Morrow, June 2004, 23.95, 288 pp.
Thirty nine year-old Cece Caruso makes a decent living writing biographies about mystery authors but her latest subject Erle Stanley Gardner is giving her a bit of trouble. She has all of the research done and much of the book is written but she doesn't have a sense of knowing the man. While trying to get over her writer's block, she comes across a letter written in 1958 by Joseph Albacco, Jr. from the California Correctional Institution in Tehachapi to Mr. Gardner.
Joe was found guilty of murdering his wife but he swears he didn't do it and Mr. Gardner once got the convict's grandfather cleared of an assault. Curious Cece visits Joe in jail to hear his story and ends up believing him. The prison chaplain hints that if Joe doesn't get paroled in a week, there's a chance he will commit suicide. Cece investigates Joe's case and discovers the prisoner's wife was blackmailing a lot of people they all have a strong motive to kill then and now.
I DREAMED I MARRIED PERRY MASON is an off beat but totally delightful amateur sleuth novel. The heroine is a total original who wears vintage clothing, risks her own life for a man she doesn't know, and does her best not to interfere in her daughter's marital woes. Susan Kandel has a great writing style and a voice that will have readers wanting to read more mysteries by this talented storyteller.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner