Book Review: The Case of the Daring Decoy by Erle Stanley Gardner (1957)

Synopsis: Hoping to fend off an attempt to remove him as president of the California & Texas Global Development & Exploration Company, Jerry Conway agrees to meet a mysterious caller offering him valuable information. When he arrives at the motel room, however, he is met by a half-naked woman holding a gun. He disarms her and leaves but quickly discovers the gun has recently been fired and, realizing he is being set up, calls Perry Mason. When a murdered woman is later found in that same room, Mason predictably needs to defend his new client from murder charges.

Review: My wife has been working on a sewing project for the past couple of evenings, giving me plenty of time to read while waiting for her to join me in the living room. As a result, I was able to get through this murder mystery fairly quickly. It ended up being a decent choice.

When I first started reading this book, I wasn't sure if I would enjoy it all that much. This is mostly because the murder mystery, at least at first glance, seemed a little too easy, especially since it was clear his client wasn't guilty. However, as I continued to read it, I realized things were a lot more complex than they seemed.

One thing, in particular, I liked was the mystery surrounding the gun. When it turned out not to be the murder weapon, I wasn't sure what to believe. It didn't make a whole lot of sense to "frame" someone using a different weapon, and, at the same time, I was having a hard time believing Mason's client when he claimed he didn't attempt to switch the weapon.

I was also intrigued by how the murder tied in with the attempted takeover bid by Gifford Farrell. On the surface, he seemed like an obvious suspect, but I also suspected he was just a red herring and there was someone else behind the murder. It was just a question of who else would want to kill the victim and why. And I am willing to admit, the killer did surprise me a bit, mostly because of all the coincidences that happened at the same time.

Final Opinion: I wasn't too sure about it at first, but it turned out to be a decent murder mystery with a couple surprises. It's one I would recommend taking the time to read.

My Grade: A-


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