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Perry Mason #79

The Case of the Careless Cupid

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Perry Mason is retained by Selma, a widow whose hopes of remarrying a wealthy man are thwarted by accusations that she had killed her first husband, and Perry's job becomes harder in the face of damaging evidence. Reprint.

180 pages, Paperback

First published March 1, 1968

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About the author

Erle Stanley Gardner

1,461 books688 followers
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. In his spare time, he began to write for pulp magazines, which also fostered the early careers of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler. He created many different series characters for the pulps, including the ingenious Lester Leith, a "gentleman thief" in the tradition of Raffles, and Ken Corning, a crusading lawyer who was the archetype of his most successful creation, the fictional lawyer and crime-solver Perry Mason, about whom he wrote more than eighty novels. With the success of Perry Mason, he gradually reduced his contributions to the pulp magazines, eventually withdrawing from the medium entirely, except for non-fiction articles on travel, Western history, and forensic science.

See more at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erle_Sta...

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5 stars
99 (20%)
4 stars
191 (38%)
3 stars
178 (36%)
2 stars
22 (4%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 48 reviews
Profile Image for Newly Wardell.
455 reviews
March 30, 2022
I freaking love Perry Mason novels. At some point we will acknowledge that every fictional defense attorney willing to go above and beyond to prove their clients innocence is a shadow of Perry Mason. I'm looking at you Jake Brigance to Phoenix Wright all of them. Boy were the decks ever stacked against him in this one. I was hooked from the end of the first chapter. No one creates characters like Erle Stanley Gardner. No one! Chapter 1 A woman finishes her breakfast and an unassuming guy finishes his as well and follows her out of the dining room. They get in the hallway. She pause turns to dude and basically say I have noticed you following me. I don't appreciate it. If you don't stop I'm gonna slap you and every time I see you after today I'm gonna slap you. He say you better get a lawyer cause I'll sue you. He run away and then she go see Perry Mason because she might have to slap somebody. It gets even crazier after this. Just entertainment from the first page to the last. Perry and the incomparable Della Street gotta go all the way to Texas in this one
Profile Image for Sharon Barrow Wilfong.
1,117 reviews3,943 followers
March 21, 2018
Another great Perry Mason. I gobble these up so rapidly it's a wonder I don't get heartburn. Luckily, books don't give you heartburn and Mason novels aren't Jane Austin to be savored and contemplated. They are that bowl of Hershey chocolates that you really shouldn't be scarfing down but can't stop, which is why I was able to run through this story in one sitting.

The plot: A distressed woman comes to Mason (aren't they always distressed woman?) because of a complicated situation. She is in love with and engaged to be married to man who is wealthy and also has a gaggle of nieces and nephews who are jealously guarding their Uncle against any gold diggers.

Mrs. Anson is a widow, wealthy in her own right, and is not a gold digger but that has not stopped at least one niece and her fiance from attempting to sabotage Mrs. Anson's plans to marry the Uncle whose name is Mr. Anderson.

How do they go about this? Mrs. Anson's husband died the previous year from food poisoning at a party given by Mr. Anderson due to a crab salad that had been left out all afternoon in warm weather. All the party got food poisoning, which included Mr. Anderson, Mrs. Anson and the nieces and nephews, but only Mrs. Anson's husband died from it.

Or did he? The niece and her fiance say they believe that Mrs. Anson killed her husband and demand that the body be exhumed and examined for poisoning. Because the insurance company would get back the sizeable settlement received by Mrs. Anson, they are more than willing to pursue an investigation. The body is exhumed and sure enough, traces of arsenic are found.

Did Mrs. Anson kill her husband? Perry Mason is going to find out. What follows is an interesting thread on how detectives work through shadowing and what the actual purpose of lie detectors are for as well as how a crime trial is operated through prosecution and defense.

While Mason's mysteries might be a little formulaic, they are certainly satisfying and the best part is how Gardner describes the legal system and function of each player in that system.

Finally I can gobble as much Mason as I want and never get fat.
Profile Image for Richa.
474 reviews44 followers
February 23, 2019
I liked this one. Really liked it, even though the trial part wasn't much. This one had a nice long explanation provided about the polygraph test. One of my reasons for getting hooked to this series was the way Gardner educates or informs about legal practice and terminology in a nice, easy to understand, tale narrative. He makes it really simple for lay people and also legal professionals, to understand quite a few technicalities. Some of the books in the series are whodunnits simpliciter, but once in a while, you get a book that is a little different. I will say that this one is among the little different category.
Profile Image for Yue.
2,136 reviews30 followers
November 6, 2015
It was nice that in this one the murderers were kind of obvious right from the beginning. There is actually no mystery about who were the killers, or why they did it but how it happened. Selma Anson was accused of murdered her husband. Delane Arlington's nephews and nieces were expecting to inherit his money, but he fell in love with Selma. So of course one of them wanted to incriminate her. I read this one faster than the previous one.

