I read this book for the Vintage Mystery Bingo Reading Challenge 2015. The challenge is to read 6 or more Vintage Mysteries. All novels must have been originally written between 1960 and 1989 inclusive and be from the mystery category.
I read this for the category V-2 With a Lawyer, Courtroom & Judge
The Case of the Blonde Bonanza – Erle Stanley Gardner, 1962
Mason drops in on Della Street’s beach vacation. She takes him to a restaurant where she has noticed a strange thing. A curvaceous young blonde packs away a 4000-calorie lunch. In conversation with her, they learn she is packing on the pounds so that she can model a fashion line designed for real women, who average about 5’4” and 160 pounds. Gardner, through Della Street, expresses sympathy for women who are pressured by society’s demands to have the body shape size and appearance of 13-year-old boys.
Mason senses something amiss since the contract the woman signed forks over half her income derived from any source. With Paul Drake investigating, he stumbles onto a blackmail scheme. The blackmailer ends up cold on a slab in the morgue. Of course, the curvy bonanza ends up in the dock.
I like the Perry Mason novels from the early Sixties. But I readily admit they can feel formulaic. The formula holds our interest in this outing because Gardner adds a neat twist to the tried and true “time element” gambit. I’d recommend this one to fans who are happy to read any Mason story, not novices or readers picky about formulas or writing style.