Sunday, September 17, 2023

Review: The Case of the Velvet Claws

The Case of the Velvet Claws The Case of the Velvet Claws by Erle Stanley Gardner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Gardner’s first Perry Mason novel surprised me because nothing takes place in a courtroom. Also, Mason behaves just like a hard-boiled detective, although he displays a sharp acumen of the law, and is deeply honor bound to be a faithful representative to his client, a gorgeous and very shifty wife of a soon-to-be-dead rich husband. Murder and suspicious wills are nothing new in the mystery genre, so Gardner mashes up some interesting subplots and twists that I didn’t see coming. Paul Drake and Della Street are here and Mason is clearly romantically involved with Della, something that was not alluded to on TV. Gardner was one of the best writers of the 20th century, and although his popularity has waned, I have never read anything by him that was less that great, this one included.

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Saturday, September 2, 2023

Review: The Moon Maid

The Moon Maid The Moon Maid by Edgar Rice Burroughs
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Evidently Burroughs wrote this as a metaphorical response to American Communists, which he abhorred, although I wasn’t able to figure out the connection. Set in the not-too-distant future USA astronauts on a mission to Mars are maliciously crash landed into a crater on the moon by saboteur Orthis, a sociopath with a vendetta for hero Julian. Discovering a vast lost civilization Julian gets involved is several capture/escape set pieces, meeting the beautiful titular Moon Maid in the process and culminating in a massive battle between warring cities – and the return of Orthis. This is a fairly typical Burroughs pulp space opera/romance with an emphasis on world building and adventure. It didn’t leave me with much enthusiasm for reading the next two entries in the three book series, so it was just reliably serviceable in the ERB scale. I give it three stars.

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