The Perry Mason novels of Erle Stanley Gardner


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The Case of the;

Fenced-In Woman

Postponed Murder

Eighty-first Perry Mason Novel, © 1972;

The Case of the Fenced-In Woman

The manuscript for The Case of the Fenced-In Woman was one of two full-length Perry Mason novels left in Erle Stanley Gardner's pending file at the time of his death in 1970. It is one of his longest novels, in a format seven-eighths of an inch taller than previous Morrow presentations. The width of type is also wider, by three-eighth's of an inch. With thirty-three lines to a page versus thirty-two, we have the formula for a much longer novel than his standard. Further, it is 242 pages long, while many of the Perry Mason novels are more around 210 to 220. The courtroom scene, Chapter Thirteen, is forty-six pages long, a fifth to a quarter of a normal Perry Mason novel.

Perry Mason

A reporter

Witness near garage

Della Street

Other reporters

Bell captain

Morley Eden


Waiter Bob

Loring Carson

Answering officer

Judge Nedley C Fisk

Vivian Carson

Lieutenant Tragg

Morrison Ormsby

LeGrande Dayton

Accompanying officers


Judge Hewett L Goodwin

A B L Seymour

Court clerk

Genevieve Honcutt Hyde

Palmer's landlady

Autopsy surgeon

Mason's switchboard operator

Las Vegas bellboy


Several bikinied models


Oliver Ivan

One of whom is Helene

Waiter Bert

Lorraine Henley

Mrs Sterling

Another hostess (Paulita Marchwell)

Court deputies

Norbert Jennings

Two bellboys

Hervey Lavar

Nadine Palmer

Subdivision watchman

Estelle Rankin

Paul Drake

Sergeant Camp


Harvey Palmer

Mason's Las Vegas shadow

It has been a long, long time since Mason has smoked a cigarette, but here he takes up that time-occupying activity again. He also uses one of his earliest favorite words, "swell," again.

Lieutenant Arthur Tragg of the TV series is now reflected in Mason's novels. The Tragg we see in The Case of the Fencedc-in Woman spews out dialogue like his TV counterpart.


Perry Mason is interrupted reading a Supreme Court decision by Della Street, who mentions "The case of Morley Eden, for instance." "A beautiful woman has run a five-strand barbed wire fence through the middle of his house." Eden tells his story. He had found the perfect site for a house, and he designed the house. Loring Carson was being sued for divorce by his wife and he assured him the property was no problem. Only one half was free and clear, the other was community property.. Loring's wife Vivian got the other. Loring hired a detective, LeGrande Dayton, to follow her and prove infidelity. The wrong woman got tailed so, when things went to court, Judge Hewett L Goodwin threw the book at Loring. He first met Mrs Carson the previous day, when he awoke to the aroma of coffee, brewed by his neighbor, who shared a cup. Mason says he'll visit the house, and has Della arrange an appointment with Judge Goodwin.


Judge Goodwin is, of course, surprised to see Perry Mason. Mason explains how the judge's order, splitting the property, has backfired. Vivian has run a fence through the middle of the house. Morley has tried to buy her out, but she shows no interest. The judge says Carson is a bounder, and he's hiding money behind gambling in Nevada where he has a girl friend, Genevieve Honcutt Hyde. He wants things to come to a head, perhaps by Morley Eden's suing Loring Carson. He warns Mason that if his "client so much as sticks a finger through that fence . . . the court will consider that conduct a violation of [his] restraining order." He has no regret for the hell he has raised.


Mason's switchboard operator passes him on to Della. After reporting Judge Goodwin's intent to see Eden take on Loring Carson, he says he's going to the house. There, Eden reports that Vivian has several bikinied models having cocktails and having fun and ignoring him. Mason goes into the divided living room and soon Helene recognizes him. She admits they are there to get Eden to make passes and violate the restraining order. Vivian Carson joins them, She explains she can initiate talk with Eden, but not he with her. Morley, speaking through Mason, assures Vivian he wants friendly relations. She warns him, then impulsively shakes his hand. Mason suggests Eden will install an electric organ and play it at all hours. She is quick witted, suggests she'll take the trumpet, also studying at all hours. A knock at the door sends Morley away. Helene announces that it is time to model the lingerie for Mrs Sterling, and drops her dress. A blow and a thud from the outer hallway has Mason on the run. Eden is on the floor. Norbert Jennings has flattened him, thinking he was Loring Carson. Jennings was the man identified by Loring in his cross-complaint, because his detective followed the wrong man. He got smeared in the papers because of Loring, whom he wants to get back at! He's tried to get back with the woman in the case, Nadine Palmer, but she hangs up on him. He's got money, He shakes Eden's hand, professing his sorrow at having socked him, and leaves. Mason and Eden go back to the living room to watch the lingerie show. Vivian, however, pulls a curtain across the room. Mason warns Morley about even trying to part the curtain to get a view. Mason admits he'd have billed Morley for time had the curtain not been drawn and he'd stayed on to watch the show!


