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The Case of the Sleepwalker's Niece

The Case of the Sleepwalker's Niece - Erle Stanley Gardner A young woman came to Perry Mason for a consultation about a fairly complicated problem. Her uncle Peter Kent was a sleepwalker who carried a big knife while sleepwalking, but otherwise seemed perfectly harmless. He was in the middle of the divorce; his (still) wife who had married him only a couple of months before, not being too greedy wants to have a complete custody of all his finances stating he had mental deficiencies based on the aforementioned sleepwalking. I forgot to mention the guy happened to be quite rich, but it is obvious, isn't it?

If it sounds complicated, this was only one of guy's numerous troubles. His business partner in one of his business venture decided Peter Kent committed a fraud with the company's patent. Thus the partner decided to take over the whole venture (they do not do things small, don't they?) He armed himself with a deadliest weapon known to civilized men, a lawyer.
Patent Troll
As everybody knows the only defense against such a weapon is to have a bigger one - I mean a lawyer. Perry Mason fitted the role.

And so the famous criminal defense attorney found himself in the middle of two things of his profession he hated most: a divorce case and a patent case. By the dubious stroke of lack a murder shortly followed with Peter Kent being a prime suspect. Perry Mason to the rescue!

There was a fairly good initial buildup before the murder was committed. I was actually surprised by the identity of the victim. Obviously the book description gave this info away in the first sentence; I was lucky not having read it.

This was one of the few cases of Perry Mason where I was able to figure out the identity of the villain before Mason disclosed it in middle of the courtroom proceedings defending his innocent client. All red herrings aside, I realized that if you take one person's testimony as a complete lie the whole case crumbles.

Had I read this book in the middle of a reading marathon of this series I would have rated it lower. However it has been a while since I read the previous book and I missed the unbeatable criminal defense attorney, so I gave it 4 stars.