Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Case of the Plot-Twisty Lawyer

Who says mystery stories aren’t relevant to everyday life? Not Sonia Sotomayer, the judge who’s about to become a Supreme Court Justice of the United States. Ms. Sotomayer cited the Perry Mason mystery novels, by Erle Stanley Gardner, as having helped influence her to go into law.

My librarian mother, Suzanne, glowed when she heard about Sonia. “I watched the Perry Mason TV show slavishly when I was a girl,” Mother reminisced. “I so wanted to be Perry’s secretary, Della Street, scrambling around crime scenes in designer suits and stiletto heels, and never springing even a ladder in her stocking.”

Uh, o-kaaay, Mother. Myself, I take pride in the rumpled look. It’s so lived-in, if you know what I mean.

Turns out my soon-to-be-brother-in-law, Jack (you first meet him in The Spy in the Alley), has watched all the old Perry Masons on DVD. He says his favourite episode is The Case of the Deadly Verdict, where Perry saves a woman at the last possible nano-second from the gas chamber. Phew!

Here’s what mystery writer Scott Turow says: “What I took from Perry Mason was the child-like delight in the surprise and in a plot as revelation of character. In the sense that the significant turn of the plot ends up deepening your understanding of somebody and what they had at stake in the situation.”

1 comment:

Mrs. Dassios said...

My husband is a labour lawyer, and formerly, constitutional litigator.
When we were first married (oh dear it's been over 20 years!) we used to love watching Perry Mason re-runs on weeknights.

After a while, we got really good a figuring out the true criminal. My husband thought it was so hysterical that the criminal often confessed to the crime ON THE STAND in the courtroom at the 11th hour. That is so fiction! and funny!

Love Melanie's books! Can't wait to read the Midnight Blue Marble!