this is the 104th in my series of forgotten or seldom read books
The Case of the Substitute Face by Erle Stanley Gardner © date 1938, this edition: Ballantine Books 1987 mass market paperback – mystery – Perry Mason 12th (by publication date) in series
When Perry Mason meets Mrs. Carl Newberry on a vacation cruise, she is a woman desperately interested in saving face. For she and her husband are newcomers to the ranks of the rich, and they’re sparing no expense at helping their daughter, Belle, make a successful splash in the right social circles. But Mrs. Newberry suspects that her husband embezzled the company he worked for and their new-gotten fortune is illegal. She turns to Mason for legal advice, and mentions during the interview that a signed portrait of their daughter, who looks quite similar to a well-known movie star, has been stolen from her suitcase. When Mr. Newberry dies suddenly and his wife is left holding his hefty money belt, Perry wonders if his grieving client is really a black widow. . . .
This is a good but perhaps not great Mason novel, which shouldn’t put you off from reading it, as there are enough twists and reveals to keep any Mason fan satisfied. The Perry Mason television show broadcast this as episode 31 on May 10, 1958 titled “The Case of the Substitute Face” with the plot slightly rewritten but substantially the same. For example, the cruise ship is coming from Vancouver, not Hawaii.
While I still don’t have all of the Perry Mason novels and story collections, I’m working on it, picking one up occasionally on BookSwap or eBay as I come across them. One of these days…
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The rest of the Friday Forgotten Book posts
can be found at Patti Abbott’s blog Pattinaise