The fraud complaint is being typed when Paul Drake arrives, weary from a hard night and hard morning. Mason orders him to find Carson and tail him. How propitious, then, that Loring Carson is in the outer office wishing to see Mason. Drake will identify him when he leaves by the back door. Carson wants to get Mason to back off on any suit. Mason tells him several times that his client's interests are adverse to Lorings, so he should get an attorney. Loring persists, explaining what we already know about how Loring set his detective on the wrong woman, how Vivian was like an iceberg in but gets nowhere, so stalks out. Mason tells Della to organize Morley for a visit at the house by reporters. Della suggests her boss get a haircut. He add's "a manicure to boot."


Nadine Palmer comes to the door from the shower. She recognizes Mason, so admits him to her apartment. Her story is how dumb she was to walk out on Harvey Palmer without even asking for alimony. The situation of her being identified as Vivian Carson has ruined her life, stigmatizing her as a bad girl. Mason is sympathetic, explains Judge Goodwin's intent, and his own approach, hinting she should disappear. While she goes to dress, he filches a cigarette from her purse. It is water-soaked. Nadine appears in an almost transparent negligee covering the scantiest of lingerie. She produces a pack of cigarettes, offers Mason one. It is dry. Soon Nadine is ready and they go to Mason's car. She explains how she and Jennings often went to Las Vegas to gamble, she with his chips. At a point she breaks off, gets out and takes a cab instead of the bus she'd intended to use.


When Mason arrives at the Eden side of the house a half dozen autos are already there. A reporter catches Mason, wants an interview. Other reporters crowd around, wanting more. Eden, who arrived with a reporter on his heels, takes them inside, and they find Loring Carson dead on the floor of the Eden living room. He has been stabbed with a wooden-handled butcher knife. Mason immediately asks the phone operator to get him homicide and the answering officer finds Lieutenant Tragg. Mason has Eden give directions to the house, as he goes to the living room where a reporter has noticed that diamond cuff links have been blacked over. Both sleeves of Carson's shirt are wet, to the elbows, but not his coat! Mason notes two small pools of water on the floor, then notes there had been activity around the pool. He asks about a phone, finds the only one not in use is in the other half of the house. He takes Morley's key, drives around to the other side, calls Drake, tells him to find and follow Nadine Palmer. He is overheard by Vivian Carson. She's been shopping, and drops two bags of groceries with a milk carton and salad dressing breaking on the floor when she hears her husband is murdered. Mason goes to her car, returns with two bags of groceries. In the kitchen he points out a gap in the magnetic knife holder. Vivian claims the knife is in the refrigerator. Mason questions her, looking for an alibi. Her skimpy bathing suit is wet, in the shower room. Mason returns to the Eden side of the house, joins Lt Tragg. The banter, with Mason suggesting someone could swim under the fence or, a slender woman could slide under the fence inside the house.


Eden explains he was in his office other than for signing the complaint. Mason tells him of Carson's visit. How did Carson get to the house, since there was no car there when Eden arrived, followed closely by a reporter. Eden is completely imprecise as to times, so cannot help Mason establish an alibi for him. Mason learns that Carson gave him a set of knives, but it is not known if the murder weapon came from that set. Tragg is investigating the water pools. Perhaps Carson was drinking. Or, Mason suggests, someone swam over from the other side and that water is heavily chlorinated. An accompanying officer is sent to call the dispatcher to send sterile vials and pipettes. Tragg decides to search Carson's pockets, finds a set of keys which matches those Eden has, except the one Mason took from Eden. He finds five thousand dollars in traveler's checks in the name of A B L Seymour, fifteen thousand-dollar bills, and a wallet with hundred-dollar bills. Tragg, asking questions, is led to visit Vivian Carson, who, he notes, was unfortunately told of her husband's murder, so Tragg cannot now observe her reaction. Tragg sees how the fence separates even the drive, so has Mason motor him around to the Vivian Carson side. Tragg gives Vivian a cursory warning that she needn't say anything without a lawyer, then soft soaps her. He notices a new wooden-handled butcher knife on the magnetic holder, with a price still on it written in crayon. When Tragg asks if she didn't just shop for such a knife, Mason reminds her of her rights, and this causes Tragg to send him away.


