Perry Mason in court in literature

  • #1
Stephen Tashi
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Main Question or Discussion Point

The depiction of courtroom proceedings in the TV series "Perry Mason" was unrealistic - but how realistic was the portrayal of courtroom proceedings in the Perry Mason novels?

I haven't read many of the Perry Mason novels. In the few I read, Perry Mason, like any good lawyer, settled things without going to trial.
 

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  • #2
256bits
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Criminal cases - defense lawyer defends his client at trial - there may be plea bargaining, but he not the one who decides if a trial is warranted from the evidence.
 
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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erle_Stanley_Gardner

Gardner, author of the novels, was, in fact a lawyer. However, he also confessed to writing for maximum effect. The former fact means he had easy access to the inside reality of courtroom procedure. The latter, though, makes it conceivable he might have fictionalized just about anything necessary to pull the reader into the novel.
 
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  • #4
Stephen Tashi
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The latter, though, makes it conceivable he might have fictionalized just about anything necessary to pull the reader into the novel.
But did he?

Has any forum member read many of the Perry Mason novels? - enough to comment on how Gardner portrayed courtroom procedure.
 
  • #5
Stephen Tashi
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Criminal cases - defense lawyer defends his client at trial - there may be plea bargaining, but he not the one who decides if a trial is warranted from the evidence.
Have you read any of the Perry Mason novels?
 
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But did he?
Obviously, I don't know. The fact he was actually a lawyer is a good sign vis a vis realism, and I wanted to mention it.

What you're looking for is some quote he might have left that would reveal his attitude about how realistic or not he felt he needed to be about courtroom proceedings.

Gardner started practicing law over a hundred years ago, so it's a hard question to answer outside of a quote like that, or finding someone who is a 'courtroom procedure historian.' I'm betting things aren't the same now as in his day.
 
  • #7
256bits
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Have you read any of the Perry Mason novels?
One story many years ago. That was the only Perry Mason book in the house. Vague memory of what it was about.

The TV show was all the rage at the time, especially when selection was one or two channels for many households.
The "pick one program and watch it!" wasn't in the vocabulary yet for dads.

When Raymond Burr went onto Ironside, I do remember being a little bit disillusioned to the fact as he being not Perry Mason.
 
  • #8
But did he?

Has any forum member read many of the Perry Mason novels? - enough to comment on how Gardner portrayed courtroom procedure.
I have read almost all of his novels and in the books he kept court room procedure fairly close to reality. He was an attorney and knew proper court room procedure and would research the things he did not know.
The early TV shows stayed pretty close to his novels and even used the titles given them by ESG, latter episodes stated that they were based on the characters created by ESG.
 

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