I was searching for something new this past weekend and pulled out a couple of Erle Stanley Gardner novels. I can't help writing about this without smiling. I read THE CASE OF THE NEGLIGENT NYMPH, and I'm halfway through THE CASE OF THE FIERY FINGERS.
I could feel the era Gardner was writing in---the language, the changes in the way we act and view the world. But the truth is that both novels stand up to time really well. As a huge fan of the original PERRY MASON series on television, I had to get past seeing Raymond Burr as Mason, Barbara Hale as Della Street, William Hopper as Paul Drake, Ray Collins as Lt. Tragg, and William Talman as Hamilton Burger. Casts like that don't come along every day, so it wasn't easy. But after about fifty pages, the actors seemed to fade some and I was caught up in the murder case.
|Erle Stanley Gardner|
The reason I'm smiling is that both novels have been a delight to read. A delight to go back to. So much so that I didn't want to read them too quickly. I had forgotten the obvious pleasure Gardner took in describing his characters, and the mysterious personal life that Perry Mason seems to live. I had forgotten how much respect the core characters had for each other, even in the heat of battle.
So what's next? THE CASE OF THE MISCHIEVOUS DOLL!