The Case of the Crying Swallow (Erle Stanley Gardner, 1947)

The second short story appended to The Cautious Coquette. If the first was half-baked, this one never saw the oven. Honestly, it barely makes any sense. A wealthy man’s wife drops the insurance policy on her emeralds, they’re stolen, then she disappears. Perry Mason is called, finds she stole the emeralds herself (shocker) to pay off her ex-husband, who it turns out she’s still legally married to. Ex-husband’s other wife finds out and kills him. Wealthy man thinks his wife is the murder and tries to frame someone else. The wife — and this is the least clear bit and I’m assuming a lot here — felt guilty and tried to kill herself while booked into a hotel under an assumed name, but Perry Mason finds her in time to both save her and coach her to tell the right story to the police.

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The Case of the Crimson Kiss (Erle Stanley Gardner, 1948)

One of two half-baked short stories appended to The Cautious Coquette. The mistress of a wealthy man finds him dead. There are too many of her things in the apartment and she fears she’ll be suspected, so she poisons her roommate to make it look like she was the mistress and it was a murder-suicide. Except roommate’s aunt arrived earlier than expected and a doctor is called in time. Perry Mason discovers seemingly out of the blue that the man actually had two mistresses, and it was mistress #2 that did him in, and the entire story was pointless.

The Case of the Cautious Coquette (Erle Stanley Gardner, 1949)

A hit-and-run driver leaves a young man with a broken hip. Perry Mason is engaged to discover who it was and he finds two different men ready to confess and settle out of court. Only one of them could have done it — what’s the other’s angle? Mason might have his answer when he finds himself framed for murder and the other man using the hit-and-run as an alibi.

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The Case of the Counterfeit Eye (Erle Stanley Gardner, 1935)

A man is found dead, clutching a glass eye. His wife had a son from a previous relationship with a man who, as it should happen, only has one eye. Perhaps related are a boy and his unknown accomplice, who had been embezzling thousands of dollars from the dead man and had just gotten caught. The only eye witness to one-eyed murder was the son’s new secret wife, who has skipped town for reasons of her own. Perry Mason, celebrated lawyer, is employed variously by pretty much every major character to see that the innocent go unpunished.

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