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Publisher's Summary

Criminal lawyer and bestselling mystery author Erle Stanley Gardner wrote nearly 150 novels that have sold 300 million copies worldwide. Now, the American Bar Association is bringing back his most famous and enduring novels - featuring criminal defense lawyer and sleuth Perry Mason - in striking trade paperback editions.

Married Eva Griffin has been caught with a prominent congressman, and is ready to pay the editor of a sleazy tabloid hush money to protect the politician. But first Perry Mason tracks down the publisher of the blackmailing tabloid and discovers a shocking secret, which eventually leads to Mason being accused of murder.

This is the first Perry Mason mystery and our introduction to secretary Della Street, detective Paul Drake, and the great lawyer himself.

©1945, 2011 Erle Stanley Gardner (P)2016 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.

What listeners say about The Case of the Velvet Claws

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    5 out of 5 stars
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The true Perry Mason, hard boiled detecting at its finest!

This is the first Perry Mason book and it’s as hard boiled as a two dollar steak. This is the true Perry Mason, not just courtroom lawyer but a guy who does his own detecting, and isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty. He is as hard boiled as they come. Think of Phillip Marlowe with a law degree. If you love the 30s hard boiled lone wolf detective story, you are in for a treat. And there are many many more!

10 people found this helpful

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Enter Perry Mason

I'd never read a Perry Mason novel before, nor have I seen the TV show. Still, as a law student, I figured I should at least try the first one out.

I was pleasantly surprised by the mystery, and especially surprised by the fact that a lot of the law quoted here is actually real! This novel doesn't have any courtroom scenes, but a good defense attorney wins most cases during investigation, so even that was accurate.

Also, the narrator does a great, hard-boiled, film noire, detective voice. If you're on the fence, this is a really fun trip. Enjoy!

8 people found this helpful

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Perry Mason

Perry Mason is an excellent book to listen to. I found this book is interesting as Raymond Burr's portrayal of Perry Mason. this is the first book out of 150 books of Perry Mason.

1 person found this helpful

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The One that started it all!

This is the first Perry Mason novel, and while it isn't as strong as some of the others, hearing Mason figure out how to work this one and extricate his client and himself from a jam is fun. You may not like the client, but Perry, Paul Drake, and Della are all fun here.

1 person found this helpful

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Horrible Narration but Good Story

What did you love best about The Case of the Velvet Claws?

Classic whodunit.

Any additional comments?

Cendese is the single worst narrator I've heard. I've listened to several Perry Mason's now.
His choice of voices are normal, Kentucky Colonel, bad Jimmy Stewart impersonation, mob muscle thug, breathless airhead female and a couple of others. All except "normal" are extreme and usually the voice does not go with the character. The judge might get the mobster voice, and Paul Drake usually gets the high pitched breathless voice. He totally misses the subtle voice changes for different characters used by other narrators.

That said, I've listened to several and keep listening. I just accept that Perry Mason in general is formula, campy and anything but deep literature, and try to ignore the narration. Cendese also improved (some) as the series progressed.

Bottom line. The stories are fun and worth listening too, just accept crappy narration as part of the package.

3 people found this helpful

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Shown 1/14/2020 -- The Case of the Velvet Claws

First book in the series. Stanley Gardner
Narrated by: Alexander Cendese

Mr. Cendese has the perfect deep voice to narrate this noir series. A case of a congressman's wife, betrayal & infidelity. The books are grittier than the TV series.

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Decent, but Dated

I wanted to try out a Perry Mason book after seeing the latest HBO series, and remembering the old TV series as well as the old movie serials with Warren William. Each film version portray Mason so differently I wanted to go back to the original story. It was a bit disappointing. The story was alright, but the reader's voice work (and story) emphasized the sexism of the day. The women sounded weak, predatory, or clingy. Even Della Street sounds clingy and whiny. Mason sounds like a thug... The writing style was as if Gardner was afraid people would forget the main characters' names, always using the full name each time through most of the book. Probably wouldn't read another.

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Great Storyline

Gardner developed a great story that kept me guessing who was the true villain until the very end. He develops Mason as someone that understands how people will respond under stress and uses that to solve his case in favor of his client. Writing style is a little tedious (he said, she said, Perry Mason said .....); so that took a while to over look. Style might work better in print. Narrator does a great job changing his voice for each character. Very enjoyable!

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Spotty Legal Noir

First things first: the narrator was decent, though he slipped a few times with the characters and narration. In that a character would speak and he’d slip the characters voice with the narration or another character.

Other than that he was fine, a dry timber voice, that sits somewhere between Phil Heartman’s 30’s parody and Ron Burgundy, both with a more serious tone and sense.

As for the story, frankly this is my first ESG book, so take this with a grain of salt.

1) shocked this didn’t end up being a court room drama like the ol’ Raymond Burr show, it’s in a way more a kin to the current HBO show.

2) ESG seems to really (and heavily) rely on copious descriptions of eyes and the phrase “has an air about him/her” to the point that it toes the line of gratuitous.

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perry mason as sam spade

good yarn with some good curves, very hard boiled noir, with 1930s gangster vibes. Hardly any law in it... so not a trial story. fun, but nothing like Raymond Burr.

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Profile Image for John Grimbaldeston
  • John Grimbaldeston
  • 05-10-17

Stomach upset

Probably like many others I came to this book with my preconceptions formed by the TV series, expecting a Raymond Burr type figure, omniscient but still, in a resssuring way, cuddly, and though I did enjoy a couple of the stories as a child they had faded from memory. The Perry Mason in this story remains omniscient, but he is a particularly abrupt and unpleasant chap and treats the adoring and yet efficient Della as a moronic minion to be ordered or dismissed as his whim dictates.

The story is basically simple and the 'twist' at the end extremely predictable as the clues are perhaps too signposted, but worse than that, the reading is, to be kind, curious. The reader spits out the words through clenched teeth, as though suffering a serious case of constipation, and yet the extremely hurried delivery is sometimes hard to follow and indicative, paradoxically, of diarrhoea - one does worry for his digestion. I think a lesser character is meant to be from Scotland, but from this narrator's rendition, it could be South Africa, Wales, anywhere.

Perry Mason is probably best left in the mateus rose hue of misty memory.