Read in Spanish.
86 reviews7 followers
October 8, 2014
My first Perry Mason story and this one was quite good. I love the feel of older novels that give a glimpse into how things were back in the day, and the speed of this one keeps the action moving as you might not expect a lawyer story to be. I am definitely looking forward to the other stories I have by this author and recommend to anyone who enjoys a good crime or mystery novel.
974 reviews2 followers
October 10, 2015
This one was good, but I was able to guess the mystery pretty early. Still love these mysteries though because you can read them in an afternoon and they are not violent or have a ton of sex. I like those novels too but it is nice to take a break.
Profile Image for Bailey Marissa.
1,105 reviews51 followers
October 14, 2017
An intriguing story that is not only complicated but also involves Perry pulling some stunts with human psychology and a polygraph test.

Recommended 13+ for murder, language, poisoning, and mild romance from secondary characters.
Profile Image for Daniele Palma.
150 reviews14 followers
April 6, 2019
Il mio primo Mason, ero sempre titubante a leggerne in quanto mi ricordavo la serie televisiva che vista da bambino mi pareva molto noiosa, invece devo sostenere che il libro è molto bello, il racconto intelligente ma non un rompicapo estremo è piacevole, si legge in un paio di giorni e si rimane incollati alle pagine come spesso accade con gli scrittori americani.
Spesso penso che leggendo gli americani ci si privi di contenuti complessi, introspezioni russe avvolte nel gelo e protette da cappottoni e colbacconi fatte lungo le vie semi oscure di una citta... Però servono anche gli americani, del sole, dell'estate permanente, del vince sempre il buono...
Son belli tutti... Adoro leggere
Profile Image for WT Sharpe.
143 reviews2 followers
October 1, 2020
Happily this was much better than the last Mason I read. Very enjoyable.
5,200 reviews53 followers
January 31, 2015
#79 in the Perry Mason series. Widow Selma is afraid to wed rich widower, Delane Arlington , because of the enmity of his nieces and nephews. Selma is accused of insurance fraud in the case of her husband's death and the fiancé of on e of Delane's nieces scares her into fleeing the state. Perry catches on and, beating Lt. Tragg to El Paso, manages to turn her trip from a flight to a publicized trip for philanthropic purposes. She still winds up being prosecuted for premeditated murder. But in pointing out the hopelessness of her case, Perry is asked "Who else had a reason to poison her husband?" When the question is answered "No one", a light goes on and the case is on its way to a successful conclusion.

Perry Mason series - A woman whose husband dies as a result of tainted crab salad is accused of poisoning her him with arsenic. She was a bird watcher who had progressed to trapping, killing and mounting species - a hobby she developed to fill her time because her husband was gone so often. The product she used was called Featherfirm and was loaded with arsenic. To complicate matters, she falls in love with the man at whose home her husband is poisoned. The man is wealthy, single, and lives with nieces and nephews, some of whom fear that he will marry the woman and leave his wealth to his new wife rather than to them. Did the woman murder her husband for his insurance or did someone else? The case against her looks rock solid but Perry Mason believes that she is innocent and is determined to help her.
1,917 reviews11 followers
October 25, 2010
Erle Stanley Gardner is one of my favorite mystery writers. He is so clever when it comes to writing a unique mystery tale. In this one, a woman whose husband dies as a result of tainted crab salad is accused of poisoning her him with arsenic. She was a bird watcher who had progressed to trapping, killing and mounting species - a hobby she developed to fill her time because her husband was gone so often. The product she use was called Featherfirm and was loaded with arsenic. To complicate matters, she falls in love with the man at whose home her husband is poisoned. The man is wealthy, single, and lives with nieces and nephews, some of whom fear that he will marry the woman and leave his wealth to his new wife rather than to them. Did the woman murder her husband for his insurance or did someone else? The case against her looks rock solid but Perry Mason believes that she is innocent and is determined to help her.
30 reviews
November 25, 2017
"It was a sorry day for law enforcement when Perry Mason was admitted to the bar." Indeed it was. When a wealthy widow Selma Anson spots the same man everywhere she goes, she decides to confront him. She doesn't end up going to Mason's office because of accidental killing of the "detective," but to make sure she in the clear if she should punch him in the face anytime in the future.
I really enjoyed reading it, even though I've just discovered I'd already read it few years ago. Perry is on top of his game. There're some intrigues, plot twists, poisoning, fast thinking, fortune hunters and pretty nice trial scenes even though they're relatively short.
Profile Image for Chazzi.
988 reviews6 followers
February 4, 2016
I am a big fan of Perry Mason, the original in print and Raymond Burr from the TV series.

