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The Case of the Lame Canary

The Case of the Lame Canary - Erle Stanley Gardner

A woman came to Perry Mason for a consultation regarding her sister's divorce problem - granted it was a fairly complicated one. Usually the famous lawyer specializing in criminal cases does not touch divorce cases with a ten-feet pole. This time however he was curious: the woman in question came to him with a canary in a cage - almost nobody brings this kind of a pet to a lawyer. 

 

Tweety

You would not think I can discuss a book featuring a canary without an image of Tweety, would you? 

 

Further inquiries uncovered yet another irregularity about the canary. It turns out you need to clip canary's claws from time to time. Never having owned this bird I cannot really say if it is still a common practice, but at least it used to be in the middle of the last century. Anyhow, all the claws on the left feet were clipped fine - except for one which was not touched at all, and all the claws on the right leg were clipped twice. If it sounds complicated trust me when I say the murder which quickly followed was even more so.

 

When I describe the series to people unfamiliar with it I say that usually there is one murder per book, but it is always a very complicated one. This is a notable exception as there are more than one corpses showing up during Mason's investigation. Out of the top of my head this is the only time this happens. 

 

My usual rating for a Perry Mason book is 4 stars. This time I rated it higher. I gave the same rating to some classic books. Does it mean this book is a classic? No, but the mystery was so complicated I could not see the solution until Mason finally got a clue and explained it to the court and the readers. Do I need to say that a good mystery book must have a good mystery? Sorry for a bad pun, I cannot really resist. Add very rare moments of romance between Perry Mason and his secretary Della Street and you have a higher-than-usual rating.