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The Case of the Baited Hook

The Case of the Baited Hook - Erle S. Gardner

Mason received a phone call late at night; it was an unlisted phone known only to Della Street and Paul Drake. To make a long story short, he ended up receiving a man and a woman in the middle of the night in his office. While thanks to his foresight he managed to learn the identity of the man the woman was wearing a mask and was wrapped in a cloak making her a complete mystery. The lawyer was suckered lured into representing her in case she ever gets in trouble - while still being in the dark about who she is.

Next morning an aged woman came to him for a consultation. She gave him a long and romantic story involving a Russian noble couple fleeing the Revolution, Russian Revolution
a sinking ship (NOT named Titanic),

a house for orphaned children with some shady business practices,

and a trust fund with mismanagement problems.

Trust fund
One of the funds trustee happened to be the identified night visitor, so Mason expected the enigmatic woman to show up at any time. He was wrong as he remained in the complete darkness regarding to who his client is - makes it hard to defend the girl, does not it?

This is one of the very rare stories where Mason was able to untangle the mystery before it got to the courtroom. As a result the usual courtroom drama is not here, but the book more than made up for it. The identity of his client remained unclear for a really long time. Mason's switchboard girl Gertie got her screen time and at one point her interaction with Mason (she was under the police surveillance at the time) was hilarious. Mason put in place a high-society snobbish woman - while defending another woman, so please do not call him sexist. I also loved the way he handled uncooperative stock brokers.

So far I managed to say everything except for the mystery itself. It was good, quite on the level with the rest of the series. Given all of these the rating is my usual for the series: 4 stars.