This case involves a widow and the suspicion that she poisoned her husband over a year ago to get the payout on his life insurance.

Who started this rumour? Is it true? Why was it started?

Selma Anson hires Perry Mason to help solve these questions and more. Along with his secretary, Della Street, and P.I. Paul Drake, Mason comes through in true style.
78 reviews1 follower
November 13, 2018
This 1968 late Erle Stanley Gardner was far better than I anticipated. I do like the earlier Perry Mason books better, but this held my interest to the end, mostly trying to figure out how he would get this woman off when so much evidence was against her.
Profile Image for Karan Shah.
27 reviews1 follower
May 15, 2013
Erle Stanley Gardner is my favorite mystery murder writer.
His books are very fast paced and witty. This book is one of his best
Profile Image for Girish.
848 reviews209 followers
September 8, 2013
Perry Mason at his theatrical best. Gets into a bit of lecture mode in the middle, but all ingredients of Perry Mason.
Simple, non complicated read.
Profile Image for James Vest.
124 reviews
January 1, 2019
A solid entry into the Perry Mason cannon, but ultimately, a pretty straightforward dash to the truth.
Profile Image for Shalini M.
385 reviews47 followers
April 22, 2020
This must be one of the blandest Perry Mason novels (and I have read them all, many of them recently, and a lot of them several times more than two decades ago).
There was hardly any tension; I kept expecting some key character turning up murdered, in the typical Gardner manner, but no ... not a single interesting event in the current timeline. The client resorting to flight, and Mason going plane-hopping to chase the client (in their own interests of course), is a prop too often used. The matter with the 'shadow' and the 'roper' was disposed off without a suitable conclusion. But the deciding blow was the murder itself - the 'who' and 'how' was rather obvious, but the 'why' was not given the due importance - the only reason seemed to be greed, which is not a sufficiently motivating factor for murder, at least in this kind of murder mysteries.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Marina Gerrard.
Author 5 books1 follower
January 29, 2020
There is a kind of mystery that, as I say goes, in one eye and out the other. No disrespect meant. I love them. They're very easy on the eye ;-) The good thing is because I never remember who dunnit, I can read them again and again.
I'm sure I've read every single one of ESG's books in the past. Now I'm ready to go over them again one by one. I recently started with The Case of the Careless Cupid. Boy, did I enjoy it! I'm sure at some point the rest will follow!
Profile Image for Kieran McAndrew.
1,792 reviews11 followers
December 26, 2021
Selma Arlington sees someone following her and threatens to punch him in the face if she sees him again. She decides to check with renowned lawyer Perry Mason what the ramifications of such a threat would be and suddenly she finds herself embroiled in a murder case.

Gardner's mystery thriller leaves readers guessing until almost the last page, safe in the knowledge that Mason will unmask the true culprit in court.
Profile Image for Danny.
Author 14 books11 followers
September 30, 2021
One of Gardner's more careless entries sees Mason sitting behind his desk entirely for the first third of the book. Even when he leaves, we get a tourist's view of El Paso for some reason? The book picks up near the end, even if it's never much of a mystery, but overall its one of the weaker Mason novels.
February 17, 2021
I enjoyed the story, but a little appalled that an insurance company could claim the amazing investment earnings achieved by the defendant instead of perhaps simply the principal with interest. Left me wondering whether the law still allows that 50 years later.
Profile Image for Ashley.
999 reviews1 follower
May 23, 2018
Perfect cozy read for me. I love figuring things out with Mason. This is one where I did have it figured out before the end but I still enjoyed it!
Profile Image for Iris van Meer.
217 reviews35 followers
January 30, 2020
Oh my. Not my type of book. Only has one scene (the lawyers office) and it's just dialogue after dialogue. Didn't like it at all.
Profile Image for Ravinder.
126 reviews20 followers
March 19, 2021
Average Perry Mason novel... There are many better ones out there
Profile Image for Vijay Ramdu.
58 reviews
April 13, 2021
Picked it up because of no sleep and it turned out to be so unputdownable that it didn't let me sleep. That's the case of (me) The careless cupid who feel in love with Perry Mason at first sight
Displaying 1 - 30 of 48 reviews

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