'The bestselling author of the century . . . a master storyteller' New York Times
Perry Mason orders a double serving of trouble the night he and Della Street dine at an intimate restaurant after a hard day at law. In the middle of their steaks a waitress flees the premises in terror, leaving the puzzled proprietor holding her mink coat.
Why a humble working girl abandons such a pricey wrap is only the first question in a cop-killer case that traps Mason's client with both an impossible story and the murder weapon, makes Perry himself a prime suspect, and blazes a gunpowder trail that leads straight to the heart of the police department itself.
Born in Malden, Massachusetts, Erle Stanley Gardner (1889-1970) left school in 1909 and attended Valparaiso University School of Law in Indiana for just one month before he was suspended for focusing more on his hobby of boxing than his academic studies. Soon after, he settled in California, where he taught himself the law and passed the state bar exam in 1911. The practise of law never held much interest for him, however, apart from as it pertained to trial strategy, and in his spare time he began to write for the pulp magazines that gave Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler their start. Not long after the publication of his first novel, The Case of the Velvet Claws, featuring Perry Mason, he gave up his legal practice to write full time. He had one daughter, Grace, with his first wife, Natalie, from whom he later separated. In 1968 Gardner married his long-term secretary, Agnes Jean Bethell, whom he professed to be the real 'Della Street', Perry Mason's sole (although unacknowledged) love interest. He was one of the most successful authors of all time and at the time of his death, in Temecula, California in 1970, is said to have had 135 million copies of his books in print in America alone.