Thursday, May 10, 2012
The Case of the Stuttering Bishop
The best Erle Stanley Gardner stories function almost equally on two levels, trying to solve the crime while playing convoluted games to work around the spirit of the law while staying within the letter.
As far as I can tell, this aspect of Mason was based on Gardner himself, with the important caveat that the real life lawyer was considerably more willing to break the letter as well.
The Stuttering Bishop does not rise to the top tier on either level, the mystery is fairly straightforward and the legal convolutions aren't that convoluted. Still, pretty good Gardner is still pretty good.
There is one point of special interest for fans in a confrontation between Mason and Burger (p 134 in my copy). The relationship was always a bit chillier in the books than it was on TV, but Gardner always made it clear that both men knew that, despite antagonism and diametrically opposed approaches to the law, both were very good attorneys.