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The Case of the Demure Defendant

(Perry Mason #51)

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  392 ratings  ·  38 reviews
Lawyer Perry Mason believes Nadine Farr did not poison Mosher Higley. Under truth drug, she confesses to Dr Denair, who brings the tape recording to Perry. As usual, secretary Della Street and PI Paul Drake help, Lt Tragg and DA Burger hinder. Is the killer her fiancé Locke, Higley niece Sue Newburn and hubby Jackson, man of work Cap'n Hugo, or a nurse? ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 192 pages
Published July 13th 1991 by Ballantine Books (first published November 1st 1956)
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Mar 18, 2019 rated it liked it
Criminal attorney Perry Mason is one characters most recognized by Americans (of the middle of the twentieth century) who read Erle Stanley Gardner or listened to the Perry Mason radio show or watched Raymond Burr play him on television. Gardner was an even more prolific writer than Rex Stout and that is saying a lot!

By the time he wrote The Case of the Demure Defendant, Gardner was as interested in exploring certain aspects of the intersection of law and science as he was in just writing popula
In “The Case of the Demure Defendant,” Mason is faced with what looks like an unwinnable case. His client confessed to a murder under truth serum and divers found evidence at the bottom of the lake confirming the details she confessed to. Of course, Mason figures his way out of this dilemma, but not before being accused of Concealing evidence, planting evidence, and being an accessory after the fact. What Gardner teaches us in this easy to read short novel is that the obvious answer, the one rig ...more
Apr 25, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Given to me by Alison - maybe as a gag gift? It started a Perry Mason obsession - tv show included. I've watched/read so many Perry Masons I can now watch contemporary murder mysteries & figure out who done it within a half hour - not because I'm so smart, but because they're still following a basic formula. ...more
Josh Hitch
Mar 23, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well done court room drama, with a nice reveal in the normal Mason way. In this case he is defending a woman who admitted to killing someone while under a truth serum. The serum was administered by a psychiatrist as a way to try to help her with what he thought was a mental block. The conversation was recorded and the doctor went to Mason to see what the legalities were. Later Mason finds himself in a fix and has to defend the woman in a murder case.

Highly recommended, not read a bad Mason novel
Mar 20, 2022 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
A very confusing plot line, but of course a great courtroom scene with so many legal citations being made that I thought I was back in law school.
An EyeYii
Jun 26, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Perry Mason believes Nadine Farr innocent of poisoning wealthy Mosher Higley three months ago. She confessed murder on tape to psychiatrist Dr Denair while drugged with "truth serum". But truth serum is not true.

Nadine did blackmail Higley with proof he shot her father, his business partner, dead, so Nadine was born out of wedlock, and swindled her mother, their secretary-plus. After Higley demanded Nadine leave her fiance John Locke, she stole cyanide pi
Thom Swennes
When Dr. Logbert Denair decides to use a truth serum to treat a patient suffering from a deep seeded sense of guilt, he uncovers more than he had bargained for. Nadine Farr, a young, single and very attractive woman had come to him with feelings she could not explain and had problems coping with them. With her consent he gave her a diluted solution of sodium pentothal and began to question her. Her answers led to a confession of murder. Dr. Denair consults Perry Mason as to eventual implications ...more
Aug 11, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've been reading Gardner's Perry Mason books off and on for a long time. Many years ago, I was an intense fan of the series. Now, after a lot of water over the dam, I'm looking at them again.

Those who are used to really fine mystery writers may find Gardner's writing style a bit stiff and mechanical. Nonetheless, I still 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
Vincent Darlage
Oct 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery
One of the best of the Perry Mason series. This is one of the first Perry Mason novels I ever read, back in 1991 or so. It impressed me then - and it still impressed me 20 years later.
Robert Palmer
I grew up watching the very popular Perry Mason television series (1957-1966), and it played a significant role in my decision to become a lawyer. Later, while in law school, my Evidence professor recommended that we watch Perry Mason re-runs to practice our objections. He told us that Erle Stanley Gardner, the author and creator of Perry Mason, was actively involved in production of the television series, that he was an attorney himself, and that the courtroom scenes were accurate, at least ins ...more
Nov 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another classic Perry Mason, but this time his neck's in the noose! A psychologist comes to Mason with a baffling question: if a patient admits to murder while mostly unconscious, must he legally inform the police? Does he have to hand over the taped interaction or do the laws of patient confidentiality apply?

Since there is a slight chance that the admission is false, Mason counsels the doctor to investigate before doing anything, and the doctor hires an expert--Mason--to find out more. The poli
Dec 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Dr. Denair's patient, Madine Farr, has made some seriously incriminating statements during a session under the influence of truth serum. The doctor is using it to unlock what is in her mind that is causing her such stress that affects her health. What makes things so difficult is these statements have been recorded.

Dr. Denair consults with Perry Mason for advise on what to do. When Mason speaks with Nadine, she is very matter-of-fact about the whole thing.

Mason doesn't feel her statement is true
This 1957 Perry Mason book is one heck of a good one, and when I thought I knew who killed Uncle Martin, well, I found out I was wrong altogether.

