cover image The Case of the Stuttering Bishop

The Case of the Stuttering Bishop

Erle Stanley Gardner, read by Alexander Cendese. Brilliance Audio, , unabridged, 5 CDs, 5.5 hrs., $19.99 ISBN 978-1-5318-2716-8

Gardner’s 1936 novel, one of several new audiobooks from Brilliance featuring fiction’s famous defense attorney, is number nine in Perry Mason’s list of literary courtroom battles. It’s one of the series’s best, in which the speech-impaired prelate of the title, William Mallory of Sydney, Australia, involves Mason in the legal rumpus that results when multimillionaire Renwold Brownley is murdered. Gardner was no prose stylist, but he could concoct and spin a yarn so fast-moving and filled with legal tricks and shocking revelations it easily holds its own with today’s legal thrillers, especially when given the vocal stylings of actor Cendese. He gives us a fast-talking, impatient, energetic Mason and a panicked Julia Branner, ex-daughter-in-law of the deceased The villains of the piece, a pair of shady private snoops, talk ultra-tough and thuggish. But they’re sharp enough to nearly commit the series’s most sinister criminal act—causing Mason’s disbarment. (Dec.)