Аннотация: "When a potential client wants to see Perry Mason about a howling dog and a will, the attorney is not interested. He does not enjoy drawing wills, and wonders if the man shouldn't see a veterinarian. However, when the man asks whether a will is legal if the person who made it had been executed for murder, immediately Mason becomes interested. He finds, in addition to the will and the dog, a man who had run away with the wife of another, and a sexy housekeeper."
Erle Stanley Gardner
Perry Mason — 4
Cast of Characters
in the order of their appearance
Della Street , who recognized trouble even when it wore pants…
Perry Mason , the ThinIce Man…
Arthur Cartright , who wanted to see a dog about a woman…
Mrs. Clinton Foley , whose right husband knew what her left husband was doing…
Prince , who howled…
Pete Dorcas , who thought Mason's client was crazy…
Dr. Cooper , alienist, who didn't agree with him…
Clinton Foley , who claimed his watchdog didn't howl…
Bill Pemberton , who decided the barking dog hadn't yipped…
Thelma Benton , who kept a house of another color…
Ah Wong , who was ah wight…
Elizabeth Walker , Cartright's illtempered housekeeper…
Paul Drake , who played the game without having to be told the rules…
Paula Cartright , as wives go, she went…
Detective Sergeant Holcomb , who took life as a matter of corpse…
Sam Marson , who smelled a mouse…
Bessie Forbes , who couldn't talk, even to her lawyer…
Mae Sibley , the wrong mouse with the right scent…
Judge Markham , patience and rectitude…
Claude Drumm , who wanted recess, continuance or dismissal but who didn't want a verdict…
Frank Everly , who pointed out flaws in Mason's trial technique…
Della Street held open the door to the inner office, and spoke in the tone which a woman instinctively uses in speaking to a child or a very sick man.
"Go right in, Mr. Cartright," she said. "Mr. Mason will see you."
A broadshouldered, rather heavyset man, of about thirtytwo, with haunted brown eyes, walked into the office, and stared at the sober countenance of Perry Mason.
"You're Perry Mason," he asked, "the lawyer?"
"Sit down," he said.
The man dropped into the chair Mason had indicated with a gesture, mechanically reached for a package of cigarettes, took one out, conveyed it to his lips, and had the package half way back to his pocket before he thought to offer one to Perry Mason.
The hand that held the extended package of cigarettes trembled, and the lawyer's knowing eyes stared for a moment at the quivering hand before he shook his head.
"No," he said, "thank you, I've got my own brand."
The man nodded, hurriedly put the package of cigarettes back in his pocket, struck a match, and casually leaned forward, so that his elbow was resting on the arm of the chair, steadying the hand which held the match as he lit the cigarette.
"My secretary," said Perry Mason, in a calm tone of voice, "told me that you wanted to see me about a dog and about a will."
The man nodded. "A dog and a will," he repeated mechanically.
"Well," said Perry Mason, "let's talk about the will first. I don't know much about dogs."
Cartright nodded. His hungry brown eyes were fastened upon Perry Mason with the expression of a very sick man looking at a competent physician.
Perry Mason took a pad of yellow foolscap from a drawer in his desk, picked up a desk pen, and said: "What's your name?"
" 4893 Milpas Drive."
"Married or single?"
"Do we need to go into that?"
Perry Mason held the pen poised above the foolscap while he raised his eyes to regard Cartright with steady appraisal.
"Yes," he said.
Cartright held the cigarette over an ashtray, and tapped the ashes from the end with a hand that shook as though with the ague.
"I don't think it makes any difference in the kind of a will I'm drawing up," he said.
"I've got to know," Perry Mason told him.
"But I tell you it won't make any difference, on account of the way I'm leaving my property."
Perry Mason said nothing, but the calm insistence of his very silence drove the other to speech.
"Yes," he said.
"Paula Cartright, age twentyseven."
"Residing with you?" asked Mason.
"Where does she reside?"
"I don't know," said the man.
Perry Mason hesitated a moment, and his quiet, patient eyes surveyed the haggard countenance of his client. Then he spoke soothingly.
"Very well," he said, "let's find out a little more about what you want to do with your property before we go back to that. Have you any children?"
"How did you want to leave your property?"
"Before we go into that," said Cartright, speaking rapidly, "I want to know if a will is valid no matter how a man dies."
Perry Mason nodded his head, wordlessly.
"Suppose," said Cartright, "a man dies on the gallows or in the electric chair? You know, suppose he's executed for murder, then what happens to his will?"
"It makes no difference how a man dies; his will is not affected," Mason said.
"How many witnesses do I need to a will?"
"Two witnesses under certain circumstances," Mason said, "and none under others."
"How do you mean?"
"I mean that if a will is drawn up in typewriting, and you sign it, there must be two witnesses to your signature, but in this state, if a will is written entirely in your handwriting, including date and signature, and there is no other writing or printing on the sheet of paper, save your own handwriting, it does not need to have any witnesses to the signature. Such a will is valid and binding."
Arthur Cartright sighed, and his sigh seemed to be one of relief. When he spoke, his voice was more quiet, less jerky.
"Well," he said, "that seems to clear that point up."
"To whom did you want your property to go?" asked Perry Mason.
"To Mrs. Clinton Foley, living at 4889 Milpas Drive."
Perry Mason raised his eyebrows.
"A neighbor?" he asked.
"A neighbor," said Cartright, in the tone of voice of one who wishes to discourage comment.
"Very well," said Perry Mason, and then added: "Remember, Cartright, you're talking to a lawyer. Don't have secrets from your lawyer. Tell me the truth. I won't betray your confidences."
"Well," Cartright said impatiently, "I'm telling you everything, ain't I?"
Perry Mason's eyes and voice were both serene.
"I don't know," he said.