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HONEST MONEY by Erle Stanley Gardner


And Other Short Novels

by Erle Stanley Gardner

Pub Date: July 1st, 1991
ISBN: 0-88184-683-X

 The latest trip to the Gardner vaults--dead for 20 years, the man is more prolific than most living authors--discloses half a dozen long stories from Black Mask (1932-33) about Ken Corning, a crusading defense attorney determined to take on the political bosses in York City, who seem to have a finger in every felony. The stories, preceding the debut of Perry Mason by only a few months, are just as formulaic as Gardner's recently resurrected tales about Ed Jenkins, the Phantom Crook (Dead Men's Letters, The Blonde in Lower Ten), but, here, the formula allows more genuine mystery--as in the deft, efficient title story, in which a police raid against an inoffensive little speak-easy leads to a tangle of murder, lying witnesses-- usually the witnesses turn out to be the killers--and the obligatory political fix, all neatly handled by Corning and his Della Streetish secretary Helen Vail, who reveal more clearly than any other characters Perry Mason's hard-boiled roots while showing Gardner on the verge of mastering his brand of mystery-shenanigans. Not as good as a new Perry Mason, but the next best thing.