“The Case of the Waylaid Wolf” is the hundredth book in the Perry Mason series written by Erle Stanley Gardner. Arlene Ferris works as a secretary at the Lamont Rolling, Casting, and Engineering Company. She is an efficient worker and is always careful to meet her deadlines, even if she has to work overtime to achieve them. This is what makes her stay back late in her office one day. That is the day her car breaks down and Loring Lamont, son of the owner of the company Jarvis.P.Lamont, offers her his assistance. When she accepts his offer, she has no idea, what this man’s intentions are. He takes her out to the countryside on the pretext of having some official work and tells her that once he is done with his work he would drop her home. His charm and impressive manner comes in the way of her better judgment and she almost ends up becoming the victim of his lewd motives. But, wit and quick thinking helps her escape. The next day she goes to work, expecting every second to get fired. When that doesn’t happen, she decides she will stand up for her rights and punish the man who thought his company’s workers could be used as playthings. She hires Perry Mason, the astute and famous defense attorney known for using unique methods to uncover the truth. However, the story takes a highly unexpected turn when Loring Lamont is found murdered.
What follows is a whirlwind tale of how Mason uses Arlene’s strikingly similar looking friend, Madge Elwood to clear the former’s name when she is accused of Lamont’s murder. The story becomes even more gripping as Mason with the help of his secretary, Della Street and detective Paul Drake uncovers facts, which makes him suspect everyone from people working in the Lamont Company to his client herself! He always remains two steps ahead of Lieutenant Tragg of the Homicide Squad, who is highly critical of everything the lawyer does. The fact that the lawyer thinks of situations that will arise in the future and is able to prevent them from spoiling his case, makes the book unputdownable. The scenes of the preliminary hearing of the case have been described so well, that the reader is compelled to read on, wondering what will happen, and that one is never able to guess correctly, shows the author’s prowess.
This book has been dedicated by the author to Park Street, an attorney of San Antonio, Texas. In the foreword to the book, Erle Stanley Gardner has praised Street’s unswerving loyalty to his clients and his contribution in improving the administration of justice in the U.S.A. Gardner, a lawyer himself has authored many other detective novels under different pseudonyms. For anyone interested in murder mysteries and the legal process that follows it, this is the perfect book. It has twists and turns which keeps the readers hooked and guessing till the very end.