I read this book for the Mount TBR reading challenge 2014.
The Case of the Angry Mourner – Erle Stanley Gardner
One of the upsides of reading Perry Mason novels is that they can be read in only about three or four hours. So even if the plot is far-fetched, any reader who likes Perry, Della, and Paul stories can put up with unlikely happenings for a couple of hours.
Another plus is despite the fact that Gardner doesn’t develop characters beyond a bare minimum, even minor figures are easy to keep track of because, like in mystery plays or Pilgrim’s Progress, a character is associated with a memorable trait. Distinctive retro names aid memory: independent Carlotta, callow Harvey, haughty Dexter, and preening Darwin.
Another standby in the Mason novels is that clients lie to Perry. When a rich wolf, Arthur Cushing, is murdered, Belle Adrian fears her daughter Carlotta, a pretty baa-lamb, resisted the wolf’s advances with too much force. Carlotta, in turn, suspects her dear old ma as the defender of her daughter’s honor, interfering and yet endearing. Belle fails to help her own cause when she not only tries to destroy all evidence of her daughter's potential involvement in the crime but she also lies to Perry about doing so.
All in all, worth reading, with the caution that hard-core Perry, Della, and Paul may be more patient with this one than novices who have not had a chance to adjust their expectations.