Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Case of the Half-Wakened Wife, Erle Stanley Gardner

The second Perry Mason book published in 1945, The Case of the Half-Wakened Wife marks the 27th appearance of Mason, Della Street, and the crew.

By this point in the series, Erle Stanley Gardner had been dictating his books for years and while they make for entertaining reading they certainly don't stand up to close scrutiny. For example, early in the book Gardner introduces a character who, get this, actually studies law books looking for precedents. Gardner seems to forget all about this character even though he could have been brought in to help wrap the case up. 

Fun to read but eminently forgettable. 

Two-and-one-half pistols out of four.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Death WalksThe Woods, Cyril Hare

Billed on the cover as a "novel of suspense," Cyril Hare's 1954 Death Walks the Woods turns out to actually be a cracking police procedural with a small dollop of amateur sleuthing.

I'm always a sucker for books that touch on post-War II austerity and this book's denouement hinges on England's meat shortage following the war.

A large cast of finely sketched characters combined with a healthy dose of humor combine to make Death Walks the Woods a winner.

Three blunt instruments out of four.