Tragg returns to the Eden side of the house and Mason immediately points out the wet shirt sleeves and dry jacket of the decedent. They go to the swimming pool, and Tragg investigates around its edge, rolling up one sleeve. He gets Vivian Carson to bring a chair to the fence and, with one on the Eden side, is able to climb over the fence. He finds nothing, but Mason pushes him on until he discovers a ring behind the cement steps into the pool, pulls it, and opens a hidden receptacle under a tile ten feet from the pool. It is a concealed strongbox, and empty. It was Carson who constructed the house from Eden's design, so he put this in for his own use. Tragg decides that both Eden and Vivian need to answer questions at headquarters. He's put out an all points bulletin on Carson's car.


Mason reports to Della. He thinks Nadine Palmer put her damp undies into her purse, thus the wet cigarette he found. Drake reports that Palmer went to the airport, but then disappeared. Palmer's landlady has been questioned. He asks Della to get hold of Eden as soon as the police release him, and get the time element straightened out, and get him an airline ticket to Las Vegas as he goes to the airport.


A Las Vegas bellboy points out hostess Genevieve Honcutt Hyde to Mason, who then introduces himself to her. She makes him play roulette, and he wins big, the croupier sending piles of chips his way, then has "five consecutive rolls during which he won nothing." They go to a table where they can talk, and order drinks from Bert. When Mason cashes his chips, he gets five hundred eighty dollars on his twenty dollar investment. He tips Genevieve a hundred. Genevieve doesn't know Nadine Palmer, but admits to being fond of Loring Carson. Her regret is obvious when she hears he is dead. She explains to Mason that there are gamblers who win, consistently, but his Lady Luck is now gone. At the table again he loses, and another hostess replaces Genevieve. She wins, wants Mason to stay for luck. He takes a break. Nadine arrives with a purse full of chips, proceeds to win big. Mason catches Genevieve's eye, but she is expressionless. Mason joins the table, forces Nadine to stop playing and cash her chips, which need two bellboys to carry, and amount to something over ten thousand dollars. They adjourn to her room where Mason asks leading questions, such as why she flew under an assumed name. She is stunned when she learns of Loring's murder. Mason confronts her with the wet cigarette. Mason suggest that she has "suddenly acquired a bunch of cash" and is covering it by betting at the tables. She is shaken, however, when Mason mentions that fingerprints might be found in the place at the house where Carson cleverly concealed his wealth. She now admits that she was at a subdivision that overlooked the house and was caught with binoculars by the watchman. She saw . . . , but won't say. A knock on the door brings not the masseuse, but Lt Tragg, and Sergeant Elias Camp of the Las Vegas police. Tragg is delighted that Palmer has won at the tables, and is certain :the Internal Revenue Service will be very interested." Nadine demands a lawyer of her own. Tragg tells Mason he'll be shadowed while he is in Las Vegas and warns Palmer that Mason protects his client, not her.


Mason returns to his bungalow of find a call from Paul Drake awaiting him. They share situations and information. Drake says Perry has two clients, for Morley and Vivian are working together. They found Carson's auto in her garage, and it was brought there by the two; the police have a witness. With Nadine, they have three murderers! Mason suggests Drake ring the wire services and plant a story about Palmer. Mason calls the bell captain for overnight things, then notices a dark brown briefcase in his room, with P. Mason on it. He opens it to find it crammed with negotiable securities issued to A B L Seymour and so endorsed. Mason calls the bell captain and orders a similar briefcase and a suitcase with P. Mason on them. He phones Della, who wants to join him. The bell captain arrives, Mason pays and tips him. Then he fills the new briefcase with the securities, puts the old case in his suitcase. He returns to the tables and the second hostess, Paulita Marchwell, joins him, enthralled with the luck he brought her. They go to get drinks and she shows she is a familiar there by ordering her drink from Bob. She knows Genevieve. Mason prods, then drops the name of Carson as Genevieve's boyfriend. She stiffens, then is silent for a few seconds when Mason says Carson is dead. Paulita then realizes that this is why Genevieve went to Los Angeles the day before and returned by four in the afternoon! Genevieve doesn't lie, but she does sometimes lead one to a false conclusion by keeping silent. Then Tragg and Camp arrive, with questions. Camp asks if either of Mason's clients gave him negotiable securities, and Mason states now. Tragg says Mason is truthful, but Camp sees the briefcase, opens it, finds the securities, and confiscates it. Mason says he can't tell the police where he got the securities.


Mason visits Morley in the visiting room at the jail, demands he tell him what really happened. Morley refuses, and requires Mason to take Vivian as his client, too. He admits to being in love with Vivian, from the minute he first saw her. Her husband was a louse, and he expects Mason to beat circumstantial evidence.


Judge Nedley C Fisk gives the peremptory to Morrison Ormsby who pass, so Mason sticks him with the jury by also passing. The clerk swears the jury and the court recesses for a few minutes. Drake suggests that Ormsby has something up his sleeve. Ormsby chooses to give an opening statement. He makes the point that the defendants found Carson's hiding place, took the money and securities, the latter being found in the possession of Perry Mason. When Loring Carson discovered this, the defendants killed him. Ormsby calls an autopsy surgeon, then a surveyor who states that, while the fence was being installed, she stated that "she hated the ground (her husband) walked on" and that "nothing would give her greater satisfaction than to stick a knife in his ribs." Mason asks him how may of the women he knows who have obtained divorces from their husbands had made statements to the effect they'd like to stick a knife in their ex-husbands. Ormsby objects to the question and when Judge Fisk sustains the objection Mason rephrases the question to raise the issue of "tone of voice" which is permissible. The witness says Vivian's statement was about the same tone as that of the other women who didn't stick knives in their husbands. "Some of the jurors smiled back at the lawyer" when Mason finishes this line. Lt Tragg testifies to what he discovered at the scene of the murder, goes on about the moisture on the floor. It was water from the pool. He is coaxed to tell how Mason pointed out the hidden trigger to the concealed compartment. The seal of the compartment, tape, revealed latent fingerprints of the defendants! Then Tragg introduces the wooden-handled knife that was on the magnetic holder in Vivian's kitchen. The knife has black crayon marks on its blade. Then Tragg testifies to finding Loring Carson's car in Vivian Carson's Larchmore Apartments garage. He testifies to finding traveler's checks on the body, made out to A B L Seymour. Tragg further states that he found securities made out to A B L Seymour in a briefcase which Mason had brought from Los Angeles, or so he assumes. Judge Fisk tells him to not make any assumptions, but Mason demands that the statement remain in the record. Mason gets Tragg to admit he has no direct information that Mason brought the briefcase from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. Oliver Ivan, who runs a hardware store, testifies to selling the wooden-handled knife to Morley and Vivian. "They wanted a knife that was identical." Mason gets him to admit that he sold then "a" knife, not necessarily this particular knife. Ormsby calls Lorraine Henley, who lives in the Larchmore Apartments. She testifies to seeing the defendants park the decedent's car in Vivian's garage. Mason slightly discredits "Miss" Henley who had nothing better to do all day than sit around looking at what Vivian might be doing. Then Nadine Palmer is called, and she testifies to watching the house with binoculars from an overlook, seeing a nude woman dive into the pool, emerge, take items out of the concealed box. Palmer then went down the hill, approached the house and over heard the defendants. Vivian said "Darling, we can never live this down." Morley said "We don't have to. We'll let the newspaper people discover the body." As to the knife, "We can get another one." Since she said she "thinks" she can identify the woman, Mason raised reasonable doubt. Mason then brings out his own visit to her, but Judge Fisk adjourns for the noon. Mason demands his clients tell him what happened, but Morley will only admit they did put the car in the garage, nothing more. Court deputies take them away.


Lunch at the nearby French restaurant. Mason feels something is wrong. Drake reminds him that he has to discredit Nadine Palmer, even if his clients are guilty. Mason instructs him to take the fingerprints of Della, alternated with his own secretary.


Mason resumes cross-examination of Nadine Palmer. The woman she saw in the pool had her back to her most of the time. Her hair was wet when he called on her. There were wet cigarettes in her purse. She admits bringing him dry cigarettes. Did she go to the receptacle at the house? No. Mason submits that she was the woman she is describing. Did she take a briefcase marked P. Mason with securities to Las Vegas? No. Mason gets an envelope from Della, takes out a paper with ten inked fingerprints and asks the witness if they are hers. Ormsby objects. Mason asserts his right to determine if certain fingerprints are hers, just as he has the right to ask for identification of a signature. The court adjourns to have Palmer's fingerprints taken. After the recess Ormsby calls Hervey Lavar to testify that the fingerprints Mason submitted are not those of Nadine Palmer. Both sets are admitted as evidence. Now Estelle Rankin is called. She testifies to selling Mason the briefcase already entered as evidence. Mason then recalls Tragg. He admits to finding the briefcase, and no other, in Mason's room, and Mason was being shadowed. Did he take fingerprints from the briefcase? Yes. They are produced and entered. Mason rests, and Ormsby argues his position. Mason then points out that Nadine Palmer won't state definitely that it was Vivian Carson who she saw, because she could them be convicted of perjury at a later date. Using the evidence of wet cigarettes in her purse, he suggests Palmer plunged into the pool, took the securities. The reason both of Carson's shirt sleeves were wet is because he tried to hold her under the water. Tragg rolled up one sleeve only to get to the mechanism that opened the secret hiding place. The swimmer got away from Carson, so he went to guard her clothes, got stabbed to death. She was caught by Mason shortly after she returned to her apartment. She went to Las Vegas to let winnings there cover her financial windfall. Mason suggests to the jury that they compare the fingerprints of Nadine Palmer with those from the briefcase. He concludes that any reasonable doubt must set his clients free. Ormsby is enraged, accuses Mason of unprofessional conduct. The jurors return a verdict finding both defendants not guilty.


