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Perry Mason #57

The Case of the Calendar Girl

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Contracter George Ansley skids off the road from criminal Meredith Borden, shot dead that night. He drops off Beatrice, but she kisses and distracts him with long legs. California lawyer Perry Mason finds the real Beatrice books models, including bruised Dawn, ex-wife to Frank Ferney, whose girlfriend model Loretta, claims Dawn kidnapped her and shot Meredith.

216 pages, Kindle Edition

First published July 1, 1958

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About the author

Erle Stanley Gardner

748 books676 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
97 (22%)
4 stars
185 (43%)
3 stars
129 (30%)
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17 (3%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 33 reviews
Profile Image for Melindam.
612 reviews268 followers
October 3, 2017
Unbelievable! This is book #56 of the Perry Mason series and you'd think Erle Stanley Gardner ran out of ideas & steam, but NO SUCH THING!

There is a double twist to the story with Mason defending a client in a murder case, and once he is in the clear, he goes on defending the woman who turns suspect after the initial case is closed.

This is a very exciting read - the action grips you right at the very beginning and doesn't let you out of its clutches until the murder mystery is solved. We are back to the courtroom for legal fireworks and my, do they explode with a BANG! Hamilton Burger should really know better by now than to think he can outsmart Perry Mason, but let it be said for him, at least he never gives up trying. So, Schadenfreude-factor is at work to enhance the enjoyment, but I cannot help myself. :)

And a lovely BONUS: for the very first time, Lieutenant Tragg - the "worthy adversary" cop & reluctant friend to Perry Mason - goes out of his way to find Mason and involve him in the investigation & we are given a chance to see the action -some parts of it anyway- from his / the police's point of view.
Profile Image for Newly Wardell.
455 reviews
November 7, 2019
I could dig it. I love it when Perry blames one person to get one person off only to change his mind
Profile Image for Liz.
57 reviews
June 8, 2016
A few twists on a classic Perry Mason novel - featuring a few refreshing scenes with Lieutenant Tragg, one of my favorite characters. Lt. Tragg's character as a considerate and quick-thinking policeman, devoid of political stain, is apparent in this story.
5,200 reviews53 followers
December 22, 2014
#57 in the Perry Mason series. In a usual plot development from author Gardner, you have difficulty in determining the guilty party. First the Calendar Girl seems an innocent passenger, then she might be a devious driver. The car is stolen, so that doesn't help. But Perry is concerned with exonerating contractor Ansley. The courtroom scene that accomplishes that is expected, it's what comes next that distinguishes this series entry.

Perry Mason series - A contractor is getting grief from building inspectors on a very important job. He is advised to consult with a "public relations expert" (who quotes a price to fix the problems). As Ansley leaves the estate, he has a narrow escape from an accident; the other car overturns. Ansley sees a young woman, who calls for help and a ride home to her apartment. But something worries him. He calls on Perry Mason for advice. When Perry checks up, he finds this woman used a false identity; and her car was stolen. The next day the "public relations expert" is found murdered; the gun that did is found in Ansley's car. Perry Mason and Paul Drake must quickly investigate to uncover the facts. They track down the woman from the fake address. An undeveloped negative of the model is found in the murdered man's camera (is it proof she was the last person to see him alive?).
Profile Image for Bailey Marissa.
1,103 reviews51 followers
September 29, 2017
Those Perry and Della interactions are 10/10. The plot is a crazy as usual, and still somewhat confusing until the end.

