Books: Case Closed

A good mystery story is like apple pie, said Erie Stanley Gardner. "I could give you all the ingredients, tell you how hot your oven must be and how long to leave the pie in. It might come out good; it might taste lousy. But if you get a good piece of pie and eat it after a good meal, you'll like apple pie."

Gardner, who died last week at the age of 80, was the Mrs. Wagner of the genre. Since The Case of the Velvet Claws, the first of his Perry Mason mysteries, was published in 1933, his books...

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