FFB: The Caretaker’s Cat by Erle Stanley Gardner

another in my series of forgotten or seldom read books

The Caretaker’s Cat by Erle Stanley Gardner, © 1935, edition read: Pocket Books, 1962 paperback –  Perry Mason # 7

This, the seventh of Gardner’s Perry Mason novels, has possibly the most convoluted plot of the books in the series so far.

In his will, Peter Laxter guaranteed his faithful caretaker a job and a place to live for life. But Laxter’s grandson Sam says the deal doesn’t include the caretaker’s cat. On a whim, Perry Mason takes the case, against the advice of his assistant and his secretary, Della Street. Mason’s reply is “A man only has a lease on life. All that really counts is a man’s ability to live, to get the most out of it as he goes through it. I get a kick out of playing a no-limit game.”

What is at stake in this one isn’t just whether a cat can stay in a house, there’s more: a million dollars in cash and some diamonds. Mason finds a web of greed and treachery among the heirs, and has to put up with a most repulsive attorney who represents some of them. Who murdered Laxiter? What has the cat got to do with it? The answers are both less and more than the unsuspecting reader might expect, and certainly Mason makes a very unusual move in the courtroom near the end of the book, one that just might win him the case, or might end up in his being disbarred.

This Mason novel, while interesting and having an unusual ending, contains some illogical motives, unlikely actions and a couple of obvious red herrings, but I love the Mason novels regardless.

About Rick Robinson

Enjoying life in Portland, OR
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10 Responses to FFB: The Caretaker’s Cat by Erle Stanley Gardner

  1. tracybham says:

    I know exactly what you mean, Rick. Sometimes the plots in the Perry Mason books get way to convoluted for me to keep up with, but I love reading them anyway. I like the main characters especially and then sometimes the view of the 30s or the 40s is really interesting. This is one I want to read. I do have it as an e-book, although I would love to find a physical copy too.

  2. Jeffrey Meyerson says:

    Good one. I remember this one, at least in the general sense. These early ones are very entertaining.

  3. Jerry House says:

    The Perry Mason stories are addictive, aren’t they?

    Perhaps off-topic, buy considering your last post, could this be a Fog-gotten books?

    (Yeah, I know it’s smoke and not fog, but sometimes you have to bend reality for a good pun.)

    • They’re not addictive as in wanting to read them one after the other, but they can be counted on to provide good entertainment every time. The smoke is a little lesser this morning, thank goodness.

  4. The early PERRY MASON novels feature a more hard-boiled edge. I prefer Erle Stanley Gardner’s books from the 1950s.

  5. Evan Lewis says:

    Wish I could find all my Masons to reread them in order. I wasn’t smart enough to box them together.

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