Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Case of the Crooked Candle by Erle Stanley Gardner

Perry Mason the famous crime lawyer is hired by Carol Burbank to help her father Roger Burbank circumvent the law. Roger Burbank is accused of murdering a business associate abroad his Yacht. The victim is Roger Milfield, a man who superficially seems harmless but had many dirty secrets and had a countless list of enemies. Perry Mason has to get his client extricated, in order to do that he will have to solve the puzzle of the crooked candle.

A candle is found besides the dead body which is little burnt and is 17 degrees from perpendicular. so what about it? This seemingly frivolous candle turns out be the most vital clue in the case.

Review: Erle Stanley Gardner was one of the most prolific writers of his time. Gardner was one of the best selling authors of all time and certainly
the best in the mystery genre. but he also had his detractors like Rex stout, for example, once claimed that the Perry Mason books weren't even novels. so how did Mason and Gardner do in the case of the crooked candle?

They both came out on top. The book has all constituents of a cracking mystery. It is very fast paced, has a riveting mystery, humorous and page turning court room dialogue. Gardner is weak at character building, I think he knew that and did not spend too much time on it. The book is basically dialogue between different characters and a brief description of each character. I think I read the whole book in less then 5 hours. It's less then 200 pages and the author does not spend too much time in enunciating any thing in particular.

Perry Mason is the protagonist and his character is like a hard boiled detective/Lawyer. I'm a sucker for court room dramas and is treated to one in the book.

The Mystery is of a superlative degree. The part about tides, the crooked candle and rigor mortis fits perfectly. The Solution is very well enunciated but is a little difficult to understand because of the use of many terms associated with boats and tides. but an ingenious solution none the less.

This one is highly recommended.

Where can I buy it? I picked this up for Rs 80 from Om book shop. beat that!


I'm submitting this review as part of the Vintage Mystery Reading Challenge.


  1. Dear Rashi, Will you be kind enough to scan the illustration (sketch map) that appears within Chapter 17 of The Case of the Crooked Candle? My own old book is fairly damaged around this page. Kindly send the scan at address. I will be quite thankful to you. -- Somesh. (Patna, Bihar)


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