Erle Stanley Gardner – The D.A. Breaks a Seal (1946)


Golden Age
Category: Book read by a fellow challenger
Finished: February 7, 2015

I went through a period of reading Perry Mason novels around age 14-15, finishing 70-some of them. It has been tough to get back into them since that point. The repeated passages, slightly off dialogue, and oddball names are tough to get past. I did plow through a number of the A.A. Fair Cool & Lam mysteries a few years ago, and those have their own cliches, separate from the Perry Mason ones, though still odd old maid first names. The D.A. series is a minor one in the Gardner output, but perhaps that will allow Gardner to avoid some cliches within this series. I last read one of these in 1983, so perhaps I’ve just forgotten some of the cliches. In any case, this one is a good solid Gardner mystery, set during Doug Selby’s WWII military service, as he stops back in town on a brief furlough. There is even a small bit of romance, as two women have interest in Selby. The best Perry Masons are the early ones where he is not yet stuck in his formula. I’ve got a few more of these, so we’ll see if Selby can remain somewhat free of formula.


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