Perry and Della are with Morley and Vivian. Morley admits he fell in love with Vivian the moment he saw her, and she reciprocates. The evening of their meeting Carson caught them at her apartment, made insulting remarks. They threw him out, but found his car at a fireplug in the morning, with a tag on it. The next morning he came to Mason's office to sign the complaint, then went home only to find the body. They recognized the knife. They hid the car, bought a replacement knife, and returned for the reporters. Gertie signals Mason that Tragg is on the way in. The lieutenant says he has a problem. The jury has released Mason's clients, but he wants to know, of course confidentially, if they did commit the murder. Mason tells him to keep searching. He suggests that fingerprints on the real briefcase be matched to some unidentified ones in the secret compartment. He notes that P. M. was changed to P. Mason, the "a" covering the second period. Now Paulita Marchwell is a P M. Paulita knew things in general. She was probably caught by Carson coming out of the pool. It was she then who stabbed him. Nadine was curious, inspected the receptacle after it was empty, and put her wet undergarments in her purse. Eden give Mason a check for fifty thousand dollars.

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Eighty-second Perry Mason Novel, © 1973;

The Case of the Postponed Murder

The manuscript for The Case of the Fenced-In Woman was one of two full-length Perry Mason novels left in Erle Stanley Gardner's pending file at the time of his death in 1970.

Perry Mason

Sidney Eversel

Angus, Eversel's Scot gardener

Della Street

A Yacht Club member

Police shadows

Sylvia Farr

Sergeant Holcomb

One cop

Mae Farr

Carl Runcifer

Another cop, Jim

Moms (Farr)

Frank Marley

J P Emil Scanlan

Penn Wentworth

Outer office operator

Oscar Overmeyer

Paul Drake

Hazel Tooms

Judge Scanlan's clerk

Harold Anders

Ander's lawyer

Scanlon's secretary

Mason's garage attendant

Two plainclothesmen

Robert Grastin

Juanita Wentworth

Operative MacGregor

Here we have perhaps the longest non-courtroom chapter in the Perry Mason novels, forty pages in the Morrow edition, or 19% in an edition which is itself only 212 pages long. What is then strange is that the following chapter has a cesura in its middle, rather than being divided into a second chapter. The long chapter had several places where cesuras, or new chapters, could have been indicated. It is my belief that the editor of this volume made mistakes in determining placement of chapter points.

It has been a long time since we've had Sergeant Holcomb in on a case, but here he is again, as hard-boiled as ever.

Erle Stanley Gardner makes up for not using "swell" in most of his late Mason novels by overusing it here. This is something he might have cleared up had he lived to perfect the novel before publication.


Perry Mason reads the card Della Street hands him. It contains confidential information about Sylvia Farr, who sits opposite him. Della has noted that Sylvia has a wad of bills and some pawn tickets in her purse. Mason offers Sylvia a smoke, but she has her own brand. She is worried. Her sister, Mae, the family drudge, left their small northern California town to go to the big city. She returned, and was completely changed, sophisticated, well-dressed. She wrote often, in confidence except for notes to Moms. For two months she has not been in contact and Sylvia's last letter was returned. She may have been murdered. Mason says that it seems as if Mae can take care of herself. Sylvia doesn't need a lawyer, and should go back home to North Mesa. Or she should go to the police. Or to a detective, such as Paul Drake.


Paul Drake enters Mason's office, thanks him for the case. . . . of Miss Farr. Mason offers him a cigarette, but he declines. He is chewing gum, an infallible sign that he has something on his mind. Mason points out that the situation is a setup. Sylvia was dressed in shoes that are the best on the market, a fur-trimmed coat that looks like it came from an alley cat. Manicured nails, but hair slicked back. Little makeup or lipstick, but a purse full of money. This is not how a country girl dresses for the city. So Sylvia is Mae. She is a fugitive from justice, and he almost took her case as a character study. Drake reports that she has a forged check at Stylefirst Department Store in the sum of eight hundred fifty smackers. It was signed by Penn Wentworth. Mason suggest that Drake get a Motor Vehicle photostatic copy of Mae's driver's license, and check the handwriting of the endorsement! Then he dictates a letter to Penn Wentworth advising him he's Mae's attorney.


