Skip to Content
ublogo print

University at Buffalo Libraries

George Kelley Paperback & Pulp Fiction Collection

The Case of the Lazy Lover

cover image By: Gardner, Erle Stanley (male)
Publisher: Pocket Books, Inc. (Cardinal edition C-285)
Place of Publication: New York, NY
Catalog #: Kelley Box 255: PS3513 .A6322 C252 1958
Contributor: R. Tuohy


Era: 1940s Author as on Cover: Erle Stanley Gardner Geographic Locale: Los Angeles, California; Las Olitas, California (fictional place) and surrounding mountains Date of Publication: 1958  |  Original Date: 1947 Setting: urban and fictional small town; contrasting the wealthy residence of the mine owner with the rural area in the mountains where the body was found. Most characters are wealthy, and all suspects are involved in mining to some degree. Motives: Bertrand Allred's death is meant to look like an accident, but there are many who want him dead. His business dealings have been shady, and there are many who feel cheated by him.

Plot Summary

Perry Mason receives an unexpected check from Lola Allred, wife of Bertrand Allred, a ruthless and successful mine operator. Bertrand appears at the office that same day and tells Perry that Lola has run off with his younger friend and business associate, Robert Fleetwood. When Lola and Fleetwood are found, Fleetwood claims to have amnesia, the result of being hit by a car driven by Lola's daughter. Then Bertrand Allred is found dead in his car at the bottom of a cliff under suspicious circumstances. He is near the cabin of P.E. Overbrook, another miner who has had unpleasant business dealings with Allred. Perry Mason finds himself defending Lola Allred on a charge of murder. However, there are many suspects in the case, since nearly everyone has a reason to want Bertrand Allred dead. A diagram of the area where the body was found shows the tracks in the soft dirt and plays a key role in the trial. Both the map and Fleetwood's amnesia give Perry Mason an opportunity to use his skill and imagination to uncover the truth.

Major Characters

Perry Mason "Chief," adult male, very intelligent, creative, defense attorney

Della Street adult female, 30s, pretty, smart, Perry Mason's legal secretary

Gertie adult female, middle-aged, plump, good-natured, single, receptionist

Paul Drake adult male, 40s, tall, lanky, private investigator, owner of the Drake Detective Agency

Bertrand Allred adult male, 50 years old, rich, ruthless; short, stocky, red mustache, well-dressed, mine owner

Lola Allred adult female, 42 years old, beautiful wife of Bertrand Allred

Patricia Allred adult female, very pretty, early 20s, daughter of Bertrand and Lola Allred; romantically involved with Robert Fleetwood

Robert Gregg Fleetwood "Bob," adult male, 27 years old, younger business associate of Bertrand Allred, aware of many of Bertrand's business deals

George Jerome adult male, middle-aged, business partner of Bertrand Allred

Dixon Keith adult male, middle-aged, mine owner who believes he's been swindled by Bertrand Allred

P.E. Overbrook adult male, middle-aged, miner who also had bad business dealings with Allred; lives simply in a cabin in the woods


it appears that Allred was hit on the head with a blunt object before going over the cliff

Level of Violence

very little; just a very brief description of the accident victim and the car


no sexuality in the plot at all, although the book title, cover art, and back cover are a tease. Patricia worries that her reputation will be in jeopardy when Mason goes up to her apartment late at night to question her.

Gender Roles

both male and female gender roles are traditional. Lawyer, detective, prosecutor and mine owner are all male. Secretary and receptionist are female. However, both Della Street and Gertie are considered intelligent and are well respected by both Mason and Paul Drake.


all characters are presumed to be white. There is no mention or stereotyping of other races.

Alcohol/Drug Abuse

alcohol plays a minor role, and there are no other types of drugs at all. Mrs. Allred and Patricia have a drink when they are stressed and being questioned by Perry Mason. They also talk about Fleetwood being drunk one night, but don't make any value judgment about it.

Law Enforcement

Lieutenant Tragg is depicted as an honest homicide detective, but he is outsmarted by Perry Mason on several occasions. Tragg expects Mason to try to trick him, and would like to catch Mason on the wrong side of the law.

Subject Headings

California/ Mason, Perry/ Law and Lawyers/ Trials/ Murder/ Mines and Mining/ Amnesia

Psychological Elements

Fleetwood feigns amnesia, and Perry Mason knows some important facts about this disorder. Most characters seem to be in the normal range, including both the victim and the suspects.