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Perry Mason

All about Perry Mason & Erle Stanley Gardner, bio, pictures, links to books

Erle Stanley Gardner, the creator of the world's most famous literary lawyer, was born in Massachusetts in 1889. At the age of 20, he began his career as a lawyer, practicing law for two decades before beginning his lengthy run of success as a writer.

An early contributor to Black Mask, the popular pulp magazine specializing in crime fiction, Gardner published several short stories before introducing Perry Mason to the public-at-large in "The Case of the Velvet Claws" (1933).

A success from the start, Mason was adored by the public. Featured in more than 80 novels, several movies, and a popular 1940s radio show, Mason was already a household word when in 1957 the long-running, immensely popular Perry Mason television series began. The show ran for 10 years, during which time Gardner continued to produce novel after novel starring the courtroom sleuth.

An honest fearless champion of good, Mason took on cases with the help of his friend, Paul Drake, owner of a detective agency in his building, and Della Street, his fiercely loyal secretary.

Always at odds with D.A. Hamilton Burger and Lieutenant Arthur Tragg of the L.A.P.D., Mason was famous for his brilliant courtroom maneuvers, usually unmasking the guilty party while he or she was on the stand, unmercifully firing questions until the inevitable confession ensued.

Perry Mason

Using the pseudonym A.A. Fair, Gardner also published more than 25 novels featuring the detective team of Donald Lam and Bertha Cool.

Gardner also founded The Court of Last Resort, an organization formed to aid persons falsely accused of a crime. His book about the court's work won The Mystery Writers of America's Edgar Award in 1952.

Following Gardner's death in 1970, three short stories and two novels featuring Mason were published posthumously, attesting to the great popularity of his famous character.

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