Della informs Mason that his letter - bread on the waters - seems to have returned "in the form of a cake." Penn Wentworth is in the office. He is fidgety, attacks Mae Farr verbally, so Mason calls in Della to take down his threats. She hand him a note; Harold Anders from North Mesa is in the outer office. Mason has him in. Wentworth tries to go to the hall, but Anders cuts him off, offers Wentworth his eight hundred fifty dollars. But this is illegal. Mason then says he's submitted the check to a handwriting expert, to see if the endorsement is forged. This gets Wentworth worried. After Wentworth leaves, Mason suggests to Anders that Wentworth was the one who forged the entire check. Anders says he has a ranch of fifteen hundred acres. He left North Mason two days before, and Sylvia was there then. All the evidence points to Mae doing something her mother would not approve of, such as hostess in a place controlled by Wentworth. Alone with her boss, Della asks if he believes the story he told Anders; "It was a peach of a story."


Mason has taken a hot shower and is relaxing in silk pajama when Della interrupts him with news that she has a couple of excited clients in his office. Mason has the night man at his garage get his car and he quickly goes to Della's apartment. Harold Anders and Mae Farr tell their tale of murder aboard the yacht Pennwent. Mae was grappling with Penn when someone shot him. Harold heard her screaming [- he'd not intercepted her when she went aboard, thinking it was voluntary on her part - came to the rescue too late. They haven't called the police, but came to Della instead. No one knew they were there . Mason demands to see Mae's bruises, and Della trots her off to the bathroom. She has the bruises. Mason says they should go to the parking lot where Mae has her car, and have her restage the event.


So they go to the Yacht Club looking for Mae's rented Ford convertible. Mason steps out into rain, finds the vehicle. Then they look for the yacht. It is not there. It was next the Atina, which is there. Mason asks Mae to drive her car, and to flash her lights where Harold threw away his gun. She does so. Mason searches in vain.. Getting ham and eggs, Mason calls Harold, who was not to go out until Mason phoned him. He is not there.


Perry Mason enters h is office to find Paul Drake with Della Street. Drake announces that Wentworth is dead, from a brain hemorrhage, caused by a bullet. The Coast Guard found him on his yacht somewhere off San Diego. The gun has not been found, and there were no powder burns. Wentworth and his part-Mexican wife Juanita were separated. She wanted to marry Sidney Eversel. Wentworth entertained scads of women and a Yacht Club member saw one get out of her car and head to his yacht. Drake persists, "Why pick on her?" Mason asks, but Drake thinks Mae fits the picture. Della has been unable to reach Mae, which worries Mason. He dictates a "demand" note to her asking for the right to inspect the forged check. Della is to carry this as she searches for Mae.


Drake is awaiting Mason's return with bad news. He tells his attorney friend that things look bad for Mae, because Anders got chivalrous and has confessed, after being told that Mae had confessed. It might be a good idea if Mason himself took a powder. Sergeant Holcomb and deputy D A Carl Runcifer, in the office for only three months, burst in just as Della announces them. Holcomb asks for the gun that killed Wentworth. Runcifer tries civility, explains what they know, including Anders complete statement. Anders fell into the water, so did not hear the gun shot. Holcomb complains that Runcifer is giving up all the trump cards, but the deputy D A continues. Anders was surprised to find that Pennwent was not at the Yacht Club dock. The police went to the site where Anders claimed to have gotten rid of his gun, but couldn't find it. They did, however, find footprints all over the area, and plaster casts match Mason's mud-covered shoes. Mason punches a few holes in Runcifer's narrative, and denies going aboard the Pennwent. Mason points out he had every right to look for a gun, for he didn't even know then that a crime had been committed! Why, he asks, did the police look for a gun. To corroborate Ander's story. So they thought his story was suspect. Runcifer leaves, calling Holcomb's "attitude insubordinate rather than helpful."


Drake reports that Wentworth's hobbies were yachting, women and coin collecting, with wine, boats and horses. He was a bookmaker. Frank Marley was his partner who gets book, has the charges postponed, transferred, continued, and dismissed. He has a boat, fast, but not good for a heavy sea. Wentworth had an appointment with his wife in San Diego this morning. Her boyfriend, Eversel, has a yacht, and an amphibian airplane he keeps on his estate. Mason asks Paul to get an operative on the estate. The bullet was fired downward through the open skylight; Wentworth was killed before it started raining. Marley has entered the outer office, and Mason sees him. He wants to avoid a jam. He has a witness who can state that Mae killed Wentworth. This witness was waiting for Penn to return to the Yacht Club, but instead the Atina came in and Mae got off. He is willing to go back to his yacht and with an oiled cloth, remove any fingerprints. He's willing to pay Mason and send his witness to Australia. Mason will represent him regarding the estate and keep him out of trouble, keeping Juanita pressured. Mason is too principled to agree and Marley leaves in disgust. Mason has his outer-office operator get Della; she got his hint to have Drake shadow Marley when he left the office.


