Thursday, March 1, 2018

The Case of the Worried Waitress and Cut Thin to Win by Erle Stanley Gardner




Josh and I spent this last weekend in Oklahoma inside the Choctaw Nation at a Bed and Breakfast.  As we drove the two hours north to our destination, we were doing our best to out run the torrential rain.  Flash flood warnings accompanied us most of the day.

There is not much to do at Broken Bow unless you like to hunt and fish.  We, however, planned to walk along the several trails through the woods.


As you can see, our plans were thwarted by the rain which beat us to the punch.  It was the end of the road for us.  We backed up and turned around.



No swinging here today.


Even with the rain and grey skies it was still beautiful.  And, really, what made the trip worth it was the most comfortable Bed and Breakfast we have stayed in to date.

This one was a modern house, but it had a fireplace, love seat, jacuzzi in the bathroom and the best mattress I've ever slept on.  In the evening, after gorging ourselves at the House of Blues Burger restaurant where we feasted on hamburgers to Blues Music (which probably goes without saying), we got comfortable on the love seat in front of the fire place, and watched the Hercule Poirot mystery we brought with us.

Broken Bow is also home to several wineries and we visited them all, tasted their wine, and returned home on Sunday a few bottles the richer.  I'm no Sommelier, but the wines we chose are some of the smoothest I've tasted.





Our room had a porch where I sat and enjoyed the scenery in the bracing cool temperature.  Do you see all the birds?  No?  That's because every time I got my phone out they flew away, but trust me; hundreds of cardinals, tiny birds with cream and black stripes, red-headed wood peckers, doves, and obnoxious blue jays covered the walls while I sat out there.  A large turtle swam by in the pond.

On there way there and back in the car I read out loud to Josh and here are my reviews:

The Case Of The Worried Waitress ([A Perry Mason Mystery])The Case Of The Worried Waitress by Erle Stanley Gardner

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


This is for now my favorite Perry Mason. A young waitress comes to the attorney because she is worried something strange is happening in her aunt's house.

Orphaned and penniless, Katherine Ellis comes to live with her Aunt Sophia. Sophia had been married to a wealthy man and, being also wealthy, handed all of her assets over to her husband. After he died suddenly, Sophia discovered that she was not actually married because he husband had failed to divorce the first wife, an honest mistake because the first wife had claimed to file for divorce but had not actually followed through.

This left the widow with all of the husband's assets as well as Sophia's. Therefore both Sophia and Katherine are scraping by, which is why Katherine took as job as a waitress.

Katherine finds her aunt acting in a strange manner. She searches the papers for grocery bargains and buys the cheapest food available, serving only enough to keep them from starving, but, as Katherine accidentally discovered, her aunt is keeping thousands of dollars in hat boxes in her closet. Why?

To further add to the mystery, it is discovered that her aunt takes a taxi to a manufacturing company where she stands outside posing as a blind woman selling pencils. Again, why?

When the aunt is bludgeoned in her house and left for dead, no one knows the motive, but Katherine is the number one suspect. It is Mason's job to get to the bottom of the aunt's mysterious behavior and exonerate his client.

This story had a lot of hooks because there were so many strange things happening that seemed to have no logical explanation. It does all come together at the end with one of the most unexpected plot twists I've read in a while.



View all my reviews





Cut Thin to Win (Cool & Lam)Cut Thin to Win by Erle Stanley Gardner

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


A man, Clayton Dawson, comes to Donald Lam and Bertha Cool to do some investigating work for him. He claims his daughter, who is wild and unmanageable, was involved in a hit and run. She was inebriated and hit an older woman with her car but drove off.

Dawson wants to protect his daughter and his own reputation by seeing if they can keep the episode out of the newspapers and to offer the victim (who survived with minor injuries) a settlement that would keep her from going to court and causing undesired publicity.

Donald Lam promises to find the victim and scope her out.

As is usual in the Lam/Cool mysteries nothing is at it seems. Without giving away the plot, it turns out that Dawson, is not really Dawson, the girl involved is not really his daughter and furthermore, the "victim" isn't actually who she says she is either.

What is going on and why? Lam finds he must uncover a whole lot more than a simple hit and run and his investigation takes him across some states and into unexpected directions. Just who is really the good guy and who is the bad guy? Are there any good guys?

That's what you will find out if you read the book.



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10 comments:

  1. great photos! it's encouraging to see wilderness in other parts of the country... and heartening to hear that there are lots of birds there; if the woodpeckers had completely red heads they are probably pileated woodpeckers: they're very rare here, we've seen two in the last 25 years...
    I've read the first Perry Mason and liked it a lot... if forget the plots over time, but i recognize this one; i'm not sure about the Lam one: i remember a scenario somewhat like this but i think it was a Perry, not a Lam... but who knows... maybe i should just get rid of all my books except for twenty or so and reread them; i'd save money and eventually be able to remember what i read... anyway, i'm glad you all had a mini vacation that turned out well in spite of the dire flooding...

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    1. Hi Mudpuddle. Every couple of months, about four times a year. Josh and I find a Bed and Breakfast not too far from home. There's not a lot to do, but we like just knocking about.

      The good thing about forgetting the stories is that you'll enjoy the mystery all over again, so that's a good thing.

      I looked up pileated woodpecker and those are what I saw. Now in my back yard we have those and a big one with the Woody Woodpecker laugh and also a speckled one. It probably means my trees are old, but I like the view.

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  2. It sounds like you had a nice trip. I love to walk and explore trails. Too bad the flooding thwarted you. I also like to visit wineries, though I do not know that much about wine. We now have dozens of them here on Long Island.

    The Perry Mason books sound entertaining in general. I may give one a try sometimes.

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    1. Hi Brian. We did have a nice trip. It's nice to just get away every now and then.

      I was never much into wineries but Josh is and now I'm sold. I did not know that about Long Island. I'll keep that in mind if I ever visit. Ironically, when I lived in New Jersey I never made it past Brooklyn. Maybe one day I'll get up there. Is the Amityville Horror house still there?

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  3. I join you in celebrating Gardner. Many evenings end here by watching another recorded episode of the classic TV Perry Mason series. Poor Hamilton Burger! Viva la Perry, Della, and Paul!

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    1. Hi R.T. and another weekend is upon us. Time to break out another Mason or Lam. Or both.

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    2. Sharon...
      FYI
      I had more problems with Blogger, and my stupid errors required a restart with a tweaked address; here is the restarted version with a posting on Shakespeare.
      https://informalinquiries2.blogspot.com/2018/03/shakespeares-philosophy-2006.html
      Best wishes,
      Tim

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    3. Thanks for letting me know R.T. It's always an adventure trying to find you in cyberspace. :)

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  4. Sometimes trips are sweet just because of the time together in the car. Our area has taken to putting up signs in the low spots of the roads, "Don't drown- Turn Around." Glad you had a smooth sailing.

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    1. Hi Jeanette. That's funny about the signs. We need those here. There's a few places that, when it rains, you better not take chances trying to drive through or you will be looking for a new car to buy.

      I agree. I like the journey as much as the destination.

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I welcome comments from anyone with a mutual interest in the subjects I written about.