Recommended 14/15+ for language, violence, romance, and (not really sure how to describe them...) photos that aren't porn but definitely NSFW. (As usual, the book just mentions them and doesn't go into details.)
2,536 reviews32 followers
May 31, 2015
Perry Mason and Della Street are out having a quiet dinner and a man (George Ansley) approaches them with an unusual story. He had just left a tense meeting with a crooked politician on his palatial estate and when he was on the driveway a car came from the other direction, sideswiped him and then crashed. He went to the aid of the occupants and found a pretty young woman lying unconscious and in typical Gardner fashion, her skirt was up near her hips. Thinking she is unconscious, Ansley starts off for help but hears her cry out before he can go to far.
Going back, he finds her conscious and coherent. She insists she is unhurt and asks for a ride back to her residence. Ansley complies and manages to get a couple of kisses in before he drops her off. However, he has been thinking about the incident and is concerned about the legal ramifications, so seeing Mason at a table, asks for his assistance. Mason, Street and Ansley go back to the estate, looking for the car. At 11PM, the gates close and guard dogs are released onto the grounds. The dogs come after them, so Mason and company are forced to make a hasty retreat over the wall. This starts a convoluted series of events, as the politician is found murdered and Ansley is accused of the crime.
There are several twists to the plot, as the chief aide to the politician constantly changes his story on the witness stand, and after hard cross-examination by Perry Mason, it is clear that Ansley could not have committed the murder. The person who becomes the prime suspect then hires Perry Mason to defend her and the case goes back to court. This time, the judicial finger of guilt is pointed in the right direction and the perpetrator is apprehended.
While this story is in many ways a typical Perry Mason adventure, there are enough potential murderers to keep you guessing which one did it. The final piece of the puzzle, where an apparently solid alibi is destroyed, comes very late, climactically determining the identity of the murderer. I enjoyed the story, it was interesting and the conversation Mason has with Lieutenant Tragg is one of the best moments in the Mason series. It portrays them as adversaries, yet clearly with a great deal of mutual and professional respect.

This review also appears on Amazon
Profile Image for Jeevagan.
28 reviews1 follower
September 21, 2015
The Case of Calendar Girl by Erle Stanley Gardner

One of the many court case drama of Perry Mason, this book keeps you hooked from the very first chapter. Half of the books contains the events have in one night successively, where ultimately there had been a murder.

The book is written in conversational type that helps the story move fast. And of course the dialogues are written in such manner that makes you keep guessing what had actually happened.

Erle Stanley Gardner has intelligently kept the suspense till the last chapter. Initially, it was the Defendant Ansley who was thought to be the killer. Then Perry Mason with his efficient skills as lawyer, clears the ground and makes the court release Ansley and doubt Ms. Dawn Manning. But the best part is Ms. Dawn Manning asks Perry Mason to take her case and he agrees. Thus Perry Mason reappears in the same case for another Defendant and succeeds.

To keep the pace of the story, Erle Stanley Gardner did not elaborate the homework done by Perry Mason in understanding the case and collecting evidence and how he decides people involved in the case. Those things get revealed as story expands in the court room.

Simple writing would benefit any reader. This is not a book to relish and remember for years. But this book is a light read which will help you to unwind and relax and quickly get into the story.
A good simple read.
Profile Image for Richa.
474 reviews44 followers
September 16, 2018
I would consider this among the better of the Mason mysteries. The thing that got me hooked to Mason Cases was the legal ingenuity the lawyer used to bring out the truth in the court. Here, he does it not just once, but twice! The court part was immensely enjoyable! The last star has been deducted only for the little less crunchy end. I expected it more flambouyant flourish.
112 reviews7 followers
September 21, 2018
I've been reading Gardner's Perry Mason books off and on for many years. Those who are used to really fine mystery writers (in the literary sense), such as Ross Macdonald, may find the writing style here a bit dry and stilted. Nonetheless, I still love the general setting: the fast pace, the characters of Perry, Della, Paul, Lt. Tragg, and Hamilton Berger. 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 one of the later ones, written in 1958. The plot is interesting and creative. But like many late books, written after the TV series became a huge hit, there isn't much in the way of embellishment or descriptive detail.

This is an unusual story. The first chapter has no mention of Perry or Della. A contractor named George Ansley is building a public school. He is being pressured by building inspectors in not-so-subtle ways to give kickbacks to corrupt politicians. In desperation he goes one night to the estate of wealthy Meridith Borden, a so-called "public relations expert" and agrees to provide graft payments.

Upon driving out through the elaborate gate, he is sideswiped by a car coming in. The other car rolls over. He parks and returns to find a young woman who was thrown from the car. Eventually he takes her "home", never seeing her driving license. Half an hour later he mulls it all over and happens to run into Perry and Della at a restaurant (lucky guy!). Perry is intrigued by the story, and they return to the Borden estate to check on the car.