I did find Nadine a bit sappy and a wet noodle -- too saccharine, if I say so. Nonetheless, she is the niece of old Uncle Martin, who is a mean, spiteful man, and it really shows when Nadine tells him she is engaged to John. Poor Nadine. She is so upset by Uncle’s threats, that she steals a few cyanide pills from her fiancé’s laboratory. Oh dear! Those
Jun 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very good, face-paced mystery. I kept oscillating between guilty and not guilty till the very last page! The cross examination, though highly technical, was a personal treat. It was sharp, fast, accurate and exciting!
Mar 24, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
like all perry mason books this one was fast paced and had a really unexpected twist to the tale. I have probably read all of the Perry Mason novels when i was young , but i still go back to them for a light read and enjoy them just as much.
Tight little legal mystery well worth the effort. Some of the legal precedents have changed since this was written but still interesting.
Ashwin Dongre
May 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Good mystery, it builds very nicely, escallates very fast. If you pay attention to details, conversations, you could figure out who's the culprit. Great courtroom drama. I nJoyed it very much. ...more
James Vest
May 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mason goes down to the wire and hits the ultimate roadblock in the form of a perjured witness that’s bent on leaving Mason on the hook for a crime he didn’t commit, involving a bottle of cyanide.
Dr Hanif Hassan Barbhuiya
One of most exciting cases of Perry Mason
Jeff J.
Oct 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
#51 in the Perry Mason series. The final resolution was a little goofy, but it was still a fascinating story of Perry defending a woman who confesses to murder after taking truth serum.
Connie Hansmeyer
Perry Mason is a nostalgic read for me. I enjoy these fast law dramas. Wow has forensics changed!
Beth Wolfe
Found a copy in my local used bookstore and grabbed it with memories of watching Perry Mason reruns with my mom. Much more dialogue driven than more modern books, but I found that to be a nice change of pace. Quick read and I was eager to find out who the culprit was.
Dec 12, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, legal
#50 in the Perry Mason series. Nothing particularly new about this series entry. Too much evidence is found and the DA accuses Perry of planting the exculpatory material. Parry is in a fix until, during the trial, he notices that the DA's case has a flaw and he doesn't hesitate to exploit it. An enjoyable read, typical of the series.

#50 Perry Mason series - Nadine Farr had emotional problems, and visited a psychiatrist. She is given sodium pentothal and her answers are recorded on tape. During t
Feb 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gardner
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 04, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes it's nice to return to those thrilling days of yesterday! So, on a whim, I picked up an old hardback book of Perry Mason at a used book store. Having grown up in the 50's, I found myself reliving those wonderful hours I had spent in front of the TV set watching Raymond Burr as Perry Mason. To my knowledge, I have never read Earl Stanley Gardner's creation before, and I am glad I did. Through the pages of the book, I had a delightful, nostalgic reunion, and all my old friends were there ...more
Sep 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The story starts with a drugged girl lying on the couch and being interviewed by a man, who turns out to be her doctor. She was given a mystical mixture of medicine, known as a truth serum, to find out what has been bothering her conscious. Unexpectedly, she confesses to murdering her "uncle" Mosher, who officially died few months earlier of natural causes and has already been buried. The doctor, an old friend of the lawyer, not being sure what was his legal obligation in this case, calls to Mas ...more
Oct 16, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011, mystery, other-usa
For some reason, I seem to be on a Perry Mason kick. I've read a couple of his stories recently and they are quick, entertaining reads. They speak to an older time, before cell phones and 24/7 news on television, where people could be more anonymous and less reachable.

This is a quick and entertaining read, although the plot seems a bit contrived. I am becoming more familiar with the main characters and they are (mostly) likable and fairly complex. I love that Della loves to eat and I hate that
Kyra Richardson
Sep 21, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2020
The first episode of Perry Mason premiered on September 21 so I read my first Perry Mason novel on September 21. Unfortunately, I slept for most of the day so I ran out of time and had to skim most of the book. Luckily, I've seen this episode so I know what happens. Because I knew what I was getting into, I'm rating based on the writing, not the plot. Middle of the road episode was the basis of a middle of the road book. Probably not the best Perry Mason book to start with but it was the shorter ...more
It depends on who you are talking to in the cast of characters as to the heroine Nadine Farr being demure or not.

Mosher Higley is mean, so its anyone's guess who actually killed him. The police think Perry is obstructing justice again but that prejudice is legally unfounded and it almost blinds them to other options. All the ends aren't wrapped up until the last page. Even Paul Drake doesn't see the end coming!
Doug Dams
Oct 15, 2011 rated it liked it
Perry Mason defends a woman accused of murder using cyanide. But she isn't being truthful with Mason and her reputation isn't as clean as she told Mason. What is she hiding and who committed the murder keeps Perry busy trying to solve the mysteries and keep his client from prison. It's an average story for the series. It keeps you turning the pages, but the twists aren't that neat. ...more
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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 Counterfeit Eye (Perry Mason, #6)
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  • The Case of the Sleepwalker's Niece (Perry Mason, #8)
  • The Case of the Stuttering Bishop (Perry Mason, #9)
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