ERLE STANLEY GARDNER – The Case of the Shapely Shadow. Perry Mason #63. William Morrow, hardcover, 1960. Pocket 4507, paperback, 1962. Ballantine, paperback, 1982. Reprinted many times.

   This one begins at Della’s strong suggestion. She notices that the woman who asking for Mason’s advice is deliberately toning down her appearance, making herself as unattractive as possible. Why? She’s the secretary of a successful businessman, and Della assumes (correctly) that she’s in love with him, and she doesn’t want his current wife to have any reason to have her fired.

   What attracts Perry’s attention, though, is the suitcase full of money she has with her. She thinks that her employer is being blackmailed, and this is the money she’s to put into a train locker, with the key to be sent to an address he’s given her.

   When the man ends up dead, however, Perry’s client is the number one suspect, along with the other two women in his life: his wife and his ex-wife, who it is obvious would like nothing nothing better than to win him back.

   The case is so deliciously complicated that Perry figuratively throws up his hands. The evidence points directly to his client, but she is adamant that she didn’t do it. The fireworks in court is really what makes this book really sizzle, though. When the odds are so far against you, maybe the only thing to do, Mason decides, is to take a chance.

   He does, he succeeds, and Hamilton Burger fails again. This one has what every Perry Mason reads Perry Mason books for.