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Entertainment & Sports,

Apr. 23, 2024

America’s best-selling author was a California lawyer

Erle Stanley Gardner was a California lawyer and a best-selling author of mystery novels, most notably featuring the character of Perry Mason. He also founded a project to investigate wrongful convictions and wrote books about his travels in Baja California.

John S. Caragozian


John is a Los Angeles-based lawyer and sits on the Board of the California Supreme Court Historical Society. He welcomes ideas for future monthly columns on California's legal history at


When Erle Stanley Gardner died in 1970, he was 20th-century America's best-selling author, with over 100 mystery novels published and over 300,000,000 books sold worldwide. Gardner's most famous character was criminal defense attorney Perry Mason, who was featured in 82 novels and also in movies, radio shows, and finally a long-running television series.

Less known is that Gardner was a successful Ventura County lawyer with a strong record...

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