Revisiting Perry Mason

I decided to start reading the original Perry Mason novels from the beginning, so I just grabbed a copy of the very first one: The Case of the Velvet Claws, first published in 1933. I’m looking forward to the rough and tumble Perry Mason from the early years of Erle Stanley Gardner’s famous series.

In some ways, Nick Williams is similar to Perry Mason. Or, at least the early Perry Mason. For one thing, they are both operating in a grey area of the law. They often seem to be at the wrong place at the right time. I love that kind of story.

As I wrote in the Acknowledgements of The Unexpected Heiress, I’ve toyed with the idea of writing an all-gay satire novel, similar to Mabel Maney’s take on early YA mainstays: Cherry Ames, Nancy Drew, and The Hardy Boys. For starters, Perry and Paul Drake would be on-again, off-again lovers. Della Street would be right in the middle of a torrid affair with some Hollywood starlet.

I’ve even thought that the first story could be about what happens when Veda Pierce is released from prison after serving seven years in a women’s penitentiary for the murder of her step-father, Monty. A worried and frightened Mildred Pierce (with Bert — they’ve reconciled — and she’s now the C.E.O. of Mildred’s Famous Pies, Inc.) would be in Perry’s office to find out what they could do to protect Veda from her own worst enemy: herself.

That sort of thing.

Who knows? Maybe I will at that…

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