The Case of the Moth-Eaten Mink
Erle Stanley Gardner
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Perry Mason orders a double serving of trouble the night he and Della Street dine at an intimate restaurant after a hard day at law. In the middle of their steaks a waitress flees the premises in terror, leaving the puzzled proprietor holding her mink coat. Why a humble working girl abandons such a pricey wrap is only the first question in a cop-killer case that traps Mason's client with both an impossible story and the murder weapon, makes Perry himself a prime suspect, and blazes a gunpowder trail that leads straight to the heart of the police department itself.
told her. “Go splash cold water on your face, then get back to the telephone. I want you wide-awake for this and can’t take chances on you going back to sleep. They may cut me off any minute.” “Just a second,” she said. Over the telephone Mason could hear the thud of her feet on the floor. A moment later she was back, saying, “Wide-awake, Chief. What is it?” Mason said, “I’m at the Keymont Hotel. Morris Alburg called me and asked me to join him in room 721. He failed to meet me there. Someone
holding it partially open, waiting and listening. Mason said, “Don’t be a sap, Fulda. You were in on that job. You wired the rooms. Now I want to know how long you stayed there. I want to know whether you were there personally, or whether you had somebody on the job, or …” “Good Lord,” Fulda said. “Do you mean to say you two have come barging out here and pulled me out of bed in order to ask me a fool question like this?” “Exactly.” Fulda made a show of anger. “Well, I resent that! I have
he will presently identify the defendant Dixie Dayton as the person who pawned that weapon. And that weapon was, according to the evidence of the ballistics department, as will be presently brought out by Mr. Mott, the weapon which was used in the murder of one Robert Claremont, a murder which took place something over a year ago here in this city, and, as I understand it, it is the contention of the prosecution that it was because of an attempt to cover up that murder that Morris Alburg and
occurred to me that since it was quite apparent Claremont was gunning for the people higher up, he might have made contact. “There was one feature of the case in my favor. The night clerk never forgot a face. I decided I’d try the case by floundering around with a lot of cross-examination and then slip in a casual question to find out if Hoxie could remember having seen Claremont in the hotel on the night he was murdered. “When Hoxie told about that sudden trip to Mexico City I understood just
checking concession, exchange a ticket for a heavy overcoat and a dark felt hat, then push his way out into the night. Morris Alburg led the officers back to the booth. “What happened to the jane who was here with you?” one of the officers asked. “Went home,” Mason said. “I’m on my way myself, Morris. I was only waiting long enough to pay the check.” “There isn’t any check,” Alburg said. “This is on the house.” “Oh, come,” Mason protested. “This …” “It’s on the house,” Alburg said firmly.