The Case of the Substitute Face (Erle Stanely Gardner, 1938)

Aboard a ship from Honolulu to San Fransisco, a man is seen thrown overboard in an apparent murder. His wife is suspected of the crime. Perry Mason defends her, and in doing so, gets to the bottom of what happened that night, which the wife says began with the puzzling disappearance of her daughter’s photo.

Quite easy, overall. The motivation doesn’t become clear until later, but I had the “murder” itself figured out within the first ten chapters. In fact, I had a strong suspicion that Carl Moar and Roger Cartman were one and the same even before Moar’s staged death was committed, and once you realize that Moar wasn’t dead but in hiding, then the theft of the picture becomes obvious.

Inscription: “Given to the U-7 grade room NOV. 27 1956 By Linwood Gilbert”, in pencil on the inside front cover. “Grade room” is in cursive, the rest is in print.

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