Drake reports that Marley went to the Balkan Apartments and the apartment of Hazel Tooms. The police have found the murder weapon, right where Anders claims he threw it. Mae has been released, comes to Mason, says she told the police absolutely nothing. She says detectives got her out of bed. Mason says Marley said she went back to the Yacht Club. She thinks Marley is clever, sneaky. She also doesn't like Anders, for he is weak. He always needs someone else's opinion to back him. That's why he left his apartment, to get his own lawyer. "He's never learned to stand on his own tow feet and take things as they come." As to the situation on the yacht, Mae doesn't even remembering screaming. Mae explains she was Penn's "hostess," and she wasn't sure of the legitimacy of the arrangement. Things fell through, so she didn't get the job she expected. Mason sends her to her apartment with a story for the reporters which will surely show up. Mason decides to go fishing. Drake catches Della; the police are shadowing Mason. She tries to catch him. Sam, the elevator operator, rushes her downstairs, but she fails to catch him as two plainclothesmen follow.


Mason goes to Hazel Tooms. She has no problem opening up to Perry Mason. She loves cruises. She loves boats. She could have made money elsewhere, but would rather go out on a boat. She made Wentworth respect her, after he tried every way to compromise her, and he then accepted her as a friend. Wentworth told her he was going to give his wife an ultimatum, or sue Sid Eversel for alienation of affections. She went to the Yacht Club expecting the Pennwent, but the Atina came in instead, run by Mae Farr. She doesn't want to be a witness, for it would hurt everyone. She'd gladly take a thousand dollars to go off on a trip to Australia. Or less, even five hundred. Mason studies the baseboards for a hidden microphone. Then walks out on Hazel Tooms.


Mason admits to Drake that he was not watching to see if he was tailed. He thinks Tooms is not a plant, but a witness. Mason asks if Drake has an extra gun, suggests he meet him and Della for lunch. Drake has put an operative at Eversel's; MacGregor. He gets info from the Scot gardener. After lunch, Mason and Drake head, with Della, to get some five-cell flashlights. On the way to the gun site, Drake says Eversel went out in his plane, returned with a woman and went directly to his darkroom. It started to rain, they flew off, and he came back alone in the morning. Eversel's yacht is about two knots an hour faster than Wentworth's. Della notices headlights. Drake thinks it is a police shadow, but they speed into the dark. They get the flashlights, go to the place where Anders said he threw his gun. Mason throws one of Drake's, and the three follow it with flash light. Mason notices a pipe, looks in, finds a gun, and with some difficulty, fetches it out. Six shells, none fired. Mason is sure Holcomb will think he planted the gun. Sure enough, two police, one called Jim, arrive, then Holcomb, and they take the gun. Predictably, Holcomb says it was planted. The trio leave to find a phone for a report from MacGregor. The stop in a restaurant for hot soup. On the way out, Mason suggests the shot was not fired while Anders was under water. They arrive at the iron gates of Eversel's estate, are met by MacGregor. Mason and Street slip through the hedge, arrange a signal if trouble brews, and go to the darkroom. They find nothing until Mason, flipping switches somewhat randomly, turns on the enlarger. It has a negative showing a man struggling with a woman. Mason understands. Wentworth was not shot while struggling with Mae Farr. What Mae thought was a shot was merely the camera flash going off. MacGregor's signal is heard. Mason slips the negative in his pocket. MacGregor advises Mason that Eversel has just arrived in the garage. MacGregor escorts Della out of the estate. Mason merely circles, comes to the front door and rings the bell. Eventually Eversel answers, threatens Mason with trespass, shuts the door, turns off the outdoor lights. Instead of leaving, Mason heads to the hangar. There he finds Juanita Wentworth in the amphibian airplane. Eversel comes quickly, but is confronted with Mason's demand he admit to making the photo. He took it to put Wentworth in a position where he'd have to agree to Juanita's divorce. Mason gives Eversel a subpoena. Juanita admits Eversel cannot afford scandal. She was holding out for money for her parents whose large hacienda in Mexico was taken by the government and given to peons. With prodding by Juanita, Eversel flies Mason back to Los Angeles.


