Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The Case of the Glamorous Ghost - Erle Stanley Gardner

"What actually did happen," Drake said, "Is that your client killed Hepner. She got jealous because he started two-timing her and she shot him. Why the hell can't she be normal? Why can't she get on the witness stand, cross her legs, show the jury a lot of cheesecake and tell about that night when Douglass taunted her with the fact that he had betrayed her virtue and wasn't going to do anything about it, how she thought she could scare him into marrying her if she took the gun from her purse, intending just to frighten him, and then he taunted her some more and all of a sudden everything went black. And then the next thing she remembers is his body inert and silent in death. And so she lost her mind and went tearing around in the moonlight, putting on the dance of the seven veils." 

TV Episode, Feb 3, 1962
I'm friends with a married couple who claim to have seen every Perry Mason episode there is. They don't have cable TV or satellite, nor do they stream their TV from any of the various streaming services. They don't even have cell phones that text, which gives you an idea how old-school they are. Over the years they've taped Perry Mason episodes from MeTV and have stack episodes up so they can watch them at their leisure. The one thing they've noticed, so they tell me, is that no matter where Perry Mason might be, he can somehow always be reached by telephone. One time he was driving past a gate guard who stopped to tell him he was wanted on the phone. Other times it's in restaurants, cafes, or gas stations. If someone needs to reach Mason, they seem to have a sixth sense on exactly where he'll be and what phone number is nearest to him.

It's probably just a goofy inside joke the script writers had to keep themselves amused. I haven't seen that many episodes, so I can't vouch for the observation. The only odd thing I've ever noticed on a TV show was that on The People's Court, court reporter Doug LLewelyn always had the same tie. Or it seemed that way to me at the time. But I only had one tie then myself, so there you go.

The Case of the Glamorous Ghost is one of the more entertaining novels I've read in the Mason series. They're all entertaining, but I enjoyed this one a lot because it moved at a good clip without ever going off the rails into confusion like some of the other Mason plots can do. I've been in a summer reading slump, or funk, and have had a hard time getting into many of the books I've started. I'm halfway through a biography of John Adams that I started back in June. Maybe I'll finish it this year. The Glamorous Ghost and a PD James novel is pretty much all I've managed to complete in the past month. Maybe it's the heat. Who knows?

Anyway, this post really hasn't provided much detail of the book, or the TV episode pictured above. I think Paul Drake's assessment of the case covered it better than I could. I'll add that Della Street goes "undercover" as a honeytrap of sorts, and that the plot includes not just murder, but gem smuggling on the side. And Hamilton Burger is licking his chops a lot in this one too. It's a good one.