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The Case of the Haunted Husband

(Perry Mason #18)

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  735 ratings  ·  41 reviews
Aspiring actress Stephanie Claire just wants to be in pictures. But she may end up in mug shots when she gets herself caught up in a crime. It's up to Perry Mason to find the truth behind a suspicious scenario starring a menacing movie mogul, a hoodwinked housewife, and a man no one ever seen--alive! Reissue.
Mass Market Paperback, 250 pages
Published 1962 by Pocket Books (first published January 1st 1941)
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3.81  · 
Rating details
 ·  735 ratings  ·  41 reviews

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Oct 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Just in time for the Halloween: haunted husbands!!! Possessed wives!!! Kids from hell!!!
I am terribly sorry but there is nothing at all like this here. In fact if you find anything that can be qualified as a supernatural occurrence I will eat not just my hat, but any other part of my wardrobe of your choosing.

We all heard the beginning of the story or something very similar before. A young girl Stephanie Claire got fed up with her jerk boss, quit her job and like countless other girls before and
James Thane
When hatcheck girl Stephanie Claire is fired after refusing her boss's advances, she impulsively decides to hitchhike to Los Angles to see if she can break into the movies. She gets a ride to Bakersfield and there is picked up by a man in a powerful sedan. The man's been drinking and when he tries to get friendly, Stephanie she has a drink of whiskey to be a good sport, but otherwise resists his advances. In attempting to paw Stephanie, the man loses control of the car, which crashes. Stephanie ...more
Nandakishore Varma
I am on tour on a workshop, and read this as a light read. Sadly, I found out that I have outgrown Perry Mason. The court scenes simply do not engender the excitement they used to - and if you discount them, the mystery is pretty pedestrian.

Don't be put off, folks, by this "review" - it's a personal thing.
Apr 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This may be the quintessential Perry Mason novel. Gardner deftly weaves profound ideas about justice (particularly the ethos of being a defense attorney), sly humor, and meaningful and articulate ideas about life into his page-turner whodunnits. The best murder mystery writers do not shy away from discussing death itself and Erle Stanley Gardner takes his place with Edgar Allan Poe and other masters as being among the best.
Alonzo Church
This is atypical Mason, with Perry acting more like a golden age sleuth than typical, and Hamilton Burger is nowhere in sight. This time, to the extent there is an antagonist, it’s Lt. Tragg, and unlike with Burger, finding the actual killer is more important than destroying Mason. So, alas, the courtroom is not prominent in this one, and there are long passages of dull. By the time the plot perks up, it’s going to be too late for most readers, even though the contest between Tragg and Mason is ...more
Jun 22, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hitchhikers, Movie Producers, & Secrets

When you open up one of Gardner's Perry Mason novels, you find something which is very much like a classic pulp detective novel with a strange situation, a possible frame-up, corpses, vague clues, and keeping evidence close to the vest until Mason can figure out what it all means. You also get courtroom scenes including the kind of courtroom examinations and gotcha moments that seldom occur in real trials. Unlike the classic pulp detective, Mason is an
Anagha S Setlur
Nov 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Erle Stanley Gardner has done the things that I could not do in my life. Writing a fictional mystery is a real challenge, and to write one that is gripping is another matter by itself. This piece is one of his best whodunits written and is a definite page turner. It kept me guessing till the very end and eventually, I didn't get it right. That's the whole point of a mystery, isn't it? A brilliant work of fiction with great conversations that you can go head over heels with. :)
Brandy B. Stark
Jul 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is Perry Mason. What can I say? Pulpy yummy fun.

Lots of pulp. A little sexists, though. Still, love that lawyer. Paul Drake did not shine in this one. Della did.
Interesting twists and resolution. Perry, Della, and their detective friend are on top of the game again! =)
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 07, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of those Perry Mason books that has all the action happening - multiple murders, glitz and glamour of hollywood and whole lot of deductive reasoning. Mason and his team become super sleuths by guessing things not at all evident from the evidence.

The action is high and Tragg hanging out with the team was fun. Thought Gardner was experimenting in this one by narrating events in the perspective of other character and also with philosophy (flat). Courtroom action limited to cross examination bri
WT Sharpe
Dec 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the more memorable ones

I enjoyed this as a TV show and now I can say I enjoyed the novel on which the teleplay was based.I do think this is one case where the TV writers actually improved upon the original "gotcha" ending, though. I can still hear Mason, in that final scene, saying to Lt. Tragg, "Do you think I'm stupid, lieutenant?" and Tragg responding about him being underhanded, unscrupulous, conniving...but not stupid. It was the perfect lead-in to the gotcha moment. Not that I didn'
Feb 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Complicated plot line about a car accident, a Hollywood producer and a mysterious bigamist.
Feb 22, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've been reading Gardner's Perry Mason books off and on for many years. Many years ago, I was an intense fan of the series, and read them all, at least once. Now, after a lot of water over the dam, I'm looking at them again.

