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George Kelley Paperback & Pulp Fiction Collection

The Case of the Hesitant Hostess

cover image By: Gardner, Erle Stanley (male)
Publisher: Pocket Books, Inc. (1127)
Place of Publication: New York, NY
Catalog #: Kelley Box 251: PS3513 .A6322 C2486 1956
Contributor: S. Roe


Era: 1950s Author as on Cover: Erle Stanley Gardner Geographic Locale: southern California and Las Vegas, Nevada Date of Publication: 1956  |  Original Date: 1953 Setting: urban Motives: drug running (heroin)

Plot Summary

Perry Mason gets involved with a nightclub hostess to find an important missing witness. This case begins with Perry attracting the attention of a "hesitant hostess" and later finds him flying to Las Vegas to be "married" to Della Street! The things Perry won't do to make sure his client gets a fair shake -- a court-appointed and penniless client, at that.

Major Characters

Perry Mason "Chief," adult male, defense attorney

Della Street adult female, attractive, spunky, Perry Mason's legal secretary

Paul Drake adult male, tall, lanky, private investigator, owner of the Drake Detective Agency

Rodney Archer adult male, broad-shouldered, bushy-browed, widowed real estate operator

Martha Lavina adult female, good-looking, quick-witted, diabolically clever, proprietress of three nightclubs

Albert Brogan adult male, middle-aged, fragile, not completely recovered after an automobile accident and a nervous breakdown that followed, retired salesman living in a trailer park with the help of his niece shortly after the accident


loop of wire

Level of Violence

only the murder, described after the fact; woman strangled with a loop of wire.


heterosexual activity implied. Hostesses purported to be "real" hostess, there for atmosphere -- not for sex. Perry doesn't actually tie the knot with Della of course, so there is no honeymoon activity either.

Gender Roles

the niece of Perry's client does in many ways come to the rescue of her uncle

Alcohol/Drug Abuse

heroin trafficking

Subject Headings

California/ Mason, Perry/ Robbery/ Trials/ Law and Lawyers/ Public Prosecutors