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The Case of the Velvet Claws

Perry Mason Series, Book 1
Narrated by: Alexander Cendese
Series: Perry Mason, Book 1
Length: 6 hrs and 1 min
4 out of 5 stars (7 ratings)

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Summary

Criminal lawyer and bestselling mystery author Erle Stanley Gardner wrote nearly 150 novels that have sold 300 million copies worldwide. Now, the American Bar Association is bringing back his most famous and enduring novels - featuring criminal defense lawyer and sleuth Perry Mason - in striking trade paperback editions.

Married Eva Griffin has been caught with a prominent congressman, and is ready to pay the editor of a sleazy tabloid hush money to protect the politician. But first Perry Mason tracks down the publisher of the blackmailing tabloid and discovers a shocking secret, which eventually leads to Mason being accused of murder.

This is the first Perry Mason mystery and our introduction to secretary Della Street, detective Paul Drake, and the great lawyer himself.

©1945, 2011 Erle Stanley Gardner (P)2016 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.
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Stomach upset

Probably like many others I came to this book with my preconceptions formed by the TV series, expecting a Raymond Burr type figure, omniscient but still, in a resssuring way, cuddly, and though I did enjoy a couple of the stories as a child they had faded from memory. The Perry Mason in this story remains omniscient, but he is a particularly abrupt and unpleasant chap and treats the adoring and yet efficient Della as a moronic minion to be ordered or dismissed as his whim dictates.

The story is basically simple and the 'twist' at the end extremely predictable as the clues are perhaps too signposted, but worse than that, the reading is, to be kind, curious. The reader spits out the words through clenched teeth, as though suffering a serious case of constipation, and yet the extremely hurried delivery is sometimes hard to follow and indicative, paradoxically, of diarrhoea - one does worry for his digestion. I think a lesser character is meant to be from Scotland, but from this narrator's rendition, it could be South Africa, Wales, anywhere.

Perry Mason is probably best left in the mateus rose hue of misty memory.

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  • Michael
  • 05-01-18

The true Perry Mason, hard boiled detecting at its finest!

This is the first Perry Mason book and it’s as hard boiled as a two dollar steak. This is the true Perry Mason, not just courtroom lawyer but a guy who does his own detecting, and isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty. He is as hard boiled as they come. Think of Phillip Marlowe with a law degree. If you love the 30s hard boiled lone wolf detective story, you are in for a treat. And there are many many more!

8 people found this helpful

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  • David S. Mathew
  • 10-04-17

Enter Perry Mason

I'd never read a Perry Mason novel before, nor have I seen the TV show. Still, as a law student, I figured I should at least try the first one out.

I was pleasantly surprised by the mystery, and especially surprised by the fact that a lot of the law quoted here is actually real! This novel doesn't have any courtroom scenes, but a good defense attorney wins most cases during investigation, so even that was accurate.

Also, the narrator does a great, hard-boiled, film noire, detective voice. If you're on the fence, this is a really fun trip. Enjoy!

6 people found this helpful

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  • Dr. Joe de Beauchamp
  • 03-07-20

Perry Mason

Perry Mason is an excellent book to listen to. I found this book is interesting as Raymond Burr's portrayal of Perry Mason. this is the first book out of 150 books of Perry Mason.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Matthew Kelley
  • 01-03-20

The One that started it all!

This is the first Perry Mason novel, and while it isn't as strong as some of the others, hearing Mason figure out how to work this one and extricate his client and himself from a jam is fun. You may not like the client, but Perry, Paul Drake, and Della are all fun here.

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  • Moe
  • 25-06-17

Horrible Narration but Good Story

What did you love best about The Case of the Velvet Claws?

Classic whodunit.

Any additional comments?

Cendese is the single worst narrator I've heard. I've listened to several Perry Mason's now.
His choice of voices are normal, Kentucky Colonel, bad Jimmy Stewart impersonation, mob muscle thug, breathless airhead female and a couple of others. All except "normal" are extreme and usually the voice does not go with the character. The judge might get the mobster voice, and Paul Drake usually gets the high pitched breathless voice. He totally misses the subtle voice changes for different characters used by other narrators.

That said, I've listened to several and keep listening. I just accept that Perry Mason in general is formula, campy and anything but deep literature, and try to ignore the narration. Cendese also improved (some) as the series progressed.

Bottom line. The stories are fun and worth listening too, just accept crappy narration as part of the package.

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  • Dina Marie Jones
  • 10-07-20

Fabulous narration of a "dated" writing style

Most people know Perry Mason via the television show starring Raymond Burr. This is NOT that Perry Mason. I find the writing style dated - very film noir, reminiscent of Dash Hammett. Which means: short choppy sentence structure, and dialogue that by modern standards is utterly cheesy. If you can get past that however, it is well worth the read/listen. The narrator here gets the "film noir" vibe and it comes through in his reading, and it made the very dated writing style seem less so.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • K. Schonlau
  • 16-05-20

Dated but ok

This is not the Perry Mason I grew up watching. This one is coarser, rougher than I remember watching. Story was ok but I wouldn't listen again.

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  • Daniel
  • 16-10-19

Perry at his best. Awesome from start to finish.

This book was written so well that it keeps you interested from start to finish!

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  • Stephen
  • 30-09-19

Classic

A great classic mystery. Love the series! I love the format and the performance of the narrator was great!

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  • Christine H.
  • 17-08-19

Disappointed

If you’ve watched any of the old Perry Jason’s on TV you’ve seen the stories. The book itself is good but since I already saw the show it was anticlimactic.