Thus begins chapter three, with the three of them searching the dark estate. This is arguably the most exciting chapter in the whole Perry Mason canon! Dogs are released! They barely escape! It turns out the car was stolen, there were two young women in the car, and Meridith Borden is found murdered the next morning. The two women tell quite different stories. Of course, George Ansley is arrested and we are soon in the preliminary hearing.

After this, the quality of writing starts to lag. The courtroom scenes, eventually with Hamilton Burger, are very good but go on too long and are too wordy. Most unusually, Ansley is soon released but someone else is immediately arrested and Perry becomes her lawyer too! There are more courtroom scenes. It gets to be too much.

Very good use of Lt. Tragg and Hamilton Berger. Not much Paul Drake. Indeed, in most Perry Mason novels Drake would have found out a lot more. For example, I was disappointed that we never learn who the car was stolen from, nor does Drake investigate the stories of the young women, both of whom describe parties they attended and people who were there. He should have interviewed those other attendees.

I was also disappointed by some unlikely events. Decedent and defendant both have blood type AB. That is very unlikely, with probability about 1 in 625. The murder weapon, a gun, was stolen from a hardware store three years earlier so can't be traced. Why? Surely not in anticipation of a murder. It's awfully convenient when planning a murder to have a gun that can't be traced.

Most disappointing is the complexity and unlikelihood of the murder plot. Without giving away any spoilers, some one or more people planned to kill Borden. The accident with George Ansley's car changed things. Yet the plan continued. It all seems very unlikely. The murderer(s) seem unrealistically cool and collected. There is at least one unexplained plot hole involving some photographs that is sluffed over at the end.


George Ansley, honest contractor who has been harassed by demands for payoffs.
Meridith Borden, so called "publc relations expert" who is really a crooked political boss.
Frank Ferney, assistant to Meridith Borden.
Beatrice Cornell, young woman who runs a modelling agency.
Dawn Manning, young model, ex-wife of Frank Ferney.
Loretta Harper, present girl friend of Frank Ferney.
Marianna Fremont, housekeeper and cook for Borden.
Jasper Horn, foreman on the construction job for George Ansley.
Dr. Margaret Callison, veterinarian.
Harvey Dennison, hardware store owner.
Mr. and Mrs. Jason Kendell, friends of Loretta and Frank.

The plot is ingenious and the book is still worth reading. There is no emotional kick at the end.
Profile Image for Noah.
182 reviews8 followers
June 24, 2015
Another great Perry Mason story, This one has a bit less out and about adventuring and much more clever courtroom maneuvers. Enthralling.
Profile Image for Susan.
Author 137 books66 followers
February 18, 2023
Intriguing with surprising twists that always tickles my fancy.

Made into a Perry Mason television episode.

🟣 Recommended.
Profile Image for Rupesh Goenka.
588 reviews17 followers
September 10, 2021
George Ansley, a building contractor is having trouble to get positive approval from the building inspectors for the new school job. He is suggested to make a settlement with Meridith Borden, a public relations expert for all his troubles. While leaving from Borden place a car runs into his car and rolls over. Ansely gives the female driver of the wrecked car a ride home. After thinking over the matter, he confirms his suspicions about the woman to Perry Mason and seeks his advice. Later Meridith Borden is shot dead and the murder weapon in found in Ansley’s car. Ansely is accused of the crime. Perry Mason defends and gets him acquitted of the charge. Thereafter, Dawn Manning, a beautiful model and an escort, is sent to jail for killing Borden after the first case has ended. She retains Perry Mason to fight her case. Mason once again succeeds in freeing his client. Thus, Perry appears in court on behalf of two different clients for the same case. The chat between Perry Mason and Lieutenant Tragg in the cafeteria regarding the events that took place the previous day is of the highest order. The finest dialogues and one-liners apart from the stupendous courtroom histrionics are of outstanding quality. ENTHRALLING NOVEL.
Profile Image for William.
1,020 reviews5 followers
November 1, 2016
As far as I can remember, this is my first Perry Mason, and I have started this long series in a totally random place. Since I really enjoyed this one, I will do a bunch of the others, though reading all eighty is a bit of a tall order.

