It is much easier to give a brief outline of the plot of this book than its predecessor. I doubt the outline would be any clearer in this case though. Trying to get out of the rain Perry Mason and his secretary Della Street ran into the nearest shop. Waiting for the rain to stop and doing a study of characters they spotted a woman doing good old shoplifting.
She was also spotted by a security guy who confronted the woman only to find Perry Mason defending her – for the reasons I cannot even begin to guess. She seriously needed an attitude adjustment – in my humble opinion.
Let me give you a good advice: never ever argue with a lawyer about the law. Perry Mason was about to sue the store for damages and slander, but a timely appearance of the woman’s niece settled the matter as she bought whatever her aunt lifted wholesale – spending her last money I might add. A little later the niece showed up in Mason office for a consultation.
Here is where things start getting complicated. The aunt had a brother. The guy had to start working early in his life to support his siblings. From what I understood he still had to do it even though his sister was well into mature years. He worked as a jeweler and had a reputation of being a good specialist for the money he charged. He also had a habit to let it go from time to time by going to a casino, getting completely drunk and spending all the money he had on him. To avoid spending all, the moment he felt the spell is coming he took some very limited amount of cash, put all of his stones in a safe and left the key to it with his kleptomaniac sister.
This time his friend brought him a client who wanted to do something nice out of her big diamonds.
The jeweler had his “vacation” coming, so he supposedly left the diamonds in his safe and left for the places unknown. Later on the client decided she wanted the diamonds back. They were not in the safe. Now the niece thought her aunt took them, considering her kleptomania and her possession of the safe key. The jeweler’s friend however (the guy who played a middleman) thought it was his friend who forgot to put them in the safe and went to gamble on them in a casino. It was Mason’s duty to protect the family from a theft accusation, but the moment he became too nosy and stumbled – literally - upon a dead body he had to do what he is the best at: protecting his clients from a murder charge.
The usual case of Perry Mason involves just one dead body, but this time it was an exception as there were more. This complicated everything, a lot. Let me give you a slight spoiler to explain. This time there were several guns involved with several bullets shot from them.
Unless you keep track of them all – I suggest writing everything related to them down – you will be as lost as the Court and Mason’s nemesis police Sergeant Holcombe even after Mason explained everything. I am not kidding.
I still was able to figure out one murder – and get hopelessly lost in the rest. Given all the red herrings and my enjoyment my usual rating for a book of the series – 4 stars – applies.