'The bestselling author of the century . . . a master storyteller' New York Times
Frances Celane has good reason to pout. Thanks to a provision in her late father's will administered by her uncle, she's caught in the middle of a family feud between matrimony and money. If she chooses marriage, she loses a million. But beautiful young Frances has a strong will of her own she's not afraid to use. One way or another, she means to hear wedding bells and cash registers making beautiful music together. Her first move: hire Perry Mason to orchestrate things.
Unfortunately, stubbornness runs in Frances Celane's family, as Mason discovers when he confronts her Uncle Edward. After Perry's powers of persuasion fail to penetrate Norton's hard head, someone decides the only way of cashing in is by bashing in the uncooperative uncle's skull. But when the blood spills, so do the secrets. Then it's Mason's turn to brood, as he tries to figure out if a girl as pretty as his client could have a hand in something so ugly...
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.