins with a phone call received from a woman who was very much interested in Mason's cross examination skills. She wanted him to talk with her husband just as if he was on the witness stand to prove his story false. Getting her assurance of honest intentions, the layer agrees to do so, and surely enough, he easily finds few weak spots. Without the formal approval to be his lawyer, he has a little detective work done and as always does his best to protect his "alleged" client from any ...more
I'm still reading through Erle Stanley Gardner, and I hope to finish his work this year. I try to get my hands on first editions through the interlibrary loan system. With this book, I have to settle for a paperback reprint (and poorly at that) from 2000--cheap paper, pale ink, crowded lines. The chief premise of this mystery is that Perry will bend the law to protect the adopted young; in this case children who do not know they are adopted. A doctor is running a scam so the rich can adopt from ...more
Sep 06, 2009 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Mystery fans
Shelves: other-usa, 2009, mystery
I've never read a Perry Mason book before and have heard great things about Erle Stanley Gardner's prowess in the realm of the mystery genre. I found this book on the paperback book swap shelf and thought I'd check it out.

It was an interesting tale, purely pulp fiction, but a quick read and decent brain candy. I love mysteries and would love to read more of his work.
Giri Dv
Typical Perry Mason book. Good for bedside reading and then getting to sleep. As usual, complicated story telling. Even then, you feel good to see Perry Mason winning and Hamilton Burger losing, whether you understood what happened really.

The handyman's motive not very convincing. Could he not have stolen the book earlier?

Somehow, you want to read Perry Mason even though the story is often muddled.
Jul 20, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a quick read and the tale was quite interesting. The only problem I had which I have not had with the other Perry Mason novels I've read is I figured out what happened relatively early on in the story which took some of the luster away. Granted, the legal maneuvering Perry uses to get through the seeming traps is pure genius and the dialogue is both quick and humorous while still providing a tense edge.
Doug Dams
In this story a motorist tries to help a woman get to the next gas station, only to discover she has no car and a day later she's the suspect in a murder. It's interesting as Perry starts out protecting the motorist against accomplice to murder charges to defending the stranded woman. The victim and his neighbors make up a set of interesting characters.
Feb 06, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
1. Don't lie to your lawyer.
2. Don't try to fool your lawyer.
3. Don't assume you know more about the law than your lawyer.
4. Lawyer: Don't let your secretary take possession of stolen goods, it can really freak her out.
5. Lawyer: You are sneaky at times.
6. I seriously didn't see that end coming.
Oct 08, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
A Perry Mason mystery written later in the series when the stories were being dramatized and shown on television. This one is more according to formula and features thinner characterizations and plotlines than some of the earlier books in the series. Nevertheless, it is an enjoyable read, although not as much fun as the stories from the 1940s.
Sep 28, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Perry Mason mystery in which the lawyer manages to win another case. In this one, his client is suspected of murder and, as usual, gets his client acquitted while also solving the case. A lot of slight of hand and pulling together various witness accounts by Mason.
It's my third Perry Mason book and so far, it's the first of them that I correctly suspected the murderer.

Nonetheless, I always love the explanation part and see how everything falls in together. Although its quite confusing with all the different rooms but it was a quick and entertaining 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)
  • 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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