I like Gardner's clear, clean writing style. He also apparently has a gift for plot, because you can follow the timing and angles here perfectly well (not always the case with mystery novels). The court room dialogues seem pretty deft to me, though I have never heard a real one.

This falls in the rare category of a book I could not put down. It's not memorable literature, and perhaps not even a memorable mystery, but serving as good entertainment is an achievement in itself, and a worthy one.
Profile Image for PoligirlReads.
528 reviews8 followers
August 12, 2019
Now this is one of the ones I'd like to have seen on the tv show, if only to see poor Della and Perry trying to scale a wall with a Doberman ready to take a bite out of them!

This had a lot of twists and turns, along with the absurdly overconfident Hamilton Burger. I liked seeing Perry work alongside Tragg, even if the alliance didn't last particularly long. The most impressive part is seeing how ESG manages to write two court scenes that aren't the least bit dry! I kept thinking about how that's not an easy thing to do.

The mystery itself was plausible, and while I didn't guess it, looking back, I can see how the pieces were being put into place.
Profile Image for Rick Rapp.
611 reviews3 followers
April 6, 2018
Of the Perry Mason books I've read, this was my favorite. The characters and dialogue were the most authentic and the case didn't get bogged down in minute details. I was kept guessing until almost the end, which is always a good trait for a mystery to possess. Once again, though, the characters drawn on the television show were so indelible that every time the regulars speak, I hear the actor who portrayed that character. That's not a bad thing, since those portrayals were gems all on their own merit. I heartily recommend this book (once again, a quick read.)
Profile Image for Dheeraj Sankar.
24 reviews
October 16, 2017
Perry Mason novels are always heart gripping and you just cant let the book go without turning the last page of the book.
The case of the calendar girl, one such gripping novel, neatly written and keeps you on your toes until the very last few pages of the book.

Two Defendants and a Murder Trail, enjoyed the court room drama thoroughly :)
Worth reading.. <3
Profile Image for James Vest.
120 reviews
December 30, 2018
As thrilling and satisfying a Perry Mason mystery as they come. A story so packed, that not only do Lieutenant Tragg and Mason briefly team up to gather evidence, this mystery requires two court cases to sort out the truth.
Profile Image for Jai.
74 reviews4 followers
January 8, 2020
Pretty much what you would expect. This was a blast from the past for me.

My book had last page or two torn out so that was annoying.
Profile Image for False.
2,243 reviews10 followers
January 30, 2017
I've been reading through Perry Mason's. An amateur photographer---artistic nudes! is murdered. Whodunnit. There's a great courtroom scene when the photographs are entered into evidence, and the author lovingly describes how, though nude, thoroughly artistic they are--then the judge demands to see them "in my chambers for the next 30 minutes." I made that last part up. Laughing. Gardner, you old roue.
Profile Image for Tony.
154 reviews44 followers
September 9, 2014
Some nice twists on the classic formula. .
Profile Image for Les Anderson.
55 reviews
June 17, 2016
This was awesome because I don't most lawyers would defend two clients like this. It's probably one of the best written Perry Mason novels as well. Again, Hamilton Burger comes across as not too smart, mostly because he has two potential suspects and decides to prosecute one of them before clearing up the confusion.
Profile Image for Stven.
1,236 reviews25 followers
November 14, 2013
This 1958 story is prime Perry Mason. Money, men who push their way to the top, dames who know the score, as much sin and corruption as in a Philip Marlowe story but a tenth the moping around about it.
Profile Image for Jeffrey Marks.
Author 38 books98 followers
June 24, 2011
Not the best of the Masons, the murderer can be spotted by assuming that Perry's client is innocent. However, there is a neat trick, where Perry represents 2 separate defendants for the same murder.
Profile Image for Vincent Darlage.
Author 24 books45 followers
June 20, 2012
"All of Mr. Mason's cases take peculiar turns," Hamilton Burger said angrily.

True of this story. Perry defends one defendant by throwing another person to the wolves, then defends THAT person!
Displaying 1 - 30 of 33 reviews

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