Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Vintage Mystery #24

I read this book for the Vintage Mystery Bingo Reading Challenge 2014. The challenge is to read 6 or more Vintage Mysteries. All novels must have been originally written before 1960 and be from the mystery category.

I read this for N-4: Medical Mystery or features a doctor or a nurse

The Case of the Fugitive Nurse - Erle Stanley Gardner, 1954

Like any astute reader of mysteries, Perry Mason does not believe that a shifty doctor-millionaire died in a plane crash. After dealing with the difficult widow, Perry could completely understand why the guy would fake his own death and run off with a more sympathetic nurse.

The widow is charged with her husband’s murder. She involves Perry up to his keister since she accuses him of making off with thousands in income that was undeclared by her husband.

Gardner respected forensics because he assumed that scientific methods would balance the prejudiced inclination of detectives and a justice system not so blind that it can't tell how much money an accused has in her pockets. The use of dental records in the identification of burned bodies provides some interesting tangents.

This is an okay Mason novel - Della Street plays a prominent part and so does Paul Drake.  The story is complex without being absurdly convoluted. Gardner emphasizes how problematic clients can land lawyers in a peck of trouble.

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