Mason is in Drake's office studying blowups of the negative. Mason notes lots of cigarette stubs in the flash photo, only two in police photos after the body was discovered. Mason finds something like a rare coin in a case in one photo, not in the other, and wants to find out what it is. Also something like a cartridge, too small for a revolver cartridge, not bottleneck-shaped as needed for a modern rifle. The newspapers arrive with headlines; "OFFICERS CLAIM LAWYER CAUGHT RED-HANDED--POLICE CLAIM PROMINENT ATTORNEY APPREHENDED PLANTING GUN." The article also claims that if the grand jury doesn't act, police may go after the detective agency that services the prominent attorney. // Emil Scanlon, once a professional baseball player, became a municipal judge by being grandfathered in as a justice of the peace. He watches as Mason whispers with Mae Farr. She admits she took the Marley boat out, thinking Anders doubled back and was on the Pennwent, intending to sink it. Anders joins them. He's talked with Hazel Tooms. She will leave with a friend on a cruise, destination unknown. He did this on his own! To Mae's surprise. Scanlon tells Mason and deputy D As Overmeyer and Carl Runcifer that he hopes proceedings will be short and informal, with no technical objections. Scanlon's clerk presents his judge a note, during which Eversel challenges Mason over the theft of the negative, which will put the attorney in jail. Drake has learned only that Hazel Tooms is a playgirl who goes in for outdoor sports. Scanlon gives instructions to his secretary, proceeds with the case. Overmeyer calls Eversel, who testifies to when the crime was NOT committed, and admits to making a photo of Mae wrestling with Wentworth. He went home with the negative, flew to San Diego, brought Juanita Wentworth home with him, printed the photo, flew Mrs Wentworth home. Subsequently the negative was stolen by Mason. Overmeyer asks about his flight to San Diego. Yes, he saw, with his wing searchlights, the Atina, with a woman wearing clothes of the color Mae Farr wore going aboard the Pennwent. Mason asks, and Scanlon picks up the point, of Eversel's seeing any other yacht. He saw the Pennwent. No one was at the wheel. Mason makes him admit he knew Wentworth was violent and powerful. Yes, which is why he carried a weapon . . . A thirty-eight Colt revolver. Mason asks about the enlargement he made from the negative, asks him to produce the print. He gave it to the deputy D A, and Runcifer says it is part of the confidential files of the DA's office. Scanlon then demands that Runcifer delivers his print. Then other photos are also presented. Now Hazel Tooms is called, but she is not there. Scanlon calls Mason, asks if he knows where Tooms is. No. Runcifer asks Mason if he didn't discuss Tooms vacating the country. Tho Scanlon says he doesn't need to answer, Mason wants to, because he thinks Tooms's testimony is favorable to Farr. How? Mason asserts that "The Case of the Postponed Murder" is a proper tag. No powder burns were on the victim, so the gun was fired from a distance. One by one, Mason eliminates suspects. He points out that Mae could never put the Atina next the Pennwent and from it gained access. Eversel, however, is an aviator, who flew low over the yacht, was armed and an expert shot. Now, look at the shelf in Eversel's photo, the circular object, which is missing in the police photo. Mason calls Mr Robert Grastin, secretary and treasurer of the Interurban Amateur Athletic League. He testifies that Hazel Tooms won second place in an open tennis tournament the day of the murder. She was an all-round artist, also winning swimming championships. Grastin identifies the coinlike object as the medal they struck for second place in the women's tournament. The series of lines across it is the tennis net. Mason submits that this answers the question of who killed Penn Wentworth.


Perry, Paul, Della and Mae are, as usual, in Mason's office, for the usual post mortem. Mason admits that he thought Hazel was too anxious to get out of the country. Either Wentworth was shot from a plane, or someone who was aboard with him. Hazel won second place in the tennis tournament, went to the yacht for congratulations. Wentworth's idea of congratulations would require use of lipstick by Hazel Tooms after the fact. She put the medal and the lipstick on the cabin shelf. She went ashore to get things needed for the trip Wentworth planned to Ensenada before his meeting in San Diego with Juanita. Then Mae had her altercation. Then Wentworth and Hazel sailed for Ensenada, and he told her of the bind the photo would put him in. This put Hazel in a murderous rage, and she shot him. She set the yacht on auto pilot, took off her clothes, stuffed them in a canvas bag with her medal, lipstick and gun, and swam ashore. She kept the murder weapon for protection when she got ashore. She was at the Yacht Club in time to see Mae return in the Atina. She was quite willing to see Anders go up on a murder charge to keep a subsequent investigation from turning up the truth. Mason doesn't think they'll ever convict Hazel. Eversel is so pleased to have gotten off a possible murder charge he's invited Mason and Street for dinner. Then Mason suggests they drive up to North Mesa. Mae says she's headed that way, for she's going to marry Hal. Isn't Paul coming, too, asks Mae. "What would a detective do with a wife?" he asks. "What would a wife do with a detective?" counters Mason. Thus ends the history of Perry Mason, attorney.

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