Those who are used to really fine mystery writers, such as Ross Macdonald, may find the writing style here off-putting. It can be stiff and mechanical. Nonetheless, I still love the general setting: the characters of Perry, Della, Paul, Lt. Tragg, and Hamilton Berger. That,
Every once in a while, Gardner writes a Mason mystery that knocks it out of the ballpark, and this is one of them. Tragg becomes part of the team in this one. Mason treats Paul, Della and Tragg to a steak dinner while they share "clews" to solve the case. Tragg twirls Della out on the dance floor of this dinner club. Two interesting points, and I'm not going to ruin the plot, but Paul and Perry have a discussion they've had in many other books--which is that Perry likes to be on thin ice. He's a ...more
After reading The Case of the Dangerous Dowager which I enjoyed immensely, this was something of a let down. The enjoyable part of the book were the character interactions (especially Perry Mason's interactions with others.) It was also fun to read a mystery from the point of view of someone who does not have the police's support and is willing to break a few rules while trying to find the answers. However, the book dragged in the middle and I found myself wishing it would end soon. The end, too ...more
Stephen Osborne
Jul 30, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I did figure out whodunit in this one, only because I caught the one clue that lead to the murderer, but one doesn't read Gardner to figure out the killer. You don't read them for character development (there is none). You read them for the courtroom acrobatics that Mason comes up with, and the witty dialog between Mason and Della (or Tragg, or Paul Drake). The cases themselves are usually so convoluted that you'd need flow charts, timetables, and endless amounts of caffeine to solve them. But t ...more
Jul 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
A somewhat convoluted tale of Hollywood scheming but actually not. I sort of lost track of the nefarious women skulking about.

I did appreciate the pine-scented romantic mountain cabin getaway that was located in Fresno. O.o

And Mason did give forth with a long soliloquy on the circle of life to a recently widowed woman. Both Paul Drake and I were equally amazed. But then it turned out she was a murderess, so there's that.
Mar 29, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: perry-mason, e-book
Read a Perry Mason after a long time, great fun indeed!

(view spoiler)

On the topic of Mason, I wish they make a modern day TV adaptation. Or, maybe I'll just try to get my hands on some episodes of the original series.
Jun 23, 2015 rated it liked it
An interesting mix of legal work, and detective work Gardner keeps you on your toes withe quick twists and lots of liars. This is maybe the third Perry Mason I've read & really enjoyed, would have rated 3.5 and rounded up, but the other reviews swayed me.

Not a perfectly wound Celtic knot, but like a messy braid or some street foiod, this one was probably better off a little loose.
Aug 12, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
3.5 Stars.

These are fun mysteries. They aren't anything outstanding, but Mason is a decent character and Della is great. It's also nice that there is a mix of detective work and legal work. I thought the mystery in this book was a good one, and his client was sympathetic enough that you wanted her off the hook for the crime.
Jun 30, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This mystery reminded me a lot of my favourite sleuth, M. Hercule Poirot. The style, the narrative was too inspired by a Poirot mystery, according to me. Mason was more of a detective than a lawyer here, also a philosopher giving veiled messages to the murderer -- a la Poirot! I guess if I hadn't read all the Poirot mysteries already, I might have been a little more generous to this one...
Dec 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great development of the Tragg character. I wish that the actor who played Tragg on TV would have played the part to match the character in the books. The Tragg character on TV was more like Sgt Holcomb
Oct 25, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
This one is quite chock-full of twists and clues. I can't imagine all were included in the television episode of the same name. The double-twist, triple-flip ending was a bit unbelieveable...for anyone but Perry.
NebulousGloom (FK)
This book was kind of slow in a few sections, but it picked up near the end with more twists and turns than usual. Certainly worth reading. The description of the "upholstered" woman are very interesting in a series that almost always has nothing but skinny women.
Nov 19, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012, mystery, legal
Perry Mason is always enjoyable. While some of the comments in these books viewed through a modern lens are perturbing, for the day and time the books were fairly progressive.
Not Gardner's best, but still fun. The plot borders on hopelessly complicated, and the court scenes are not as dynamic as usual. Still, an okay period piece.

The kindle edition I read should be avoided. There are a fair number of spelling errors and even more typographical ones where lines break at random and confuse the reader. And while the blurb above calls the central character "Stephanie," in my edition, she is "Stephane" throughout. Odd!
Whistlers Mom
Shall we? Let us not!

I've been picking up the Perry Mason Kindle editions as I find them on sale and have enjoyed most of them. This one almost drove me insane. As a mystery, it's fine. A bit convoluted and not always very believable, but basically sound. Perry is sharp, daring, and all the other things we've come to expect. Della is charming. Paul Drake is dogged and loyal. Lt. Tragg is a great addition to the cast of characters. Gardner showed real style in creating a foil for Mason who's neit
Aug 08, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: legal
#18 in the Perry Mason series. Forgettable entry in series.

Perry Mason series - Aspiring actress Stephanie Claire just wants to be in pictures. But she may end up in mug shots when she gets herself caught up in a crime. It's up to Perry Mason to find the truth behind a suspicious scenario starring a menacing movie mogul, a hoodwinked housewife, and a man no one ever seen--alive!
May 24, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Nothing outstanding here
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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
  • The Case of the Curious Bride (Perry Mason Mystery)
  • The Case of the Counterfeit Eye (Perry Mason Mysteries)
  • The Case of the Caretaker's Cat  (A Perry Mason Mystery)
  • The Case of the Sleepwalker's Niece (Perry Mason #8)
  • The Case of the Stuttering Bishop
  • The Case of the Dangerous Dowager
“The whole structure of the law has to be a dignified, imposing edifice and built on firm foundations, if it is going to stand. Whenever you violate the law, you are tearing down a part of that structure, regardless of what goal you may want to achieve.” 0 likes
“Life is like that. We can only see from birth to death. The rest of it is cut from our vision." Drake” 0 likes
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