Book Review: The Case of the Dubious Bridegroom by Erle Stanley Gardner (1949)

Synopsis: The first time Perry Mason meets Virginia Colfax, she is climbing down the fire escape leading to the Garvin Mining, Exploration and Development Company one floor above his office and he is certain she was carrying a gun. When that gun is later used to murder Ethel Garvin, Mason must defend her husband, Edward, against the charges.

Review: I had some free time on Sunday and was able to plod through the rest of this book, which I started a few days earlier. Unfortunately, while I've enjoyed most Perry Mason books lately, this one fell a little short of expectations.On the surface, the book does have an intriguing plot. Even though the actual evidence against him is limited at best, Mason's client, Edward Garvin, does seem like the most obvious suspect, both because his estranged wife seemed to be making an effort to take over his business and because she was accusing him of bigamy after confusion regarding their divorce.My biggest problem with the book is it winds up b…

Book Review: The LeRoy Butler Story by LeRoy Butler and James J. Keller (2003)

Synopsis: Unable to walk without the assistance of braces or casts until he was 7 and living in the poorest part of Jacksonville, LeRoy Butler defied the odds to become a 12-year National Football League veteran. His autobiography tells the story about how he overcame poverty and academic issues to achieve this.
Review: Time certainly does fly. I intended on reading this book when it was first published and, the next thing I knew, it was 17 years later and I realized that never happened. Fortunately, the library happened to have a copy. After finishing it yesterday, I have to say it was worth the wait.I knew about Butler's inability to walk when he was a child but this book revealed a lot more about his life than I knew about. His story about growing up in an impoverished area was a real eye opener, whether it was the story about watching one if his friends get gunned down over a bicycle or talking about how his mom used to need to hide the amount of groceries she was buying to avo…

Book Review: The Case of the Vagabond Virgin by Erle Stanley Gardner (1948)

Synopsis: When department store owner John Racer Addison picks up hitchhiker Veronica Dale, pays for a hotel room for her and gives her a job, his intentions are pure. He just wants to make sure the 18-year-old is safe. However, before too long, attorney Perry Mason needs to protect his long-time client from a blackmailer who wants to make the act of charity into something more scandalous. To make matters worse, Addison's business partner, Edgar Ferrell, is found murdered and Addison's hitchhiker incident proves he was near Ferrell's house at the time of death, making him the top suspect.
Review: After a short break from Perry Mason novels, I started reading this book this past weekend. It turned out to be easy to read and I was able to get through it in only a matter of a couple days. Overall, I have to say I enjoyed the book.I think the thing I liked most about this book was the mystery surrounding the "vagabond virgin," Veronica Dale. As Perry Mason himself sus…

Movie Review: Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1953)

Synopsis: After losing their jobs on the London police force, Slim and Tubby seek to redeem themselves by capturing the murderous Mr. Hyde.Who's in it? The movie stars Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, Boris Karloff,Craig Stevens and Helen Westcott.
Review: I came across this movie on Peacock TV a couple weeks ago and, realizing I had never seen it, put it on my "must-watch" list. I finally had a chance to do that this weekend and, overall, I was glad I did.This is one of the comedy duo's last films together and, much like many of their older movies, it wasn't quite as good as their earlier films. But, despite that, the film still proved to be better than expected.While some of the comedy routines were a little predictable, they still managed to be entertaining. I especially liked the scene involving Tubby (Costello) being turned into a mouse then, later, getting drunk in an attempt to recreate the incident for the authorities. My only real complaint when it came to the c…

45 Life Lessons, Opinions and Observations For My 45th Birthday

As I prepare to celebrate my upcoming 45th birthday, I feel obligated to share some pieces of wisdom and insight I have gathered over my 4 1/2 decades on this planet:
1. Intelligence is a relative term.2. Getting lost can sometimes lead to an unexpected, joyful discovery.3. Often, the difference between success and failure is the willingness to accept and learn from your mistakes.4. George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four and Animal Farm should be required reading in all public schools.5. The two most important senses are common sense and a sense of purpose.6. Never underestimate just how comforting a routine can be.7. Always ignore criticism about an act of kindness.8. The lesser of two evils is still evil.9. Always question the motive behind unsolicited relationship or parenting advice.10. Just because something is a remake doesn't automatically mean it is worse than the original. But some movies shouldn't be remade regardless.11. Once you have a teenager, you start to reali…

Book Review: Lou's On First by Chris Costello (1981)

Synopsis: Getting his start in burlesque, Lou Costello quickly rose to world-wide fame by partnering with Bud Abbott to form Abbott & Costello. However, his personal life was plagued by tragedy, financial issues and health problems.
Review: I came across this book at the library last week and, being a big Abbott & Costello fan, I decided to check it out. Since the book was written by his daughter, with the help of Raymond Strait, I did have some concerns about the book being a bit too slanted. But, after reading it, I did find it was an interesting well-balanced account of a man who was talented and had a big heart, especially when it came to his family but, at the same time, had his flaws too.I think the thing that really surprised me about this book was the way it managed to create a wide range of emotions while I was reading it. Some of the stories were humorous, such as the stories about him sneaking off with movie props while the films were still being made and letting the…