ERLE STANLEY GARDNER – The Case of the Long-Legged Models. Perry Mason #57. William Morrow, hardcover, 1958. Previously serialized in The Saturday Evening Post in eight parts as “The Case of the Dead Man’s Daughter,” beginning with the 10 August 1957 issue. Reprinted many times since, including Pocket #6009, paperback, 1960; and Ballantine, paperback, 1994.

   This late middle period Perry Mason novel begins simply enough, but then again all of cases do. This time he’s hired by a long-legged brunette who’s inherited a share of small Nevadan casino from her murdered father, but a syndicate of sorts is trying to squeeze her out. A man claiming to be the representative of the group is soon found murdered, and Perry’s client is arrested for the crime.

   That’s the mundane part of the tale. What this one’s really all about is the matter of the three identical guns involved, one of which did the killing, but with Perry intentionally shuffling the guns around, it is nearly impossible to keep track of who had it where and when. I’m not sure that even Perry knew, not until the end, but I sure didn’t.

   But the best part of any Perry Mason novel is the courtroom scene, where D.A. Hamilton Burger tries his best to make mincemeat of both Perry and his client, and as usual, only ends up with egg on his face. The guilty party is obvious, but only after all the facts are in. This one will be a lot of fun for readers of Perry Mason fans, but probably run-of-the-mill routine for those who aren’t.